5 min read

Out Now - Automated Communications and more

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Our latest PICSWeb update was released over the weekend, featuring several new features and improvements. Take a look below at some of the most exciting changes.

If you never want to miss a PICSWeb update, including smaller changes that do not make it to the blog, make sure to follow our What's New in PICSWeb page.


Automated communications

The latest addition to the range of automation tools in PICS allows you to schedule email and SMS messages to be sent out automatically to learners and applicants that meet certain criteria.

Users who are licensed to use our Scheduled Reports feature will now also be able to set up a range of automated communications to run at 5am on every day that they are valid. A range of filtering tools are available to choose which learners and applicants will be contacted, including communication preferences to maintain GDPR compliance.

A new merge field function makes it easier than ever to personalise your communications, with a range of fields available in a drop-down menu when writing the message body.

Automated communications can also be set up for Appointment, Review and Course reminder communications in PICS. This will send an email or SMS out to all learners and applicants who are linked to events that meet your specified criteria.

Setting up communication automations is explained in the following help pages:


Personalise emails sent from PICS

A new section for Email in integration configuration allows you to customise reports sent from PICS with your organisation's branding.

In this section, you can set a global "from" name, logo, and email text, which will be applied to all emails sent from PICS from that point.


Skipping funding periods

If you have missed finalling several funding periods, or have joined PICS midway through the funding year, then your database administrators can skip several unfinalled periods to allow you to process the current period.

This feature allows you to choose which period to process and have it added to the funding calculator as normal. Any periods between the most recently processed period and your chosen one will be marked as Skipped.


Course Session Attendance Summary report

We have added a new report template to provide a quick overview of your course attendance data with interactive options. The Course Session Attendance Summary is found with the other report templates and is generated as an interactive report by default.

Like other interactive reports, the course session attendance summary report can be used with multiple analysis columns to gain insight from your data. Custom attendance values, Guided Learning Hours (GLH) totals and percentage punctuality can all be included in the report.


Learners, applicants and contacts in user configuration

Where the User Configuration section of PICS could previously only be used to manage your staff users, it is now possible to view any learner, applicant or contact logins that you have set up from the same area.

To view these users, go to the User List and use the Type drop-down menu.

From this view, you can then process and view additional details for learner, applicant and contact users as you can with your staff users.


View currently running reports

A new button to View All Running Reports has been added to the Available Reports page for Database Administrator users. This button opens a window showing all reports that are currently being generated for all users, allowing you to identify any reports that are causing performance issues and abort them if necessary.

Any time that a report is aborted, the user who initially ran the report will be notified by email.


Improvements to Funding Forecasting

Following its release in February, we have been working to add further functionality and improvements to funding forecasting in PICS. The following changes have been made in the latest release:

  • It is now possible to export the data shown in the Overall and Planning tabs as an Excel spreadsheet.

  • A toggle has been added to the Summary page to enable viewing the financial data in a cumulative, profile start-to-date mode.

  • It is now possible to view periods using a Calendar Year and Month date view. The default view can be set via a new Settings option in the Actions list on the Funding Forecasting profile list page.

  • The speed at which profiles load have been increased. Controls are now disabled during the loading and saving of profiles to prevent data corruption.


New applicant idents

As explained in our Recent Blog Posts, as part of our background data changes to applicant records, new ident codes have been added for all applicants in PICS. However, the original idents will still be available for reporting purposes in the Original Applicant Ident field.