This marks a departure from our usual fortnightly releases, which usually take place on a Tuesday afternoon. From now on, releases will be on a Friday afternoon and take place every third week.
As we switch our focus to PICSWeb, the successor to PICS, there are fewer changes in each release, but the admin burden of producing the release remains the same. As such we’ve made the decision to extend the cycle by a week.
If your updates are done for you, such as by a 3rd-party IT company, you may want to let them know of this change so they can update their schedule to match, although it’s not essential that you update immediately after a release.
Users of our Hosting platform won’t notice any difference – your software will continue to be updated automatically overnight whenever updates are released.
This weekend, 16th May, we are changing the help desk system we use from TeamSupport to HubSpot. This won’t impact the way that we support you, but you will notice a difference in the emails that are sent from us, and the ticket reference number format will also change.
One of the main drivers for switching to HubSpot is to integrate systems across multiple departments. HubSpot gives us the tools to handle support, marketing, sales and communication. Bringing all this together allows us to better understand your needs and provide the best possible service.
Since we moved to TeamSupport three years ago, we have logged over 40,000 support tickets. While we don’t intend to migrate all that data over, we’ll be bringing through enough information to have a reasonable history of your contact with us. The two systems are quite different under the surface though, so please bear with us if there are any initial teething problems.
As the COVID-19 situation has developed, we’ve seen a significant drop in demand for support. We had originally planned to bring back an incoming call service but, having monitored things closely, we feel we’re better able to support you if we continue to focus on email-only support requests.
We’re maintaining a good response time on queries and are ensuring jobs get prioritised accordingly, especially where they relate to the ILR submission – when demand can spike considerably. In a situation where it is easier to talk, we are, of course, happy to call you directly.
Further to our recent announcement about the withdrawal of telephone support, we’d like to reassure you that we’re working with our telecoms provider to find a solution to this situation. We don’t yet know if we’ll be able to provide the usual level of phone-based support, but we understand that there are times where you really need to talk to someone, and we’re doing our best to make sure that’s possible.
In the meantime, if you’d really like to talk to a member of Support, please feel free to drop us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org to request a call. It would be much appreciated if you could explain the nature of your query so that we can be prepared, and we’d recommend you review our guidance on Helping Us to Help You. We’ll happily contact you from our personal phones until we can get the telephony sorted out.
Thank you all for bearing with us at this difficult time. We hope to have something more robust in place shortly.
We have created a special blogcast to focus on a recent change to our PICS-ESFA FM36 funding reconciler. A new year-to-date funding comparison report will, we hope, make it easier to identify those records with genuine anomalies rather than processing differences between the systems.
As has been covered in the press, PICS customer Qube Learning has been fast to react to the threat of COVID-19 and has rolled out several innovative solutions to enable remote working. A critical part of Qube’s infrastructure that has enabled their business to keep operating is our digital paperwork solution that seamlessly integrates into PICS, the Form Capture Application (FCA). Click 'Continue Reading...' to find out more.