Rethinking Reports and the Complete Report Redesign

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

With Heap CRM we want you to improve your business and find out what works and what doesn't. Similarly, we test our designs as well and while search reports is a workhorse of our advanced users, basic reporting is not used much and people have trouble understanding it.

Rethinking the Design

The new reports center around a central idea: historical reporting is only important in as much as it tells me about my current activity. The whole point from reporting is to be able to adjust the business based on history. So, that's the center of the new design: what's going on now and how it compares to the past. Let's take a look.

Pipeline

The pipeline is based on how things look today. You have three pie charts: expected value, value and count. The expected value is the sum of the expected value (value times probability) in each transaction stage, while value is the sum of the value field (in each transaction stage) and count is a simple count of the number of items in each transaction stage. You can see the underlying data of any element by putting your mouse over it:

But what prospects are included in these calculations? That depends on the filter area. Right now, given that the category and user are set to all and no label is entered, it includes all current items. However, if the filter section looked like this:

The pipeline charts (as well historical activity chart) would only include items where "Ben Smith" is a managing user, in the category "Associates" and labeled (by me) as "local area".

Historical Activity

Historical activity is based on the filters (just like the pipeline) but it only looks at activity within a set range (week, month, year) where the selected date is end of that range. For instance, if the selected date is "2012-01-01" and the range is set to "Month", then that would include any transactions in the month leading up to January one.

For each type of transaction, you see three bar graphs:

1. Historical value
2. Current value of historical items
3. Current value

The historical value is the value assigned to the item at the time. So in our example, this would be the sum of expected values (or possibly value or count depending on the activity graph type selected) in the month leading up to January one, at the time.

Current value of historical items uses exactly the same set of items as the historical value, but it uses their current value instead of their historical value. If (in aggregate) your predictions about probability and value of prospects are correct, these two measurements should be identical. If they don't match, that could indicate that there is some level of error in the entered probabilities and values.

Current value is the value of current activity (based on the range) that matches the criteria in the filter section. This allows you to look at given week, month or year and ask if you are doing better or worse now.

Webhook and HeapCL

Both the webhook and HeapCL have been updated to support calls for the pipeline and activity.

Get Messages from the Heap CRM WebHook (and HeapCL)

Friday, January 6th, 2012

You can now retrieve messages using the Heap CRM webhook. If I set the variable (JSON, POST or GET) “list” to “messages John Doe” I will get a JSON payload containing messages associated to the prospect John Doe.

Sense HeapCL is just a client to the WebHook, you can now retrieve this information directly from the terminal. If I type:

./heapCL --list "messages John Doe" --save "messages.csv"

I'll get a CSV containing messages associated to John Doe. If I type:

./heapCL --list "messages John Doe" --save "messages.txt"

I'll get a plain text file containing each message.

HeapCL has been updated, so all users should download the latest version.

HeapCL >

Get Messages from the Torch Project Management WebHook (and TorchCL)

Friday, January 6th, 2012

You can now retrieve messages using the Torch Project Management webhook. If I set the variable (JSON, POST or GET) “list” to “messages John Doe” I will get a JSON payload containing messages associated to the prospect John Doe.

Sense TorchCL is just a client to the WebHook, you can now retrieve this information directly from the terminal. If I type:

./torchCL --list "messages WebSite Design" --save "messages.csv"

I'll get a CSV containing messages in the project WebSite Design. If I type:

./torchCL --list "messages WebSite Design" --save "messages.txt"

I'll get a plain text file containing each message.

TorchCL has been updated, so all users should download the latest version.

TorchCL >

Updates to HeapCL / List Events, Filtering Lists & Save in GTD Format

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

To support the new features in the WebHook, HeapCL (Heap CRM's command line interface) has been updated.

Listing Events

First, let’s say I want to list events, I can type:

./heapCL --list="events"

And that would return all uncompleted events that I own or are associated to a prospect where I'm a managing user to my screen. I also could type:

./heapCL --list="events" --save="events.csv"

Which would save those events to a CSV file (in this case named events.csv).

Filtering Lists

Just like the WebHook itself, HeapCL now supports filtering lists. Let’s say I want any event associated to John Doe, I could type:

./heapCL --list="events John Doe"

If I wanted to filter e-mail templates I could type something like:

./heapCL --list="emailtemplates Hello World!" --save="templates.csv"

Which would return email templates where the subject line starts with "Hello World!" and save them to the file "templates.csv".

Saving in GTD Format

When listing events, you now have the option to save in a GTD (Getting Things Done) style format. If I type something like (ie. the key difference being the ".txt" instead of ".csv"):

./heapCL --list="events" --save="events.txt"

HeapCL will save a file similar to the following:

+John_Doe_-_ACME Holiday Follow-up on Feb 1st, 2011
+John_Doe_-_ACME @Tasks My Breakfast Meeting at 08:30 AM to 09:30 AM on Feb 6th, 2011
@Tasks Talk about Client Test on Mar 4th, 2011
...

Where each event is on its own new line, associations specified with a "+" and calendars specified with a "@". This format is commonly used when applying David Allen's Getting Things Done methodology and is compatible with programs like Todo.txt.

Save E-Mail Templates in Plain Text

When listing email templates, you now have the option to save them in plain text instead of CSV. If I type something like (ie. the key difference being the ".txt" instead of ".csv"):

./heapCL --list="emailtemplates" --save="templates.txt"

HeapCL will save all email templates in plain text format.

Updates to LaunchBar and QuickSilver Scripts

Both the LaunchBar and QuickSilver action scripts have been updated to take full advantage of the additional features. So once you update your action scripts, you can filter lists, grab events and save events in GTD format.

LaunchBar Action Script >
QuickSilver Action Script >

Installation and Update

Because of substantial changes to HeapCL, it is recommend for all users to download a new copy. Those of you updating will not have to reconfigure any settings, you will simply have to overwrite your existing installation with the new one.

Download >
More about HeapCL >

Update to Heap CRM WebHook / Listing Events & Filtering Lists

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Heap CRM's WebHook has been updated to support listings events and filtering any list. Let's start with events.

Listing Events

Prior to today, you could get a list of email templates. Now you can also list events.

Specifically, you will get any uncompleted events that you own and any uncompleted events that are associated to a prospect where you are a managing user.

Here is typical JSON response:

[
{
'description': '',
'title': 'Holiday Follow-up',
'location': '',
'key': '425617',
'date': 'Feb 1st, 2011',
},
{
'description': 'See John about WebSite',
'title': 'My Breakfast Meeting at 08:30 AM to 09:30 AM',
'location': 'The Teahouse',
'key': '385722',
'calendar': 'Tasks',
'date': 'Feb 6th, 2011',
'association': 'John Doe - ACME'
}
]

Filtering Lists

You can filter any list by specifying the associated prospect name (events) or subject line (email templates). For instance, if I set the variable "list" to "events John" I get:

[
{
'description': 'See John about WebSite',
'title': 'My Breakfast Meeting at 08:30 AM to 09:30 AM',
'location': 'The Teahouse',
'key': '385722',
'calendar': 'Tasks',
'date': 'Feb 6th, 2011',
'association': 'John Doe - ACME'
}
]

If I set "list" to "emailtemplates Hello Friends!" I get:

[
{
"subject":"Hello Friends!",
"body":"Just wanted to say hi, and let you know we really appreciate your business!"
}
]

WebHook Documentation >

Updates to TorchCL / List Events, Filter by Project & Save in GTD Format

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

To support the new features in the WebHook, TorchCL (Torch Project Management's command line interface) has been updated.

Listing Events

First, let's say I want to list events, I can type:

./torchCL --list="events"

And that would return all uncompleted, pinned events to my screen. I also could type:

./torchCL --list="events" --save="events.csv"

Which would save those events to a CSV file (in this case named events.csv).

Filtering Lists

Just like the WebHook itself, TorchCL now supports filtering lists when using the "all active projects" WebHook url. Let's say I want any invoice in the project WebSite Design, I could type:

./torchCL --list="invoices WebSite Design" --save="invoices.csv"

And have the results saved to the file "invoices.csv". I can also filter events; let's say I want any event in the project "Newsletter". I could type:

./torchCL --list="events Newsletter"

Which would return uncompleted and pinned events in the newsletter project to my screen. Filters can be applied to events, invoices, payments, time and expenses.

Saving in GTD Format

When listing events, you now have the option to save in a GTD (Getting Things Done) style format. If I type something like (ie. the key difference being the ".txt" instead of ".csv"):

./torchCL --list="events" --save="events.txt"

TorchCL will save a file similar to the following:

+WebSite_Design Review Graphics
+WebSite_Design @Graphics Lunch with John at 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM on Mar 26th, 2011

Where each event is on its own line, projects are specified with a "+" and categories are specified with the "@" sign. This format is commonly used when applying David Allen's Getting Things Done methodology and is compatible with programs like Todo.txt.

Updates to LaunchBar and QuickSilver Scripts

Both the LaunchBar and QuickSilver action scripts have been updated to take full advantage of the additional features. So once you update your action scripts, you can filter lists, grab events and save events in GTD format.

LaunchBar Action Script >
QuickSilver Action Script >

Installation and Update

Because of substantial changes to TorchCL, it is recommend for all users to download a new copy. Those of you updating will not have to reconfigure any settings, you will simply have to overwrite your existing installation with the new one.

Download >
More about TorchCL >

Updates to Torch WebHook / List Events & Filter by Project

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Torch Project Management just had its WebHook enhanced. Let's start with events.

Listing Events

Prior to today, you could get a list of invoices, time entries, expenses and payments by specifying the appropriate term in the list variable. Now you can also list events.

Specifically, you are listing your uncompleted pinned events and tasks. If you are subscribing to a project specific WebHook, that would be any event/task you have pinned and is uncompleted in that project. If you are subscribing to the "all active projects" WebHook, then it will be any uncompleted, pinned event in a non-archived project.

Here is typical JSON response:

[{
"key": "1700",
"title": "Review Graphics",
"date": "",
"description": "",
"location": "",
"projectname": "WebSite Design",
"projectbudget": "2600.00"
},
{
"key": "942",
"title": "Lunch with John at 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM",
"date": "Mar 26th, 2011",
"description": "Talk about plans",
"location": "Cafe",
"category": "Graphics",
"categorybudget": "1500.00",
"projectname": "WebSite Design",
"projectbudget": "2600.00"
}]

Notice that both events and tasks are listed, tasks are simply listed without a date.

Filtering Lists

Prior to today, if you subscribed to the "all active projects" WebHook, you would always get every item in all non-archived projects. If you wanted to get a list of items specific to a project, you would need to change to a project specific WebHook. No more, now you can filter instead.

Say you are using the "all active projects" WebHook, but you only want events in the project "WebSite Redesign" then you could set the list variable to "events WebSite Redesign". Or, let's say you only want payments from the project "Newsletter", you could set the list variable to "payments Newsletter". This works with any of the list commands (invoices, time, expenses, payments and events).

WebHook Documentation >

Payments via JSON WebHook and API (Torch Project Management)

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

You can now retrieve payment entries from Torch Project Management's WebHook or API. Just set the variable "list" to "payments" (there is an example under your help section). This will result in something like:

[{
"key": "13",
"timestamp": "2010-07-16 00:00:00",
"amount": "2050.000000",
"note": "Payment by Check",
"invoicename": "WebDesign Services",
}]

from the WebHook. Or something like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<response>
<list>
<payment>
<key>13</key>
<timestamp>2010-07-16 00:00:00</timestamp>
<amount>2050.000000</price>
<note>Payment by Check</note>
<invoicename>WebDesign Services</invoicename>
</payment>
</list>
</response>

from the API.

Because this is an update to the WebHook, this also means it will work with TorchCL. So, if you've ever wanted to automated entries into your ledger or more quickly create cash-flow statements, now it is just a command away.

Note:

The QuickSilver and LaunchBar integration scripts have been updated to recognize "payments" as an action. If you use either of these scripts, you should download the new version.

Introducing TorchCL

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Ever wanted to built an automation tool to talk to Torch Project Management? Until today, this would require some programming. Not any more, anyone who can use a command line can use TorchCL.

With TorchCL you can do anything that can be done using the webhook, but directly from the command prompt. That means you can automate tasks, build triggers or just help you migrate some data to Torch. Got a Mac, TorchCL is the perfect companion to OS X Automator.

TorchCL runs on Windows and any *nix system that supports Python (including OS X).

Find our more about TorchCL >

Introducing HeapCL

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Ever wanted to built an automation tool to talk to Heap CRM? Until today, this would require some programming. Not any more, anyone who can use a command line can use HeapCL.

With HeapCL you can do anything that can be done using the webhook, but directly from the command prompt. That means you can automate tasks, build triggers or just help you migrate some data to Heap. Got a Mac, HeapCL is the perfect companion to OS X Automator.

HeapCL runs on Windows and any *nix system that supports Python (including OS X).

Find our more about HeapCL >