The Sales department is the engine of your whole company. Sales success drives staff motivation and your company’s general dynamism, which in turn enables you to keep innovating and lay the foundations
for future success.
The key to continued Sales success is effective Customer Relationship Management (most often known
as CRM). Open ERP’s CRM capabilities are flexible and highly developed to assist you in managing all aspects of both supplier and customer relationships. Analytic tools help you understand your performance drivers, and the automation of data and processes drives new levels of efficiency.
89 Part III Managing Customer Relationships Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 91 The Sales department is the engine of your whole company. Sales success drives staff motivation and your company?s general dynamism, which in turn enables you to keep innovating and lay the foundations for future success. The key to continued Sales success is effective Customer Relationship Management (most often known as CRM). Open ERP?s CRM capabilities are flexible and highly developed to assist you in managing all aspects of both supplier and customer relationships. Analytic tools help you understand your performance drivers, and the automation of data and processes drives new levels of efficiency. Open ERP can share information through its interfaces to the most common office applications, minimiz- ing disruption to your operations when you first install it. Your staff can build on their previous produc- tivity by continuing to use their email and office systems, now connected to Open ERP, transferring to the Open ERP interface only if they need to. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 92 93 CHAPTER EIGHT LEADS, BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES AND CAMPAIGNS This chapter introduces the pre-sales activities of managing leads and opportunities. You?re introduced to a more complex set of relationships between partners and contacts than offered by the :mod:?base? module, and shown how to use the company calendar. You?ll finish by discussing how a call center might use the Open ERP system. 8.1 Managing Contacts The standard way of representing partners and contacts throughout Open ERP and many other enterprise systems (such as phone contact applications) is having a partner with multiple contacts. Partner is the word for any entity that you do business with - supplier, customer, etc. This representation may not be flexible enough for some uses, so Open ERP provides an alternative, which is brought into the system by installing the base_contact module. The two figures UML class diagram with base_contact module installed and UML class diagram with base_contact module not installed show the structure of partners and contacts in the form of UML classes both with and without this base_contact module. For the non-programmer this diagram can be a bit of a brutal way of showing it, but it?s the clearest way to illustrate the complexities that can be accomplished. Figure 8.1: UML class diagram with base_contact module installed Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 94 Chapter 8. Leads, Business Opportunities and Campaigns Figure 8.2: UML class diagram with base_contact module not installed A concrete example may illustrate this concept of multiple relationships between contacts and partners (companies) better. The figure Example of a structure with management of partners and contacts shows two companies each having several addresses (places of business) and several contacts attached to these addresses. Figure 8.3: Example of a structure with management of partners and contacts In this example you?ll find the following elements: ? The ABC bank has two places of business, represented by the addresses of ABC Belgium and ABC Luxembourg, ? The addresses of Dexey France and Dexey Belgium belong to the Dexey company, ? At the office of ABC Luxembourg, you have the contacts of the director (D Fogerty) and the accountant (A. Jacket), ? Mr Jacket holds the post of accountant for ABC Luxembourg and Dexey France, ? Mr J Smith is director of Dexey France and Dexey Belgium and we also have his private address attached to no partner. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 8.1. Managing Contacts 95 Depending on your needs, Open ERP provides three menus to access the same information: ? List of partners: Partners ? Partners, ? List of contacts: Partners ? Contacts, ? List of posts held by contacts at partners: Partners ? Contact?s Jobs. The three menus above are only three different views on the same data. If you correct a contact name on the contact form, this will be modified on all the posts occupied in the different companies. The screen above represents a partner form. You can see several possible address there and a list of contacts above each address. For each contact you see a name, a function, a phone number and an email. Figure 8.4: A partner form with the base_contact module installed If you click on the line you can get more detail about the function (such as start date, end date, and fax) or enter into the contact form (such as personal phone, different posts occupied, and personal blog). Figure 8.5: Detail of a job post occupied by a contact at a partner Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 96 Chapter 8. Leads, Business Opportunities and Campaigns Figure 8.6: Detail of a contact form for someone employed in several job posts Partner management is found in the Open ERP base modules. To manage partner relations you have to install the CRM modules. Then start by installing a CRM profile and configure the system to meet your needs. For this chapter you should start with a fresh database that includes demo data, using the CRM profile and no particular chart of accounts configured. Open ERP?s modularity enables you to install only the CRM module if your requirements are limited to customer relationships. Figure 8.7: Creating a new database Once the database is installed, Open ERP suggests that you configure it using a series of questions: Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 8.1. Managing Contacts 97 ? Creating users: click Skip, ? Simplified or Extended mode: select simplified and click Ok, ? Select the CRM functionality to install. Figure 8.8: Selecting the CRM functionality to install Note: The CRM configuration module The pre-configuration of the management of customer relations to generate prospects, opportunities, and phone calls isn?t supplied by the crm module itself but by the crm_configuration module. If you install the modules separately don?t forget to install the crm_configuration module. The crm module just contains the generic case management system. Open ERP proposes a selection from pre-configured functions for CRM: ? managing a prospects database, ? managing and tracking opportunities, ? managing meetings and the company calendar, ? managing pre-sales, ? managing phone calls and/or a call center, ? managing after-sales service, ? managing employment offers, ? managing technical service, ? tracking bugs and new functional requests. You see that Open ERP?s CRM module isn?t limited just to Customer relationships but is designed to generate all types of relations with a partner: such as suppliers, employees, customers, prospects. This book will describe just customer relationships. The other CRM functions are similar to use, so you shouldn?t have huge problems with understanding those functions. The following cases will be looked at for this chapter ? Prospect management, Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 98 Chapter 8. Leads, Business Opportunities and Campaigns ? Opportunity management, ? Management of the company calendar, ? Management of phone calls. The figure Selecting parameters for CRM modules for the reader of this chapter shows the CRM module configuration screen after selecting some functions to install. Figure 8.9: Selecting parameters for CRM modules for the reader of this chapter 8.1.1 Organizing Prospects If you have installed the management of prospects and opportunities, Open ERP implements the following workflow for the qualification of prospects and future opportunities. Figure 8.10: Process of converting a prospect into a customer or opportunity Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 8.2. Leads 99 8.2 Leads A lead represents a potential customer or a possible future business or sales opportunity. They aren?t usually qualified yet and they aren?t yet assigned to an individual person for following up. When a lead needs to be followed up, it?s converted to a partner and/or a sales opportunity. For example, the following events could result in the creation of one or several leads: ? A business card from a prospective customer met briefly at an exhibition: you must contact him again to qualify the lead and to know if there is any possibility of a key sales opportunity, ? A database of potential customers in a given sector and region. The potential customers must be contacted again individually or using a mass mailing to determine which contacts need to be followed up, ? A contact that you?ve been given by a friend. You must then qualify it before starting to assign a salesperson to the contact, ? A form completed on your website directly integrated into Open ERP. Before converting the form into a sale proposition or opportunity, you should read and handle the person?s request. Note: Separation of sales services In companies of a certain type, you often distinguish between the sales department and the presales department. The role of the presales department is to acquire and qualify new leads, and the role of the sales department is to crystallize the sales opportunities or work with existing customers. System users in the pre-sales department will usually work on leads. Once these leads are converted into customers or sales opportunities the sales department pays individual attention to each opportunity. 8.2.1 Entering prospects into the system New prospects are usually entered as a lead in the system. This means that you don?t create a partner form or sales opportunity until you have qualified whether the lead is interesting or not. If the new contact is indeed interesting you then enter the data on into a partner form and, eventually, a sales opportunity. To enter a lead manually use the menu CRM & SRM ? Sales ? Leads ? New Lead. A form opens to let you enter data about this new contact. Figure 8.11: Creating a new lead Leads have a status that depends on the qualification work that?s been carried out: Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 100 Chapter 8. Leads, Business Opportunities and Campaigns ? Draft : the lead data has been entered, any work has not yet been done and a salesperson has not yet been assigned to the request, ? Open : the lead is being handled, ? Closed : the lead has been converted into a partner and/or a sales opportunity, ? Waiting : the lead is waiting for a response from the customer, ? Cancelled : the lead has been cancelled because the salesperson has decided that it?s not worth following up. When a new lead has been created it?s automatically put into the open state. You can also import a huge list of leads. That?s useful if you?ve bought a database of potential prospects and you want to load them all into the system to handle them all at the same time. To do that you should start with a list of leads in CSV format. If your prospects are provided in another format it?s easy to convert them to the CSV format using Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice Calc. Open the leads list using the menu CRM & SRM ? Sales -> Leads -> My Leads. At the bottom of the list click on the Import link. Open ERP opens a form for importing the data. Figure 8.12: Importing leads into the system You then define which columns are present in your CSV file in the correct order. Then select your file and click on Import. Check in the chapter about system administration, Configuration & Administration, for more information on import and export. Tip: Various Imports Importing and Exporting data in Open ERP is a generic function available to all resources. So you can import and export such lists as partners, sales opportunities, accounting entries, products and pricelists. There are other methods of importing leads automatically or semi-automatically: ? Using the Outlook or Thunderbird plugin to insert new leads directly from an email client after a salesperson sees promising emails, ? Using the email gateway for each incoming email from a certain address (such as firstname.lastname@example.org) creating a lead automatically from the contents of the email, ? Using Open ERP?s XML-RPC web-services to connect to a form on your website. These different methods are described in the next CRM chapter, Customer Relationship Management. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 8.2. Leads 101 8.2.2 Organizing leads To help the users organize and handle leads efficiently, Open ERP provides several menus in the CRM system that can be used depending on the needs of each: ? Leads ? New Lead opens an entry form directly onto a new lead. This menu can usefully be put into your shortcuts, ? Leads ? My Leads gives a list of all the leads (both open and not) which you?re linked to, ? Leads ? My Leads ? My Current Leads gives a list of all your leads that you still need to handle (your open, draft and waiting leads), ? Leads ? My Leads ? My Current Leads ? My Pending Leads gives a list of all your leads that that are still waiting for a customer response. This enables you to check periodically on your work to do, ? Leads ? All Leads is a list of all the leads assigned to different salespeople. This menu as those beneath it are used by managers to check on each person?s work. Figure 8.13: List of leads to be handled Leads are prioritized. Salespeople should ideally start at the top of the list. They then open a form to describe the lead. At this stage they contact the suspected customer by email or phone and enter the result of the contact on the lead form. They can then change the status of the lead to a state that depends on the response from the suspect: ? Cancelled : not to be followed as a lead, ? Waiting : waiting for a response from the suspect. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 102 Chapter 8. Leads, Business Opportunities and Campaigns 8.2.3 Converting leads into customers or opportunities If a lead is interesting you convert it into a partner in the system. To do that, push the button Convert to Partner. Open ERP opens a partner form with the information from the lead entered into it. At this stage you can add more information such as the exact partner address and the contact details. The created partner is automatically attached to the lead, which enables you to keep complete traceability from the lead. To do that look at the second tab in the lead History. If the salesperson thinks that there is a real opportunity with the lead, following the contact, he can convert it into a sales opportunity using the button Convert to Opportunity. Open ERP then opens a window asking the title of the opportunity, the estimated revenue and the percentage success of converting to a sale. Figure 8.14: Converting a lead into a sales opportunity Some companies have more advanced processes for the qualification of a lead. They pass through several steps, such as first call, renewing contact, waiting for a verbal agreement. You can then use the field Step that is found up to the right of the lead definition. To move it automatically through the next step, you can use the button that looks like a right arrow. 8.3 Sales Opportunities While a lead represents the first contact with a prospect yet to be qualified, a sales opportunity represents a potential contract. Each opportunity must be followed up by a salesperson spending time to make a quotation or the cancellation of the opportunity. Leads are generally handled en masse, with the automation of certain responses or emails. Opportunities, in contrast, are usually tracked one by one by the salespeople because that involves a process of negotiation. 8.3.1 Ensuring that you track opportunities Just like leads, Open ERP provides several menus to handle sales opportunities efficiently. All the menus for opportu- nities are under the menu CRM & SRM ? Sales ? Opportunities. To quickly create a new opportunity, use the menu CRM & SRM ? Sales ? Opportunities ? New Opportunity. You usually use this menu in the case where the opportunity is direct and doesn?t come first from a lead. It can also be useful to create a shortcut to this menu so that you can quickly open a new opportunity form when you need to ? after a phone call, or an email, that needs followup. The salesperson uses the menu CRM & SRM ? Sales ? Opportunities ? My Opportunities ? My Open Opportunities to track their opportunities. After various customer contacts, the salesperson can enter the information Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 8.3. Sales Opportunities 103 into the form to describe the activity. The history tab provides a history of all the information about the activity throughout its life. The activities are automatically reported on the partner form of the associated customer. To see this, open the events tab when you open the partner form. Figure 8.15: History of events in a partner form When the leads have been converted into opportunities, the opportunities can be assigned to any salesperson. Then you designate an opportunity manager in the company who is responsible for assigning the new opportunities to different salespeople to suit their speciality, location or availability. The manager can use the menu Opportunity ? All Opportunities ? Unassigned Opportunities to do this. This gives you a list of all opportunities that haven?t yet been assigned to a salesperson. The manager can the enter the salesperson responsible for the opportunity into the field Responsible. 8.3.2 The company calendar There are several methods for entering a new meeting with a partner. The first method is to enter the meeting directly in the company calendar. To do that, use the menu CRM & SRM ? Calendar ? All Meetings. You can use the monthly, weekly or daily views to plan a meeting. To move between one mode and another use the buttons above and to the right of the calendar. Figure 8.16: Meetings calendar in monthly view Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 104 Chapter 8. Leads, Business Opportunities and Campaigns Figure 8.17: Meetings calendar in weekly view In the calendar you distinguish between multi-day events and events that last only for a few hours. Multi-day events have a colored background whereas single events have a colored font. Each event has a color that represents the user that created the meeting. You can filter the different users by selecting them from the list at the left of the screen. To enter a new meeting into the system you can click the day and the hour for a new meeting. In the weekly and daily views you can also press the mouse left button on the calendar and slide the mouse along to create an event of several hours. Open ERP then opens an entry screen for a new meeting. Figure 8.18: Entering a new meeting Tip: Consolidated Calendar The advantage of integrated management is that the enterprise calendar will group several system events. Then in the Open ERP calendar you?ll automatically find both these meetings and such information as business opportunities, technical interventions, and requests for staff meetings. 8.3.3 Tracking phone calls Open ERP has functions to manage a telephone call centre. If, hen you installed the CRM module, you selected the option for calls you?ll be able to manage incoming and outgoing calls. Call management can be used for two particular needs: Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 8.3. Sales Opportunities 105 ? Entering customer calls so that you keep a record of the communication attached to a partner or a sales oppor- tunity, ? Managing a call centre with operators who handle lists of calls to carry out one after another. To enter details of a phone call, use one of the two following menus: ? CRM & SRM ? Sales ? Phone Calls ? Inbound, ? CRM & SRM ? Sales ? Phone Calls ? Outbound. The phone call will then be visible on the partner form to give you complete visibility of the events about that customer or supplier. 8.3.4 Managing a Call Center You can manually encode calls that happen or you can pass them into Open ERP. But for mass campaigns, you can import a list of phone calls to make. To do this, click on the import link at the bottom of the list of phone calls. On the GTK client use the toolbar button Form ? Import at the top. Phone calls that have occurred in the open state. The different operators can be assigned calls and handle them one by one using the menu CRM & SRM ? Phone Calls ? Outbound ? New Outgoing Call. The operator can open the calls one by one. For each call, after having contacted the customer, the operator can click on one of the following buttons: ? Cancel: you cancel the call. For example you could cancel the call if you?ve tried to call them more than three times. ? Held: you?ve spoken to the customer by phone. In this case the operator can change the case section and send it to sales opportunities, for example. You could alternatively leave it in this state if you don?t need to carry out any more actions with this customer. ? Not Held: the customer hasn?t been called, you?ll try to call him again later. 8.3.5 Advanced Customer Relations Open ERP also supplies several tools to improve and automate relationships with partners. They won?t be described extensively here, just introduced briefly. The supplier/customer portal gives you the ability to provide your suppliers and customers with constrained access to Open ERP. They will then be able to view or enter sets of information directly online to Open ERP. For example they could enter their orders, reprint their invoices, or work on communal projects. To activate the portal you should install the modules that start with the string portal_.... The email gateway lets you interface the CRM with incoming and outgoing emails. The scripts used for the email gateway are available in the crm module in the scripts subdirectory. Outlook and Thunderbird plugins let you synchronize your contacts between your email client and your ERP. They both enable you to create sales opportunities based on exchanges you have with the customer. The rules for automating actions enable you to send emails automatically based on the event, such as assigning op- portunities to the most appropriate person. To access the CRM rules, use the menu CRM & SRM ? Configuration ? Cases ? Rules. The segmentation tools let you create partner groups and act on each segment differently. For example you could create pricelists for each of the segments, or start phone marketing campaigns by segment. To enable the management of segmentation you should install the module crm_profiling. The base_report_designer module enables you to create letter templates in OpenOffice and automate letters for different prospects. Open ERP also has plugins for MS Word to simplify the creation of mass mailing. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 106 Chapter 8. Leads, Business Opportunities and Campaigns 107 CHAPTER NINE CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT It?s often said that the customer is king. You would treat all your customers as royalty, at the center of your attention if you had a way of keeping your eyes on them at all times. Open ERP?s CRM module is designed to make this aim a reality, helping employees of the business understand their customers? needs better, and automating their communication efforts. Tip: CRM & SRM CRM is the abbreviation for Customer Relationship Management, and SRM is Supplier Relationship Management. If you want to focus on your customers, you need tools to make that focus easy. Tools that will capture all the knowledge you have available, tools that will help you analyze what you know, and tools that will make it easy to use all of that knowledge and analysis. A crucial advantage that Open ERP gives you over the more specialist CRM applications is that Open ERP knows more about your customers and your ability to supply them because it?s handling all of your accounting, sales, purchases, manufacturing and fulfilment as well as linking to all of your internal staff. Open ERP?s crm module uses that information and offers several significant features that enable you and your staff to monitor and control your supplier and customer relationships effectively, such as delegating issues to the most appropriate people, keeping a history of communications and events, qualifying prospects and detecting problems. It also uses several statistical tools that can analyze relationships quantitatively ? your customer service performance and the quality of your suppliers, for example. Using performance analysis, you can easily put a policy of real continuous improvement in place by developing an automatic rules-based system in Open ERP. To minimize re-typing work, Open ERP provides an email gateway that links your emails to the databases. This is a significant feature ? many of your staff will then use Open ERP automatically through email without ever logging into it themselves and having to learn a new system. Finally, at the end of this chapter you?ll see an efficient method of qualifying prospects or customers that enables you to offer a service tailored to the potential value of different prospects. For this chapter you should start with a fresh database that includes demo data, using the CRM profile and no particular chart of accounts configured. 9.1 Partners In Open ERP, a partner represents all the entities that you can do business with. Some possible different types of partners are: ? suppliers, Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 108 Chapter 9. Customer Relationship Management ? manufacturers, ? customers, ? clients, ? employees, ? prospects. The concept of a partner here is much more flexible than in many other management applications because a partner can correspond to one type or a combination of several of these types. This avoids double data-entry and provides greater flexibility in the features available. So a partner can be both your supplier and your customer at the same time. This feature is particularly important when you have subsidiaries or franchises since transactions between the parent and its subsidiaries in these cases will generally be two-way. To get a list of partners using demonstration data, use the menu Partners ? Partners. Figure 9.1: A partner form To the right of the partner form you?ll find all of the actions, reports and shortcuts available to the selected partner. This enables you to quickly send an SMS message, for example, or review a partner?s order history, or print a reminder letter. Tip: Send an SMS message To send an SMS message from standard Open ERP you?ll have to place an order with the bulk SMS gateway operator Clickatell?http://clickatell.com. You?ll then receive an API number, a login and a password which you can use in Open ERP to send SMS messages to your partners. Or you can just develop a new module based on the inbuilt SMS functions, targeted at any of the other SMS service suppliers, and use that instead. To send an SMS message to a partner or a selection of several partners, first select the partners then click the Send SMS Action icon. To create a company in Open ERP (that is ? a new partner) you should at a minimum enter the company?s Name in the partner form. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 9.1. Partners 109 9.1.1 Contacts You can have several contacts for one partner. Contacts represent company employees that you?re in contact with, along with their address details. For each address you can indicate their type (Default , Invoice , Delivery , Contact or Other ). Based on this, Open ERP can supply an address that matches the contact?s function when generating documents at various stages through an Order process. Contacts can be entered into the first (General) tab of the Partners form, or you can get direct access to the list of addresses through the Partners ? Partner Contacts menu. You can search for a subset of Partners and Contacts using their company Name or Contact name or part of the address, or any of the other search fields in either the Basic Search or the Advanced Search tab. Note: Independent partners or physical people If you want to represent a physical person rather than a company, in Open ERP, that person?s name can be typed directly into the Name field on the Partner form. In this case don?t put in any Contact Name. 9.1.2 Partner Categories Open ERP uses hierarchical categories to organize all of its partners. To reach the list of available partner categories, use the menu Partners ? Partners by Category. Figure 9.2: Example Partner Category structure Double-click one of the categories in the partner category structure to get a list of the partners in that category. If you click on a category that has sub-categories you?ll get a list of all of the partners in the main category and in all of its subcategories. Because categories are structured in a hierarchical manner, you can apply an action at any level of the structure: a marketing promotion activity, for example, can be applied either to all customers, or selectively only to customers in one category and its subcategories. The tree structure is also very useful when you?re running the various statistical reports. You can structure reports at any level of the hierarchy using this partner segmentation. In the following sections you?ll see how to assign partners to categories manually (perhaps for a newsletter subscription or as a hot prospect), or automatically using segmentation rules. Use the menu Partners ? Configuration ? Categories ? Edit Categories to define a new category. To try Open ERP?s partner capabilities described here for yourself, log into your database as admin/XXXXX then Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 110 Chapter 9. Customer Relationship Management click Partners ? Configuration ? Categories ? Edit Categories and create a new category of Small Suppliers whose parent is Suppliers . Then create a new Partner whose Name is Susan Trent ??\ and category is \ ??Small Suppliers . Click Partners ? Partners by Category and then click Suppliers ? Small Suppliers to find just Susan Trent . Do this again but now click the Suppliers category in Partners by Category and you?ll find that both Plumbing Component Suppliersand Susan Trent are in the higher-level category: Susan Trent is there because she?s in a child category. Add new contact Graham Strong to Plumbing Component Suppliers . Graham?s Address Type is Invoice . Click Partners ? Partner Contacts and see that both Susan and Graham appear on that list. 9.2 Case management The following sections describe the steps you might use to implement an effective customer relationship management policy. The policy is implemented by basing new types of case on the built- in Open ERP case handling system. Note: Case Case is a generic term that refers to a discussion with a partner about a specific subject. This subject could be in any category ? the monitoring of responses to a job advert, perhaps, or a purchase or sales order, or an after-sales quality problem. A case is used for following the history of the messages on a topic and for automating some operations in response to certain conditions. Interfaces are available for OpenOffice.org and for email such as Microsoft Outlook Express and Microsoft Outlook, so that you can make productive use of the case system from your existing tools. Case statistics generated by the system can be used by your managers to improve their handling of supplier and customer interactions. 9.2.1 CRM configuration Case management is a generic system that can be configured to your more precise needs. You?ll develop three case types here, to see how to build the following systems: 1. A system to manage business opportunities. 2. A system for managing support contracts on two levels. 3. A system for managing supplier quality. Sections To handle each of these case types in a different way, you must create different sections in Open ERP using the menu CRM & SRM ? Configuration ? Case ? Sections . Do this as user admin in your database to try it for yourself. You?ll define the following four sections: ? Sales ? Support Level 2 ? Support Level 1 ? Quality. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 9.2. Case management 111 Put the name in the field Case Section. You construct a tree structure for sections is constructed using the Parent Section field in the Section form. So here you?d say that Support Level 2 is the parent of Support Level 1 . Open ERP doesn?t restrict the order you use to define these two ? you can save the parent while defining the child (try it by starting with Support Level 1 ). A manager can then be assigned to each section (from the list of Open ERP system users), and an email address can optionally be added. Cases in this section are then automatically connected to this email address ? case messages are emailed out automatically from this address and emails to this address are automatically logged in this section of the CRM system. This functionality is based on the email gateway referred to in detail further on in this chapter. Click the menu CRM & SRM ? Cases ? Cases by Section to get the sections in a hierarchical list, then click a section name to list the cases that have been assigned to that section. Note: Cases by Section ? with data Click the menu CRM & SRM ? Cases ? Cases by Section to get the sections in a hierarchical list, then click a section name, such as Helpdesk or Support, to list the cases that have been assigned to that section. Categories Once you?ve defined the different sections you can create Categories, which are used to differentiate the cases in a section. You create categories using the menu CRM & SRM ? Configuration ? Cases ? Categories . Create the following in your database: Table 9.1: Categories assigned to the differ- ent sections Category Section Installation Requests Sales Potential Distributor Sales Interest in Training Sales Fault Fix Support Level 1 Functional Problem Support Level 1 Corrective Actions Quality Preventative Actions Quality Menu Once the sections and the categories are defined you can generate some menus to make it easier to use these cases. Select the menu CRM & SRM ? Configuration ? Create Menus for a New Section?. The procedure is to create the name of the new menu in Menu base name, select the name of a suitable Parent menu for the menu and the Case Section name, then click Create menu Entries. Following this procedure, create the following menus: Table 9.2: Example of creating menus that make it easier to use cases Menu base name Case Section Parent menu Business Opportunities Sales Sales Management Support L1 Support Level 1 CRM & SRM Support L2 Support Level 2 CRM & SRM Quality Problems Quality Purchase Management Each time you run this utility (that is, for each line in the table above), Open ERP generates a menu structure like Business Opportunities menu automatically generated. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 112 Chapter 9. Customer Relationship Management Figure 9.3: Business Opportunities menu automatically generated Note: Case sections Open ERP enables you to select the view mode you want when the menu is opened to display the cases for each section such as Sales, Helpdesk, and Support Request. Your selection of view determines the type of form that opens when showing a case in each section. So the form following a support request case could differ from the form for a business opportunity. If you?re working in a different language from the default, you can define the labels in that language after you?ve created the new menus. Note: Personalizing menus You can rename menus if you don?t like the way they?ve been generated by the system. To do this, select the menu line by single-clicking on the line (but not on the menu text itself) and then clicking the Switch icon. You?ll see a form view of the menu definition. If it?s in edit mode you can change its name and position in the hierarchy, and you can select a different icon for it. You can also choose a different action for when the menu is clicked. If you?ve saved or cancelled the menu form so that it?s not in edit mode you can duplicate it or delete it completely. Duplicating it can sometimes be helpful, placing a copy somewhere else in the menu hierarchy and perhaps making it accessible to different groups of users. 9.2.2 Using cases Although you?ve created special menu trees for each of the types of case you defined, you can continue using the generic case system reached through CRM & SRM ? Cases. The new case types are just versions of the generic case. Tip: Transferability of cases It?s quite useful to base the whole management of customer relationships on a generic system, as Open ERP does. Since each section is just a specialization of the generic system you can transfer requests from one section to another, and this means that you don?t lose cases in the system as you delegate work to other staff in your company. For example you can imagine a support request becoming a business opportunity. Or an after-sales service request becoming a supplier quality issue where a fault is found in a purchased product. You can also track items across the whole company. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 9.2. Case management 113 Figure 9.4: An entry following a business opportunity To enter a new business opportunity, you can use the menu that you?ve just created: Sales Management ? Business Opportunities. Or you could have used the generic menus CRM & SRM ? Cases ? Cases by section, or CRM & SRM ? Cases ? All cases. Create a case from Sales Management ? Business Opportunities by entering information about the request, namely: ? a Description of the case, ? its Section will already be completed with Sales , ? a Priority, ? the Partner, ? the Partner Contact (which will be completed automatically when the Partner is filled in but can be overwrit- ten), ? the Partner Email address (which will be completed from the Partner Contact?s email address but can be overwritten), ? the person in your own company who will be the User Responsible for the case. Tip: The email gateway You?ll see later in this chapter that cases can be generated automatically from emails. If the email gateway is config- ured properly you?ll no longer have to enter cases manually through the menu system ? they?ll just be created from incoming emails. A case starts in the Draft state once it?s been created. You can then open it to indicate that you?re working on it by clicking the Open button. To enter text about the request or about actions taken to satisfy it, type an entry in free text. To save the history of your comments, click Historize. If you click Send Partner and Historize the partner will also receive a copy of your comment as you save it. While the case is open you can click Close if it?s been completed or Cancel if it?s to go no further. If you want the case to wait for a response from a partner click Pending. Add some text for this example case in the database, then close it. If you?ve organized the sections in a hierarchical structure you can click on Escalate. The case then escalates into the parent section. You can?t do that with the Business Opportunity that you just defined, which is single-level but you Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 114 Chapter 9. Customer Relationship Management could with a Support L1 case. For example if a developer on level 1 can?t handle a customer problem then she can escalate the request to level 2 where it can be handled by a more experienced user. Tip: Assigning a case Two approaches are available to you for assigning a case to a suitable manager. Any case can be assigned by the user who creates the original case, or this field can be left blank. If it?s blank you?d review the resulting list of unassigned cases and pick one up and assign it to yourself. You can also imagine a mixed method: all cases arrive unassigned and a user is responsible for the division of work to the relevant section. You can look up the history of comments and actions on the request at any time by looking at the case History, which is in its own tab. Users can create their own shortcuts from menus such as My Support Requests and My Business Opportunities to quickly list cases that they?re personally responsible for. 9.2.3 Generating calendars The Open ERP web client can display any type of resource in the form of a timetable. You can generate calendar views for each of your cases as you create menus for those cases. So if you want to implement a shared calendar for your calendar in Open ERP all you need to do is: 1. Create a section Meeting Calendar 2. Create menus for this section while specifying that you want a calendar view from CRM & SRM ? Configura- tion ? Create Menus for a New Section. You?ll get menus enabling you to manage calendars for each employee, and you?ll also get a shared calendar for the company. This calendar view is totally dynamic. You can move an event or change its duration just using your mouse. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 9.2. Case management 115 Figure 9.5: Monthly view of the meeting calendar for cases You can change the view and return to the list view, forms or graphs by using the buttons at the top right. Open ERP?s usual search tools and filters enable you to filter the events displayed in the calendar or, for example, to display the calendar for only some employees at a time. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 116 Chapter 9. Customer Relationship Management Figure 9.6: Weekly view of the meeting calendar for cases Note: The generic calendar Unlike traditional CRM software, Open ERP?s calendar view is not limited to displaying appointments. It?s available for any type of resource. So in addition to the cases handled here, you could obtain calendars of tasks, deliveries, manufacturing orders, sales or personal leave. This view is very useful for planning or to get a global overview of a list of dated elements. 9.2.4 Analyzing performance Since all of your customer communications are integrated into the Open ERP system, you can analyses the performance of your teams in many ways. Open ERP has a module that helps handle this ? report_crm. It?s not part of the core Open ERP so you must first download it to your desktop from Open ERP?s modules repository, then into your server using Administration ? Modules Management ? Import module. Then install it into the database. Once you?ve installed it you can use menu CRM & SRM ? Reporting to create different reports. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 9.2. Case management 117 Figure 9.7: Analyzing the performance of your support team If you want to analyze the performance of your service and support group, for example, use the graph from CRM & SRM ? Reporting ? All Months ? Cases by User and Section. Click the menu to obtain a list view, then click the Graph button to the top right of the list. The system shows you statistics per user and it?s possible to filter on each section and use other criteria for searching. For example, you can type in a date range, click Filter, and see the graph change to reflect the new data. By default, the system provides a list containing the following information for each month, user and section, and an indication of the state of each set of information: ? number of cases, ? average delay for closing the request, ? estimated revenue for a business opportunity, ? estimated cost, ? estimate of revenue multiplied by the probability of success, to give you an estimated weighted revenue figure. Tip: Navigating through the statistics You can obtain more information about a user or a case section from these reports, drilling down into the data displayed. In the web client you click the appropriate text string on one of the lines (such as Demo User or Helpdesk and Support) to open a form for it, and then click one of the buttons in the Action toolbar to the right of the User or Section form that is displayed. In the GTK client you?d right-click over the text instead ? this brings up a context menu with the same options as the web client would give you. You can specify that the graph view, say, appears by default so that you can consistently present the information more visually. 9.2.5 Automating actions using rules Analyzing figures gives you a better basis for managing all of your services and customer and supplier relationships. But you can do more than just display the figures graphically from time to time. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 118 Chapter 9. Customer Relationship Management If the performance of a section, a user or a category of a case is beginning to cause concern then you can use Open ERP?s rules system to monitor the situation more closely. Rules enable you to automatically trigger actions depending on criteria you define for each case. They provide a good way of implementing a proper continuous im- provement policy for your customer relations and quality of service. Using these rules you could: ? automatically send emails to the client during different phases of a support request, to keep the client up to date with progress, ? assign the case to another person if the the case manager is on holiday, ? send a reminder to the supplier if their response is delayed too long, ? always mark a case as urgent if it?s from a major client, ? transfer the case to technical services if the request is about a technical fault. To define new rules use the menu CRM & SRM ? Configuration ? Cases ? Rules. Figure 9.8: Screenshot of a rule The criteria for activating this rule are defined on the main part of the screen. These criteria are: ? a condition about the initial state (for example during the creation of a case ? initial state: None , eventual state: Draft ), ? a condition about the destination state (for example at the closure of a case to send a confirmation or thank you email), ? the case section to which the rule applies, ? the category for the case, ? a condition about the manager of the case (for example to send copies of case progress to a manager if the client request is handled by a trainee), ? a condition about the priority level (for example to provide different types of reaction depending on the urgency of the request), ? a partner or a category to be applied to the rule, Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 9.2. Case management 119 ? a date for the trigger ? reporting by the date of creation ? reporting by date of the last action ? reporting by the length of time that it?s been active. If you have defined several criteria Open ERP will apply the rule only if all of the criteria are valid. You define the action that will be taken if the rule is met in the second tab of the lower part of the setup window. The following actions are included: ? change the state of the case, ? move the case to a new section, ? assign the case to a system manager, ? change the priority of a case, ? send a reminder to the case manager or a partner, ? attach information (or not) to a reminder, ? send copies of the case discussion to specified email addresses, ? send a predefined email. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 120 Chapter 9. Customer Relationship Management Note: Example 1 Improvement in the quality of support For example, on the graph that analyses the performance of team support in Figure 4-6 you can see that the Demo User takes an average time of 3 days and 4 hours to close a customer support request. This is too long. After analyzing the data in depth, you can see that most cases were closed in less than two days, but some may take more than ten days. If you think that the quality of service should be improved you can automate certain actions. You could send copies of the discussion to a technical expert if the case remains open for longer than two days, defined by the following rule: ? Rule Name : Copy to an expert after 2 days, ? Case state from : Open, ? Case state to : Open, ? Responsible : Demo User, ? Trigger Date : Creation date, ? Delay after trigger date : 2 days, ? Add watchers (cc) : email@example.com , ? Remind responsible : Yes. After the rule has been defined, the expert will receive a copy of the whole discussion between the Demo User and the customer for every case that remains unclosed after two days. He?ll be able to interact with the discussion to avoid lengthy delays on complex problems. Some companies use several support levels. The first level is handled by the least qualified support people and the higher levels by users who have the advantage of more experience. A user on level 1 can escalate the case to a higher level when necessary. To systematically train employees at level 1 you can create the following rule: when the case has been escalated they will continue to be copied on the progress of the case. If a user at support level 1 can?t handle a request he can escalate it to level 2. Then when an expert at level 2 answers the customer?s request, the level 1 support person also receives the answer to the problem that he couldn?t originally handle. So your team can be educated automatically from listening in to the passage of live support calls. Suppose that you supply two types of support contract to your customers: Gold and Normal. You can then create a rule which raises the priority of a case automatically if the partner is in the Gold Support Contract category. Define the case this way: ? Rule Name : Priority to Gold Partners, ? Case state from : /, ? Case state to : Open, ? Partner Category : Support Contract / Gold, ? Set priority to : High. Improved client relations can flow from using such rules intelligently. With the statistical control system you can manage certain SLAs (Service Level Agreements) with your customers without a great deal of effort on your part. So you can be selective in replying to those of your partners based on the specific quality of service that you are contracted to supply. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 9.2. Case management 121 Note: Example 2 Tracking supplier quality Remember that an Open ERP partner can be a supplier as much as a customer. You can use the same mechanism for the management of supplier quality as you do for customer support. If any of your staff detect a quality problem with a product from a supplier they should create a new case in the Quality section. If the email gateway is installed all you need to do is copy an email to a specified address (for example firstname.lastname@example.org) while sending your email of complaint to the supplier. The case is automatically created in Open ERP and the supplier?s email response will close the case and be placed automatically in the case history. In this case the user can add corrective or preventative actions to conform to ISO 9001, without having to enter every action into Open ERP ? most of the information comes just from the emails. The system?s statistics provide analyses about the number and the cost of quality problems from different suppliers. If certain suppliers don?t offer the service quality that you expect you can automatically create rules that: ? send a reminder to the supplier after a few days if the case still remains open ? remind the production manager to call the supplier and resolve the situation if the case hasn?t been closed within a week ? select and qualify your suppliers on the basis of their quality of service Tip: The CRM portal Open ERP?s portal_service module enables you to open parts of your CRM functionality to suppliers and customers. They can then connect to your system using their own login and follow their orders or requests online. For example the customer could make a support request directly in your system, perhaps avoiding a lengthy process of data entry. 9.2.6 Using the email gateway To automate the creation of current cases you can install the email gateway. The email gateway enables you to use Open ERP?s CRM without necessarily using the Open ERP interface. Users can create up-to-date cases just by sending and receiving emails. This system works with the major current email clients such as Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express, Thunderbird and Evolution. Figure 9.9: Schematic showing the use of the email gateway Installation and Configuration To use the email gateway you must install it on your server. You can use a variety of methods to configure it. Described here is a simple and generic approach using the Fetchmail program under Linux. You?ll need a system administrator Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 122 Chapter 9. Customer Relationship Management to carry out this work. To start with you have to create an email account (POP3 or IMAP) for each Section that you?ll want to connect an email to. If you have the support email address email@example.com?d use the following entries: ? POP server : pop.mycompany.com , ? User : support , ? Password : <mypass> . You?ll also need to choose an Open ERP user that the gateway will use to access your database, such as: ? User Id : 3 , ? Password : support . Tip: Identifying a resource Each resource on the Open ERP system has a unique identifier number. This corresponds to an identifier in the underlying PostgreSQL database table, in the ID column for that resource. With the web client you can usually find this number by going to the form view of a resource and clicking the View Log button to the top right of the form. The ID is shown at the top of the Information dialog box. (This didn?t work in some of the earlier versions prior to 188.8.131.52.) You can also use the GTK client for this. Viewing any resource, such as a User, you can directly see its ID at the bottom left of the form. Then specify the case section in Open ERP that you?ll use when this user is connected by email, for example, the Helpdesk and Support section. Install Fetchmail on your Open ERP server. You can download it from the address http://fetchmail.berlios.de/. Note: Fetchmail Fetchmail is a Free / Open Source software utility used on Unix-like operating systems to retrieve e-mails with the remote protocols POP, IMAP, ETRN and ODMR on the local system. It?s downloadable from this address: http://fetchmail.berlios.de/. Create a fetchmailrc file that contains the following rules: # fetchmailrc poll pop.mycompany.com proto pop3: username support password mypass mda "/path/to/terpmg/openerp-mailgate.py -u3 -padmin -ssupport -firstname.lastname@example.org" Then start the fetchmail program, giving it a link to the configuration file that you just created: fetchmail -f fetchmailrc Tip: Error detection If you?re executing fetchmail for the first time you should use the -v argument. This makes its output verbose so you can easily see what?s happening as the program executes. Creating and maintaining cases Each time you start fetchmail it downloads all the emails and creates or updates the cases in CRM. You can turn fetchmail into a daemon to check all new emails every five minutes by using the command: Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 9.3. Profiling 123 fetchmail -d 300 If you want to receive customer requests by email you must first create a rule that automatically assigns new cases to a specified user. You must then verify that this user possesses a suitable email address in the Address field within Open ERP. To find out if the new email should create a new case or update an existing case, Open ERP analyzes the subject line of the email. Existing cases are identified by the case number in the subject line, for example Re:  Problem with ... When a customer sends a new request by email the case is automatically created and the email is transferred by the gateway to the user responsible for new cases, changing the subject line to add the case identifier. The user can then respond by emailing or by using the Open ERP interface to the case. If the user responds by email the case can be automatically closed in Open ERP, keeping the responses in the history list. If the partner responds again, the case is reopened. 9.3 Profiling 9.3.1 Establishing the profiles of prospects During presales activities it?s useful to qualify your prospects quickly. You can pose a series of questions to find out what product to offer to the customer, or how quickly you should handle the request. Tip: Profiling This method of rapidly qualifying prospects is often used by companies who carry out presales by phone. A prospect list is imported into the Open ERP system as a set of partners and the operators then pose a series of questions to each prospect by phone. Responses to these questions enable each prospect to be qualified automatically which leads to a specific service being offered based on their responses. As an illustration, take the case of the Tiny company which offers a service based on the Open ERP software. The company goes to several exhibitions and encounters dozens of prospects over a few days. It?s important to handle each request quickly and efficiently. The products offered by Tiny at these exhibitions are: ? training on Open ERP ? for independent people or small companies, ? partner contract ? for IT companies that intend to offer an Open ERP service, ? Open ERP as SaaS ? for small companies, ? a meeting in conjunction with a partner to provide a demonstration aimed at providing a software integration ? for companies that are slightly larger. The Tiny company has therefore put a decision tree in place based on the answers to several questions posed to prospects. These are given in the following figure Example of profiling customer prospects by the Tiny company: Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 124 Chapter 9. Customer Relationship Management Figure 9.10: Example of profiling customer prospects by the Tiny company The sales person starts by asking the questions mentioned above and then with a couple of minutes of work can decide what to propose to the prospective customer. At the end of the exhibition prospects? details and their responses to the questionnaire are entered into Open ERP. The profiling system automatically classifies the prospects into appropriate partner categories. This enables your sales people to follow prospects up efficiently and adapt their approach based on each prospect?s profile. For example, they can send a letter based on a template developed for a specific partner category. They?d use Open ERP?s report editor and generator for their sales proposition, such as an invitation to a training session a week after the show. 9.3.2 Using profiles effectively To use the profiling system you?ll need to install Open ERP?s crm_profiling module. It?s part of the core Open ERP system in version 5.0.0 so you don?t have to download it separately from addons-extra. Once the module is installed you can create a list of questions and the possible responses through the menu CRM & SRM ? Configuration ? Segmentation ? Questions. To obtain the scheme presented earlier you can create the following questions and responses: Table 9.3: Questionnaire for defining profiles Questions Possible Responses Journalist ? Yes / No Industry Sector ? IT / ERP Consultant / Services / Industry / Others Number of Staff ? 1 / 2-20 / 21-50 / 51-100 / 101-500 / 500+ Contact?s job function ? Decision-maker / Not decision-maker Already created a specification for the work ? Yes / Soon / No Implementation budget ? Unknown / <100k / 101-300k / >300k For instance, a sales person specializing in large accounts for the service sector could have a profile defined like this: ? Budget for integration: Unknown , 100k-300k or >300k , ? Already created a specification for the work? Yes , ? Industry Sector? Services . When entering the details of a specific prospect, the prospect?s answers to various ques- tions can be entered in the new fifth tab of the partner form. Open ERP will auto- matically assign prospects to the appropriate partner category based on these answers. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 9.3. Profiling 125 Tip: Sales targets The module report_invoice_salesman enables you to set up regular business targets. These can be based on sales turnover or sales margins. With this module you can compare the performance of each sales person with their targets for the period. Sales people can view their own performance against target in real time through a dashboard. This module is totally integrated with the rest of accounting so there?s no need to extract any data from another system to get the sales figures against objectives by sales person or sector ? it?s just available all the time in real time. Customers corresponding to a specific search profile can be treated as a priority. The sales person can access the profile of the large active accounts from the menu Partners ? Partners by category. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 126 Chapter 9. Customer Relationship Management 127 CHAPTER TEN COMMUNICATIONS TOOLS Open ERP provides all the information you need to pursue your company?s business opportunities effec- tively. But to stay productive with all the information you have to handle it?s essential that you can keep using your normal communications tools by interfacing them with Open ERP, and not be limited just to Open ERP?s interface. Open ERP can do most things you need to pursue your business opportunities. But there can be quite a quite a bit to learn, which reduces your efficiency while you?re learning. And if that?s true for a heavy user of the system, it?s doubly true for an occasional user or someone who already makes heavy use of standard Office applications and can?t easily change. So for those who need to continue using their traditional Office applications to maintain their efficiency, Open ERP can be fitted out with interface adapters to some of the most common. Your users can participate in many Open ERP- maintained processes without ever leaving their familiar Office-based environment, and can avoid double data-entry yet link into Open ERP?s database automatically. The three following modules are described: ? Mozilla Thunderbird interface, ? Microsoft Outlook interface, ? Microsoft Word interface. These three modules were developed by the Axelor company (http://axelor.com/ , located in Paris) and are available through the official Open ERP site in the modules section. The chapter is a mix of installation and configuration instructions, and basic interaction exercises. For this chapter you should start with a fresh database that includes demo data, with sale and its dependencies installed and no particular chart of accounts configured. You will also need to have administrator access to your Windows PC to install the Outlook and Word interface adapters described in the chapter. 10.1 Microsoft Outlook interface The Microsoft Outlook plugin enables you to carry out a series of Open ERP operations directly from the Outlook email client: ? create a contact or partner from an email, ? archive an email and its attachments in Open ERP, Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 128 Chapter 10. Communications Tools ? send any file attached to an Open ERP document (such as proposals, projects, and tasks). Tip: Outlook versions The Microsoft Outlook plugin works with Microsoft Outlook 2003 and 2007 but not with Outlook Express 10.1.1 Installing the Outlook plugin To start, you must install the email_interface module in Open ERP. It?s the same module as used by the Thun- derbird extension. Don?t install it again if it?s already there (which it might be because you can use both Outlook and Thunderbird simultaneously to get the same Open ERP functionality ? so some of your staff may use one and other may use the other). Once you?ve installed the module all you need is to run the Windows auto-installer tiny_outlook_plugin-X.exe where X corresponds to the version number downloaded. This file can be found in the list of modules on the official Open ERP site. Installation is then automatic. 10.1.2 Using the Outlook plugin Using the Microsoft Outlook plugin is quite similar to using the Thunderbird extension. In Outlook find the menu Tools ? Open ERP Options. Figure 10.1: Configuration menu for the interface between Outlook and Open ERP In the window that you use for configuring the Outlook plugin you can enter parameters for accessing the Open ERP server, with various options for: ? how to handle attachments, ? which color to give emails transferred to Open ERP. Once the server data entry is completed, click Test the Connection to check that your parameters make it function correctly. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 10.1. Microsoft Outlook interface 129 Figure 10.2: Configuring access to Open ERP from Word When Outlook is configured, archiving an email and its attached files in Open ERP can be done in several ways: ? directly from the toolbar, ? from the context menu by right-clicking on an email, ? from the page while looking at the email. Figure 10.3: Saving an Outlook email in Open ERP You can select an existing contact or create a new contact on the fly in the Open ERP database. Then you can send the email and its attachments and also save it in Open ERP. It?s possible to send attachments to all types of Open ERP objects. For example this might be useful for: ? sending documents about a customer project into the corresponding project in Open ERP, ? attaching the documents about an order (such as proof of payment and order receipts), ? attaching documents to an employee file (such as their CV or annual appraisal). Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 130 Chapter 10. Communications Tools Once the email is sent into Open ERP it?s marked with another color in Outlook to help remind you not to archive it again. Note: Testing the Outlook adapter If you install the Outlook adapter as described, explore its functionality with the database as described in this section. 10.2 Mozilla Thunderbird interface Everything that you can do with the Outlook plugin you can also do with the Mozilla Thunderbird plugin ? enabling you to carry out a series of Open ERP operations directly from Thunderbird, such as: ? create a contact or partner from an email, ? save an email and its attachments in Open ERP, ? send any file attached to an Open ERP document (such as proposals, projects, and tasks). 10.2.1 Installing the Thunderbird extension To be able to use the Thunderbird plugin you first have to install the Open ERP module email_interface . It may not be loaded in the core of the Open ERP Server so you might have to load it using one of the methods described at the end of Installation and Initial Setup. Once you?ve got it into your server?s filesystem it?s installed the same way as all of the other modules you?ve handled so far. You?ll then have to install the Thunderbird extension. To do that, use the file tiny_plugin_2.0.xpi which is found in the plugins directory of the email_interface module. Don?t install it again if it?s already there (which it might be because you can use both Outlook and Thunderbird simultaneously to get the same Open ERP functionality ? so some of your staff may use one and other may use the other). Then take the following steps: 1. From Thunderbird, open the menu Tools ? Complementary Modules. 2. Click the Install button. 3. Select the file tiny_plugin-2.0.xpi. 4. Click Install Now then restart Thunderbird. Once the extension has been installed, you have only to create a shortcut in your Thunderbird toolbar for the function Archive to Open ERP. Do it like this: 1. Click the right mouse button on the toolbar and select Personalize, 2. Place the icon Archive to Open ERP in your toolbar in the place of your choice. Tip: Thunderbird version The Open ERP plugin for Thunderbird only works with Thunderbird version 2.0 and above. So check your Thunderbird version before installing, and download the latest version that you need from the following address: http://www.mozilla.org/products/thunderbird/ Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 10.2. Mozilla Thunderbird interface 131 10.2.2 Thunderbird user interface When you?ve installed the module the first thing to do is connect it to Open ERP from Thunderbird. To do this use the menu Tools ? Open ERP Plugin. A configuration window appears enabling you to enter configuration data about your Open ERP server. Figure 10.4: Configuration for accessing Open ERP from Thunderbird To archive an email in Open ERP from Thunderbird select the email and click on the icon Archive in Open ERP. Alternatively you could right-click the mouse: either opens a search dialog box. This allows you to select an object that you?d like to add to your email and its attachments. You can select a partner, a task, a project, an analytical account, or any other object. Figure 10.5: Selecting Open ERP objects from Thunderbird Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 132 Chapter 10. Communications Tools Tip: Document Management The Thunderbird plugin is compatible with Open ERP?s document management. So if you install the module document you could: ? search through the content of your company?s documents (those that have the type .doc, .pdf, .sxw and .odt) and also in archived emails, ? have a shared filesystem that?s connected to various Open ERP documents to share information and access it with your favorite browser, ? organize and structure your documents (such as projects, partners and users) in Open ERP?s system. If you can?t find a partner or contact to correspond with your email in Open ERP it?s possible to create one on the fly simply by using the information contained in the email and clicking the Create button. Figure 10.6: Creating a contact on the fly from Thunderbird To access archived data from different documents in Open ERP you can use the Email Thunderbird interface that appears over Open ERP documents. Note: Testing the Thunderbird adapter If you install the Thunderbird adapter as described, explore its functionality as described in this section using the database you installed. 10.3 Microsoft Word interface Open ERP supplies a Microsoft Word plugin that enables you to create your own document templates. What?s more you can use the merge tool Tools ? Merge documents to insert data from Open ERP while you generate different business documents. So you can create templates for a number of needs, such as proposals, business letters of agreement, or price requests. Each user can create his or her own document and use the plugin to obtain data from Open ERP. The plugin is very helpful for easily automating business actions. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 10.3. Microsoft Word interface 133 10.3.1 Installing the Word plugin The module for connecting Microsoft Word is also found in the list of Open ERP modules at http://openerp.com. Once it?s been downloaded install the file tiny_word_plugin-X.exe . When the program is installed, you must run Microsoft Word and configure the parameters that enable you to access the Open ERP server from Word. Click the menu Tools ? Open ERP options. Figure 10.7: Menu for accessing the configuration of the plugin Figure 10.8: Configuration of the Word plugin for accessing Open ERP 10.3.2 Using the Word interface Start by selecting the module from which you want to make a report, for example a Sales Order. From Word you can access all the fields in an Open ERP Order, and all of the fields linked to that order such as from Order Lines, and from Products in those Order Lines. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 134 Chapter 10. Communications Tools Figure 10.9: Select the module that will generate the report Complete your document and insert Open ERP fields into the appropriate places. Figure 10.10: Add Open ERP fields into a Word document Note: Fields in red When you?ve selected some fields and added them into your Word document, some of them appear in red. This color indicates that you can?t use that particular field because it has a complex data relationships that can only be discovered when you start to use the field. Select the merge tool from by clicking Perform Mail Merge from the toolbar. This connects Microsoft Word to Open ERP, at which point it searches for data to insert into the document. This tool enables you to select which documents must be included in the report. Make your selection and click Start Merge to run the tool that produces your different documents. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 10.3. Microsoft Word interface 135 Figure 10.11: Selecting the Open ERP documents to use in the merge Word then generates the documents by inserting the Open ERP data. You get one page for each selected document. Figure 10.12: Result of merging a Word document with data from Open ERP Note: Testing the Word adapter If you install the Word adapter as described, explore its functionality using the database as described in this section. In Configuration & Administration you?ll see another, more powerful, module that enables you to create complete reports in OpenOffice.org through an interface added directly in Open ERP. So you can create your own templates, such as fax and invoice templates. These reports can then be exported in PDF by leaving Open ERP, or can be edited before sending to a customer. So you can also personalize the details of your faxes and invoices as needed, even though they are based on your templates. Open ERP, a modern approach to integrated business management, Release 1.0 136 Chapter 10. Communications Tools