Activity Updates Made Easy

Activities in Vision are an extremely powerful component for capturing organizational knowledge.  When it comes to maintaining a pursuit, cultivating a relationship or tracking critical occurrences on a project over time, Activities are profoundly valuable.  But, organizations frequently struggle with getting people to enter their activities and keep everything up to date.  Deltek as introduced functionality to help make Activity creation quicker, simpler and more accessible – things like the Connect for Microsoft Outlook module or the Microsoft Office Desktop Integration (MODI).

However, there is a relatively slick way to make Activity creation easy within Vision proper by leveraging Vision’s robust Workflow engine.  Below is a description of a technique that your organizations can use to make Activity updates easier than ever.

The Scenario
Your organization would like the business development staff to make regular updates, by using Activities, on the status of active Opportunity records.  The goal is to make it easy for anyone to view an Opportunity and immediately know where it stands.

The Technique
In the standard use of Vision, this goal would be achieved by simply requiring business development staff to create a new Activity each time there is an update or movement on an Opportunity.  But by using a combination of a User Defined Field and a simple Workflow action, as described below, this process can be dramatically streamlined.

When using this technique, a user only needs to go into the Opportunity info center and enter a description of the latest update for the Opportunity in the user defined field labeled Opportunity Update (as shown below).

When the user clicks Save, a Workflow action will fire that automatically creates an Activity associated with this Opportunity record and adds the update text entered in the Opportunity Update field as the notes on the newly created Activity (as shown below).

As can be seen, this technique makes the task of creating an Activity to update the status of an Opportunity a simple two step process – enter the update text and click Save.  As mentioned, a significant streamlining of the typical Activity creation process.  Read on to understand how you can implement this technique within your organization.

The Details

Create User Defined Update Field
To use this technique, you must first setup a user defined field that will be used to generate the update Activity.  This should be a simple memo field and should be placed on an accessible/commonly visited tab within the Opportunity info center – typically the General tab.

Create Activity Create Workflow

Next you will create a User Initiated Workflow for the Opportunity info center.  The Workflow will fire whenever an Opportunity record changes, however a condition should be defined so that the actions are only triggered when the user defined update field has changed (as shown below).

This Workflow item needs to have 2 actions.  The first action is a Create Activity action that has a condition that will cause the action only to occur when the user defined update field is not empty.  The Create Activity action must be configured to specify the properties of the resulting Activity record.  To do this, you will want to specify a subject, select a type, mark the Activity completed (as a simple update Activity there will typically be no additional action that needs to be taken), specify the start time (relevant to time workflow fires – typically this will be 0) and then enter a special field identifier for the Notes field.  This special field identifier uses the syntax [:OpportunityCustomTabFields.custUDFNAME] – where you would replace UDFNAME with the name you used for the user defined update field (as shown below).

The second action for the Workflow is a Column (Field) Change action that simply empties the user defined update field – so that it is blank the next time someone comes into this Opportunity record (as shown below).

Once you have this user defined field and associated Workflow created, your organization can take advantage of this streamlined technique for simple Activity creation.  With this in place, capturing valuable organizational knowledge and using it to drive business decisions will be easier and ultimately, more effective.


About Bret Tushaus

Bret joined Deltek in September of 2010 as a Product Director joining the Vision Product Management team. His mission is to find ways for the Vision product to continue to meet the changing needs of customers. A frequent speaker at industry events, he focuses on ways Vision can solve organizations’ operational pain points.
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One Response to Activity Updates Made Easy

  1. Thanks Bret! I just set this up.

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