Collaboration is a feature inside of UCM that allows you to create, track, and store Email communication relating to your contract. The best part though, is once you initiate a conversation from within the System, you and everyone else involved, which can include inside and outside sources, are able to continue your conversation from whichever email client you prefer (Outlook, Gmail, etc.).
Collaboration is a paid Enhancement that comes with an additional fee. Everything below is only available when the feature has been turned on by the developers. Please contact your sales rep for more information about adding Collaboration to your system.
Enabling Collaboration (Company Wide):
- From the Company Admin tab, head into Settings, and then down to the bottom of the page to Collaboration Administration.
- From there simply check the box to Allow Collaboration (1), and hit Save (2).
- The Ignore Attachment Settings (3) options should be automatically set for you (every Image Type checked and the Image Size set to 100.00 kb). These settings are there to ignore small images like Company Logos in email signatures, and prevent them from being added to your Attachments tab in the Contract Container.
Enabling Collaboration (Per User):
An important distinction here is that ANYONE, even outside vendors that are not Users in your system, can be INCLUDED and CONTRIBUTE to a Collaboration AFTER it has been initiated from within UCM. The following option is just for the Users you want to be able to Initiate a Collaboration and/or view the Collaboration tab in the contract container.
- Again, from the Company Admin tab, head to Manage Users, and then select the User you wish to enable Collaboration for.
- Down with all the checkboxes under Allow To:, you’ll now see Allow Collaboration (A).
- Enable this, and then Save your User.
- Repeat for any remaining Users.
Contract Container Tab:
Collaboration is something that is directly tied to a Contract Container, so there is no Global area for all Collaborations. Inside each Contract Container however, every User that has Collaboration Allowed will see the Collaboration Tab (A) now, and they can begin initiating and interacting with the different Sessions.
- Inside the Collaboration Tab, you have the following functions and information:
- New Session (B) – Create, or Initiate, a new Collaboration Session. We’ll go into more detail on how to do so in the next section.
- Continue Session (C) – With an existing Session selected, Continue an existing Collaboration Session from within UCM. This is also how you can add new recipients to the Collaboration chain, or change it's security settings.
- Filters (D) – Apply a Date Range to ALL Collaborations to see JUST the correspondence that took place during that time frame.
- Title (1) – The Title is just the name of the Collaboration itself, not the Subject Line of the email. A Best Practice is to give your Title a simpler name that is the general topic of the Collaboration (Term Negotiations, Renewal Discussions, etc.), and reserve the Subject line of the email itself for the details.
- Started By (2) – Which User initiated the Collaboration.
- User List (3) – List of the Email addresses included on the Collaboration.
- of Notes (4) – The number of total messages included in the Collaboration.
- You also have the Started On and Last Received columns to view any time or date information.
When you select New Session, you get a pop out to create your initial Collaboration Email. The way that Collaboration is able to keep all the correspondence together is through a unique identifier in the subject line that gets added to your own. A warning message will be included in each message to not change the subject line, and simply just reply or reply all to keep the chain going. We will see the contents of the email messages in the next section.
- The following components make up your initial Collaboration message:
- Title (1) – Specifically for giving your Collaboration a Title. Concept covered in detail on previous page.
- Allow Anyone to Respond (2) - Will allow anyone who has the Collaboration forwarded to them, to respond and have their comment stored in UCM. More detail can be found HERE.
- Auto Add Responder (3) - Only used if Allow Anyone is also checked. With this option checked, any User who responds to a Collaboration they were not initially assigned to will be automatically added for all future emails, with any additional responses being stored.
- To (4) – Who the Collaboration will be going to. Can simply enter the name of a User if they are in the system, and just enter the email address of any non-user. As the sender, you are Automatically CC’d on all Collaborations that you Initiate.
- Subject (5) – Acts like the Subject line in any other email client. The Collaboration specific ID will be added to the end of what you decided to place here.
- Message (6) – The body of the email
- Link to Container (7) – This icon will allow you to quickly add a link to the Contract Container you are working in, into the body of the email.
- Note: ONLY users of the system with a login will be able to access the Container. Non-Users will see the link, but it will only take them to a login screen if clicked.
- Signature (8) – If you have an Email Signature set up within UCM under the Profile/Help section by the Global Search, it will appear here. Otherwise, you can add one if you’d like. Does not support images in Signatures for the same reasons outlined on the first page as it relates to Ignore Attachment Images.
- Attachement(s) (9) – You can select or de-select all of the Attachments in your container with one click.
- Show Collaboration Documents (10) – With this box check, any documents that have been included in previous Collaborations will be visible in the list below. Un-checking it will remove them from your selection list.
- Collaboration List (11) – If you have the Showbutton above checked, you can also select a specific previous Collaboration to quickly and easily narrow down your list to find a specific document to attach.
- Note: If you have a previous Collaboration selected from this list and you uncheck the Show Collaboration Documents checkbox, it will appear as though no documents are available. To fix, just re-check the box, set this drop down to ALL, and then they will reappear.
- Documents (12) – A list of all your Attachment documents with information like the Category and Version. Standard email file size limits apply to any attachment documents.
- When you are done composing your message, press Send, and your Collaboration emails will be sent out.
Below is the email that all people attached to the Collaboration will receive. We’ll break it down into the different components below:
We are going to be using Microsoft Outlook for our email example, but know that Collaboration works in any email client, including tablets and mobile devices. We’re going to cover the Header and the body, to show the different components of Collaboration and what to expect when you begin receiving them.
- Reply/Reply All (A) – In order to continue the Collaboration, and to ensure that all communication is preserved in UCM, make sure to only use Reply and Reply All.
- Contract Container (B) – Included in every subject line of a Collaboration is the Contract ID. This is included so even if you do not want to include a link to the Container in the body, your users of the system who are included, still have a place to quickly see which Container is being discussed, and can use that ID to search for the container.
- Subject (C) – This is the subject that you placed when creating your Session
- Collaboration ID (D) – This is the unique Collaboration ID that links everything back to the contract container. On the next page, you’ll be able to see the warning message included in the body that includes instructions on how to keep the Collaboration going.
- Attachments (E) – Just like a traditional email, any of your documents that you attached are included to download.
- Warning Message (A) – Important: Please do not change the Subject line of this email. You must also include the address: firstname.lastname@example.org when responding. This will appear automatically when choosing Reply or Reply All. This is the message that will appear at the top of all Collaboration emails. On the next page, when we cover Replying to a Collaboration, you’ll be able to see how simple it is to continue a Collaboration.
- Message (B) – The message you included when creating your Session.
- Contract Container Link (C) – Link directly into the contract Container for your UCM Users.
- Collaboration Group (D) – Here is where the sender, and others included in the Collaboration are listed. The reason this information is located here, and not in the Header of the email like normal, is because everything is routed through UCM using the email@example.com email address and the unique Collaboration ID. On the next page we cover Replying, where you’ll get a better idea of why this is located here.
- Signature (E) – Your Signature, if you chose to include it.
Collaboration Email (Reply):
We’ve mentioned it plenty of time throughout this guide already, but when Replying to a Collaboration, it is important to not touch the subject line of the message.
The easiest way to do this is just select Reply/Reply All from your email client, and then do not touch anything in the header of the Reply Email. Below are three (3) examples from the most popular email clients, Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo.
- To: (1) – For each of the clients, the recipient should only show either iContracts Collaboration or just Collaboration. DO NOT remove this address. If you have Allow Anyone to Respond enabled for this Collaboration, you can add additional recipients.
- Subject: (2) – In the Web clients, the subject line doesn’t even show up by default. For Outlook, as it has been mentioned already, just leave this as is.
- Now, all that anyone included in the Collaboration has to do, is reply to the message, attach any documents they want to, and send, just like any normal email. Once they do, it will be automatically added to the Collaboration inside the system
Now that we’ve initiated a Collaboration Session, and had a reply sent to us. Let’s go back into the container to see where everything gets organized, and how to do things such as Adding Recipients or Replying from within UCM to a Collaboration.
We’ve already covered the components of the Collaboration Tab, but now we want to take a look at what your emails look like when you select a specific Collaboration to view.
- Select Collaboration (A) – From your list of Collaborations, select the one you want to see the full conversation, attachments, etc. about.
- View/Sort Options (B) – You can select how many parts of the conversation you’d like to see by Page, choose what to Sort them by, and How.
- Time Stamps (C) – When the message was sent/received by the System.
- View Full Message (D) – To limit screen size, you get a preview of each message, but to view the entire thing, just select Read More and you’ll receive a pop-out of the full message.
- Attachment(s) (E)– Link to download any attachments included.
- All attachments are also automatically added into your Containers Attachment Tab. You can Sort to show just Collaboration Documents to easily filter down a long list.
Using the Continue Session button from the Collaboration Tab allows you to use UCM like your email client for a specific Collaboration. If you had begun a Collaboration without either Allow Anyone to Respond or Auto Add Responder checked, you MUST use Continue Session to add new collaborators to the session. You can also enable those options from Continue Session if they are needed after the session was started.
You can also use this was a way to add anything that is being housed in the Contract Container like attachments or a link to the contract container.