Key definitions

Jo Grant -

Please find below an alphabetic list of some key words with definitions used throughout Synergist:

2-tier Job
2-tier jobs are jobs that have a schedule of stages set up for each phase, and each of these are integrated with the estimate - providing a 2 level estimate. Stages provide another level of managing your job below the phase level.

Synergist runs on the 4th Dimension platform which is a relational database management system, integrated development environment, application and web server. Since 1995, Synergist has supported both the Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh operating systems and the web browser interface has been available since 1998.

Accounts link
Link to your accounts package. Synergist currently links to all major accounts packages.

Activities are tasks like phone calls, "to-dos" , emails etc, and can be related to leads, prospects, opportunities, jobs etc. From many areas in Synergist a user can create an Activity, add a description and comments, specify actions that need to be taken and by whom; and set deadlines. An email alert can scheduled as a reminder. When an Activity is allocated to someone for action an email Alert can be sent detailing what needs to be done and by when. Synergist automatically creates history records against each Activity every time any change is made (e.g. if the Note Status is changed or the due date altered). It is therefore easy to track what progress has been made.

Administrator Account
Synergist automatically creates a special user called 'Administrator'. The person who is the overall manager of the system should know the password to this account and should log in as "Administrator" if he/she is intending to set up users, allocate licences etc. However, if the administrator is also a user of Synergist he/she should also have a normal user account. This is vital since the administrator account only has access to Tools & Settings. Provision should be made for times when the holder of this account is not available to log in (make sure the password is recorded somewhere). Version 11 and higher of the 4D Synergist server require user account creation and password resets to be done using the Administrator account.

Alerts are messages sent to users via the email system. Alerts are set up in 'company settings', and some can also be scheduled. They are usually triggered by a change of some sort in Synergist.

Attachments can be added to leads, prospects, opportunities, jobs etc. You can either select an existing document or generate a new one within Synergist (typically a word document) using a template.

Baseline estimate
This is the initial estimate agreed with a client. It is referred to in the 'Baseline cost to complete' report (not a 'key' report). Multiple estimates can be saved as revisions.

A campaign is a sub project, with the same functionality as projects.

Campaign (marketing)
A marketing campaign would be created if you wished to communicate with a selection of leads/contacts. The campaign can include a mail-shot or email-shot and you can optionally track and/or follow up the responses using auto-created activity records. After creating a marketing campaign you add contacts to it using the contact selection wizard.

Capacity Planning
The Capacity Planning module provides you with a useful "loading view" of work currently on the system. As quotes and estimates are added to the system the Capacity Planning module creates special "loading data" that can be analysed/reported on using the Data Viewer. Capacity Planning is of particular use to companies that need to plan the utilisation of their staff resources. The view it provides into the future makes it easy to identify peaks and troughs in workload. It is less useful for managing fast moving jobs of short duration. For fast moving jobs the Web Portal MyTasks feature or the work allocation diary may prove more useful.

Chargeable time in Synergist
For a timesheet to be counted as non-chargeable at least one of the following must be true: The timesheet is on a job for a client marked as an internal client. The timesheet is on a phase at in-house status The charge rate on the timesheet is zero The timesheet has been marked as investment All other timesheets are counted as chargeable.

In order to create a live job in Synergist you need to first have a client. A prospect can be promoted to a client, or a client can be created directly. Care must be taken before promoting a prospect to a client since you may be linking Synergist to an external accounts system (you need to ensure that your Synergist client code is the same as the client code in your accounts software).

Client Investment
The difference between the recommended charge and the amount actually billed. A positive investment value means that you have under billed your client that much less than the recommended charge. A negative investment value means that you have over billed your client by that much more than the recommended charge.

Company Settings
This will list all the companies you have set up on your system. A "company" in Synergist is a data-set. You can have more than one of these in Synergist - something you may want to do if you have major divisions on your organisation. Also, it is common practice to set up a "training" company which is a test data-set that you can use when experimenting with Synergist.

Completed job or phase
When a job or a phase is marked as 'complete' it is removed from the list of open jobs or phases. All work has been completed but possibly not everything has been invoiced. This status can be easily reversed.

A Contact is defined as a person working for a client or prospect. A contact may originate initially as a lead, or he/she may be added later to a client record via a job or activity. Contacts are accessed via the main menu from the "Clients & jobs" or "Sales & marketing" sections by clicking the Contacts icon.

Charge rates can be linked to a department. This is a way of grouping charge codes and reporting on them. A department can have its own cost rate which can be used as the default for charge codes in that department. In practice, it is unlikely to be useful to have one cost rate covering a range of charge codes and by implication a range of staff.

Designer Account
The 'Designer' account is automatically created with your company data. It is a maintenance account used and only accessible by Synergist Express Limited. It is generally used by the Synergist helpdesk to troubleshoot any issues you may have with your Synergist implementation.

Email integration
Email integration is the process whereby emails (and attachments) can be sent to Synergist jobs (either internally generated by your own staff, or externally generated by your customers or clients). Email integration is not the same as alerts (see the glossary entry).

Final invoiced job or phase
When a 'final' invoice has been created the job or phase is 'closed'. All work has been done and typically all costs and have allocated to invoices. No more costs can be added to a closed phase.

Generic Supplier
A supplier used on a purchase estimate before you have decided on your final supplier. Purchase estimates can be created against a generic supplier but purchase orders can not.

A handler is a user who is ultimately responsible for a job or phase, and will be the default contact point and email recipient (for alerts) for that job. Clients can have a default job handler and, by default, a job will have one handler only (but it is possible to set different handlers for phases on a job). A handler is always a Synergist user. A Synergist user does not have to be a handler.

The difference between the recommended charge and the amount actually billed. A positive investment value means that you have under billed your client that much less than the recommended charge. A negative investment value means that you have over billed your client by that much more than the recommended charge. This is a cumulative value which can be reset.

Invoice – Draft
In synergist all new invoices are created as drafts. In this way you are free to alter the invoice in the knowledge that no financial data is effected until you "make real". At this point the invoice is fixed.

Invoice – Real
While an invoice is still at its draft stage you can amend it at will, even delete it if you wish. However, once you have clicked the "Make Real" button the invoice is allocated an invoice number and it is fixed. No amendments can be made and it cannot be deleted. If you find you have made an error in a real invoice the only option is to reverse the invoice by creating a credit note for the same amount.

A Job in Synergist is the place where estimates, quotes, costs and invoices for a specific task are brought together and managed. A job always belongs to a client.

A Lead is an individual or organisation that may or may not be interested in your products or services. Leads are typically used to create a bulk mail-shot or for cold-calling activities. Once a lead has been fully qualified it is common practice to promote the lead to a Prospect. You cannot produce a quote for a lead, but you can create activities. A quote can be produced only for a prospect or a client.

Marketing List
A marketing list is a list of contacts that can be used for generating marketing campaigns. For instance a marketing list might be a list of imported leads or a list of prospect contacts that have been identified as belonging to a specific region e.g. "NW new media prospects". After creating a marketing list you add contacts using the contact selection wizard.

My Tasks
The MyTasks module provides a simple, web based interface production staff can use as their main window into Synergist. When used in conjunction with web portal jobs and web timesheet entry it provides a comprehensive system for allocating, monitoring and recording workflow in your production department.

An Opportunity in Synergist is a job that is still at "quote" status. Generally an opportunity is created when a client or a prospect requests a quotation for a service or product. It may also be created when a lead is promoted. An opportunity would normally be promoted to a live job before work will be available for booking into the diary, but diary preferences can also be set to display opportunities (quotes) and company settings can be changed to allow time sheet entry for quote status jobs.

Think of a phase as a chapter in a book with a job being the book. You can create multiple phases for any single job and all estimates, costs and invoices etc. are allocated to one or more of these phases. All jobs must have one phase - the first is automatically created when the job is created. There are three main ways of using phases: One main phase for the job: All estimating, cost capture, billing etc. is done on one single phase. Additional phases only added if your client requests chargeable amendments. Dividing job up for production: You may create a separate phase for each element of work. This is particularly useful if each department is part billing for the work being done. Repeat monthly billings: You could create a job with 12 phases; one for each month of the year.

The "pipeline" is a sales analysis tool for viewing opportunities and past orders.

Profit (Gross and Net)
Gross profit in Synergist is total invoiced minus total purchase costs (including expenses). Net profit in Synergist is total invoiced minus all costs (including time and material costs).

A project in Synergist is a collection of separate jobs and/or campaigns, which can be grouped together for quoting and billing purposes.

A Prospect in Synergist is typically an organisation that has shown an interest in your company's products or services. A prospect can be created directly but is more often promoted from a lead. A Prospect may have a related opportunity, which may include a quote, and may have a list of activities detailing any communications with the prospect. A prospect must be promoted to a "client" before it can have a live job and be invoiced. You may be pitching or quoting work to them.

The initial contact with your client regarding a particular job will generally involve presenting them with a quote. A quote in Synergist is essentially a collection of lines; each comprised of simple free text; with an associated quantity & price for each line. A quote can be attached to either a job, or a phase of a job. A quote in Synergist is not actively associated with any specific data in Synergist. However, you can have your quote generated automatically from data from your estimate. And you can use your quotes as a basis for your sales invoices.

Requisitions are an activity type in Synergist, which can be used to book additional time against an estimate.

Revenue Recognition
Revenue management is a process whereby you adjust the amount of revenue you report in your accounts system. This is done in two ways, recognising revenue not yet billed, and deferring revenue already billed.

A schedule can be created at either the job level or on every phase of a job. A schedule is a list of tasks or stages, each of which has a start and end date and can be allocated to a person who is responsible for completing the task. The list of tasks can be printed out or viewed as a gantt chart.

Secure Sockets Layer, SSL, is the standard security technology for creating an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and the browser remains private and integral. SSL is an industry standard and is used by millions of websites in the protection of their online transactions with their customers. In order to be able to generate an SSL link, a web server requires an SSL Certificate. Your Synergist server has a built-in user interface to assist with acquiring an SSL certificate to secure communication between your web server and remote users.

Staff Resource
A staff resource is typically linked to a user who creates timesheets, or for whom timesheets are created. You can create staff resources and not link these to users. In this scenario timesheets for these members of staff would be entered centrally by an administrator.

Stages are a component of 2 tier jobs. They are a simple way of tracking the current stage of a job. Stages can be used at either the job header level or the job phase level of a job (but not both).

Staff may be put into teams. Staff resources may be put into teams so that it is easier to select them when allocating work via MyTasks or when estimating. Account handlers may be put into sales teams. These same teams can be used for grouping jobs by team, and for analyzing costs / revenue by team. You can even allocate a nominal code to a team so that this analysis can be exported to your linked accounts system.

Tick off
'Ticking off' costs in Synergist means allocating costs to a sales invoice. Unticked costs remain in WIP.

A user is an individual who needs access to Synergist, either via the full 4D client software or via the web portal. A user may also be a handler, and may have a staff resource.

Views are pre-defined selections of data normally displayed in a list. e.g. a view might be: a selection of jobs, perhaps just those which are overdue; a selection of clients, perhaps from one particular sector of the market.

Web Portal (Client)
The client portal is an external module designed to be accessed by your clients over the internet via a web browser. The system is hosted from your own premises using the built-in 4D webserver. Your clients will be able to log into the Synergist database to see the current status of their jobs and any other data you may have decided to publish.

Web Portal (Staff)
Synergist has an optional "Staff Web Portal" which staff can use to access your data via a web browser. This system is a simplified version of Synergist that can be accessed by users either on your local area network or remotely via the internet.

Work in Progress (WIP)
WIP relates to jobs which are currently open or jobs which may have been final invoiced and completed but still have costs which have not been ticked off (allocated to a sales or purchase invoice). WIP reports are amongst the key reports in Synergist (WIP retro should be run every month).

Write Off Job
A 'write-off' in Synergist is a zero value invoice which is not posted to your accounts system, to which any outstanding costs are allocated (and removed from WIP) and which subsequently closes a job or phase. There are two main reasons you might want to write off a job or phase in Synergist: 1. Additional work has been done on a job but it is clear that no bill can be raised. The work therefore needs to come out of WIP and the job be closed. 2. A number of part invoices have been raised but the final invoice posted was not marked as a "final invoice". The job therefore remains open. You can batch write-off a number of jobs for a single client. This is particularly useful when writing off jobs for scenario 2. Note: When you write off a job you in effect create an invoice for a zero amount. The write off number is like an invoice number but the system uses a different numbering sequence (set in company parameters). A write off "invoice" is not posted to any linked accounts system.

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