What’s New in FAST 4.4?

November 3rd, 2017

With the dawn of FAST Version 4.4 (schedule your upgrade if you have not already!), we are pleased to introduce the all new FAST Notifications. No more wondering, guessing or trying to send out mass emails to your FAST user groups when updates are made to Group Pinned Reports, Group Dashboards or to notify an approver that there is a new JV that has been sent for approval!

Find all of your FAST notifications in one easy-to-find and easy-to-read panel. End users can then clear individual notifications, clear all notifications and even drill-down to the new or updated Pinned Report. This is a great way to make sure that your user community stays up to speed and in the know about all the great reports available to them.

To schedule your upgrade or add your institution to the list, please Email Customer Support today!

Last Call for IMUC Registration!

September 8th, 2017

Don’t miss out on your last chance to sign up for our annual user conference! IMUC is the conference you don’t want to miss and provides so much valuable training, demo and dedicated FAST material in an intensive 2-day format. We cover Administrative material, end-user training and application-specific courses all tailored to make you a better and more informed FAST user and bring those tips, tricks and powerful new features back to your organization!

This year’s conference is being held in beautiful Whistler, BC, just North of Vancouver.

Registration is only available until September 30th and remaining space is very limited! If you’ve been thinking of attending or sending a few delegates from your organization, now is the time.

For more information on registration, travel, hotel accommodations and a detailed overview of the courses being offered, please Click Here or contact your favourite Millennium employee!

Our conference always fills up and is a guaranteed great time, so you definitely don’t want to be left out.

Version 4.3.16 Pinned Report Changes

August 11th, 2017

This summer we released version 4.3.16 of FAST. You can read all of our release notes under the support menu and contact us if you have any questions.

This post is to clarify global changes made regarding Pinned Reports: sharing, security, access levels, etc. Specifically these release notes.

Here is a quick video overview of some of the Pinned Report changes.

And below are some frequently asked questions:

What is the difference between a Role and a Group?

The main difference is that a Group is intended to be used for communication purposes. If you set the Group Indicator on a Role (either a Baseline Role or a Custom Role), you are allowing communication to be shared between members of that group using Dashboards, Pinned Reports, Charts and Graphs.

In general terms, many Roles relate to functions; what users can DO in any given FAST application whereas Groups relate to access; what users can SEE and share in that FAST application.

I used to be able to save Pinned Reports to the Public library – you mean I can’t do that anymore?

You CAN, but we’ve limited the options to create less confusion. Any of your Public Pinned Reports have now been added to the Group option of “All Users”. By default, all users within an application will be auto-loaded to that role. If you want to save a Pinned Report that everyone within the application can see and run, just save it to the “All Users” Role.

For instance, in FAST Finance Reporting, you can save a report like Summary by Hierarchy: Comparative View and by assigning Run access to the Group All Finance Users, all users in FAST Finance will be able to see and run the report.

Only groups that have Menu Access to the report will show up on the list, so if you don’t see “All Finance Users” in the list, that is because this group has not been assigned Menu Access.

What does “read only” access mean when talking about Pinned Reports?

Read only is a limited role that allows users to view the Pinned Report without being able to modify the base filter options. They can see the report exactly as you’ve saved it, but that’s it! These users also do not have Menu Access to the base report so they can’t go and run it on their own. This is a function that is generally reserved for very limited users in FAST who may lack the training to locate and run their own reports and instead, you are delivering that data to them.

Here’s an important thing to consider: if a user is a member of a group that is set up as read only, but is also a member of another group which has normal menu access defined, the Pinned Report will not be read only for that user. Since the user has access to the base report through normal menu access they could just navigate directly to it and run it with whatever criteria they want, therefore the report will not appear as read only in this situation. The user will still be able to access the Filter Options tab to apply filters, change sort order, etc. This does not mean they can change the Pinned Report, just that the report will be fully functional for them as opposed to fully locked down.

What does “run and maintain” access mean when talking about Pinned Reports?

If you assign a user group the ability to run and maintain the Pinned Report and one or more users in that group have the role called “Create/Update Group Pinned Reports”, those users will now also be able to maintain, modify and/delete the Pinned Report as though they had created it. Keep in mind, this is a pretty powerful function and you should only assign “edit” access to a Pinned Report when that report should be maintained by that user group. But it’s a great option when you’re creating the reports centrally but ultimately want the control and management of those Pinned Reports to lie within a functional area or department rather than simply with the person who created it originally!

I assigned “read only” access to a Pinned Report to a Group but then found out one of the members of that Group can see it beyond read only – is FAST broken?

What has likely occurred is that the user you’re talking about has been assigned to more than one Group. Here’s an important note to make: if a user has Menu Access to a report based on one group, that user may also be assigned to several other groups. Their other Menu Access will always override the “read only” restriction because they can always go and directly run the underlying report anyway! A true “read only” report means that NO Menu Access has been defined and these Pinned Reports are therefore the only option for them to see the report data at all.

I am trying to save a Pinned Report and allow a user group access to edit and maintain it but the group is not showing up in the available drop-down options, what gives?

When saving a Pinned Report, and assigning the ability to maintain, edit or update that Pinned Report, the only groups that will display in the drop-down are those groups that have a) Menu Access to the Report and b) contain one or more users with the “Create/Update Group Pinned Reports” role within the application.

What does the role “Create/Update Group Pinned Reports” do?

This is an important role and it allows users assigned to this role the ability to create and manage your Group Pinned Reports library.

Used properly and in conjunction with your additional Groups and Menu Access, this allows users to be able to create and manage group Pinned Reports but always based strictly upon their underlying Menu Access; that means what reports do they have access to, based on which additional groups they belong to.  These go hand in hand and only provide as much power as you allow them to!

I want every user within the application (say, Finance Reporting or Student Reporting) to be able to run the Pinned Report, but I do not want anyone to be able to make edits to it, what should I do and do I need to assign access to every single group on the list?

Definitely not! There is a new Group Role that has been added to each FAST application as of 4.3.16. This role is called All Users and is replacing the need to distinguish between Public and Group Pinned Reports. If you want all Student Users to be able to see a basic Pinned Report that you’re saving, just assign Run access to the All Student Users Role. Just make sure, before you do, that Menu Access has been granted to the All Users Role to that report!

You keep talking about Menu Access… what exactly does that mean?

Good question! If you have not seen the Menu Access page, it likely means you’re not an application-level administrator. That’s ok – we just want to make sure you know how it all works! In a nutshell, Menu Access is what determines what reports (or menu nodes) are visible by what employees based on what user group(s) they have been assigned to. What you can see in FAST is determined, report by report, by your administrators and the reports that YOU see, may be very different than an employee in another department, who belongs to different groups.

What do User Groups have to do with the Report Scheduler?

When you create Pinned Reports, and intend on scheduling these out to automatically deliver to your end users using the Report Scheduler, you must save that Pinned Report to a Group. That is still a requirement for the Scheduler. By saving a Pinned Report to a specific User Group, you can then access that Group from the Report Scheduler option and schedule it for automated delivery; then each member of that Group will get the report, by email, based on the schedule you’ve set-up!

If you have any further questions about these changes in version 4.3.16 just contact Customer Support and we’d be happy to help!

Are you making use of FAST dashboards?

July 11th, 2017

If not, now may be the time! If you’re a fan of graphing, you want to pay attention right about now. There are some major changes brewing in the FAST Dashboarding world as of FAST 4.3.16+, so stay tuned!

FAST Dashboards allow you to create as many personalized Dashboards as you like to meet any number of reporting and workflow needs. You can then add as many different charts, graphs and grids as you need to keep track of! The beauty here is that you can keep track of your work, your way. Create charts and graphs for weekly, daily or monthly reference. Keep track of Registration, Vendor and PO Details, YTD Budget to Actuals or total spending, Admissions or Employee Leave – and make sure the data from each category is available quickly and easily! We also offer some handy new “sharing” options for your dashboards and the underlying reports.

From the dashboard, you can pop out the graph for review, you can click down to view the full details of your report, or you can even click on any individual section of your graphs (e.g. think of a delicious and colourful piece of pie in a Pie Chart or a single segment in a Bar Chart!) – and view the detailed results reflected in that sub-section of data.

Much more detail more to come, but if you’ve ever wanted to explore the wonderful worlds of Charting, Graphs and Dashboards, now may be the time! We are also offering some dedicated training programs to walk you through the essentials of these fab new features!

Why can’t they see the reports?

June 2nd, 2017

Do you sometimes get calls from end users on campus who can’t see or run certain reports? Here’s the thing, if you’re an Admin and you take a look at your instance of FAST, it won’t tell you what you need to know. Without any extra special “access”, you can see everything. Period.

But as an Admin, it’s also up to you to decide and define exactly what each user group gets to see in terms of report access in FAST! This is extremely granular and allows you to custom-fit your FAST environment to your institutional security requirements!

Menu Access is just the tip of the iceberg. Using the Menu Access form, you align the user groups to each menu node (or report) within the application. You can assign more than one group to each report and you can restrict certain groups as much as necessary.

If you’re ever in doubt or lose track of that great big question “who sees what?” – run the Administrative audit log called Menu Access by User for a quick, downloadable report to show you what users can see and what roles grant them access to each menu node in FAST!

This is easier than you think and we have a host of videos and Administrative training options to walk you through it!

Using the Data Entry Pop-up in Budget Development and Forecasting

May 19th, 2017

This is a pretty new (and awesome!) new feature and to avoid confusion, check out this quick video to show you how it’s done!

Keep in mind that not all Budget Offices may be using this option but it’s definitely a cool option and provides a quick, easy and intuitive data entry option for your end users! This video will show you how to avoid some of the common challenges when accessing the data entry pop-up.

 

Save Time with the FAST Report Scheduler!

May 9th, 2017

If you’re not already using the FAST Report Scheduler to run, and automatically deliver your Pinned Reports to your in-box as a PDF or Excel file, we think you’re missing out on a great time-saving feature!

The Scheduler allows you to schedule any of your personal Pinned Reports to deliver automatically at any interval, frequency, day of the week and even time! We know that running pinned reports is a time-saver in itself – so this is just us being over-achievers as usual! Now you don’t even have to log into FAST to have those reports delivered as attachments to your email in-box when you want them!

Create your amazing and personally formatted pinned reports, schedule them for automated, regular and on-demand delivery!

If you need help getting started, be sure to check out the 5-minute How Do I? videos to learn more!

New Training Videos Released!

April 24th, 2017

If you’re on your way to upgrading to the very cool 4.3.15 release or higher, you need to check out the new Admin video series that covers the new features including the FAST Table Builder that shows you how to create a quick and easy Oracle Table in FAST. You can create a table using a simple Excel upload or make one from scratch! You can then use that Table to create a multi-faceted data entry page right in your favourite FAST application! Capture data right in FAST and you manage who sees the page as a read-only report and who has data entry access to it.

If you don’t yet subscribe to the FAST training video libraries, what are you waiting for? Email us at training@mcsl.com to get started or for more info! We add tons of new video content all the time and it’s your best way to stay current on what’s new!

As a sneak peak – check out this brand new How Do I video on managing security for your new custom reporting pages!

Ever tried to Cross-Tab your Report Results?

April 7th, 2017

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, I’ll take it as a “no”. If you’ve ever used a Pivot Table, this will be really fun for you! This is a great reporting feature that allows you to change the look and feel of your report results. It allows you to take the data from any column and flip it around to become your column header!

You can then select what you’d like to use to populate the data in the report and how you’d like it to display – Average? Sum? Count? Really depends on what sort of data you’re collecting today. You can even customize the formatting of your new column data to include specific numbers, currency, percentages and rounded to the number of decimals you want to see!

Finally, you can add back in up to three more columns from your original report to display back in your new, modified dataset!

You can then save your report data as a Pinned Report to keep your formatting in place for next time, and you can even enable it as a “Grid” to access directly from any of your personalized or executive-level dashboards!

 

 

 

Importing FROM Excel… you heard me.

March 22nd, 2017

Do you use one of the many FAST data-entry style pages? If you do, did you know that you can now import your data directly from an Excel spreadsheet? True story. You’ve always been able to download your FAST report data to Excel but you can now also save time, keystrokes and avoid input error by importing your external data right into your FAST data entry page!

Next time you’re on a data entry page, check out the Excel icon on the bottom right hand corner; it looks a little different now, right?

Click the arrow and select “Import Data from Excel”. Follow the simple instructions and watch your data populate right before your very eyes! The cool thing is, that you can also combine manually keyed-in data with your spreadsheet uploads – one will never over-write the other!

Save time, save effort and above all, reduce the risk associated with manual data entry!