- 07 Nov 2023
- 12 Minutes to read
Getting Started in the CobbleStone® System
- Updated on 07 Nov 2023
- 12 Minutes to read
Getting Started in the CobbleStone® System
Items System Admins need to know while setting up and getting to know the system
Departments/Divisions are crucial to contracts, requests, workflows, etc. With this, users may see to which department does a contract belong. For example, is it tied to finance, accounting, management, and/or marketing? As well, these Departments/Divisions may be useful for an organization's employees/users. So, system administrators may assign some people to different departments, allowing us to reference back to the system as need be to find this information. Down the road, departments may be especially useful regarding permissioning. If someone has the permission to view their department’s contracts, if they are assigned to the finance department, they will only be able to see the contracts where finance is assigned as the Department/Division. As will be discussed later, departments can be reported on as well. Users (dependent on permissions) may pull reports, for example, of a certain department’s contracts expiring in a number of days. To create/view/delete departments, navigate to Manage/Setup, then Departments/Divisions.
Departments/Divisions may be utilized to keep track of different groups of employees, so employees will be the next area discussed. The system may be used to not only track contracts, but employees as well. Employees may be assigned to contracts, receiving alerts and taking appropriate actions when necessary. Additionally, the system can be used to keep track of employees and house important documentation regarding employee records with files/attachments able to be added on the Details screen. This employees area is critical when it comes to creating/keeping track of those who are users of the system.
For example, your system will have 5 users. You want to keep track of ~100 employees, but only 5 of which will be logging into and utilizing the Contract Insight environment. To add users and employees alike, navigate to the Employees Dropdown, then Add Employee. If adding an employee (this is somebody who will NOT be logging in), fill out the desired fields, then click Save & Continue when complete. Upon saving, the user will be taken to the Details screen, where additional information may be managed. If adding a user (who WILL BE logging into the system), select the Active User dropdown to Yes on the add screen. As well, give the user a username and password (if not utilizing SSO). It is always best practice to select Force Password Reset on Login to Yes to alleviate any security concerns. This assures that the user will create their own password upon logging in for the first time.
When discussing employees vs. users, the most frequently asked question is, well, what is the difference between an employee and a user? We’re glad you asked! As stated, employees CANNOT log in to the system, whereas users CAN. Therefore, users will be given login credentials and employees will not. In addition, users will actively take up a license, whereas employees (where Active is set to No) will not take up a license. It is important to note that even though employees cannot log in, they may still receive reports. Users can assign new or existing Ad-Hoc reports to employees/users alike, where reports will appear as an Excel sheet attached in an email. Although most commonly tracked in a separate HR system, employee documentation may be tracked in the Contract Insight system, ranging from executed contracts to onboarding documents.
Counterparties (also known as the vendors/companies/providers a respective company is doing business with) are very important to keep track of, especially pertaining to contract records. In the out-of-the-box system, to add a new company, click the Companies dropdown, then Add Company (Supplier/Customer). Here, users can fill out the appropriate fields and, after clicking Save & Continue, add any important files/attachments to the counterparty record. As well, the system can house important points of contact for the counterparty, addresses, and more.
4. Master Reference Data
Master Reference Data, also referred to as MRD, consists of things like statuses, types, locations, and categories. When building out the initial system, users are encouraged to add the statuses they will be working with, which can work in tandem with workflow. For example, the status of “pending” is completely different than “pending finance approval”. Therefore, it would be desirable to add statuses where necessary. Additionally, your company may only have a few record types that apply, with some not included in the out-of-the-box system. Under Manage/Setup and Record Types, users can make tweaks to existing record types, create new types, and/or delete record types that may not apply. Statuses and Types are mandatory items to have when creating a contract record, so these items should be carefully considered while setting up your Contract Insight system.
Locations, categories, and occurrences are not mandatory, but can be tracked in the system. These items do not necessarily drive any kind of functionality but may be useful for reporting purposes (ex: finding every contract where the category selected on the contract record is advertising).
Fields are, in many ways, the “bread and butter” of the system. When creating contracts, requests, employees, counterparties, etc., we fill out fields to keep track of important information in the system. For example, Contract Title is a field, so is Expiration Date. With that being said, the system provides an excellent starting point of generic fields, but more may be added depending on the needs of the user/company. As a hypothetical, if we’re in the car sales industry, we could add Horsepower as a field, as well as Sale Price and a dropdown box specifying if the car is pre-owned or new. To do this, navigate to Manage/Setup, Field Manager, then Manage Fields.
Continuing the discussion on fields, fields by type is also an incredibly important area especially because we may be dealing with multiple different contract types. For continuity’s sake, we will stick with the car sales example. Tracking the sale of a car is one kind of contract, but there may be other contract types where the fields of horsepower and sale price may not apply. In this case, system admins may create fields by type. To access this area, click Manage/Setup, Field Manager, then Manage/Assign Fields by Contract Types. Please note that fields may not only be changed by contract type in this area, but for counterparties, requests, and/or solicitations (if purchased) as well.
Sub-tables can be described as multiple iterations of the same thing on a record. For example, on numerous record details screens, there is a files/attachments area which is a prime example of a sub-table. Everything added will be, simply speaking, a file/attachment. However, there will more than likely be numerous different files/attachments, making them different iterations of files/attachments. As well, think of sub-tables as fields that can be tracked time and time again. An executed contract was added as a file three years ago, and we’ve since uploaded a new, executed contract. Instead of overwriting the old contract file, we have simply added a new one. Therefore, we can still track the old file by not deleting it altogether, but we’ve simply added a new one so users may still reference the old file if need be. Additionally, sub-tables are helpful when multiple sets of data are needed to be tracked on a record, such as tracking data regarding multiple audits or compliance requirements related to a contract. In an enterprise system, some out-of-the-box sub-tables may consist of files/attachments, Price/Cost Line Items, Budget/Funding Line Items, Hierarchies, and more. Sub-tables may also be created in an enterprise system (and where purchased) to track important areas that your company finds useful.
Requests may (but do not have to be) used in the systems of many clients. Importantly, requests may follow workflow steps similar to a contract, but can be used as an initial phase. When describing requests, it is best to think of these as a request for a contract to be created, a request for a counterparty to be created, and so on. System Administrators and/or members of a “review group” will be able to change the status of the request, and from there may create a contract, vendor, employee, etc. from the request record. Requests may track fields, sub-tables, and more just like contract records. Requests are found by clicking the Requests dropdown.
Workflows may be set up to create a process in which contracts, requests, and more will follow to be considered “active”. If a contract has to go through financial review, then managerial review, and lastly, legal review, the user would utilize the workflow area. Admins can create workflows to build off field updates amongst other things that help to automate the approval/rejection process, giving modules a smooth process in every single step of the record’s lifecycle. Since workflows are never a one-size-fits-all area, we strongly recommend reaching out to your assigned implementer to discuss/set up a workflow process, especially since workflows can get very complex. For more information on these workflows inside the Wiki, click here.
Ad-Hoc reports are incredibly useful for new and old systems alike. A good amount of Ad-Hoc reports will come with new systems, with the ability to create/edit/delete as needed. Ad-Hoc reports are found by navigating to Reports/Searches, Ad-hoc Reports/Searches, and My Ad-Hoc Reports/Searches. These reports give users (permissions permitting) the freedom to create detailed reports based off a set of custom filters/conditions on an as-needed basis. Reports may be created to track contracts over $1,000. For the sake of adding additional conditions, these reports may be further specified to contracts belonging to finance, for example, over $1,000, expiring within the next month. These reports may be as simple or as complex as the user desires. As well, Ad-Hoc reports can be assigned to others on a recurring basis. If someone needs to receive a monthly report of a certain department’s contracts over a specified dollar amount, these reports allow us to do so. Further, these reports can be sent to employees as well as users, so people do not have to log in to see the details of the report, but can do so right from the emailed report if they are assigned in the Assigned To area.
Please note that we do not recommend deleting much of anything within the system. Reason being, it is never wise to delete things that may be useful to track down the road. If we need to later reference a record, it needs to exist in the system, even if it is expired. Regarding Ad-hoc reports, it is difficult to know what reports are/are not being used, so deleting any may first have to be discussed with the other users of your system.
Dashboards are an incredibly unique area within the system that allows system admins/users to create spaces for themselves or other groups of individuals built on relevance and, sometimes, creativity. The most common as well as most user-friendly dashboards are called Legacy Dashboards. These dashboards can hold three different pieces of information called docks, button tiles, and summary tiles.
- Docks normally take up a larger portion of the dashboard and can house Ad-hoc reports, websites, your calendar, and more. If Ad-Hoc reports are stored here, the user is free to search through the report right from the home screen.
- Button tiles are seen on the top row and can hold internal and external links within them. These button tiles could take us to this Wiki, our own website, a certain area of the Contract Insight system (such as the Add New Contract area), or somewhere completely different that we visit on a common basis. These tiles can be mixed and matched as desired and color patterns can be toggled to the user’s specifications.
- Summary tiles are below button tiles which are used to hold Ad-Hoc reports, summarizing key integer fields. This is important because if an Ad-Hoc report does not contain an integer field, it will not be selectable for placement on the dashboard as a summary tile. Expiration reports or $1k contracts are good examples of items that can be housed here.
With the CobbleStone® Contract Insight system, users with permissions to do so may also create graphical dashboards. These dashboards can house charts and graphs which can change depending on the information the user selects. Graphical dashboards can get complex in regard to configuration, so if you would like to configure/create these, please reach out to your implementer for help. Some graphical dashboards come with the out-of-the-box system.
Document templates are an extremely effective tool that can save time on vast amounts of records. With these templates, users can select which fields, clauses, sub-tables, and other areas they want pulled over onto the template. For example, whenever we have a document template being used on a contract, if we have the mergeable field of Contract Title, instead of manually inputting the contract title ourselves, we can tell the system to do that for us. As well, we can set rules around when these templates may be used. For example, some templates may only be used on NDA's, whereas others may be used for all other record types. As these templates may get difficult to configure, please feel free to reach out to your implementer for help if need be.
The Contract Insight system may hold confidential information that even some users should not be able to see. With Security Groups, these allow us to build out groups in the system and assign permissions to them. To access these Security groups, click Manage/Setup, then Manage Security Groups. From here, System Administrators can build out groups and assign the desired permissions, creating different groups for different levels of employees. Not only can Security Groups be created to assign permissions (and later, employees) to, but they can also manage permissions on an employee level. To do this, simply navigate to an employee details page, click Manage Permissions and then assign additional permissions to that specific employee in tandem with their existing permissions.
Accessing support is easy to users of the CobbleStone® Contract Insight system. To submit a ticket, please follow the listed steps here. This walks the user through the process of submitting a ticket and/or feature request, which are both added using the same steps.
Please feel free to reach out to your respective salesperson/trainer/implementer. We are always happy to help!