VIC Beaver

Cratchit.org

Vital Information Center

Build Better Customer Relationships

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get it?
Who uses it?
What's with the beaver??
Key to Controls

How do I...

Who Uses VIC?

I couldn't say. I'm not being facetious, I just honestly do not track who downloads and/or uses the program.
At all.

Folks, this is Open Source, and it's none of my business how you use this. There are people I've personally dealt with for customizations and the like, and I've never asked any of them for a referral for this website. I guard your information much more diligently than I guard my own.

That said, if you read this paragraph and want to be listed here, you can contact me.

Techie and business stuff:

What's with the Beaver??

VIC Beaver

That's Vic, our mascot. He's an industrious little fellow that wants nothing more than to help you build better customer relationships! He works well in groups, and I don't think he ever gets tired.

(He wanted me to tell you that he'll help you keep your dam business from floating downstream, but I think that's a bit much, don't you?)

Actually, I originally drew a much more natural and conservative picture of Vic, but a lot of people mistook him for a rat or a hamster. Personally I think he's a fine figure of a beaver. Judge for yourself: Natural Beaver

Key to controls

The screenshot illustrates some common controls used in VIC. The actual controls you'll see will vary depending on whether you're viewing or editing or previewing a document, and also varies based on the particular document you're working with. Don't worry, this is easy... you only see the controls it makes sense for you to see.

Key to Controls

How Tos:

To make VIC your Lotus Notes Home Page:
  • Open your Workspace
  • Drag the VIC Launch icon to your Bookmark Bar
  • Right-click the new bookmark
  • Click "Set bookmark as home page"
To import a Notes addressbook: We recommend that this be done just once, at setup.
  • Open your Workspace
  • Select the VIC Index (just select it; you don't have to open it)
  • From the Lotus Notes menu, select Actions, then Import, then 1a. Notes Addressbook.
  • Edit the imported entries to ensure the data is correct. You'll find them categorized at the bottom of the Organizations view.
  • Select Actions, then Import, then 2. Create Organization Docs.
To import an Outlook addressbook: We recommend that this be done just once, at setup.
  • Export your Outlook addressbook to CSV format.
  • In Notes, open your Workspace
  • Select the VIC Index (just select it; you don't have to open it)
  • From the Lotus Notes menu, select Actions, then Import, then 1b. Outlook Addressbook.
  • Edit the imported entries to ensure the data is correct. You'll find them categorized at the bottom fo the Organizations view.
  • When the import is complete, select Actions, then Import, then 2. Create Organization Docs.
To add an organization:
  • Click the "Create" tab in the Navigator pane
  • Click on "Organization"
  • Edit the organization document and click the "Save" action button
To add a contact:
If the organization already exists:
  • Locate the organization in the Organizations view. You can open the document or not, your choice.
  • From the create drop-down menu, click "Organization"
  • Alternately you just can click "Contact" on the "Create" tab of the Navigator pane, then click on the "Select Organization" hotspot of the contact document as you edit it.
  • Edit the remaining information on the contact document and click the "Save" button

If the organization doesn't already exist, you can create the contact first and add the organization later using the "Select Organization" hotspot on the contact document.

To write a letter:
  • If you have the recipient's contact document displayed or selected in a view, then simply pull down the "Create" action menu and select "Letter."
  • Otherwise, you can click the "Create" tab on the Navigator pane, then click "Letter". Then click the "Select Contact" hotspot on the Letter.
You'll note that the recipient's address information and the salutation is already filled in for you. Also your name appears at the bottom of the letter, above space for your signature.

Simply edit the letter. You can apply familiar formatting using controls on the toolbar. You can insert boilerplate text from any document in the library by clicking the "Insert Library Document" You'll be presented with a popup with a categorized list of library documents. just double-click one to insert it into the body of the letter.

At this point you're done with the letter itself. Simply click "Print" to print it.

VIC provides you with the ability to categorize your letter and some additional options for printing it:
  • On the Categories tab you can categorize the letter in a number of ways. This will affect the way that the letter appears in the correspondence views of the Journal.
  • On the Letterhead tab you can choose to print on pre-printed stationery or include the letterhead (as for a laser printer). You can also specify a different return address from your default (which is pulled from your Lotus Notes user profile)
  • On the Associations tab your can provide assign ownership of this letter to other users or groups.
To send a fax:
Preparing and sending a fax is almost identical to sending a letter, except that the format of the fax is different. Faxes are printed using a Fax Printer.
To document a phone conversation:

Phone Calls are the default Journal entry type. To create one,

  • Click on the "Create" tab in the Navigator Pane
  • Click on "Journal Entry"
  • Now click on the "Select Contact" hotspot and select the name of the person you're meeting. (You don't need to do this if the person's contact record was open or highlighted in a view)
  • The date and the time of the meeting defaults to the current time. You don't need to fill this in.
This feature is designed to be quick so you can easily document your conversations as you speak on the phone. Phone calls default to 15 minutes in length, but at any time you can click on the "End Now" hotspot to put the current time in the "End Time" field.
To schedule a meeting:

Meetings, like most date-stamped activities (including correspondence) are stored in the Journal.

  • Click on the "Create" tab in the Navigator Pane
  • Click on "Journal Entry"
  • Journal entries default to "Phone Call". To change it to a meeting click on the "Type" hotspot and select "Meeting"
  • Now click on the "Select Contact" hotspot and select the name of the person you're meeting. (You don't need to do this if the person's contact record was open or highlighted in a view)
  • Select the date and the time of the meeting.
You can document the agenda in record and can attach presentation materials you'll need for the meeting. As with any Journal entry, you can categorize the document any way you like, and can share ownership to your teammates.

By the way, there are other types of meetings as well. VIC allows you to schedule conferences with many customers, and allows you to schedule trade show attendance and product demos. Each of these types specific features to make categorizing and retrieving your information easier.

To edit my dropdown menus:
In the "Goto" tab on the Navigator pane, click "Configuration". You'll be presented with a view of documents, each of which contains a list of options for a single drop-down menu. Just open the one you're interested in changing and edit the list.
To create a document template:

Document templates are stored in the library document and can be inserted into letter, faxes, or any Journal document. To create one. you simply click on the "Create" tab of the Navigator menu, then "Library document".

Your Library document can contain Rich Text, attachments, and can embed any OLE objects, such as Microsoft Office documents, Adobe Acrobat documents, or PaintShop or SmartDraw illustrations.

To generate reports:
VIC comes with a comprehensive set of views which eliminate the need for most reports. IntelliView by Cybernet Software Systems works well with VIC if you need more flexible or extensive custom reporting capabilities.
Programming Language:
VIC is written in Lotus Notes using a combination of Lotus Formula Language, LotusScript, and Javascript.
Does this modify my Lotus Notes mail template?

Good question! The answer is absolutely not!

We've also had bad experiences with CRM software that modifies the Notes mail template to ingratiate itself into your system. As a result, found that we couldn't upgrade Notes without having to upgrade the CRM software as well. This can effectively lock you out of upgrades.

VIC avoids this kind of mess entirely. We've come up with a method of pulling your incoming mail into the VIC Journal without touching your existing Notes templates at all, so you can feel free to keep your Notes installation current.

System Requirements:

These are the same as for Lotus Notes and Domino. Keep in mind that there are two basic ways to deploy this product:

  • As a standalone program. Although VIC is primarily designed for collaboration, it works very well as an organization tool. Anywhere you might use something like Act! or Organizer, VIC is appropriate.
  • On a server. In this configuration you would have Lotus Domino deployed on a server (I recommend Linux for this) and Lotus Notes deployed on the clients.
Cost:
That depends on the configuration and on the amount of effort required to set up your organization. Services range from simply providing you with the program to migrating your data and providing training, service and support. We can even provide you with a full turn-key solution complete with server hardware. Contact us for a consultation and quote.

If you're adventuresome and want to go it alone, then you can set up VIC yourself for free. Keep reading.
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Obtaining VIC CRM:
VIC CRM is an Open Source project. Development is hosted at OpenNTF.org. You'll find documentation and releases there.