DARS Newsletter October 2016
- 1 Introduction
- 1.1 How to make your DARS queries safe
- 1.2 Introduction
- 1.3 Tip #1 - Use Secure Sites
- 1.4 Tip #2 – Manage permissions on your query
- 1.5 Tip #3 – Suppress, Suppress, Suppress!
- 1.6 DARS news and features
- 1.7 SQL Server Upgrade Project
- 1.8 New BBIS website
- 1.9 New User Access Request Form
- 1.10 Outlook add-in
- 1.11 Preparing HTML and CSS for use in DARS – course renamed
- 1.12 Data team activity
- 1.13 Reminders
Welcome to this month’s DARS Newsletter. Older newsletters can be found at https://www.darscentral.ox.ac.uk/newsletters, with newsletters since May 2015 held at http://darswiki.bsp.ox.ac.uk/index.php/DARS_Newsletters. And remember that you can contact the DARS helpdesk via email@example.com.
In this issue:
- How to make your DARS queries safe
- Tip #1 - Use Secure Sites
- Tip #2 – Manage permissions on your query
- Tip #3 – Suppress, Suppress, Suppress!
How to make your DARS queries safe
Queries often underpin the communication activities that many of us undertake when using DARS. It’s important to ensure that we’re working in compliance with the legislation and regulation (Data Protection Act, Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation, Fundraising Preference Service, etc) that determine our obligations when sending communications. Some queries form an integral part of other processes in DARS; segmenting mailing lists, sending event invitations, exports data for mailing houses, etc. Whilst we encourage users to collaborate and share work, the risk of changes being made to the queries you rely on most to manage communications can result can result in mistakes that lead in breaches in our collective legal obligations. The following tips will help you ensure that these types of query are kept safe and secure:
Tip #1 - Use Secure Sites
If your query is used in key processes where you need to ensure that no undesired changes are made, such as managing communications, why not consider adding a Secure Site? A Secure Site for can be added on the ‘Set Save Options’ in the query builder and means that only colleagues within your participant will be able to access the query (See Fig. 1 below).
N.B. Departments do not have specific Secure Sites and should be recorded as ‘Central University Secure’. As the Central University Secure group will comprise a high number of users, please also consider following the “Allow all users to edit my query” guidance (below) for extra security. All colleges have a unique Secure Site value.
Tip #2 – Manage permissions on your query
If you would like to ensure that you have full control over your queries, particularly as the author, you can restrict the ability to run and edit your queries to only yourself. This can be done by unticking one of the two boxes (the boxes are ticked by default) on the ‘Set Save Options’ screen in the query builder (See Fig 2 below): “Allow all users to run this query” – Unticking this checkbox will result in no one other than the author being able to run the query. N.B. Be mindful that this means, in the event of absence, only the author will be able to see the query in DARS and generate query results. Unless explicitly intended, we do notrecommend unticking this box as a matter of practice. “Allow all users to edit this query” – Unticking this checkbox will result in no one other than the author being able to make changes to the query. N.B. If your query is key to the management of communications processes, we strongly recommend you do untick this box to ensure no undesired changes are made to the query. Again, be mindful that this means, in the event of absence, that only the author will be able to make changes to the query however other users can make copies of the query without affecting the original.
Tip #3 – Suppress, Suppress, Suppress!
The most important aspect of making sure that your queries are safe to use for communications. There are two types of suppression that you must always use when generating lists of recipients: System Suppressions –are added to ensure blanket bans/opt outs on communications by category are observed. For instance “I don’t want to receive any communications by email”. They also remove deceased and inactive records. Mail Preference Suppressions –Are added to ensure that opt outs for specific communications are observed. For instance “I’m happy to receive communications by email but do not want to receive Oxford Today”. If you’d like to find out more, check out our ‘What suppressions should I use and when?’ article in the DARSWiki - https://darswiki.bsp.ox.ac.uk/index.php?title=What_Suppressions_Should_I_Use_and_When%3F
DARS news and features
SQL Server Upgrade Project
Over the last year, staff at IT Services have been working on a project to upgrade the DARS database server engine from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2014. This is a necessary pre-requisite before we can move to version 4 of Blackbaud CRM next year. Testing is substantially complete, and the go-live date has been scheduled for Tuesday 6 December 2016. We are currently determining the expected amount of downtime for live DARS that day, and will communicate further as soon as we have more information.
New BBIS website
We are pleased to announce the launch of a new BBIS website for Department of Social Policy and Intervention. Alumni of the department can use a variety of features to keep in touch with the department and fellow former students. Supporters can also donate to the department using a custom-banded donation form (data and gifts from the form are processed by gift registry in line with the approach used elsewhere). You can see the website at https://www.alumniweb.ox.ac.uk/spi
New User Access Request Form
We have made a number of changes to the User Access Request Form (UARF). The most important one is that it is no longer necessary to request access to the participant’s Secure site – instead, we will be applying this automatically to the Enhanced Data Manager role. We will also be changing the security settings for existing users, to bring them into line with this policy. This change will ensure greater consistency within a participant, in terms of which records staff can see.
It has come to our attention that some newer DARS users are not aware of the Outlook add-in. This useful utility allows you to take emails from Outlook, and put them in DARS as Interactions or Prospect Plan Steps. The Outlook add-in works with a variety of Windows operating systems, and most recently we have tested it with Windows 10, the Edge browser and Office 2016. Instructions for how to install the add-in can be found at https://downloads.it.ox.ac.uk/oxonly/darsoutlookintegration/. Please note that members of the DARS Support Centre, including helpdesk staff, do not have administrative access to your computer, and therefore will not be able to assist with the installation of pre-requisite components. For any such queries, please contact your local IT support staff.
Preparing HTML and CSS for use in DARS – course renamed
This course has been renamed to Outreach and engagement: HTML emails within the DARS system. This course is intended for staff whose roles involve managing email communications through DARS and provides a high level introduction to importing HTML/CSS from third party applications (i.e DotMailer, MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, etc). Spaces are limited so if you’d like to attend, I recommend you book as soon as you’re able to. If you have booked a place but think that you’ll be unable to attend, please provide as much notice as possible so that your place can be reallocated.
Please note – Payment will be required at the point of enrolment/registration.
Please note – Payment will be required at the point of enrolment/registration.
Name: Preparing HTML and CSS for use in DARS/Outreach and engagement: HTML emails within the DARS system
When: Friday 4th November, 14.00 to 17.00
Where: IT Services, Banbury Road
The course will include:
• An overview of HTML and CSS generated by the DARS email composer
• Using 'Edit' and 'WYSIWYG' views to manage code
• Using BlueFish to help build design
• Overview of code created by 3rd party applications
• Using Amaya to problem solve common issues
How to book a place:
• Visit the following link for course information - https://oxford.imparando.com/accessplan/LMSPortal/UI/Page/Courses/book.aspx?courseid=OE001
• Visit the following link to book - https://oxford.imparando.com/accessplan/clientinput/course/coursebooker.aspx?coursedateid=1654
PLEASE NOTE – This is not a training course delivered by the DARS Support Centre. Please ensure you follow the above steps if you wish to attend and do not send your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org
Data team activity
The DARS data team carries out a wide range of activities relating to the data held in DARS, as well as acting in a co-ordinating role for pan-University initiatives. As a small snapshot, in October we have
• Merged 195 duplicate constituent records
• Processed 7 sacks of Oxford Today returns
• Collated 528 answers for the Benchmarking process
• Checked 26,127 salutations and addresses
Sending emails to the DARS Helpdesk For most purposes, the DARS Helpdesk (email@example.com) should be your first point of contact for DARS related questions and issues. Please avoid emailing members of the DARS Support Centre directly. Also, as mentioned in previous newsletters, when emailing the DARS helpdesk, please send it only to the helpdesk, not to other members of the Support Centre or your own colleagues (either in the To or Cc fields). The reason is that doing so increases the likelihood that someone will “reply all” to the email they receive – this creates a duplicate incident, which we also have to investigate in order to determine whether it is in fact a separate incident. This wastes time which can be more usefully spent.