Setting up your departments correctly is critical to getting the most benefit from Chronicle. In addition to creation of your departments and general settings, you will need to make decisions about what kind of activities to add, documents to define and require, automatic rules to setup, and what roles you plan on requiring be identified for each department. The defaults settings may or may not fit your needs, but you can customize these features.
In Chronicle, we use departments to distinguish two different types of information, i.e. internal and external. First, we use departments to separate different areas of management responsibility and activity in your business. For example, you have internal activities like human resources and accounting departments, and you also have external activities that provide various direct services to your customers. Second, we use departments to catalog the different service lines that you provide to customers. For example, you might provide both emergency services and cleaning services, and these types of jobs require different types of activities, management oversight, and follow up.
Before you start using Chronicle, you need to identify both your internal departments and your external service lines.
Even though you may manage certain types of jobs together now, consider what might be managed by different people or managed in different ways as your business grows. For example, suppose your business does general remodeling and disaster restoration renovations. Even though both are construction, they have distinct differences: disaster restoration involves insurance claims that general remodeling doesn’t, there are often different estimating procedures, and so on. So, when setting Chronicle up, you’ll want to create separate departments for each type of job; this allows for different management structures and gives you major advantages later on. Cataloging your jobs also gives you major benefits when you review your jobs at management meetings; a click of a button lets you assess all active jobs for each service line. (If a job is associated with more than one department, it’s listed under each.)
Similarly, even if your billing and collections are handled by the same person, jobs with collections problems require different follow up, so you want to be able to single them out. Using different departments helps you find the information you need and oversee it accordingly.
Identifying your internal activities and external service lines requires some management discussion and thought, but your use of Chronicle will be most productive if you take the time to identify your current and potential departments before you start adding information in Chronicle.