The latest version of the Elcom Digital Experience Platform, V11.5, has been out for several months now. This version improves on the design and usability of our most popular features for administrators, publishers and end users.
It’s been wonderful to hear the platform is making a real difference in helping organisations deliver great digital experiences to all stakeholders, from supporting newly remote and hybrid workforces with a staff intranet, to attracting and retaining customers with websites and providing the latest resources to members and suppliers with a portal.
If you haven’t had a chance to take advantage of the new features and functionality of V11.5 yet and are wondering what you’re missing out on, here are 9 benefits of upgrading to Elcom V11.5.
Enhanced security and performance
With more staff accessing Elcom platforms remotely, we’ve introduced over a dozen security enhancements to keep your site secure, while also making it easier for it to be accessed by end users no matter where they’re working.
This includes new capabilities to improve the usability when administrators impersonate a user in order to understand what the user is able to access, removing server information from the response headers and adding a user agent check to protect against session hijacking. The platform will automatically abandon any session if it detects that the user agent for the session has changed.
If your site is under construction or it is being upgraded or changed behind the scenes, you can also now put it into maintenance mode via a setting, while still allowing certain users, such as testers, who have the security permission to access the site to continue working on it.
Other enhancements include the ability to guard against password theft with enhanced security to cater for compliance with ISM/PSPF password rules by configuring the platform to:
- process additional rules for password changes such as preventing users from using their first name or last name, common password phrases and reusing old passwords.
- enable passwords to expire, with an email notification sent to the user to change their password.
- enable a user’s account to be automatically disabled (ie. make inactive) if their password expires, with an email sent to the user containing a link enabling them to reactivate their account.
A range of publishing, as well as security and user reports are available on the Elcom platform. The platform automates the process of generating and distributing reports; creating scheduled reports automatically sent to other users as email attachments.
Reports can be based on mailing list subscribers, content created, event registrations, KPI’s met plus much more. It can also provide a granular view of your site’s users and their security permissions and access levels.
In V11.5, we have made the reporting tool more versatile and powerful by:
- adding most reports in dashboards.
- adding last edited to articles reports.
- improving the payment transaction report.
- adding a new custom metadata report.
- adding a scheduler which lets you enter an ad hoc email address.
Updated native integrations
We understand that no system is an island, which is why Elcom is built to integrate with your preferred business applications and provide visibility of dozens of digital platforms.
With V11.5, you can access the latest updates for third party systems that are natively integrated to the Elcom platform for:
- jQuery v3.5.1 (front-end only)
- Bootstrap – v4
- Telerik – v2020.2.617
- Render mode Auto (for switching if mobile)
- TinyMCE - v5.4.1
- ABCpdf – v11.3
- FontAwesome v5.10
Intuitive content publishing
Elcom was built for non-technical users to manage and update. With a series of new capabilities, the publishing experience in V11.5 is now more intuitive and efficient for non-technical publishers to manage content and author tasks.
With the Structured Authoring module, staff can automatically publish articles from a template by filling in a form. Star Group, for example, has created a form where any staff member can simply fill in an incident notification form for workplace injuries, equipment damage and other incidents. This triggers a workflow requesting approval. Once approved, the system generates an article that appears in the Incident Library, which can then be found via search or filtering through all incidences. It can also trigger support tasks to be completed to enable efficient tracking management.
Now more article attributes and metadata options will be available for articles created via structured authoriting including the ability to add in start and expiry dates, as well as a short article description.
In V11.5, non-technical users can also quickly change a layout with our new Defined Content Article feature, by dropping a commonly used template of code on a page, such as an accordion, list of links or tiles with static data; all without having to work with a content editor. Need to get feedback or approval on a draft article before it’s published for your audience? Simply email a link to the draft to any stakeholder, and they can view a copy of the article without having to log into your site.
Added form flexibility
Given the sheer number of forms used in organisations today, from staff annual leave and expense claims to professional learning and incidence tracking, automating word document-based forms that need to be printed can save significant time, especially now that more staff are working remotely.
Elcom uses a point and click form creator tool with no need for technical input. The Form element lets you create multiple inputs for a form, restrict which fields users can see, as well as route the responses to different recipients.
Additional form field options make forms more valuable. Now you can add:
- a help placeholder and help text next to a field.
- a single user selector drop down field to a form.
- a multiple user selector drop down field to a form.
- additional styling options at the field and panel level (as opposed to only the form level).
Elcom Forms now work seamlessly with external sources. With V11.5, you can populate a dropdown field on a form from an external date source via custom code. For example, a client has an online form which includes a drop-down list of sports venues from which to select.
End users can also copy form submissions, specify who the form should be emailed to, accessed improved form validation rules and more.
Seamless workflows and automation
Elcom Workflows allow users to design and implement complex approval workflows to meet business needs that adapt and flow differently based on the form answers, or the profile of the user who submitted the responses. Workflows can skip steps, reassign the approver or terminate early.
V11.5 introduces multiple enhancements to workflows including:
- The ability to add comments for different workflow items, even in scenarios when you don’t need to approve or reject a workflow item.
- Workflow baskets can be setup so that approvers can see and approve ad-hoc groups of fields, helping to speed up the approval process.
- Subject line for workflow items can be changed.
- Specifying which basket to redirect the workflow item to. This is valuable in several scenarios e.g. when a user submits a performance review. The approver’s questions and comments can now be sent via an email back to the originator for feedback without having to reject or approve it.
- Catering 'for is not' scenarios. In many workflow scenarios it is often quicker to setup a rule to skip a basket if the logical operator ‘IS NOT’’ such as ‘is not equal to’ instead of having to add in several ‘is equal to’ options. For example, having a long list of departments on the form where only a few of them would trigger skipping the workflow basket.
Improved usability of widgets
Dynamic Widgets are a powerful tool to help you aggregate and display sets of related content such as articles, documents and events from one or more sources across a site. You can create and maintain one widget and use it to display information across several articles simply by inserting a tag within either an article or template.
New display options provide an enhanced UX (user experience) for audiences. Look out for the ability to:
- add a load more results button.
- toggle between grid and list views.
- show and highlight feature articles first on a page.
We've also made it easier for end users to find what they need with the ability to:
- add to their Favourites list directly from a widget.
- increased search options for widgets such as custom metadata.
- add additional tags for use in widget templates.
- access new widget sort order capability.
- refine widgets by event specific data e.g. event type and location.
Easy event management
The Events Management module is a complete system for managing public and private events. It has integrated bookings, payments, group bookings, alerts and SMS reminders.
Underpinning the system is the Elcom Framework and SQL database that stores all events data including registrations and attendance.
In V11.5, you can enable your audience to submit events on your site. Simply set up the page with the Event Structured Authoring interface. External audiences then fill in a form that publishes their event using a standard template once approved by an administrator through a workflow.
If you use Elcom’s Dynamic Widgets to showcase these events that have been submitted, you can now display additional event fields based on:
- Start and end date, and
- event ICS file to allow end users to add the event to their personal calendars.
Enhanced staff directory
The Corporate Directory module enables you to search for people within your organisation and to incorporate the corporate people search within your main search area. The type of information displayed in the search results can be configured to suit your exact needs.
In V11.5, we’ve added a “Keep refinements menu static” option to the Corporate Directory refine element. When this option is unticked, the refinement options become dynamic and will change based on the user’s selections in other refine elements. This will ultimately help the user to dynamically narrow down the available refine options.
We have also added the ability to select specific users to display in the Corporate Directory element, as well as added support for having field specific tags that can be used in Corporate Directory templates for custom user profile fields, custom membership questions and custom organisation fields.
All these enhancements, simply make it easier for your people to find who they’re looking for to help them do their jobs quickly and efficiently!
You can also check out the V11.5 landing page for more insights!