08-14-2014 09:12 AM
Sage ACT! Premium (Web) 2013 Version: 15.0.311.0 on Windows SBS 2011 Server
Exchange email on separate SBS 2003 Server
On the client version on our database server, I have set up a number of Smart Tasks that are used to send email reminders to the Account Manager in regard to their Opportunites. They are all public, set to run only once, and scheduled to run at a specific time each weekday. Offline smart tasks have been set up on the server and the emails are being sent as designed and at the correct time.
The issue is that each email is sent 2 or 3 times, every time. When running the Smart Task manually on the web version, only one message is received, as expected. So it appears to be an issue with the offline smart tasks or our exchange server (when testing the connection with the offline smart task, only one message is received). It is confiusing to the user, and thankfully these are only used internally and not sent to contacts/customers.
I would like to expand the use of the smart task function, but not until this is resolved. Thank you in advance for any insight.
08-14-2014 02:53 PM
Duplicate records is a common thing I've found with Smart Tasks. There are two things I've discovered in regards to this.... 1st, don't rely on the "Run only once for any record" checkbox. It is extremely unreliable. I have come up with a workaround that works well in the 2013 version that I can explain further if you feel that has something to do with your issue.
The 2nd thing I've found is that if you setup your Smart Tasks, start them, stop them, edit them, tweak them, start them again, stop them, etc.... it causes them to freak out and do just what you are describing... duplicates. What I found is that its best to do all the tweaks to get the Smart Task to run how you want it, delete it, and then rebuild it from scratch in the final design. Something about going back in and editing/messing with it causes the duplicates.
08-15-2014 06:23 AM
Thank you very much for your quick and helpful response.
I will try your suggestion to delete and recreate each task to see if that solves the problem. That should do the trick. It seems that the older Smart Tasks that we have are the culprits, and those have been modified over time.
If you have a moment, could you please describe the workaround that you mentioned re "run only once for any record"?
Thank you again.
08-15-2014 12:56 PM
So if you pause for a second to think about how the "run once for any record" feature is supposed to work... basically it processes a record the first time, and puts a flag on it during the process. The next time you run the smart task, it then looks for those flags and avoids those records. I have found that this feature is unreliable... sometimes it doesn't flag properly, and you are left with re-occuring records, and other times I've seen it bypass records that were never processed or flagged previously.
To solve this issue, I am creating a flag manually during the Smart task process by using the "Update Field" feature in the task setup. My Smart tasks are just like yours... They look at opportunities, and send a reminder to the project manager when the opportunity reaches two weeks old. Where you have the activity send an email, I am having the activity schedule a call on the calendar. In any case, the setup is virtually the same.
First, I created a custom field in the opportunity section called "Reminder". It is a string (text) field.
Then I create a Smart task chain which is 3 sections long... the first section is where you use the formulas to select the records, the second is the "Update Field" module, and then the third is the activity being scheduled. So what happens here is the first section runs and gets the batch of opportunities that meet my criteria. The second section creates the flag. In my case, it puts the word "Yes" into that custom field I created called "Reminder". The third will send your email.
The next time around, you can have the Smart Task avoid all records which have the "Yes" in the custom "Reminder" field that you created. All you have to do is put a line in your record selection filter which says something like... (Reminder field) Does Not Contain "Yes".
So basically, the first time a record is processed it has a blank "Reminder" field. After processing the first time, it now has a "Yes" in the field. The next time the Smart task is run, it will see the "Yes" in the "Reminder" field and avoid it.
This will only work in ACT 2013 and beyond since the "Update Field" feature wasn't added until then.
By the way, you can also monitor how this is working by adding a column on the List View grid in the Opportunities section of ACT for the "Reminder" field. Any opportunity that has been processed by the Smart Task will have a "Yes" in the reminder column.
Lastly... about the duplicates... you may find that you need to delete ALL smart tasks, and rebuild them all from a clean slate. I have many smart tasks in the system, and when one of them start acting up with the duplicates, they all do it. I've been most successful when wiping them clean and rebuilding from scratch.
08-15-2014 01:26 PM
Once again, thank you for all of your help. Smart Tasks were one of the more exciting features that drew us to ACT in the first place, but they seem to fallen short of expectations, and this issue of repeted actions was making them virtually unusable... misleading and embarassing emails are unacceptable and damaging. I even changed them all to send emaisl to myself so that I could filter and redistribute them!
It's unfortunate the duplicates happen, but at least now I know it isn't our mail server and that there is a way to "remedy" it.
And I really like the idea of self-flagging opps that have already run a Smart Task. Again, it's unfortunate the program itself doesn't behave as expected.
Thank you again.