When developing RB9, we took the opportunity to re-think everything and create software based on the latest technology, best business practices, and our clients’ requests from the Idea Collaborator. The result is that RB9 is in many ways a big improvement on RB8, but it is a different way of working, and there are some aspects of it that can seem like downsides.
In response to what users have been telling us and what potential RB9 users have asked, we compiled a list of potential downsides along with how to deal with them:
Since RB9 resides in the cloud and not on your in-house computers, what happens when your internet goes down? Your staff can’t log in or keep working on their workstations or laptops if they can’t get on the internet.
Use smartphones and tablets
While it is not as ideal a workspace as the large screen and real keyboard of a computer, your staff can access RB9 with their smartphones and tablets. RB9 is not optimized for small screens, but they can pinch and zoom to maneuver around the screen to look up and enter information.
If your staff can work remotely, they can take their laptops wherever they can get WiFi access and work there.
There are several reasons why having RB9 in the cloud and not on a server in your office is better. With a centrally located system, when an update is published, everyone immediately has the latest version. There is no waiting for a server update, and you no longer have to update your workstations. It all happens automatically.
Also, you no longer need to buy and maintain server hardware and software, a backup system, or file storage for case/job/client/resource information. By having everything in the cloud, your office footprint and overhead shrink.
Less responsibility for the upkeep aspect of your business means less stress for you and more time for the more meaningful aspects of your work.
RB9 does not automatically save your work. If you do not save your work before logging out, RB9 doesn’t save what you entered or alert you to any unsaved work. If you like to work with several functions open at once, this can be a bigger problem because you might have several screens with unsaved work on them that you do not see.
You don’t want to waste effort or lose critical information so make a habit of saving your work often. Teach yourself to save often, especially before switching to a different RB9 function or another program altogether or taking a break.
Automatic time out
For security reasons, RB9 automatically logs you out if there is no activity on your end for 20 minutes. And without an autosave feature, that means that you will lose any information you entered into RB9 but did not save yourself.
Same solution as above
Even if you are routinely too busy to experience a 20-minute lull in your RB9 activity, there will come a day when it happens and you get bumped out of RB9. Develop the habit of saving frequently so if RB9 should log you out due to inactivity, you don’t lose anything.
Extend the timeout
We can extend your system-wide timeout up to 60 minutes. Pleas note that this is an all-or-nothing setting: It affects both your RB9 and RB Connect (if you offer that) for all users.
Different from RB8
There is no question that RB9 is a new product with a new way of working, but all RB8 functions are in there (some are renamed, moved, broken down into multiple functions, or combined into a single function). Plus some plug-ins are included for free, like tracking, and there are new functions and improvements that are the result of user requests in the Idea Collaborator.
Learn how to use RB9
Visit the Help Center to view training videos, follow step-by-step tutorials, download user manuals, and find quick info in cheat sheets. Contact RB Support to set you up on the RB9 demo site so you can see the system for yourself. And RB Support can also answer any questions you have about RB9.
Ask for improvements
If you want something that was in RB8 but is not in RB9, use the Idea Collaborator to request its restoration. Our development team uses client input — both client requests/suggestions and how popular the requests are — to determine RB9 development.
So add your requests and vote on existing requests you would like to see implemented. You can also track features being implemented through the Idea Collaborator — ideas suggested 2 months ago are now in RB9.
Because RB9 is a new product, there is a lot of development going on and frequent updates. The last update, less than a month ago, reinstated a lot of RB8 features that clients requested in the Idea Collaborator. A big one was the ability to rearrange columns in results grids, which many RB8 users find essential.
Updates happen often, but irregularly. We usually cover them in these monthly newsletters, but you can visit the RB9 updates page to read highlights from each update. Or use the KnowledgeBase in the Customer Portal to view complete lists of new features and bug fixes in each update.
No in-house backup
Without an in-house backup system, it can feel like something is missing. If you feel like you need backups on your own computer, we do offer an option.
Make copies of important info
To make copies of RB9 data, you can export any list or report in RB9 that has a in the lower right corner. You can export the data as either Microsoft Excel or generic CSV files and save them as backups. An added benefit is that you can also use this exported data any way you want in Excel or another program that can import these formats.
One of the reasons we moved RB to the cloud was all the problems people had with backup systems: no data saved since the last backup — or no data saved for longer periods because the system didn’t work — time lost in reinstating a backup, time required to maintain/troubleshoot a backup system, the cost of a backup system. etc. With RB9, you don’t have to spend time and use storage space on your end for backups. Since we started using this system 5 years ago with RB8 Cloud, no one has needed to restore data. We eliminated the hassle of doing your own backups with a better-than-backup system.
Backups are obsolete now because all of your RB9 data and repository files exist in simultaneous copies in the cloud. Any problems with one set, and another one is online instantly with no downtime or lost data.
RB9 eliminates the need for backup software, hardware, and IT to manage it. The cost is included in your monthly RB subscription, and there is nothing else you need to buy and maintain. There is literally nothing you have to do to maintain the integrity of your RB9 data and repository files.
RB9 costs more than RB8 Subscribe or earlier purchased versions’ software maintenance plans.
Pencil out costs
Major costs incurred with RB8/RB8 Subscribe are eliminated with RB9: You will spend $0 on server hardware and software, a backup system, or file storage. You will no longer need to pay for IT to manage/troubleshoot your system.
RB9 costs the same as RB8 Cloud; plus it includes RB8 Tracking and Reward Points plug-ins at no extra cost.
Weigh benefits vs. cost
RB9 includes functionality not in RB8, like interactive forms (such as the Aged A/R Report and Sales Tax Report), email form letters, job tasks, and reporter To-Do lists (Send Overdue Tasks Report). Plus month-by-month interactive line-graphs of financial and job activity for individual clients or reporters to give you a visual outline of their activity along with quick answers about their monthly amounts.
RB9 improves many business processes, such as job cancellations, production turn-in (among other things it separates shipping and transcript production from turn-in), COD invoicing, and label templates. Database tools have been improved too: Bulk Update has been expanded to more fields and can also be targeted to selected groups; form templates are easier to create and include more customization options; and Query Maker has been redesigned so you can easily make your own reports from RB9 tables.
And if you use RB Web, RB9’s version can save you money because it includes the RB Web plug-ins: Client Of/Sales Rep, Media Streaming, and My Reward Points, for no extra charge.
We hope this article alleviates any concerns you have about RB9. If you still have any questions or concerns about RB9, please contact RB Support.