September 2021 eCourtDate Updates Blog

3 months ago

The Log Blog.

September is National Italian Cheese Month, National Potato Month, and National Better Breakfast Month. Coincidence?
We don’t know.
But it is truly not a coincidence (because it is not related in any way) that September is another great month at eCourtDate for cool improvements to our platform.

So read on into our second installment of the Log Blog to find out what we were up to in know, besides eating better breakfasts with potatoes and Italian cheese.

Things Are Looking Up: Updates for Uploads.

One of the most frequent topics new users and people interested in implementing eCourtDate ask about is uploads. People want to know how the information in their case management systems or databases gets into eCourtDate so that they can begin sending messages. Most are concerned that they are going to have to redouble their work, entering their case and client information twice. But that wouldn’t make sense, would it?

For those of you using eCourtDate, you know that is not the case- pun fully intended. We have multiple ways that we can get your data into eCourtDate. We can offer a fully integrated API that connects your Case Management System to our system and pulls the information regularly at intervals of your choosing. And then there are uploads.

Uploads are just one of those technical things that I think non-technical people have a lot of anxiety about. I get it- what if it goes wrong? But we have been working from the beginning to simplify the process and make it as error-proof as possible. In September, we launched a slew of updates geared towards uploads that should set everyone’s mind at ease.

Create a Sample File.

So you want to upload your data, but you need to make sure that it is formatted correctly so that our system reads it the way it is intended to be read, right? Now straight from the Uploads Page, you can download a sample file formatted just right. And then you can just copy and paste your data into it and upload away. Error-Proof.

The whole process is automatic once you select the Create a Sample File button (toward the bottom of the sidebar on the Uploads page on a standard computer screen). You can select how many rows you need the Sample File to have, or just download the headings. If you do Uploads frequently, this may not make a big difference, but for our new users, we hope this helps to take any guess-work or worry out of setting up those upload templates.

Search Updates for Uploads. Find Waldo Faster.

There were two updates related to searching within Uploads. The first enables you to filter your search by creation date and processing status. This should allow you to find a particular piece of data or update faster and more easily.

The second update allows you to search within a specific column of an upload. The default is to search all columns, but narrowing it down will certainly help speed things up, especially when searching through large amounts of data. You can also search with an operator that isn’t an exact match. This will give you results that are close, so if you are having a fat finger day, or misspell a name, there’s a good chance we will still find it for you.

Clean Up That File Bank.

Maybe you do want backup copies of all of your upload files on your SFTP server. But maybe that redundancy is just not necessary. So you are thinking that you’ll go in some day, when you have extra time, and delete a bunch of outdated, redundant files that have been uploaded.

Here’s the thing with that: extra time is a lie. OK. Lie may be a little harsh. And we are here to simplify things for your organization and create time- and we do. But there is always going to be something more important and interesting to do than clean out file folders. Like read eCourtDate’s awesome blog, or maybe see what we just tweeted about. Any which way, cleaning out file folders is just one of those things that is really hard for a lot of us to get to.

That’s why we decided to make it so you just don’t have to do it at all. This September update allows you to choose a setting that will automatically delete the original file from your SFTP server as when it has been uploaded successfully, completely eliminating the ‘clean up’ step. Done and Done.

Warm Up to Warnings.

So let’s just say you use all of these awesome fail safes and you still accidentally upload some data with unused or unmapped file fields. Is it possible that you might not know anything is wrong until you try to use the data? Not anymore! Now there are validation warnings for all processed uploads. You will see the Unused File Fields warning if there are fields present in the file, but that aren’t mapped in the Upload Template. Basically you are sending data that doesn’t have a place to go in our template. On the other side of that coin, you will see an Unmapped Template Fields warning if there are any fields mapped in the template that aren’t found in the file. This gives you a chance to see if you left out some info that you meant to upload or if it just doesn’t exist.

Looking for Something? These Search Field Changes Should Help.

Back in the olden days, we had to search through files in a records room, or for a resource in the card catalogue. It was not fast, or simple. In September, eCourtDate took the already way faster and way simpler ‘Search’ function on the platform up a level with some enhancements that will definitely help the user experience.

My personal favorite is that now, if there are no results, eCourtDate tells you that there are no results. Have you ever hit search and returned no results, but searched again because maybe it was just slow, or hadn’t fully processed your request, or maybe you didn’t actually click in the right spot? Just me? Well, now I can rest assured that my search was done- it just didn’t turn up any results. Now, I can move on and try another search, or change my parameters. Now I know, you know?

In addition to helping me cope with my fear of ambiguity, we made some updates that allow for a faster search speed, and we introduced keyboard shortcuts. With the new shortcuts, you can enable a search with “/" and you can exit a search with “Esc." No clumsily toggling between your keyboard and your mouse necessary.

Show Me (Your Court) The Money.

It is possible that a person who owes your court money, could owe it for more than one citation. I can think of a number of places where this probably occurs- traffic citations being the one that jumps to mind first. Maybe I have several parking tickets from different days. Or perhaps I was cited for two infractions during the same traffic stop. I am sure that you, working in your courts, can come up with many other examples.

These myriad examples are all great reasons why we added “Payment Citation" (Tag: [PaymentCitation]) as a new field in the app, our API, and in upload templates.

We also updated the recurring payments settings. Users now can choose from an updated list of payment frequencies. Recurring payments can be charged hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly, and users can choose for this action to be at the start or the end of that term.

We all know that Court Notifications can reduce FTA by 50%. Imagine what reminders and notifications can do to reduce Failure to Pay! Are you currently using eCourtDate Payment Reminders and Payment Portals? Payment reminders can get you more of your money; and secure, mobile payment processing is available to make the process simple for your clients. Contact us today to schedule training and begin using this feature and increase your court’s revenue!

Until Next Month...

Next month I will come at you with installment three. I cannot wait to see what updates we have in store to simplify all of your court and justice processes!

For October:
What new features or tweaks do you think we should add next? And
Which is your favorite September addition?

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