Our next version of the Tessitura platform, v16, is well under way.
Many of you have been watching, following, asking, and anticipating. And with good reason! Tessitura v16 is a smörgåsbord release — it has something big or small for all of our members, big or small.
Membership improvements, access control updates, new web screens, platform-wide versioning — you’ve heard us talking about the big stuff. All of these are fine and good: they are large-scale improvements that we know are going to have a positive impact on the business of arts and culture.
Today, I want to move beyond the large-scale changes, and dive into some of the little things we’re delivering in v16 that can have a big impact on day-to-day work for our members.
The Little Stuff
For a while now I’ve periodically posted Slack messages to our internal teams that shine a light on some of the small, but highly impactful, improvements that are coming in v16. It can be easy to lose sight of these smaller, sometimes less flashy features because they live in the shadows of the large release headlines.
They deserve more! In fact, they have unionized in my mind, collectively demanding their right to be recognized as important and fully fledged features of the release.
And so this blog post is my attempt at making it right. Let the little things be overshadowed no more; it is their day in the sun! What follows are some of the small but mighty features in v16 that we think you’ll enjoy.
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
—Vincent Van Gogh
Login and e-address unite!
This is one of my favorites. In v16, there is a new setting on Login Types (“Login with Email”) that will allow members to specify for a type if the patron’s email address and login are required to be the same. If “Login with Email” is set to “Yes,” then two things happen.
First, when editing a login of that type via the constituent record, the username field is not editable. This helps operators only complete the necessary data, and also prevents username and email from getting out of sync, which can happen often for a number of reasons.
Second, when an application logs the user in via the API, the username will be validated against the value of the email address linked to the login type used by the site, rather than the user name.
Many of our members require that email address be the user name already, and have to keep that in sync via the web application and box office. This allows a smooth cutover to the new feature and releases the requirement that two fields be kept in sync.
Default original source love
In Tessitura v16, there is a user group preference that allows administrators to set the preferred default original source per user group for newly created constituent records, so that it is selected by default when creating new constituent records. One less step when creating a constituent record!
Director of Practice Management, Tessitura Network
“Wow! incredible... dreams really do come true!”
Director of Technical Solutions, Tessitura Network
“It’s what I’ve always wanted!”
[Your Name Here]
Make your phones “mobile”
There is now a “mobile” indicator for phone records so that any phone, regardless of phone type, can be marked as a mobile phone. We think this will really help organizations that are using SMS/Text communication with their patrons, and reduce the number of phone types required to keep track of mobile phones.
In addition to this, there are new mobile format (mobile mask) and mobile edit string fields in TR_Country so that if a country (ahem, UK, I’m looking at you) has a different edit mask for mobile numbers than other types, that can be set and will be used for the display and editing of the number. There will be a migration that enables members to migrate current indicators they may be using to indicate mobile phones, such as Phone Types, to this new flag.
Plain text versions of HTML templates (Multi-part MIME emails)
In v16, HTML Templates will have the option to include a text version of a template along with the HTML rich content version. Text versions of emails are still very relevant, especially given the rise of wearable devices like smart watches that default to showing the plain text version of an email.
Because users most typically set their preference for HTML vs. Plain Text content in their email client such as Gmail or Outlook, multipart MIME emails are the best way to ensure you are delivering the content that Patron prefers.
This feature also means that in v16 we have removed the need to track a user's preference for plain text or HTML content in Tessitura, because responding to the patron's local email client settings is a more contemporary way of handling the preference. The “Allow HTML” flag is no longer available via the Email screens in Tessitura or the API, since it is no longer needed. Be sure to flag this with your web developer if you have a custom web solution.
Address and phone potpourri
There are a few details about phone and address records worth mentioning.
Phone and address records can be marked inactive in v16.
Additionally, phone records can be marked primary. This will allow members to keep better records about their members, and which addresses and phones are current.
With these two changes, all three types of contact data (phones, emails and addresses) are consistent in their application of primary and inactive indicators.
Lastly, phones are no longer required to be tied to an address. With mobile phones being the norm, requiring a link between address and phone isn’t as significant as it was when landlines were prevalent. You can still associate an address to a phone if you choose, it just isn’t required any longer.
Recognition Names (né Program Names) and membership records
Several entities are getting new, more contemporary names in v16. Program Names are one such entity. Many of our users that leverage this feature don’t have programs, and use the names in various other ways. As such, Program Names are becoming Recognition Names.
We are also aiming to simplify maintaining the list of members that you want to recognize by creating a link from a membership organization to a recognition type. This will enable the output from a recognition report to include constituents that have memberships with that organization, but not specific recognition records, using their default display name and membership level.
At the same time, you can override those defaults by adding a recognition record for that constituent and recognition type.
One of our co-founders, Chuck Reif, had noted that in his keynote presentations where he’s made announcements about big new changes in the application, sometimes the loudest cheers come when he mentions some smaller improvement that really strikes a chord with the audience.
In fact, on one such occasion what he showed wasn’t even a new feature — he was showing a small thing that had been in the Tessitura application since the very beginning, yet few users knew about it. He demonstrated how a user could search for a constituent record from anywhere in the application just by clicking the small flashlight icon in the toolbar (today in v15.1 this is a person with a magnifying glass) and the crowd went wild. Some of you may have even been there! That little thing had a big impact.
I hope something in the list above struck the same kind of “Hallelujah!” chord with you today as it did with the crowd that day when Chuck drew attention to the flashlight. If so, drop us an email at email@example.com to let us know!
I also hope the little features of v16 can now put down their pitchforks, allowing me and them to move forward together in harmony. To them I say, “There are no small parts. Only small features.”
We are excited about every facet of the v16, big and small.
For more information on Version 16, visit the v16 content hub.
Top photo by Burst from Pexels