This time I will be helping you create an alert using JungleBell a SharePoint reminder and alert tool from EnovaPoint. This might sound weird considering SharePoint has built in alerting capabilities and workflows, but if you ever tried to use them, you will know that they are not very simple to adapt to some cases.
Consider the following example: you work in HR department and your company uses SharePoint to store employee records, contracts, and all related data. You might have some interns or new employees with fixed-term contracts working for you, and you need to make sure everything is up to date. If a company has like 10-20 employees, there should be no problem in keeping up with everyone, but if this number is a lot bigger than some mess on contracts and other documents will ensue unless you setup reminders to keep track of everything.
Our contracts have some metadata like employee, signed date and date until the contract is valid or expiration date, as well as any other data that might be relevant. Our goal is to somehow use the contracts’ expiration date column to remind us that contract is approaching the date, so we can extend, change or terminate it on time. I would like to have two reminders; 10 days and 5 days before it expires, so there is enough time to actually do something.
Our content type:
Creating the alert
I have JungleBell available in my SharePoint, so this task is super simple. I can select the contract that concerns me, if I want to set up a reminder only for that one, or select nothing and click JungleBell icon in the ribbon:
JungleBell will start, and you will be able to change the alerts’ name and if you selected your contract, you can choose to either create a reminder for this single contract, the whole library or just a view in that library.
Next thing to choose is what triggers this alert. If we look at our case, our contracts are not being changed in any way throughout the whole duration, that’s why it is impossible to use out of the box SharePoint alert functionality for that. Our documents are just sitting there, waiting to expire and we need to be reminded about that. JungleBell has a trigger option for items that don’t change: Item exists. So let’s choose this trigger and set up our conditions to send an alert once contracts’ expiration date is approaching in 10 or 5 days:
Once we are done here, we can just click next, to define who will receive the alert. By default, I will be the only recipient and if I want more people to be reminded I can just click add. You can use any kind of email address or SharePoint user as alert recipient:
Once we add all of the recipients, let’s click next, to define how the alert will look like. Default alert template for expiring item will be shown and we can either create a new one or use an already existing HTML as a template or just change this one by adding SharePoint columns into the alert content:
Once we are done with our SharePoint alert content, we only need to decide on schedule; that is when to send the alert. I want to receive alerts on working days at 10 AM in the morning. By setting scheduling to this and choosing to combine alerts, I make sure that I will only receive a summary of expiring contracts for that day and not multiple alerts, one for each separate contract:
Now I am done with my alert and it only took me one minute to do so. JungleBell is real easy to use, I could even say it is the easiest to use SharePoint alerting tool out there.
I also mentioned out of the box SharePoint alerting capabilities, but that is a separate topic with its own issues and challenges, so it will be covered another time!