With the implementation of our shiny, new and fully automated billing system, it’s become a little more important for our customers to make sure that all the users within their organization are working in the right accounts — preferably, a single account.
Working in a single account, rather than a bunch of separate accounts, has advantages:
It makes it much easier to pay for subscriptions: if all the Kerika users within a department are working on boards owned by a single account, then only that account needs to purchase subscriptions. This means less invoicing and payment stuff for you to worry about.
It also ensures that all project assets — boards, documents, canvases, etc. — are owned by a single entity. And ideally this single entity would be a service account rather than an individual. Many of our customers are using service accounts, set up using emails like email@example.com.
We have done a ton of improvements to the new user sign-up process to help guide people to working with their coworkers, using accounts that the coworkers have already set up, instead of creating new accounts.
But, there are still situations where an organization may find that, across all of its Kerika users, there are too many different accounts. If this is the case for you, we can help: we can consolidate multiple accounts into a single account if you ask us.
This consolidation preserves all the existing boards, content, and project teams: it just changes the ownership of everything to be a single user ID.
We used to have a feature that let you get a task summary email from Kerika everyday at 6AM that summarized all the things that you were responsible for that are overdue, due this week or due next week.
When we introduced the Views feature, we thought perhaps this 6AM email was not needed any more, so we took it out of the user interface for a few months — although people who had previously been using this feature continued to get their daily emails.
It seems like we underestimated the usefulness of this feature: new users started asking for something just like it, so we have brought the feature back. (And thanks for helping us understand we had screwed up in taking it away.)
You can access this feature from your Preferences page:
“Responsible for” includes not just the items that were assigned to you, but also items on boards where you are a Board Admin (and, presumably, have some responsibility for.)
This email can show your tasks organized in two different ways, and, if you like, you can get both sent to you every day:
A typical task summary, where tasks are grouped by date, would look like this:
The board names and card names are also links that you can use to open the relevant work item.
If you purchase subscriptions, or do other actions like request a refund, Kerika prompts you to update your Billing Information:
This information is needed to complete a transaction:
Your name or organization (school, college, nonprofit, company, government agency…) are used to ensure invoices and receipts are addressed to the correct person (the purchaser).
Your phone number is needed to handle any problems we face processing your invoices or purchases.
Your address is used to create invoices and receipts, and to check whether we need to charge you Washington State sales tax.
At the bottom of this screen you can optionally include Billing Contacts: people who need to get copies of all your transactions, such as your organization’s Purchasing Department or outside accountants/bookkeepers.
We store this information securely: as you may have already noticed, all access to Kerika servers is done using SSL/HTTPS, and within the Kerika virtual network, our servers communicate with each other using SSL as well.
We never ask for your credit card information: we use Stripe to handle all online payments, and we never see your credit card at any time.
If you pay by bank check or electronic funds transfer, this information is handled by Bank of America: details of these transactions, such as your bank information, are stored only at Bank of America and not stored on the Kerika servers.
The rollout of our new billing system seems to have been smooth — so far, fingers crossed! — and with this you now get better controls over who is part of your Account Team:
Please note that you don’t get charged for Visitors: if someone is only a Visitor on your boards — i.e. is not a Team Member or Board Admin on any board you own — you don’t need to pay for this person.
It doesn’t matter how many boards this person “visits”.
Visitors do show up on your Manage My Team list in the Manage Users tab, so you are reminded that they have access to some, possibly all, of your boards, and you can remove a Visitor entirely from your Account in the same way that you might remove a Team Member or Board Admin.
All of Microsoft’s browser focus is on their Edge browser, which means that as newer HTML5 features and standards get adopted by the browsers, these are going to show up in Edge, not IE 11.
And since Kerika is a pure Web app, one that requires you to download no software of any kind, including browser add-ons and plug-ins, we really need to make use of the latest HTML5 goodies that the browser vendors provide.
These goodies are going to be available only on Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge, and that’s where Kerika is gong to work best.
With the new billing system that we will be rolling out next week, Kerika will also be adding a slew of account management features that will make it much easier to purchase subscriptions, manage teams and handle your payments.
The Manage Account screen has a new layout, with three tabs on the left: Account Summary, Manage Users, and Billing History.
This page has several sections, starting with your Account Name at the top. When you create an Account, you can give it any name that you like, and on this page you can change it if needed. Changes to the Account Name are shown instantly to everyone who is viewing boards owned by your Account.
Next is a section that lets you manage your Kerika subscriptions. You can see which plan you are currently on — Individual, Nonprofit or Professional — and switch to a different plan if needed.
People on a paid Professional Plan can manage the number of subscriptions they currently have (you need enough to cover your current Account Team, which consists of everyone who is currently a Board Admin or Team Member on the boards owned by your Account.)
Managing your Professional Plan is easy: you can increase the number of subscriptions you have, or decrease them.
All subscriptions have the same end-date: this makes annual reviews and renewals easy for Account Owners. You can also decide whether you want to turn on, or off automatic renewals of your subscriptions.
In the example shown above, the user is increasing the number of subscriptions from 20 to 25. The system reminds the user that he needs at least 20, for the size of his current Account Team.
With our new billing system, it’s easy to make purchases online, or request that an invoice be sent to you.
Online purchases are handled by Stripe, so Kerika never sees your credit card information.
If your Account currently has a credit balance, because you had reduced the number of subscriptions, this is reflected in your purchase: by default a credit balance is applied to future purchases, but you can also request a check be mailed to you if you don’t plan to use your credit balance.
If you are located in Washington State (in the USA) we may be required to charge you Washington State Sales Tax. You can specify whether this applies to you by updating your BillingInformation:
Your Billing Information contains just your address and phone number; we never ask for, or store, your credit card or bank information.
One useful new feature we have added is the concept of Billing Contacts:
Billing Contacts can be any set of people who need to get copies of all your Kerika transactions, e.g. your manager or Purchasing Department. Every purchase will generate a PDF for the transaction which will be automatically emailed to all the Billing Contacts for the Account.
Billing Contacts can include people from outside your organization, e.g. if you use a bookkeeping service from another company. Billing Contacts only get copies of your receipts and invoices; they don’t have access to your boards, and are not considered part of your Account Team.
The Manage Users page has been enhanced as well: you can see at a glance who is currently part of your Account Team, and now it is possible to invite someone to join the Account as a whole: previously people could be invited to join only a specific board.
For each member of your Account Team, Kerika will list the date when they joined your Account, the date of their last login, and the total number of boards where they are currently a Board Admin or Team Member.
This makes it easy to see at a glance how active someone is, if you are wondering whether to continue paying for their subscriptions.
(Note: in some cases the “Joined Team” information may not be available if it was months or years in the past; we didn’t start tracking this information until we started building the new billing system.)
Selecting a member of your Account Team offers additional actions:
Clicking on the View button gives you a more detailed view of particular member of your Account Team:
One new feature is you can see the IP address last used by the team member: this can be helpful in security reviews.
With the Manage User button, you can also remove someone from your Account Team altogether, demote their role to Visitor (across all boards owned by that account).
Going forward, all transactions — including online and offline payments — will be tracked automatically by the new billing system.
We will start keeping a history of your transactions going forward (we won’t have all the old transactions; sorry) and they can be accessed through the Billing History page:
If you have an overdue invoice — and we sincerely hope you don’t! — you can pay it online, or request it to be resent to the billing contacts for the Account:
The new billing system took a lot of work, over many months, but it was long overdue: our old billing process was largely manual, and somewhat error-prone.
Unlike some of our competitors, we understand that even though Kerika is software-as-a-service (SaaS), not everyone is set up to make online purchases. That’s why we have made it equally easy for people to receive invoices and make payments offline, e.g. by bank check or funds transfer, and have these transactions show up inside their Kerika account with the same flexibility as online purchases.
All of this should go live at the beginning of next week!
As part of our next release, which will include a new billing system, we will make it easier for you to move boards that you own to another account.
This can help in several scenarios:
If someone is leaving a team, it’s good practice to have their boards transferred to someone who will remain, so that ownership of project assets — the boards and all the content in the boards, including documents — remains with the team.
More importantly, it is good practice to stay away from having individuals own boards, and instead use service accounts to be the single Account Owner in your organization.
A service account is an omnibus account, typically set up with an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org, that isn’t associated with a single individual. A service account will never quit, never get fired, or take a vacation because a service account is not a real person — it is simply an account/ID used to be the permanent, omnipresent, owner of project assets so that team turnover doesn’t disrupt anyone.
If you own a board, you can move it to another account, i.e. effective change its ownership, by selecting the board on your Account’s Home, and clicking on the Board Actions button which appears on the top-right corner of the board card:
This will bring up a small menu of actions that are available to us as the board’s current owner:
(Note: this menu can also be accessed using the right mouse button.)
When you select the Move to another Account action from this menu, we will present you with this new dialog box:
A list of “known collaborators” is presented to you by Kerika to make it easy to select a coworker with a single mouse click, but you can also move the board to someone else, who isn’t part of your current Kerika collaboration network.
If you type in an email address, Kerika will immediately check to see whether this email address is that of a known Kerika user, before letting you proceed further:
We think these improvements will make it easier for our users to manage their organizations boards, and move towards consolidated ownership for easier asset management.
As you know, Kerika is a Web Application: everything runs inside a browser, without the need for any plug-ins or add-ons.
This caused problems for all of our Internet Explorer 11 users — people using Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Edge were unaffected. We finally figured out what the underlying problem was, and did a workaround using a polyfill, which is a way to provide new functionality in older browsers that don’t support it natively.