Apr 11, 2012

Notifications in OTM

For more than two years now, I have used the SaaS project management system from LSP.net (the Online Translation Manager or OTM) to handle my project tracking, quotation, delivery, archiving and invoicing workflows. Since early 2010 when the system was first made available to others beyond the group it had served for nearly a decade previously, it has developed rapidly into a unique, full-featured system for translation agency operations. For an individual translator like myself, it is arguably overkill, but its secure delivery features and excellent 24/7 client access to data via private archives as well as the very modest cost and the fact that I have no infrastructure to maintain are the decisive factors for me. I haven't seen anything else I can afford which takes my business as seriously as I do. Or more so, to tell the truth :-) As a matter of full disclosure, I will remind readers of what many already know: I do the English localization for the product, and I have a formal employment relationship with another member of LSP.net's corporate group. But all that is the consequence of liking and using the product and wanting to see it develop further, not the other way around.

The project mail system in OTM is excellent in most respects, but limited. As mentioned previously, it uses text only for reasons of data security to prevent the transmission of viruses via graphics of JavaScript in HTML mail. Some potential users have not adopted the solution for this reason, but I usually prefer straight text in my e-mail anyway unless I am doing a quick tutorial with screenshots, so I don't care. And it's nice to know that I can't accidentally infect my clients with an "innocent" e-mail. Another "limitation" of the system is that it is web-based, and for quite some time I was vaguely annoyed at having to log in to the system or refresh the Task Board view to see if new mail had arrived. It is not possible to query the mail system via POP or IMAP configurations.

As is so often the case, when we are annoyed by such shortcomings, the solution is usually there for those of us who will RTFM or simply ask the support personnel. One day when I was chatting with the system architect about new features for translation certificates being added, I mentioned my annoyance, and he kindly reminded me of the mail forwarding setting in the user profiles of the administration module. In just a few minutes, the usability of the system increased drastically for me as every incoming e-mail was forwarded to an account I monitor on my laptop and on my smartphone, so I no longer missed interesting inquiries or urgent requests because I had no time to log in to the web interface.

The relevant portion of the user profile is shown below. The critical setting is marked with a red arrow:

Both project mail that has been sorted using the project number and "orphaned" e-mail (no identifiable number present for assignment) are forwarded to the external e-mail address.

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