Frequently asked questions about the new platform, the development process and the differences between the new Mercury platform and Mercury 5.
The new Mercury platform
1) Why is Connective developing a new version of Mercury?
Our mission is to support our members in growing and maintaining successful businesses - and a big part of that is technology. Whist Mercury 5 remains a leading technology platform, we understand that as with all things, Mercury must evolve. The new Mercury platform will be built upon the foundations of Mercury 5 - retaining and enhancing the core functionality, whilst introducing new features and integrations.
2) What is the new Mercury platform?
We have taken the core functionality of Mercury 5 and split it out into a suite of purpose built applications. Additionally, we have created some brand new functionality into the Mercury platform.
The new Mercury platform consists of:
- Apps (beta)
- CRM (beta)
- Research (beta)
- Commissions (beta)
- Customer Centre (beta)
- Doc Centre (beta)
- Admin (in development)
- Analytics (in development)
- Compliance (planned)
- Asset Finance (in development)
See here for a more detailed overview
3) When will the final "Production" version of the Mercury platform be available?
Apps, CRM, Research and Commissions are in the final stages of beta testing. With only fine tuning, bug fixes and UX enhancements left to be completed. Doc Centre and Customer Centre are undergoing a major refresh based on the feedback we received from users. The completion of these initiatives is scheduled towards the end of Q2. When they have been completed the new Mercury platform will be feature complete in terms of its core functionality and will be ready for release.
4) When will the other beta applications be released into production?
Depending on the size and complexity of the application being built, the length of the development lifecycle can differ.
Typically when an application hits the beta phase it is nearing the end of the development phase and is considered almost ready to go out to production – but the beta phase is intended to find out how ready it is. We rely on the feedback of brokers to tell us how close we are – what we got right, and what needs a little (or a lot) of fine tuning.
Mercury 5 vs the new Mercury platform
1) If I am using a custom Preliminary Assessment template, do I need to update it to use the new Mercury platform?
Yes. The financials section of the new Mercury platform has been updated to include a new Living Expenses section that now sits on the opportunity along with assets and liabilities. This means that the merge table on the your existing custom template will be looking for a table that does not exist int he new platform.
2) Will the new financials section be available in Mercury 5?
Some sections will be, other's wont. We have made some significant changes to the where some sections of the financials sit in order to align the data with Apply Online. The sections that have moved are only available in the new platform.
- The assets and liabilities remain on the opportunity
- Living expenses which previously sat on the person now sit on the opportunity
- Employment income type which sat as a separate record now sits within the employment record
- Remaining income types now sit in the other income section
See the following wiki for more detailed information.
3) Am I making changes to my real data when I use the new platform?
Yes. The new Mercury platform uses the same backend as Mercury 5. Meaning you are using your actual, "live" production data when you use one of the applications. Everything that you do in the new platform (even if it is in beta!) will impact Mercury 5.
4) Will my existing workflows (task templates, statuses, auto-actions..) still work in the new Mercury platform?
Yes. Your workflows, task-templates, statuses etc. will all be used in the new Mercury apps. No need to re-establish any workflows.
As a general rule of thumb, the core functionality of Mercury won’t change. We are improving and refining some existing features, and introducing a number of brand-new features.
A few outdated pieces won't be rebuilt in the new platform, but these are generally bits of legacy functionality which are no longer in common use.
5) Can I use new Mercury and still use Mercury 5 or do I need to switch over entirely?
You can use both. You can switch between Mercury 5 and the new platform whenever you like. Everything that you do in the new platform will be reflected in Mercury 5 - though some of the new features and functionality will only be available in the new Mercury platform.
6) Why aren't my merge documents downloading in the new platform?
The very first time you use merge documents in the CRM the popup blocker may prevent the document from downloading. If you opt to allow popups then you should be able to use the merge templates after that.
The development process
1) What is a beta?
A beta version of an application is a pre-release version that is given out to a group of users to test under "real" conditions.
Beta versions usually follow an alpha or "in-house" version which has been tested for general functionality and to ensure the code does what it is intended to do.
A beta version is usually fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; though some tweaking and redesign to the interface and functionality may occur as a result of the user feedback obtained from the beta testers – that's the purpose of the beta testing phase.
2) Why does software need to go into beta?
To ensure software is fit for purpose the developers usually get the software tested by users under "real" conditions. This beta period allows users to test and take advantage of the new features and functionality before the final release, in exchange for providing feedback on the new software. This allows the development team to gather feedback from the users on the software, fine tune workflows and usability, and potentially add new features or functionality as suggested by users.