Welcome to SAM User Guides!
This series is designed to help you learn the basics of SAM. Understanding a few key concepts early on in your training is important when beginning to work with SAM. Moving into a new system always takes some getting used to. The following guides are intended to give you the understanding and confidence you need to begin exploring and using SAM.
Each guide will build on the last with a different SAM feature training. Please watch them in order via the emails that you received.
SAM is where all your program records and case files will live. Depending on your organization, you may also use SAM for client forms, reporting, accounting, communication, and more. In this video, we'll cover the basics of SAM including navigating the site and important terminology. Below the video, you'll find a glossary of the terms discussed in the video for future reference.
Let's Get Started!
Important SAM Terms
Admins manage users and customize SAM to fit your organization's needs.
Admins are responsible for:
- Assigning new user permissions and login access
- Disabling users
- Setup of customizations your team wants to make
- Coordinating support between your users and SAM’s support team
Users are all the people that have been granted login credentials to your SAM site. These users may have different permissions that grant or deny access to records and sections of your site.
End Users are clients, families, volunteers and others who will interact with your public forms. End users that have logins cannot access the back end of SAM, just public forms you share with them online.
More Important Terms to Know:
-Tables & Fields
-Main Entity/Record Types
1) Tables & Fields
Every database is comprised of tables and fields. Remember from our tree metaphor:
-The trunk of the tree is the entity or main record type (family, child or birth parent for example)
-The branches are tables, the organization of the information about the family (case details, home study, parent information, etc.)
-The leaves are the fields that go into the tables (such as case program, child case stage, case start date and referral date)
2) Main Entity/Record Types
The tabs across the top of your screen are the main entity or record types you work with in your program(s). Your SAM may vary depending on your unique program(s), however, the basic record types are family (adoptive), child, birth parent, and foster (for foster families participating in your program).
Organizations and persons are your team's Rolodex for your agency. Organizations are your own organization, community partners, referral agencies, and other organizations you work with. Persons are the people within those organizations that you work with including the people on your team.
Forms are the screens for data entry into SAM. Some forms may contain the fields found on documents.
The cover page is the first page you see when accessing an individual's record. It's purpose is to show the most relevant information and provide sidebar links for detailed info. Different case types may have different cover page layouts.
The cover page is an example of a view form. Like the name suggests, view forms are for viewing - not editing - information. They show SAM fields without the square edit boxes shown in edit forms. Because they aren't geared toward editing, view forms can include special generated fields such as "All Phone Numbers" and "Full Name."
Edit forms on the other hand are for greater data entry. It is possible to edit one field at a time on view forms - click the field value and a popup box will appear, allowing you to make changes.
Multi-record forms collect multiple records of the same thing, such as case notes or communications, parent training, or placements.
Public forms are used by your clients and partnering organizations to provide your agency with information about your clients. For example, this family portal login page is a public form.
Documents are the electronic versions of paper files that are uploaded to your site. Documents can be uploaded from forms or checklists. Using SAM for your documents saves you and your team time. When end users (like families) upload these documents directly into SAM for your team, you won't need to track the paperwork down and scan it in. (Yay!)
From a record's sidebar you can access the checklist, where your organization's program workflow comes to life. Checklist sections that collect documents can be shared with end users to empower them to collect the documents by a certain date. Due dates, responsible workers, documents and forms can be also be linked to checklist items.
Templates provide your team with pre-written, branded messaging that pulls information from records for emails, letters, reports, and other documents. Templates can be used to email clients about their case and send notifications to your team. Template can also be created to deliver messaging and connect with Donors, Volunteers and others.
Reports are super-powered spreadsheets that show real-time information which can be filtered, searched, and sorted. Your team can access records from a report, send emails, and make bulk updates to records within the report. SAM admins can build endless reports used to group, summarize and analyze records in SAM.
8) Auto Actions
Notice your SAM site doing work for you? It's likely due to an auto-action: triggered and scheduled tasks that work behind the scenes to send notifications such as emails, update record information, and keep your checklists in order. Your SAM admin will set these up, so take note when you do things repeatedly, as those actions could be done by SAM automatically.
Woohoo! You Did It!
Great job! We know this is a lot of new terms and things to learn, but spending about an hour per day reading the guides, watching the videos and clicking through SAM is the best way to help the new information stick. See you next time!