Welcome to SAM's Get Started Guides!
This series is designed to help you learn the basics of SAM. Moving into a new system always takes some getting used to. Understanding a few key concepts early on in your training is important and the following guides are intended to give you the understanding and confidence you need to begin exploring and using SAM.
Each guide builds upon the last with a different SAM feature training, so approach them in order.
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
They manage users and customize SAM to fit your organization's needs.
Leads 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
They 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.
They 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.
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)
- The branches are tables, the organization of the information about the family (case details, home study, parent information)
- The leaves are the fields that go into the tables (such as case program, child case stage, case start date, and referral date)
Main Entity/Record Types
The tabs across the top of your screen are the main entity or records you work with in your program(s). The basic record types are Family (adoptive), Child, Birth Parent, and Foster. Your SAM may vary depending on your unique program(s).
Organizations and persons are your team's Rolodex for your agency. Organizations include yourself, 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 pages allow for viewing and editing of data in SAM. There are many types of forms including cover pages, multi-record forms, and public forms to start with and they can be set as a view form and/or edit form.
The cover page is the first page you see when accessing a client record. It's purpose is to show the most relevant information and provide sidebar links for detailed info. Different case types/programs 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." 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.
Edit forms on the other hand are for greater data entry. They allow you to edit multiple fields at a time.
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.
From a record's sidebar you can access the checklist, where your organization's program workflow comes to life. Some Checklist sections can be shared with end users(like families) to guide them trough your process and policies. Due dates, responsible workers, documents and forms can be linked to checklist items.
Templates provide your team with pre-written, branded messaging that pulls information from records for emails and to print. Templates in conjunction with Auto Actions can be used to email clients about their case and send notifications to your team.
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 email notifications using templates, update record information, and keep your checklists in order. Your SAM Lead can set these up. Take note when you have repeated tasks, as they could be done by SAM automatically.
Consider using Auto Actions for:
As you begin or end a process, it is important to communicate what has happened to clients, staff, and others. Using Auto Actions with Templates makes that transition easier. They can inform all involved to start the next task.
When a form is submitted, a checklist item is completed, or at the conclusion to a process, that step will be used to update the case. For example, when a family's home study is complete, SAM can update the case stage as Ready for Match, rather than your team needing to do that
Think of SAM as your new admin - taking care of data entry for your team!
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. SAM Leads can build endless reports used to group, summarize and analyze records in SAM.
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!