Plan for Change: What if you lose your QuickBase Admin?

Tips & Tricks
Apr 3, 2012
8 Min Read

How prepared are you if your company’s QuickBase Administrator becomes suddenly unavailable? Some think of this “what if” scenario as the QuickBase Admin getting hit by the proverbial bus. Or, more optimistically, as the Admin hitting the proverbial lottery. Outlook on life aside, either scenario results in this person being suddenly out of commission. Forever.

If you’ve prepared properly, such a transition is a non-event. Being caught unprepared, however, can result not only in confusion and frustration for the newly designated Admin, but also in costly business interruption for the company’s QuickBase end users.

Here’s a checklist of what to have in place to protect your company’s QuickBase assets:

  • Multiple QuickBase Administrators
  • Adequate documentation
  • Choosing the right replacement

Make sure you have multiple QuickBase Admins

It’s a red herring to talk as if there’s only one QuickBase Admin who should hold the “keys to the castle.” Top-level ownership and access to QuickBase applications should rather be thought of in two parts.

Part I: Billing. Every account has a user who is the QuickBase Account Administrator. This is often a person in the finance or billing department who “owns” the credit card that pays the Intuit QuickBase subscription. He or she also has the authority to change the company’s QuickBase plan as the team’s needs change over time. He or she may or may not use QuickBase actively. Nonetheless, this person controls a substantial portion of the “keys.” As such, there needs to be a designated back-up who has access to the Billing Account.

Part II: App Management. Every QuickBase app has an Application Administrator. This person has the authority to make changes to the app and adjust permissions for users. QuickBase, by design, designates only one Application Admin per application, although an account can have dozens of authorized users and multiple Account Administrators (who have the authority to make changes on the overall Account level). Each and every QuickBase application should have a designated back-up Application Admin.

For many small teams, the logical choice for a back-up may be the Application Admin’s immediate supervisor, even if this person is not an experienced QuickBase user. This role, however, needs to reside with the position, not the individual. (And, as always, security protocol needs to be followed in terms of denying access to any employee who is no longer with the company.)

Document your applications

I know. Nobody likes paying for documentation; but without it, companies large and small run the much costlier risk of being locked out of the castle (again, think: bus or lottery.) How an application is going to be documented should be discussed on the project’s front-end. There needs to be documentation for the initial application as well as any modifications that happen six months--or six years--down the road.

Documentation is one of the services we offer at Data Collaborative, but we gladly assist customers in creating their own homegrown documentation as well. The important thing is that the work gets documented—accurately—and that end-users and would-be Admins have access to that documentation. Unlike Administrator access that should be strictly “owned” by designated personnel, access to QuickBase documentation should be freely shared with all users (though some parts may be designated for Admin or developer use only). Responsibility for keeping it up-to-date should also be shared.

As with any documentation, QuickBase documentation becomes outdated as soon as it’s released. Without updates, time elapses and soon no one can remember "what's the purpose of this table,” or “what's the meaning of this document?” This extends to any and all external applications involved, or customizations being used.

To help with this, there are Add-ons, such as Data Collaborative’s Insight for QuickBase, that are effective tools for managing updates.

Choosing the right admin replacement

In my role as a QuickBase Solution Provider, I’ll work to help any new user get up to speed. But for companies tasked with assigning a new Admin, the best choice may not be the obvious choice.

What do I mean by this?

We’ve all met the “accidental techie”— the person in the office who seems to grasp technology quicker than the rest. By default, he or she becomes the company’s go-to person for all types of IT issues. This is especially true in small companies.

While this person could likely learn the nuances of QuickBase a bit more easily than the average coworker, he or she may not be the best fit — unless this person is also an invested end-user of the company’s QuickBase applications. It’s better to invest a little more time training someone who is already an end-user. After all, QuickBase is intended to be user-friendly to the non-techies out there. In fact, the less technical, the better sometimes when it comes to gaining traction for greater adoption of QuickBase in other areas of the company.

If your company follows these three steps, you’ll be in good shape to make a smooth transition to a new QuickBase Application Manager no matter what the circumstances. And, if I may add, do as I do: look both ways when crossing the street to buy those lottery tickets!

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