We're starting 2021 with the same goal for Beacon that we've always had: To build the best nonprofit database in the world.
Despite everything that 2020 could throw at us, the past 12 months have been an exciting time for the Beacon product team. We've been really busy and we've released lots of exciting features.
More importantly, we've had the opportunity to work with, and learn from, some remarkable organisations doing really great work in challenging times. It's a privilege to get to work with so many great customers and to shape Beacon with their suggestions.
Two of our guiding values are that we are constantly innovating and we strive to do what we do better than anyone else in the world. In 2021 we'll be putting those values into practice as we work even harder to improve the Beacon product.
Here's a taste of what we're going to be working on over the next year:
1. New billing system
Unfortunately not all of our updates are really cool and rock 'n' roll! We've been working on a new billing system to give you more control over how you pay for Beacon and to make invoices clearer when updating your Beacon plan. No price increases, just more control and simplicity.
2. The Beacon portal
We're building a new mechanism to allow people to update their own data in Beacon. This will be useful for membership organisations who want to give their members a way to keep their data up to date. It will also be useful for case work in which teams of volunteers need to keep records up to date.
3. Working better with finance teams
We've had some great feedback from customers that Beacon could work better with their finance tools and processes. This is going to be a priority for us at the start of 2021. We'll be improving our Xero integration and making improvements across the board to make Beacon work even better for finance teams.
4. Families and relationships
We'll be improving the way that Beacon handles two-way relationships between records. This will make it easier to configure relationships between people and to filter based on those relationships.
5. Record-level Roles and Permissions
Our Roles and Permissions system is a great security feature which allows you to grant access to different features, record types, and fields in Beacon. This year we'll be taking this system a step further to enable you to restrict access to specific records. This is useful if you have some records which you want to share with your volunteers, or if you want to make sure that your team members only have access to information about people whose cases they are working on.
6. More useful timelines
Timelines are getting an overhaul. This feature allows you to see a record's changes and activities over time. We're going to make some important changes:
- Make timelines filterable - you'll be able to find events across different records, or search for all updates made by a user
- Select activity types - only want to see the audit logs of a record? Only want to see the forms submitted by this person? We've got you covered!
- More activities logged to timelines - Including document merges and emails sent from mailchimp
- Improved interface - with more features comes an updated timeline interface to handle it all
7. Continuing to improve integrations and automation
Before founding Beacon David and Chris were senior managers at integrations startup Tray.io. This expertise in integrations has been brought to the Beacon team and automation and integration is an important part of Beacon's product plan.
Sometimes we'll integrate with another best-in-class product (like Mailchimp, Stripe, and iZettle) but, as with Beacon's ticketing platform, we also develop features in-house when we think that is the best approach.
Our Zapier integration and import templates provide a generic mechanism for integrating with other tools but we're also working on some more direct integrations:
We're always looking to improve based on your feedback. If there's a big feature you'd like to see that isn't in this list then let us know!