Are you ready to roll out your Soft Launch?
Good news - you’ve almost completed your NextRequest rollout! There are only a few questions left that you should ask yourself before you soft launch.
1) Should I soft launch?
We recommend soft launching when you want to process real records requests in the portal before you make it available to the public. We always recommend staff testing during onboarding to eliminate the need for a soft launch, but sometimes additional practice before accepting requests through the portal directly is helpful for a successful launch. If the answer to this question is "No" I recommend checking out our Going Live Checklist.
2) Have you finished testing?
Once your portal is live, you can no longer delete requests, so best practice is to do all your testing while your portal is still in the “onboarding” mode. We recommend having your users go through our NextRequest testing guide to practice things like submitting a request as an internal user, creating internal/external messages, uploading documents, closing requests, etc. The testing period is also a great time to get accustomed to how the NextRequest notifications work. Remember - you can always edit your notification settings to receive more or fewer notifications!
3) Have you sent invites to all users who will need access to the portal?
We recommend sending invites to all new users who need access to the portal so they can have their accounts set up before they get assigned their first request. To do this, go to the user list, then click the Send Invite button next to each user. If you don't yet have all your users and departments set up, you can find instructions for how to set up users here and departments here.
4) Have you customized your portal’s front page with a background image and logo?
Going live eventually means that members of the public will probably be seeing your portal, so why not make it look nice? You can replace our image of clouds with a background more personalized to your agency, just make sure the dimensions are 1200x600 px. There is also a place for your city or county seal, which needs to be 150x150 px. We recommend a transparent background as well.
5) Have you deleted your test requests and documents?
Remember, you can’t delete requests from the portal after you click Go Live. You’ll be able to delete documents, but not all at once. Once you’ve finished all your testing, you can delete all requests from your portal by clicking the DELETE ALL at the top of the All Requests page. To delete all test documents, you can find the same DELETE ALL button at the top of the Documents page.
Note: If you've entered real requests in anticipation of going live, you can skip this step. We recommend deleting test requests before entering real requests, but if you didn't do that before you can close the test requests and set request visibility to Restricted.
6) Have you updated your request numbering?
Remember, you can’t change your request numbering after you go live. If you are going live after the start of the year you might want to update the request numbering in your portal settings. Simply go to Admin>Portal Settings>Request Numbering. Then enter the number you want your requests to start on and click Save. *Please note it will reset at the beginning of each year and sequential numbering from that point (ex: at the beginning of 2024 the request numbering will start at 24-1).
7) Click Go Live at the top of the page
At this point your portal is available to requesters if they find it, but it has not been linked from your website or advertised so the likelihood is low. Staff can begin submitting requests as they are received and process them through the portal to start getting used to the application. Please note: If a requester email address is submitted, they will be notified.
Optional: If you do not want the portal discoverable or requesters to be notified you can take the portal offline by going to ADMIN > PORTAL SETTINGS and click the red "Go Offline" button in the upper right hand corner. Staff will continue to have access and be able to process requests, but the public and requesters would not have access until you Go Live again.