This article provides background to compare the advantages of the Task operation vs. the Edit operation for processing records.
View a Flash demo that compares the Edit and Task operations or review the information below.
By default, the Edit privilege is disabled for most user groups in the NetResults Tracker templates. The reason for this is so that users can use the Task operation to process records. The Task operation is a controlled way to allow specific changes at specific steps in your process (your "workflow"). By configuring the Tracker workflow, you can control which fields can be modified and when they can be modified. Please review the Managing Workflows section for details on workflow properties.
Once you have set up workflow, each time one of your users clicks the Task icon they will be presented with a list of options ("Transitions" to move from one state to another for a record) that are specific to the current "state" (status) of the record. One need not use workflow (you can even disable the Task operation for your users), but as the use of Tracker grows, most customers prefer the process "enforcement" provided by the Task operation as opposed to the "uncontrolled" interface provided by Edit. Edit allows users to modify any field available on that page according to their user group membership. Use of the Edit operation to process records does not prompt users with the states and fields that make sense for the modifications they are making to the record. Edit is really intended only for use by "super users", such as your Managers or higher level users for special cases that aren't covered by your current business process as implemented in the Tracker workflow. In contrast, the Task operation presents the user with the transitions (choices for processing the record) relevant to the current state of the record, prompts the user with the fields that correspond to the transition selected, then routes the record to the appropriate next state and assignee automatically. The user only needs to update the fields in the record to note what they have done to process the record. The user doesn't need to know to which state the record should be sent or to whom it should be assigned.
Also, the Task operation requires less training for end users. To find out what they can do with a record, they just click the Task button and a list of options appears. After they select an option (Transition), a list of fields that they may/must fill out (specific to the option they selected) will appear. Since this is all configurable by the Tracker administrator, the options will/should be ones they recognize (ones that match your business process and include "names" that they can easily recognize).
Guidelines for choosing whether to use Task or Edit
Whether to use Task or Edit isn't an all or nothing decision. You can choose to allow some of your users to use Edit and restrict others to use Task exclusively.
In most environments, Edit is recommended for only managers, users who know the entire process or users who need to handle special cases as they arise. If your process isn't very structured or well-defined (very little or no workflow) or you have a very small team of people involved in processing records, Edit may be a good fit.
If it's important to have certain pieces of data gathered at each step in the process and/or it's critical to have records follow certain paths, use Task. As mentioned above, you have control over what choices are available, who is allowed to process records at each step and what fields can be modified at every step of the process.
Links to articles which describe particular configurations
How to configure an update transition - An update transition can be used to allow your end users to update a record they have submitted when it is in certain states.
How to assign records to a group of users - You can assign a record to a queue and allow any user in a certain group to process these records.
How to restrict users from tasking a record that does not pertain to them - There are various ways you can set up Tracker to restrict the records a user can task.