Availability refers to the times when a resource can be scheduled jobs. Availability is defined in the CRM using an "Availability Template" which describes working hours for one or more resources on a weekly basis, or by "Availability Records" which define specific one-off periods of available or unavailable time for a resource.
On a swimlane, the availability of each resource is represented using colored blocks of time. White means a resource is available, while gray indicates they are unavailable.
While schedulers can allocate jobs to resources manually outside their scheduled time, available time is strictly respected when making scheduling decisions using the "Optimize" and "Suggest" features.
Setting Resource Availability
Availability templates may be set up using the "Availability Console." They can have a start and end date and can be assigned to one or more resources. It is recommended that only one availability template be active for one resource at any one time. However, when multiple availability templates are active, then a resource will be available at all of the available times in all of the active templates.
Figure 1. An ATR for a resource in Salesforce.
When making changes, if the resource belongs to an existing global or region template they will be removed from this template and a new custom availability template created specifically for that user. Updates to the original template will no longer be reflected in this resource's availability.
Note: Multiple availability templates work this way for showing the available time on the swimlane. However, multiple templates are not currently supported when using "Optimized Scheduling" or "Suggest."
Note: Availability templates have a global setting which allows availability to apply to all resources, however, this setting is not currently correctly supported and should not be used.
Holidays can be global or define unavailable periods for all resources in a particular region. At the moment, holidays must be defined in the CRM (i.e., Salesforce or ServiceNow).
Viewing and Editing a Resource's Availability
A resource's availability can be seen and edited in the CRM or the web app. In the web app, there are currently two places where this is possible:
- Availability console–where you can get a comprehensive view of all your resources.
- Availability tab in "Resources" view–where individual resource records can be managed.
The Availability Tab in Resources View
- To view an individuals availability, select their name from the list (in the left-hand panel)–this will display information about the resource.
- Click on the "Availability" tab to edit the availability of the chosen resource.
- If changes are made, click save to remember all settings.
It is possible to tailor the time an individual is available, for particular days of the week. To do this, pick a day and ensure that the checkbox is ticked next to it–this activates two drop-down menus that manage the associated time range.
To remove someone's availability for a particular day, uncheck the checkbox next to a day of the week.
To make a resource temporarily unavailable for any work, uncheck the "Available to Work" checkbox located in the Personal section (under the Personal tab).
To make the resource available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, click the "24/7" button–this will automatically update all times and days to ensure full availability.
Availability and Unavailability Records
In addition to availability templates, a resource can have their available time modified by one or more availability/unavailability records. These records indicate additional available or unavailable time and override the availability templates. An availability record is created for a specific period (such as a single day off, or extra overtime period) rather than a recurring period like availability templates.
Unavailability (time off) can be requested from the Skedulo X mobile app or by the "Create Unavailability" button in the scheduling console (via the plus button in the top bar on the right-hand side). This creates an unavailability record in a "Pending" state and can be viewed, approved or declined from the Availability console, or the resources view (under the "Availability" tab).
Figure 2. A request for some time off, pending approval.
Note: Pending availability/unavailability records are treated as "approved" to determine availability.
Note: While it is not currently possible to create or approve availability records to extend available times from the scheduling console, some existing integrations may create this record and they are visible from within SalesForce and ServiceNow.
Precedence of Availability Templates and Records
When determining availability, the following order is considered (from least important to most important):
- Availability templates (multiple templates merge available time).
- Global holidays and holidays for a resource's primary region.
- Availability requests (pending and approved).
Note: If there are availability records and unavailability records for the same period then it is undefined which one will take precedence. For this reason, it is recommended to ensure that availability records do not overlap.