Specialist Hotseat & Specialist External Seat: How Do They Work?

In response to user feedback and demand, eToolLCD now offers TWO dynamic seat sharing functionalities to help improve the seat sharing experience.

Access to each Project/Structure is still controlled by the Organisation Admins via the ‘Collaborators’ tab in the Structure Level regardless of which seat is being held by that user (unless they themselves are an Admin for that Organisation). Please refer to this support post for more details on how to grant project access.

Specialist Hotseat

The Specialist Hotseat is an upgraded version of the standard Specialist seat. The upgraded seat means that the software automatically manages the seat sharing function among multiple users within the same organisation. Below are some instructions on how to upgrade your Specialist seat and how it works:

Only Organisation Admin users will be able to update the organisation’s subscription plan AND assign the new seats to org members.

  • To purchase some Specialist Hotseats, you’ll need to update your subscription as per image below.
  • After that, go back to the ‘Manage Users’ tab in your Organisation Portal and assign the purchased seats to your users.
  • All users assigned to the Specialist Hotseat will need to log out of eToolLCD and log back in again. When they log back in, they’ll see the following notification:
  • Users can choose to proceed with the ‘Request Seat Access’ kept on or turned off. If it’s turned OFF, the user can proceed with using eToolLCD as per a ‘Read Only’ user.
  • When the user proceeds with the ‘Request Seat Access’ left ON, the software will automatically assign any available hotseat to that user. If no seats are available, eToolLCD will send a notification to all users with a seat assigned to them that a seat has been requested and whether they wish to keep their seat or release it. Any released seats will be assigned to the new user. Note that if a user does not respond to that notice within a certain time (i.e. they are away from their desk), their seat will be automatically released by the software and assigned to the new user.
  • If all users holding a seat has chosen to keep their seat, the new user will need to wait for their turn. All users are able to request a seat or release their seat at any point. They can do this in their User Profile page under the ‘Session Access’ tab.

Example 1: Luke just joined Big Building Constructions that is a company with now a total of 10 consultants. The company has bought 5 Specialist Hotseats to share among their 10 team members. Luke has been assigned a Specialist Hotseat. The next time Luke logs into eToolLCD, he sees a notification asking if he wants to request seat access with Big Building Constructions Org. This morning, he only wants to continue with the eToolLCD Beginner’s training course that he’s halfway through so he doesn’t need to have edit access to eToolLCD. Luke turns off the seat access request so as to leave a seat available for other team members and continues with eToolLCD with ‘Read Only’ access.

Later that day, Luke’s manager, Obi, asks him if he can collaborate on a project with a more senior consultant so that he can learn the ropes. Obi has already added Luke as a collaborator on the project in eToolLCD. Although Luke was able to navigate and view the project, he noticed that he was not able to make any changes or edits to the design. There was also a little notification at the top of the page saying that he has no access. Turns out that this is because although Luke was assigned a Specialist Hotseat, he had started his session without requesting access to a seat. Therefore he is still in ‘Read Only’ mode. All Luke has to do now is request for seat access via the ‘Session Access’ tab in his profile page to gain write/edit access to the project. Fortunately, there was a seat available and the software automatically assigned that seat to Luke straight away so he was able to jump back into work on the project without waiting for a seat to become available.

Specialist External Seat

The ‘Specialist External Seat’ function allows organisations with this functionality to have external contractors/consultants that ‘bring-your-own’ seat when collaborating within their organisation on eToolLCD. External consultants with an existing eToolLCD Specialist (or Specialist Hotseat) seat will not require an additional seat allocation within the organisation and will be able to utilise their existing seats when collaborating on projects. This feature is only available for organisations with a minimum of five (5) Specialist Hotseats. Please get in touch if you’re interested in activating this feature as it will require us to set it up for you in the back end.

Users that have been assigned the ‘Specialist External Seat’ within an organisation will have to ensure that they have a valid subscription themselves to use within that organisation.

Example 2: Han is an external consultant who is contracted to work with Big Building Constructions using eToolLCD. Big Building Constructions has purchased 5 Specialist Hotseats to share among their 10 users. Although they can assign unlimited users (including Han) to share the Specialist Hotseats, they prefer to prioritise Hotseat access for their own staff to ensure that all their users will always have access to their own ‘Specialist Hotseats’. The five Hotseats shared among 10 users was already just bordering on being ‘not enough’ anyway. Fortunately, Han already has a standard Specialist subscription for his business, so Big Building Constructions has activated the ‘Specialist External Seat’ feature so that they can assign it to Han and he can use his own Specialist seat when collaborating with Big Building Constructions’ team.

External contractors/consultants can also use this feature even if they hold a ‘Specialist Hotseat’ within their own org. They just have to ensure that they have been assigned a seat in accordance with ‘Hotseat’ availability before they can work on projects in that external organisation.

Example 3: Leia’s organisation has 1 Specialist Hotseat shared between 2 other members in her team. She has also been invited to join Big Building Constructions’ eToolLCD Organisation Portal to work on a project for them as an external consultant. After she joins Big Building Constructions’ organisation, they assign her with a ‘Specialist External Seat’ within their org. In order to start working on a project in Big Building Constructions’ Organisation Portal, Leia will have to request seat access from her own organisation since they only have 1 Specialist Hotseat shared between 3 users. If one of her team members is using the hotseat so it is not available, she will have to wait her turn and will only have ‘Read Only’ access to either organisations. Her team member has completed their work and releases the seat. Leia gains access to the Specialist Hotseat and can now start her LCA for Big Building Constructions in their Organisation Portal. If Leia goes off for lunch and her team member in Europe logs in and requests seat access, the software will automatically release her seat due to her lack of response to the seat request notification and assign it to her European team member. When Leia returns to work after lunch, she will have to submit a seat access request herself and await her turn on the Hotseat again.

This functionality makes seat allocation seamless and enhances the user experience. It also makes more efficient use of purchased seats and prevents organisations purchasing unnecessary additional seats when simultaneous use of the software is not at its limit.

Related articles:
Set your organisation up in eToolLCD – Enterprise Functionality
How many certification requests can I submit at a time?


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