27 June 2012 Triple Celebration

In June Business Solutions has had several causes for celebrations. Last Saturday the Indian members of the team celebrated no less than three milestones with an outing to the ethnic village Nakhrali Dhani near Indore.
Team Photo 1
Kanban Task Manager Kanban Task Manager logotype
All team members have worked hard with the new application for project and task management inside Outlook, so everyone felt happy and proud when the gold version of this add-on was released last week. Kanban Task Manager does not look complicated when you see it in Outlook, but achieving that simplicity for the users was not an easy thing. Many ideas were tested and rejected before we reached the goal, so there is really cause for celebration now when we have Kanban Task Manager on the market.

Happy days
For three of the team members June brought special causes for celebrations also on a personal level. In the beginning of the month Lead Developer Jayant Rimza turned 30, an event that was celebrated by the team first at the office and then during Saturday's outing.
Team Photo 2
On the 15th we had reason to celebrate in Sweden also, when Peter and Siret, the CEO and Sales Manager, became husband and wife in a beautiful ceremony at the beach near the head office. And many congratulations came from our Indian colleagues, of course.
 Siret and Peter Photo
Rajasthan culture
Nakhrali Dhani Village is a center of the Rajasthan culture that has played an important role in the northwest of India for well over a thousand years and shows no signs of slowing down. It is especially well known for its distinctive music and dance but also for the colorful wall paintings, prints and embroideries.
Team Photo 1

Desert festival
Rajasthan encompasses the Great Indian Desert, and in Nakhrali Dhani Village the team members could experience the events of the desert festivals celebrated there. They saw snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats and folk performers, and they could try riding on camels. The evening was completed with a typical dinner and dancing.
Camel riding
As the team is divided between India and Sweden we cannot often celebrate together, but we rejoice with each other by sharing photos and stories. To enjoy work is important, but we need festivities now and then also. Thanks for the photos, Jitendra!

25 June 2012

HelpDesk for Outlook and SharePoint updated

HelpDesk OSP banner
The Outlook add-on HelpDesk OSP has been updated to fix a bug and a language issue that bothered to some users and to add improved support for big attachments.

Connects Outlook to SharePoint

HelpDesk OSP creates a connection between Microsoft Outlook and SharePoint, so that incoming e-mails may be converted - manually or automatically - into items in a SharePoint list. That way they can be shared also in a geographically distributed team, and members can add comments and suggestions in the ticket/list item. HelpDesk OSP is mostly used by support teams, but it is of course useful for any incoming e-mails. The application can even distribute different incoming e-mails to different lists.

Several e-mails in the same ticket
When the e-mail thread feature is enabled all e-mails regarding the same case is added to the first ticket, and it is also possible to merge several tickets into one. This way the work with the tickets can be more efficient. And of course you have all the possibilities of SharePoint also, as any list can be used with HelpDesk OSP and all the standard features of SharePoint can be utilized.

A minor update - and a major one

The technicians are working with a major update of HelpDesk OSP, which will make it compatible with the 64-bit version of Outlook 2010. In spite of this we released a minor update today, to solve a bug that some of our Community Members have experienced. That is normal policy: we make all our products easy to upgrade, and if there is a problem we release a new version.

Now we discovered that e-mails were not automatically converted in some cases when Outlook reacted slowly. Another issue came in the English version of HelpDesk OSP: if an e-mail answer came from a non-English Outlook, the e-mail threading did not work. Both these issues are now solved.

Attachments, formatting, images - everything goes into the ticket
When an incoming e-mail is converted into a ticket the e-mail formatting, images and attachments are going into the SharePoint list items as well as the body text and caller info. However, a Community Member who received very big attachments had problems including them. The attachments size depends on the Internet speed, so to support big files the attachment adding timeout value was raised from 100 seconds to 10 minutes. That should make it possible to include even big .bmp files on a slow connection.

Free upgrades
Subscribers of the Outlook add-ons should always have well functioning software, so therefore the subscription fee includes support and upgrades. If you have experienced problems with HelpDesk OSP you are very welcome to upgrade your installation.

Try it!
If you use Outlook and SharePoint and need a smooth way to share your incoming e-mails I recommend you to try HelpDesk OSP. We allow an evaluation period of 30 days for the full version.

21 June 2012

Project Management With New Kanban Task Manager For Outlook

Kanban Task Manager logotype
The team is proud to announce the release of Kanban Task Manager  a totally new product for project and task management that works like a Kanban board for Outlook Tasks.

Kanban board in Outlook
Everyone needs good project management, but it might be difficult to keep track of all the different tasks and phases of a project. Often some kind of Kanban board is used, either a physical one with cards or some web solution. What Business Solutions has done is something much better  we have moved the Kanban board into Outlook and make use of standard Outlook Tasks. This way users don't have to learn a new system, and everyone can see in their computers when something has been changed.

Project management with Outlook Tasks

To use Outlook for project management gives many benefits:
  • Drag and Drop Outlook tasks between phases.
  • Visualize progress and blockers right inside Outlook.
  • New features, like filter for project or responsible or show tasks for several projects at the same time. These features are already added for version 1, but we will of course continue developing Kanban Task Manager with additional features.
  • Automatic and instant synchronization between team member computers.
  • If the SharePoint option for sharing is used the team may be geographically dispersed.
  • Statistics Excel reports are generated automatically.
Sponsored development
The IT specialists at the German company SABIK Informationssysteme saw the advantages of moving the task management into Outlook. As Sabik already uses another application it was a natural step for them to ask us if we could develop a Kanban board that works inside Outlook. We are grateful and proud that they turned to us with their request, and of course we could manage the task (sic!).

Great team work gives support for all Outlook versions
Although we knew we could make it, developing a totally new product is a big undertaking and the process to finalize Kanban Task Manager has not always been easy. We did not make it easier for us by wanting to support all Outlook versions from 2003, also Office 365 and the 64-bit version of Outlook 2010. And all in one installer!

Maybe that is why it has felt so fantastic to see how everything has come together, so that we now can make the release of the project management application for Outlook Tasks. The team has been working hard, and I want especially to thank our staff at the Indian office for their dedication.

When we had a Beta version of Kanban Task Manager I could start creating the web pages, the manual and the slideshow, and our CEO Peter could record a few video demonstrations. I am afraid I complicated things further by suggesting changes and asking for explanations   I had no manual, you know, just a project description, and I am no technician! But our developers and testers have been patient with me, and I believe I contributed to making Kanban Task Manager even more user friendly.

Free for Community Members Community handshakeWe are happy to have a project management application in our portfolio also, and we hope many new and old Members of the Community will use it. If your organization is a current Community Member  that is, subscriber to one of our products  you just have to contact us to get a free registration key for Kanban Task Manager.

Try it!
Anyone is of course welcome to try Kanban Task Manager, the new application from Business Solutions. Just visit our website and download it. The slideshow gives a first overview, but I recommend you to study the manual and video demonstrations also. The evaluation period is 30 days, and we give full support during that period as well as when your organization becomes a registered user.

The team is looking forward to welcoming many new Members to the Community!

ACTA No In EU Parliament Comes Closer

Today the Committee on International Trade voted about the controversial anti-piracy agreement ACTA, and the result was a rejection. The Committee will thus recommend the EU Parliament to say No to ACTA.

ACTA is an international agreement on common guidelines on how counterfeiting and piracy should be resisted. It was negotiated by the US, EU, Japan and several other countries.

ACTA supporters believe that the agreement is a necessary protection for intellectual property rights, because ideas, knowledge and creativity are the most important capital in the modern economy. The supporters of ACTA mean that in a globalized world, the protection should to be international. Supporters also point out that no EU legislation will be amended because of the agreement. Business Solutions is one of the companies that thrive on just ideas, knowledge and creativity!  We are not especially worried about counterfeiting and piracy for our own sake, though, because it is difficult - if not  impossible - to copy the  ideas, knowledge and creativity of the team.

I can understand the concerns that led up to the ACTA agreement, but there are also disadvantages with it.  Opponents say that ACTA favors companies at the expense of civil liberties and rights. They warn that poor countries may find it harder to get hold of things like medical supplies. Patents and copyrights may create unfair barriers and prevent countries with less research resources from getting what they need to develop.

Protests from European citizens against ACTA have been fierce. A petition got 2.8 million signatures, and demonstrations were held across Europe. I have earlier written about ACTA in several blog posts, but this is perhaps the last time. The EU Parliament will vote about the agreement on 5 July, but now that five different committees have said no to ACTA it is highly unlikely that the Parliament will say yes.

20 June 2012

Fax online with improved image quality

PamFax bannerPamFax is an application that makes it possible to fax online from anywhere. You don't need a machine for online faxing, just an internet connection. Yesterday PamFax was updated to give improved quality when faxing graphics, photos and scanned documents. Partner

Peter Kalmstrom, CEO of Business Solutions, was a product manager at Skype for five years. During this time he was also engaged in the development of the first version of this online faxing product, and after that he has continued to take interest in it. He has also maintained the contact with the founders of PamConsult, the company behind PamFax, and since last year PamConsult and have been partners. When we need to fax we always fax online, and as PamFax is the product we use and trust we are happy to recommend it.

Easy and safe to fax online

Online faxing with PamFax is suitable to anyone who needs to send and receive fax in a secure and inexpensive way without having to hassle with a fax machine. Online faxing is so much easier! You can even get your own local fax number. All faxes are conveniently saved online, either in the PamFax portal or at Dropbox, Box and Google Drive. It is available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, iPhone/iPad and Android.

PamFax update

PamFax imageYesterday PamConsult released an update of PamFax. Many smaller enhancements have been made, but the most important improvements deal with how graphics, photos and scanned documents are reproduced when you fax online. Earlier they were often too dark, but now the recipient of the fax will get a nice, readable copy, like in the image to the right. All changes are made server-side, so PamFax users don’t need to manually download or update anything on their computers or mobile devices. Next time they start PamFax to fax online they will simply see the updated version.

Next version development
PamConsult has announced that this was the last maintenance update for PamFax 3.4. Now the work on version 3.5 will start. Release is scheduled for mid October, and this version will have several new features. I am quite satisfied with PamFax as it is, but as both a partner and a user I of course look forward with interest to see what next version of this online faxing application will bring.

17 June 2012

New Kalmstrom in the team – Our best wishes to Siret and Peter!

This last Friday my husband Sigge and I were happy to welcome a new member to the Kalmstrom family, when Sales and Relations Manager Siret Toots married our son Peter, CEO of Business Solutions.
Siret and Peter first Photo
The couple met at Skype
Siret and Peter second PhotoPeter and Siret both worked at Skype when they first met, and they had known each other for quite a while when Peter decided to leave Skype, to concentrate more on his work at He then invited Siret to a dinner to thank her for good cooperation – and that was when both of them discovered that they had a lot more in common than work.

After that evening they became a couple, and last year Siret left her homeland Estonia to join Peter in Sweden and start working at

Siret is a great asset to both Peter and the company, and Sigge and I feel lucky that this kind and intelligent woman has now married our son and taken our family name, Kalmstrom (or Kalmström in Swedish).

Ceremony at Öland cottage

Peter has a small cottage right by the sea on Öland, the island off the south-east coast of Sweden where Business Solutions has its head quarters. The newly-weds will be spending the summer in the cottage, and they also intend to spend many future summers there.
Siret and Peter second Photo
The cottage is surrounded by old oak trees, and this is a good omen as oaks have been sacred in Estonia for thousands of years and still is. On the beach below the cottage there is a short pier, and that is where the marriage ceremony was held.
Siret giving Peter the ring
The official admonished the bride and groom to always remember what they felt for each other this day, and it will not be difficult for Peter and Siret to do that. They can see the pier where they became husband and wife from their living room and as soon as they step out the door!

Unconventional wedding
As you might have understood already, from the choice of place, the wedding was an unconventional event. Swedish weddings are normally not such big affairs as for example Indian ones, but even after Swedish standards Siret’s and Peter’s wedding was small. Only the closest family was present, but among them was the Matriarch, who is now 94 years old.Peter, Ingalill and Siret
It is also common for the bride to be dressed in white and for the groom to wear dark colors, but Siret and Peter wanted strong and joyful colors instead.

Peonies and Claddagh rings

Siret had chosen both the flowers and the design of the rings. For her bouquet she wanted peony buds in a very light pink color, and the rings are in white gold.
The new Mrs. Kalmstrom is very interested in history and knows a lot about the subject, and Peter had no objections when she wanted the old Irish Claddagh symbol, showing two hands clasping a heart, on their wedding rings. Inside the rings there is the text, “Peter forever” and “Siret forever”, and to reinforce the message there are tiny diamonds in the hearts of the ring – the strongest substance known to mankind!
Oliver, Peter and Siret

Siret and Sigge
Dinner of Öland products

After the ceremony the party made a short drive to the house where Sigge and I live, to have a long festive dinner. Öland is known for its gastronomy, and the meal made with mostly local products was delicious.

Kate and Siret
Siret and Peter sparkled with happiness. It was a joy to just look at them, and they will surely keep this lucky day in their hearts for the rest of their lives. They are not ordinary people, so this unconventional style for the marriage seems to have been just right for them.

11 June 2012 Tips and new products most interesting blog posts in May

I want to write a varied blog with different angles on big and small events in the IT world, but in May the more product oriented blog posts were the most read. This is not strange, as many readers of the Blog are either users of the applications or generally interested in development for Outlook and SharePoint.

TimeCard for Outlook
TimeCard logotype
Many people use the Outlook calendar for their time planning, so it is convenient to also report time and expenses from within Outlook. With TimeCard Outlook appointments are tagged with time reporting data, so that the planned time can be reported and no double entries are necessary. The latest update also gives a possibility to have the timesheet data entered automatically into the appointment when you accept a meeting request.

Task management inside OutlookKanban Task Manager logotype
Kanban Task Manager is a new product from that will be released later this month, and I have written popular articles about it several times before. When I published a demonstration on the Kanban Task Manager Beta version the interest was renewed, and a video is really a good way to demonstrate the essentials of an application.

MetaData Creator for SharePoint

Another demo this month showed Peter’s new idea for an application that extracts metadata, like keywords, from documents in SharePoint libraries. This enhances the SharePoint Search feature and also Tag clouds and metadata navigation works much better with good metadata.

SharePoint Content Types

The Tips are popular, as always. This month our CEO Peter has created a new demo about the SharePoint Content Types. These are very useful, but unfortunately many administrators don’t know how to utilize them. Instead they put a lot of energy in adding the same thing several times. Learning Content types also requires some effort, but in the long run it is well worth it. Peter is a Microsoft certified SharePoint specialist, so he knows how to do it and would like to see more people give Content Types a try.

If the above subjects sound interesting, I suggest you follow the Blog. Maybe you will like some of my other articles on more general topics also?

09 June 2012

Lucky days for and its Lead Developer

In February 2009 a young Indian developer called Jayant Rimza joined the team. He was chosen for the position from among over 200 applicants, because not only did he have the education and experience we required but also showed a good problem solution capacity in the test we gave him.

You never know how a new employee will turn out until you have worked together for some time, but it soon became clear to us that the day Jayant joined was a lucky day.

Jayant once told me that some friends had warned him for joining such a small foreign company as Business Solutions. We are glad he did not listen to them but dared to trust us. Since 2009 the company has grown considerably and hired more people, so now we are not that small anymore. bossesJayant has of course played an important role in the expansion. Now he is our Lead Developer and Director of the Indian office, and he has also become a dear friend and an appreciated associate. In the image to the right CEO Peter is discussing the business with Jayant during a visit to India.

Family photoToday is also a lucky day, because it is Jayant's 30th birthday. He is still young, of course, but the single guy has become a married man and proud father of Atiksh, three and a half months old.

The Kalmstrom family and the team members are all wishing Jayant Rimza a great birthday and many happy returns of lucky days!

07 June 2012

Internet freedom proposal from Sweden and USA

The United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is visiting Sweden this week, and today the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reveals that Ms. Clinton and her Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt want to join forces in the fight for Internet freedom.

UNHRC discussion
In the end of February I wrote an article about a  panel discussion about Internet freedom held in the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. It was initiated by the Swedish Foreign Minister, and the purpose of it was to point out what the member countries of the Human Rights Council can do to protect and promote freedom of expression on the internet, and to highlight the major threats to this fundamental right.

The result of the discussion was that Human Rights Council officially incorporated the fight for Internet freedom in its work. This was a step in the right direction, and during Hillary Clinton's visit to Stockholm she and Mr. Bildt prepared another step towards internet freedom for all.

Common proposal
According to Dagens Nyheter the U.S. and Sweden will present a draft resolution on Internet freedom to the Human Rights Council in late June. The proposal contains two elements:
  • Article 19 on Freedom of Speech in the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights should apply online in the same way as it does offline. Article 19 stipulates the right of everyone to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to disseminate and gather information.
  • The draft resolution on the Internet and its contents should be respected as a fundamental prerequisite for the information and freedom of expression.
Fight against Internet restrictions
Both the first Human Rights Council panel discussion and  this coming proposal are directed towards the type of actions that the Mubarak regime took during the Arab spring, when virtually the entire Egyptian network was shut down. But it also addresses the censorship on the net that governments in countries such as China and Iran are engaged in.

First top-level speech on Internet freedom
As far as I know Hillary Clinton was the first to raise Internet freedom to the international top-level policy, which she did in a speech at the Newseum in Washington, DC in January 2010. Like the rest of the team I hope that she will be successful in this fight.

06 June 2012

Excel Reports Used For Outlook Tasks Analysis

The documentation for the new Outlook add-on for Task management is coming together, and today I can show the first video demonstration ‒ the Excel reports on Outlook Tasks.

Task management in Outlook
Kanban Task Manager logotype
Kanban Task Manager visualizes Outlook Tasks and shows what Project and Phase each Task belong to and who is responsible for it. As soon as something is updated in one of the work group computers, the other team members can also see it in theirs. If you use the SharePoint option for sharing and storage, the team members may even be in different parts of the world!

Task management data
You can however get much more information out of Kanban Task Manager than seeing what Tasks people are working with and what Phase of each Project the Tasks belong to. Kanban Task Manager has an application for reporting and statistics, and by using it managers and administrators will get a lot of information about the Outlook Tasks their staff are working with. That way they can remove blockers and make sure the work is efficient.

Excel Reports
Excel icon
The Task management Excel Reports are very easy to use. The application gives seven predefined reports that show what most managers need to know, like the status of the Outlook Tasks and the time spent on them. All seven reports are shown in a table version as well as a graph version. You may use all the inbuilt features of Excel with the Kanban Task Manager reports, so you can both add more parameters to the reports and make them look nice with the Excel design options.

In the demo below Peter Kalmstrom. CEO of Business Solutions, shows the different Excel reports that can be used for Task management and gives suggestions on how to add more information to them. Welcome to have a look. And if you have not done it already, welcome to learn how your project work flows can be improved by using Outlook Tasks and Kanban Task Manager!

The Board At Work

Siret Toots is a team member I care much about, not only because she is a good sales and relations officer but also because she is a lovely girl who will soon be my daughter-in-law when she marries Peter, the CEO of Business Solutions.

I am delighted that Siret loves the island where Sigge and I live and where has its head quarters as much as we do. Here she will tell you about an unusual board meeting that took place the other day:
Siret Toots Photo
Öland is an island off the south-east coast of Sweden. It is one of those naturally amazing places that at least should make you forget about your daily toils and seduce you to soak up the wonders of Mother Earth ‒ or at least so I thought.

Last Saturday was one of those gorgeous spring days when you can already feel the hint of summer and smell the warmth in the breeze. CEO Peter Kalmström and I were out for a walk on an amazing nature trail in the north-western part of Öland, watching the birds and the bees and even a snake slithering happily by.
Peter Kalmstrom Photo
After the walk we sat down with our laptops to do a bit of work, when suddenly the other two members of the board, Kate and Sigge Kalmström, came strolling along the same trail with their dog Lisa. The chance encounter swiftly turned into an executive board meeting in one of nature’s most beautiful conference rooms. board photo
Kanban Task Manager iconOf course one cannot argue that there was not a lot to discuss: is shortly to release an exciting Outlook product: the totally new Kanban TaskManager.

I know Kate has told you about this task management tool earlier in this blog, and she will no doubt come back and announce the publication here also. I just wanted to let you know that the team is hard at work even when we are at our leisure!

04 June 2012

Outlook HelpDesk Becomes Folder HelpDesk - Incident Management 12 Years Later

Outlook HelpDesk was the start. Now Business Solutions has released version 12 of its Outlook add-on for issue tracking, incident management and user support with another name.

Twelve year old Outlook helpdesk

Folder HelpDesk bannerIn the year 2000 Peter Kalmstrom created the first version of an incident management add-on that converts e-mails into tickets that can be shared and managed inside Outlook. He called it Outlook HelpDesk, but later he changed the name into Public Folder HelpDesk. At that time most organizations used a public folder for sharing the tickets inside Outlook, but today a shared mailbox has become an increasingly popular alternative. Therefore the issue tracking tool has been renamed again, now into Folder HelpDesk.

New features that users wished for
As the incident management application has been on the market for so long a lot of useful features have been added to it, many of them suggested by users. We are grateful for such input from support staff and administrators and try to realize as many of the ideas as possible.

In recent years the helpdesk for Outlook has received several sponsorships, where user organizations pay part of the cost for developing one or several new features. So also this time, and here we would like to extend our gratitude to Swiss Post for their investment in version 12 of the issue tracking application. Their contribution has made it possible for us to improve Folder HelpDesk beyond the enhancements of the incident management process that we had already planned.

Keeping the good old idea
At the same time as Peter and his team have developed and improved our Outlook helpdesk for continuously better incident management and user support, they have always maintained the focus: to offer support groups and others a simple but efficient way of co-operating on support cases and other incidents in a platform already well know to them.

Using Outlook makes it easy to convert incoming e-mails into incident tickets, both manually and automatically, and to transfer sender information, formatting, attachments and images to the ticket. It is also easy to send e-mails from the ticket.

Notification e-mails and templates
The possibility to send automatic notification e-mails is important in an issue tracking or user support application , and in Folder HelpDesk V12 this functionality has been further improved. By adding an HTML editor to the templates list we have made it easier to customize the templates for these automatic notifications, and we have also added new check boxes for triggering Folder HelpDesk to send and stop sending auto-emails.

Folder HelpDesk logoThis is only one example on the many enhancements that make Folder HelpDesk V12 an even more efficient user support application. For a full list of the new features, please refer to the Folder HelpDesk Revisions page. I have also written several articles about the improvements in this blog earlier Please make a search for "Folder HelpDesk" in the Search field here under my photo, and you will find them.

Try Folder HelpDesk for free

Does your organization need a better tool for issue tracking and user support? I welcome you to try the full version of Folder HelpDesk for 30 days!