29 August 2012 Gives Precedence To Support Services

Support and upgrades are always included in the fee when you subscribe to an application from Business Solutions. This way we can make sure our customers have up to date, well-functioning software. We also give support to evaluators. When people take their time to test one of our products we want it to be a pleasant experience. And if there are problems during the evaluation period, we will take the opportunity to show the high level of the Support Services.

Recently we have made a developer responsible for the support management, and we hope that this will further improve the connection between requests and complaints from Community Members and future development work. These staff members are the ones you will most likely meet in e-mails and chats if you contact the customer support:
Kanak Joshi image
Kanak Developer Kanak Joshi has taken over the responsibility for support management from Sigge Kalmstrom, after assisting him with support chats and e-mails for many months. Besides continuing with these customer and evaluator contacts Kanak is now also the one who makes sure all cases are followed up and brought to a satisfactory solution.  As she is also programming the products she knows them very well, and furthermore she understands how to explain solutions in a way that is easy to grasp for a non-technician.
Jayant Rimza image
Jayant Lead Developer Jayant Rimza is our rock, the one who solves the problems that the rest of the support team cannot manage. Jayant seldom answers e-mails, but he is the one who most often conducts a remote session when that is necessary to see the cause of a problem. In these cases we also have to engage the user, so we put our best force on the task to get the remote session done as quickly as possible.
Sigge Kalmstrom image
Sigge Kalmstrom is one of the three company owners and responsible for book-keeping, auditing and finances. For several years he has also been responsible for the support management, but now he has left that part to Kanak. Sigge will still answer support e-mails, though, as he works later than the Indian team members and thus can cover many of the hours they are away. He will also continue answering e-mails in German and Swedish.
Vipul Dindulkar image
Our Office Manager Vipul Dindulkar is a man of many talents. Managing everything around the office requires a lot, but Vipul also helps with answering support e-mails as soon as the office obligations allow him to.

The CEO and our QAs also follows closely what is happening in the support, even if they seldom answer e-mails or chats. The support is much appreciated, and the staff takes the praise they get as an encouragement to always do their very best.  You are welcome to contact the Support with questions anytime!

24 August 2012

Microsoft, And Logos - A Fascinating Coincidence

Yesterday Microsoft released their new logo, and it came as a surprise for the team that its symbol was so alike to our own square logo – which was created after Microsoft had complained about the earlier logo!

Building on top of Microsoft Business Solutions builds applications on top of Microsoft’s most popular programs, like Outlook, Excel and SharePoint. They make Microsoft do more, and of course we want that to be visible in our logo. In our rectangular logo we show it with text – leveraging your Microsoft – but sometimes a square logo is needed and then it is more difficult.

old Square LogoMix of icons
Our first square logo was a mix of icons that looked like the icons of Microsoft products used by the applications. However, Microsoft would not accept that logo in their prestigious Pinpoint marketplace, because it resembled their own icons too much. Pinpoint is an important marketing channel for us, where the company as well as our products and services can be extensively presented, so we did not argue but decided to change our square logo. Square LogoNew square logo
Siret Kalmstrom, Sales and Relations Manager, suggested we should keep the globe from the earlier logo and add a banner to it. This shows that Business Solutions has customers all over the world.

 Our Lead Developer Jayant Rimza suggested Windows look-alike colors as background to the globe, and from those two ideas our Graphic Designer Jitendra Joshi created the new square logo you see here. We were all satisfied with the background of four tiles, partly hidden by the globe with the banner, and the new logo was launced in December 2011.

From waves to tiles
At the time when the square logo was created, the Windows logo had a bent, wavy style, like a flag. In different shapes had been there ever since the launch of Windows 3.1 in 1992. We had no idea that Microsoft was planning to get rid of these colors in the Windows 8 logo, neither that they instead would use the same colors in their logotype  – but now as tiles.

New Microsoft LogoWe got a first glimps of Microsoft’s minimalistic new style in February, when they introduced their two-dimensional Metro-style Windows flag, and now we see the same very simple style in the new company logo that reminds of the Windows 8 interface. Microsoft presents their new look in a YouTube video, that already has a lot of comments.

What do you think about the Microsoft and logos? Personally I like the logo better, but it is really nice to see that Business Solutions once again stands in the frontline – this time even ahead of Microsoft!

23 August 2012

More Enhancements In New Kanban Task Manager For Outlook

Kanban Task Manager logotype
Earlier this week I told you about some improvements in the upcoming new version of Kanban Task Manager, but there is more!

Search tasks
If you looked at the video in the earlier blog, maybe you saw the new field in the Kanban Task Manager homepage?  It is a search field, where you can search the subjects and bodies of all tasks.

Just write the word you are looking for and click the magnifying glass, or simply hit Enter, and all tasks that contain this word will show up in the Outlook Kanban board. The rest of the tasks will be hidden and the magnifying glass will transform into an X icon. Press it, and all the earlier tasks will come back again. You can also search for a string of words.
The search feature is meant for search of the task subject and body. If you are looking for all tasks of one project or one responsible you should use the filtering option instead.

Faster loading
Kanban Task Manager V1.1 has some changes that will make it faster compared to the first version.  These speed improvements are especially important when you have many tasks in Kanban Task Manager.

The settings are stored in a new way that makes them faster to fetch, and the Kanban Task Manager homepage is installed in another way for faster loading. And if SharePoint is used for sharing there is a remarkable improvement. The loading of changed items from the SharePoint list is ten times faster in version 1.1!

Plans page
All the news of Kanban Task Manager V1.1  are described on the Kanban Task Manager Plans page. Most products have such Plans pages, where we tell about our plans for the application. We first mention the current development and then list things we want to do in the future.

Sponsorships Community
On the Plans pages we also invite user organizations to sponsor the development of features they want us to prioritize. This model, where the customer pays only part of the cost for a requested addition to the standard product, is favorable for the sponsor organization. It is also beneficial to other users and to Business Solutions who get a better product to market.

Kanban Task Manager was first created with the help of a sponsorship from one of our Community Members. Maybe you too have a suggestion you would like to discuss with us? Always feel welcome to contact us with your ideas! We will do our best to make them come true

21 August 2012

Enhanced Task Handling In New Kanban Task Manager

The team is working on an update of Kanban Task Manager for Outlook. After a few months and many evaluations we have received valuable suggestions, and as the team uses Kanban Task Manager we also have found some ways of improving this project and task management application. One of the areas of enhancement in the new version is the tasks themselves.

Outlook tasks with some extra info
The Kanban Task Manager tasks are standard Outlook tasks where we have added  dropdowns for project, phase and responsible. This means that this add-on gives you all the functionality of the Outlook tasks, and on top you get much more than that. The tasks can be viewed by all users in their PCs, and if one of them makes a change it is synchronized to all the other PCs. In the new version the automatic synchronization will be very quick, as only the changed tasks will be updated.
Kanban Task Manager colors
New color system
Many users have liked the colorful user interface of Kanban Task Manager, with different colors for different kinds of tasks, but we have also received complaints that it has been tedious to mark each task with a color. We have therefore we decided to connect the colors to either project or responsible and let them be added automatically. We have also added a color picker in the settings where any color in the RGB range can be attached to the project or the responsible person.

New design of tasks
The tasks in the next version of Kanban Task Manager will have a slightly different design, with more rounded corners and a light shadow that gives them a 3D look. The text is either black or white and changes automatically depending on the darkness of the background color. As you see in the simple video below the Kanban Task Manager homepage also has information on how many tasks each phase contains.

Drag and drop tasks

Just like before the Kanban Task Manager tasks can be dragged between different phases, and the phase info is automatically changed in the task. However, now you can take hold of any part of the task with the mouse cursor to drag it. Even if it is just a corner you can easily move the task to another phase!

Create new tasks directly in the phase
You may create a task either by using the New task button in the Outlook ribbon or by double clicking in a phase. If you double click in a phase, that phase will be shown as default in the task dropdown, and should you have filtered the tasks by project and/or responsible that info is defaulted too, as shown in the video above.

If you have already tried Kanban Task Manager, maybe you discovered another new feature in the video? I will soon come back and tell you more about it.

15 August 2012

Site Problem Solved!

Now the site is up again, so you are welcome to visit!

The website is down

Unfortunately I have to tell you that the website is down - again! It happened not so long ago, and now it has happened again.  There is a server problem at 1&1, and it will probably take 3-4 hours to fix.  I will come back with reports as soon as I know more.

13 August 2012

Himalayan Pilgrimage For Designer

The graphic and web designer Jitendra Joshi took a couple of week’s vacation recently. He is a Hindu, and during his time off he went on a pilgrimage to the Himalayas. Now he is back, and when he told me about his journey he made and showed me the photos he took I decided to invite him to tell his story in the blog. I know our blog readers will find it as facinating as I did.
Pilgrimage Photo 1

Sacred Himalayan cave

According to Hindu mythology Lord Shiva is the originator and destroyer of this world, and in the sacred Amarnath Cave he is worshipped in the originator form. The cave is surrounded by snowy mountains, and most of the year the cave is also covered in snow. It is therefore open for only 60 days every year, and to visit it you have to register first. My parents and I have been planning this journey for a long time and this year we could finally go. To me it was a fantastic experience to come so near the kind of nature I have earlier seen only in pictures.

Pilgrimage Photo 2

Pilgrimage Photo 3 Northwards by train

The journey started with seventeen hours on the train from Indore to the town Jammu tavi in the northern part of India. After a well needed rest we set out for the Amarnath Cave, which is situated at an altitude of 3888 m. There are two routes to the cave, the Phalgam and the Baltal route. The Baltal route is 16km, but it has a very steep gradient and is quite difficult to climb so we had decided to take the 35 km long Phalgam route instead.

By car to tourist town
We took a taxi to Pahalgam, which is 192km from Jammu tavi. Pahalgam is a well-known tourist town and health resort, and there are numerous tracks leading from the town into the spectacular mountain landscape. Many places in this area are legendary for Hindus, and when I now visited them for the first time I felt both joy and reverence.

Pilgrimage Photo 4
On foot
Next day we could take another taxi to Chandanwari , but after that we had to walk by foot up in the mountains. In the evening we slept in tents on the banks of Lake Sheshnag. Now we were already 3574 m above sea level, and we all felt that the air was thinner than we were used to. I had no problems with it, but my mother got an attack of altitude sickness. She got good medical care by the Indian army stationed there.
Pilgrimage Photo 5
 On horseback

The following day she was feeling better, but we still had to hire horses to manage the steep climb over the Mahagunas Pass at 4276 m. When we had descended to the valley of Panjtarni , where Lord Shiva left behind the five elements- Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Sky, we stopped and spent another night in an tent.

At AmarnathPilgrimage Photo 6
On the morning of 27 July we mounted our horses again, and after a couple of hours ride we finally reached the Amarnath Cave. Inside the cave is an ice structure created by nature, the Shiva Linga, which grows and shrinks with the phases of the moon. It reaches its height during the summer, when the cave is open for pilgrims like my family and me.

It was here Lord Shiva explained the secret of life and eternity to his wife Parvati, who was daughter of the Himalayas. Another ice formation in the cave represents Parvati and a third one Parvati’s and Shiva's son, Ganesha.

It was a very spiritual feeling being at this sacred place, and I found it easy to focus on love, compassion, forgiveness and social harmony. After worship and requests of peace for everyone, we returned by horse via the steeper Baltal route.

Impressive arrangements
Except for the visit inside the Amarnath Cave I thought the best part of the journey was the long track in the valley of the Himalayan Mountains where we had to go on foot. (Although there are horses and helicopters for not physically fit and seniors.) The environment was lush and green, and the top of the mountains were covered with white snow and ice. I was also impressed by the philanthropic groups who provide shelter, food and medical aidfor the full 60 day period in very tough conditions.
Pilgrimage Photo 7
Now I am back in Indore again, but the pilgrimage to the Amarnath Cave lives inside me and will never be forgotten. It is too early to say if and how it will influence my work but I am already certain that the journey has added to my vision both as a human being and as an artist.

Jitendra Joshi Business Solutions

08 August 2012

Discounted Software From In Surprising Context Business Solutions gives a discount of 50 % to schools and charities, which is much appreciated and feels good for us all. Sometimes we even get unexpected “rewards” for it!

Free users important in the beginning
When Peter first begun developing and marketing his applications he gave them for free to all kinds of non-profit organizations. We believe this marketing strategy has played an important role in the success of the Outlook add-ons. At that time the products were not so advanced, and as they were gifts the organizations did not demanded at lot either. Instead many of them were interested in helping troubleshooting the problems they found, and that way they also helped Peter make the applications better.

Overwhelming demand
As the years went by and the add-ons became more like the products we see today, the demand for the free licenses became overwhelming for us. Even if we were still grateful to the pioneers from the first years we decided to request payment also from non-profit organizations. Nowadays we give a discount to schools and charities, and we plan to continue doing that.

Teachers behind the company
My husband Sigge and I are former teachers, and both of us have also written textbooks and teacher’s aids. Therefore it is not strange that we want to support schools by giving them a 50 % discount on the fees when they subscribe to the products. Education is a topic that engages us, and if we can do anything to help schools spending more money on the children and their teachers we are happy to do that.

Charities for a better world
We hope that the software used by charities can make their daily work a bit more efficient and give them more time for the tasks that really matter. Among our discount Members are big charity organizations but also smaller ones that improve quality of live for people in the local area where they work. Square Logo
Surprising payback
As the Members of the Community are found in many countries it happens now and then that their names pop out to us in contexts that have nothing to do with our products. This still makes us feel glad. “Oh, they are Members!”, we say to ourselves and read the text or whatever it is a bit more carefully.

That was what happened the other day when I had finished reading a book I liked very much: The Disappeared by the Canadian writer Kim Echlin. It is set in the ashes of the Cambodian genocide and tells us how violence and suffering can affect people. But it is also a wonderful love story, written in a clear and direct language. In the acknowledgements that came last in the book Ms. Echlin thanked The United Church of Canada for the McGeachy scholarship she had received through the church, and when I read that the jolt came back again: “A Member!”

Of course I know that Ms. Echlin would have been given the scholarship even if The United Church of Canada had not been a Member of the Community, and surely the IT staff that decided on our product had nothing to do with selecting the receiver of a scholarship for an author. In spite of that I could not help but feeling very content with my discovery of a connection between and this fascinating novel.

06 August 2012

JavaScript In SharePoint Most Popular Tip

July is a vacation month for many Europeans, but the Blog has still been as much read as usual. These were the most read articles in July:

JavaScript + SharePoint = Power
A lot of useful tips have been gathered in the Tips section, and when a new tip page is created I usually blog about it. This month the most read tip post was about the demo where the CEO of Business Solutions shows how to use JavaScript in SharePoint. And when I checked the blog post statistics for all times this article was actually the most read in that list also!

The JavaScript/SharePoint tip is actually from December 2011, and I am glad my blog posts are read so long after they have been written. The tip is of course as valid today as it was when it was first published.

The use of Kanban Task Manager
Kanban Task Manager logotype
Many have been interested to learn how the team makes use of Kanban Task Manager, with SharePoint as medium for sharing and storage. While we have been using this new application for project and task management inside Outlook we have had ideas for several improvements, so a new version is already on its way.

MetaData Creator renamed to Document Tagger
The application for tagging documents in SharePoint libraries with keywords and other metadata is coming along fine, and the interest for this new product is great. We have decided to rename it to Document Tagger, to better explain what it does. Now the developers have added a possibility to tag many documents simultaneously, and the application can also tag .ppt and .pptx documents.

Next month I hope to write some more about our old products. These two new ones have taken much time, but of course the old products are developed constantly just as before. And Peter has a rich source of knowledge to take from, so you can feel sure he will come back with more useful Tips!

02 August 2012

Hotmail becomes In Radical Microsoft Overhaul

Once again Microsoft has given us some interesting news: the company said Tuesday that it is converting Hotmail, the world's largest web based email service, into a new Outlook -

Hotmail first for many
Hotmail was launched in 1996 and bought by Microsoft the year after, and today this free e-mail service has over 320 million users around the globe. Many of us have had a hotmail address as our first e-mail address, and today that feels very long ago. I think Microsoft wants to give the service a more modern name, that does not give these "old-fashioned" associations. And what could be more suitable than to take advantage of Outlook, their dominant e-mail software?

Better user interface and social integration
Hotmail's biggest competitor, G-mail, has better integration with social media and a nicer user interface than the current Hotmail, but that is something Microsoft has decided to change. Therefore Outlook com will have great possibilities to interact with social media like Facebook or Twitter, and the new interface is clean with a calm blue default color. screenshot
In Microsoft will restrict advertisements to text messages on the right hand side of the screen, and there will be no ads at all for person-to-person messages. The Hotmail ads are placed right in the page so that users are forced to look at them, and this has probably made many turn away from Hotmail. With the ads to the right you never actually have to see them. At least I have learned to completely ignore the ads of Facebook, which also are placed on the right side!

Unsubscribe button
Something I like in is the unsubscribe button. For emails that Outlook recognizes as an ad, it will add a universal unsubscribe button to the message. When it is clicked, Microsoft will unsubscribe to further e-mails via the retailer and also automatically filter any future promotions into the trash if the unsubscribe is ignored.

At Business Solutions we feel that e-mail promotions are outdated anyway. Nowadays people make active choices by subscribing to blogs and following organizations in social media, and we will therefore rely on those channels for information in the future and stop sending out monthly newsletters.

Slow transition
Microsoft will not rush or force users into Instead a growing number of Hotmail users will  be invited to test during the next few months, and there is no deadline for the final goodbye to Hotmail. Current Hotmail users will be able to keep their or addresses, but new users can only choose between or

Will affect Browser icon Business Solutions has never aimed for Hotmail when developing the Outlook-addins which we have marketed for nearly as long as Hotmail has existed. It has however always been possible to
TimeCard iconuse our applications with Hotmail, as the client installed parts of our products can use Hotmail instead of  Exchange. In the short run will probably only affect us by making the name Outlook even more well known, but who knows what the future will bring?
Folder HelpDesk icon
Today has no plans on developing especially for, but we want to develop for web based platforms and is undoubtedly one of them. As usual we follow the Microsoft development closely.HelpDesk OSP icon

If you want to know more about I can recommend a Mashable Tech article by Peter Pachal.