29 November 2010

"HelpDesk OSP" Becomes "Outlook Publisher" When Partners With EPM Live has developed a custom version of HelpDesk OSP for use with the EPM Live WorkengineHelpDesk OSP, the application that connects Outlook to SharePoint or Office Live, has become very popular among Community Members. Now we have also developed a custom version for use with EPM Live's WorkEngine.

The WorkEngine is built on Microsoft SharePoint and has evolved the Microsoft SharePoint stack to a more comprehensive and integrated Enterprise Project and Work Management platform. With the EPM Live WorkEngine companies can manage all project and work management within one solution.

EPM Live launched their new add-on this week. They have given their custom version of HelpDesk OSP the name Outlook Publisher, thus concentrating less on the helpdesk usage and more on the the possibility to publish e-mails to SharePoint for any work. Welcome to read the presentation of Outlook Publisher in the EPM Live blog.

In the years 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009 Microsoft presented Gold Certified Partner EPM Live with their prestigious “Partner of the Year” Award, so the team feels proud of being able to make the EPM Live WorkEngine solution even better. The cooperation between EPM Live and Business Solutions will of course continue, and enhancements in HelpDesk OSP will also be added to Outlook Publisher. We look forward to a long and rewarding relation between the two companies!

28 November 2010 CEO Happy With Outcome Of India Trip CEO Peter with developers Jayant and Abhishek

Today I have a guest blogger. My son and the CEO, Peter, writes about his visit to India and how he felt coming back to a snowy Sweden: CEO Peter came home to a wintery Sweden after his visit to IndiaIt was quite a contrast coming home to Norrköping, Sweden, where there is a big snowstorm now! Just a few days ago I was in Indore, India, with temperatures well above 25 degrees centigrade. I definitely have to dress differently!

There were several reasons for making such a long trip. First of all I needed to meet with our developers, Jayant and Abhishek, see the image above. We discussed the current status of our products and shared a lot of exciting ideas and plans for the future. Also I was delighted to be invited to Jayant’s wedding. It was my first time at a Hindu wedding, and I was quite thrilled about it! Finally we are planning to expand the team by hiring at least two more people, so I had a long list of people to meet and interview.

The result of the journey was well above expectations. Not only was I treated extremely well at the wedding (see pictures on Facebook), but I also met some good people we now are in the process of hiring. An additional bonus was getting to know Jayant’s family, some really nice and interesting people. I can’t wait to come visiting again!

25 November 2010 CEO At Indian Wedding

Peter Kalmstrom attended Lead Developer Jayant Rimza's wedding in Indore, India

Yesterday was a happy day in Indore, India. Lead Developer Jayant Rimza married Sushma Likhar, and nearly a thousand guests celebrated the wedding. Peter, CEO of Business Solutions, was of course one of them. As you see above he was properly dressed in a beautiful kurta. The photo shows Peter with the bride and groom and Senior Developer Abhishek Sharma. Abhishek has given us more photos, published at the Community page on Facebook. Welcome to have a look!

21 November 2010

Calendar Browser Buttons Now In The Outlook 2010 Ribbon

Calendar Browser - resource management inside Outlook
Development of version 7 of Calendar Browser proceeds, and we hope to release it by the end of December. Today I can show you how the buttons in our resource booking tool look when they are moved to the Outlook 2010 ribbon. Nice, isn't it?

Here you see all four buttons, but the Manage button can be hidden. In that case the Administrator reaches the settings by running the Settings file instead. The Overview gives information about future bookings, the Search button brings up a dialog where you can search for free resources at a specific time and the Description button shows a description of the selected resource. Past resource usage is studied with the integrated Statistics application OLAP Reporting Tool, just as before.

Calendar Browser V7 will only support Office 2007 and 2010, and when it is released we will stop marketing the current version. Community Members who still use Office 2003 can keep version 6, though, because we will continue supporting it until all Members who use Calendar Browser have upgraded to an Office version with the Fluent Interface/Ribbon.

The Outlook 2010 Calendar was so different to earlier versions that it felt impossible for us to continue developing the product with the folder homepage (the main user interface in all earlier versions). Instead we had to find an solution that would keep for the future. This means using the Ribbon, even if it also means that we for a period will have to support two different versions of Calendar Browser.

19 November 2010

Peter Goes To India

Tomorrow morning the CEO Peter will fly to India to meet our employees and our partner there. Peter tries to make this journey at least once a year, and it is always a very rewarding trip. This time the visit will be extra enjoyable, since the Lead Developer Jayant Rimza will marry, and Peter will attend the wedding. The image here above shows a part of the invitation card we all received, with Jayant's and Sushma's names in Hindi and the date for the wedding.

Having the team spread over the world has of course its disadvantages, but there are many benefits. We come from different cultures, and that means we see some things differently also when it comes to product development and marketing. Since we are all open to discussion, we often find better solutions together than I think we would have achieved if we all came from Sweden and had the same references.

Another great advantage is of course that we learn more about each other's countries and customs, something Peter will experience with good measure at the wedding. Peter or I will certainly come back and tell you more about it!

14 November 2010

Peter Left Skype for

Peter Kalmstrom, CEO of Business Solutions and the brain behind the company's Office add-onsOur CEO Peter left Skype in October, after five years as Product Manager for Skype Toolbars. He will now dedicate himself more to Business Solutions, and he has a lot of ideas ‒ as always! They are too many for a blog, so this time I give the information in a press release instead. Welcome to read it if you wish to know more about the inventive creator of the products and his plans for the future!

12 November 2010

Member Survey Gives Advice About Office Support

Office add-ons from Business Solutions will leverage your Microsoft How far back should we support? We begun asking ourselves that question after the release of Office 2010, when we had a situation where we supported five Office versions. Five versions are more than what is common in the business, but on the other hand Business Solutions is not ‒ and should not be! ‒ a common software developer.

But if we don't use our resources in the best possible way? Of course we want our products to be compatible with as many Office versions as possible, but on the other hand most Members of Community have modern environments. Should we spend time developing and testing our products for all five versions of Outlook, or is it better to take the time we use on the lower versions and spend it on other development instead?

To get an answer to that question we decided to ask the users ‒ the Members of Community. Our development efforts are for them, so getting their opinions was the right thing to do. Peter, our CEO, sent an e-mail to all Community Members to ask their advice, and now most of them have answered.

The information we received shows that we can take away support for Outlook 2000 and 2002 without problems. From now on we will no longer test new versions of our products on Outlook 2000 and 2002.

For Outlook 2003 the situation is different. A number of Members still use Outlook 2003, but most of them mentioned that they plan to upgrade soon or at least during 2011. We will therefore keep the support for Outlook 2003 for now and assess the situation again by the end of 2011.

We are grateful for all replies. Now we can feel certain we have made a good decision, and we must not ask ourselves if we might have left users stranded out there. We will still give support for Outlook 2003 for the organizations who need it, but by giving up the support for the lower versions we will have more time for product enhancements and maybe even new products.

Members, we have of course saved the info about your Office versions, so please tell us when you upgrade so that we can change our records. Thank you all!

08 November 2010 Community One Year Old Community. We earlier felt that we spent too much time nagging about support purchases and hunting for new customers. Instead we wanted to take better care of the customers we already had, and we achieved that by offering subscriptions to our products. Add-ons need to be updated often to support and take advantage of new technologies, and as support and upgrades are always free for Community Members this is a very safe way of purchasing software.

After this first year we see that the transfer to a subscription system was just the right thing to do. Even if a few have not realized the benefits, a majority of old customers and evaluators has welcomed the service a Community Membership gives them.  We now have a satisfactory number of customers paying their fees, which means that we can plan company and product development with a much better security than before.

Organizations all over the world has shown their confidence in by joining the Community. Today 52 % of the Members are from European countries, 31% are from USA and 17 % come from the rest of the world. The part from outside Europe and USA has been increasing from only 8 % in May, probably because our products now give full Unicode support.

A bit more than half of our Members, 57 %, are well known customers who have transferred to the Community during the past year. The rest of the Members are new to us. To give good service we make an effort to learn more about the users of our products and their environments than we did before the Community time. I will not argue that we are all like a big, happy family, but it certainly feels nice that we are a Community!

06 November 2010

Happy Deepawali!

The Deepawali festival is celebrated by Hindus all over the world The Indian members of the team has taught us to wish "Happy Deepawali" this weekend. Deepawali, or Diwali, is an important Hindu celebration of the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated by Hindus all over the world, and as it is characterized by displays of candles, lamps and fireworks it is also called the Festival of Lights.

Most families celebrate Deepawali in their home, where they light special clay lamps with a cotton wick dipped in ghee or vegetable oil, as symbols for knowledge and enlightenment. The festival lasts for five days, each dedicated to prayers to a different deity. We thank our former QA Engineer Saurab Verma for the image of the altar with the lamps and offerings in the home of his parents.

04 November 2010

PF HelpDesk V11.1 Released

Public Folder HelpDesk for Outlook from Business Solutions may also be installed in a shared mailbox The team is happy to have released version 11.1 of our issue tracking add-on for Outlook, PF HelpDesk. Some bugs are fixed in this update, but above all there are several enhancements that will make PF HelpDesk even nicer to work with.

Among the improvements are better handling of the ticket attachments, better possibilities to drag and drop or paste to the ticket and better use of the Open Ticket button. We have also added an option for excluding a machine from the automatic conversions of e-mails to tickets. This setting is placed under the E-mail folders tab, where you add the folders to be monitored automatically. For more information about version 11.1, please refer to the PF HelpDesk Revisions page.

We could not add the SQL Azure database alternative this time, but Abhishek is working on it so we will soon update PF HelpDesk again. Now I just want to say a warm thank you to all Members who have reported problems or suggested enhancements. Your help is much appreciated, and you are very welcome to upgrade your PF HelpDesk installations.

Have you not tried PF HelpDesk yet? If you need a tool for handling incoming e-mails within a workgroup and still stay inside Outlook, I recommend you to take a look at Public Folder HelpDesk! In spite of the name it may also be installed in a shared mailbox.