30 September 2011 On Site For Sweden's Biggest Harvest Festival

Today is the most important day of the year on the island where Business Solutions has its head office. It is "Ölands Skördefest", Sweden's biggest harvest festival. People and organizations from the whole island are engaged in the preparations, and we receive visitors not only from the rest of Sweden but also from Denmark, Germany and other countries close by. There is a lot of art, handicraft, food and music, and then best is that everything is high quality. No knick-knacks!

Sigge and I are of course participating, so we will not work much this Friday. The rest of the team will be online as usual though, so I don't think work will be suffering. And Monday we will be back again, ready to assist you and answer whatever questions you might have!

27 September 2011

Promotions In The Team

Siret Toots imageI am always happy to write about the team members, but today I feel a bit extra warm around the heart. Siret Toots has been engaged in the work at for nearly a year, but she also had another demanding job and did not have much time. Now that will change. From October Siret is taking over the responsibility for sales and marketing of the products and services.

With the growth of I can no longer handle both sales, marketing,  documentation and organization, so Siret's decision to accept the position we offered is a relief to me. She is clever and dedicated, so I know she will do a good job that will take forward.

Siret is the fiancée of our CEO, Peter. They met when they both worked for Skype, and in Siret Peter has found a loving partner with a strong integrity. She is a great asset to both Peter and!

The team has more assets! We have been very satisfied with the work of our trainee Sunil Patel, and from October we have hired him as Junior Developer. Also from October former junior developer Vijayant Rimza is called Developer. Vijayant is now able to take on a greater responsibility for development projects, so we feel that he is no longer a junior!

The future looks bright, and I am thrilled to see what these three and the rest of the team can achieve together.

22 September 2011 Comments On Windows 8

Last week Microsoft released a pre-beta, developer preview version of Windows 8, their new combined desktop, laptop and tablet operating system. Since then the team has been testing it, and I want to share some of our first thoughts and impressions with you. I will surely have reason to come back to Windows 8 many times.

Windows 8 is like a new dish ‒ some will be impressed by it and some not. Users who expected just an update of Windows 7 will be very surprised, and in the beginning maybe also frustrated by everything new. I hope they will come over it soon, because overall this is an intriguing change. Or as one of the technicians expressed it: "If you don't like Windows 8, then you don't like tech."

What first strikes you when you open Windows 8 is the totally new interface. Microsoft has hidden the traditional windows and instead given us a tile interface like in their mobile phones. The Start bar, which has been there in all earlier Windows versions, is removed and replaced with icons of each installed application. This tile layout is called "Metro", and it is optimized for touch as well as mouse and keyboard.

The Metro interface is meant to make it easy to have several applications open at the same time, not only on a desktop but also in a smart phone. Swiping from the left switches to the next app, but you can also swipe and drag to put several apps on a screen side by side, in the size that you want them. If you need to have many applications open it might be difficult to find them with this system, as you cannot scroll down the Start bar as before. However, since you can move application tiles in the interface and place them where you want them, you can create groups that will make it easier to find applications.

We all like the Windows Explorer in version 8. It has a ribbon interface, like Office 2010, where most of the common tasks are at your fingertips. It also has a backstage view with many useful options.

Now the team is looking forward to testing Windows 8 further once new computers with really good touch-screens come on the market. Microsoft and their hardware partners have been lagging behind Apple for quite a while, but we don´t believe that trend is going to keep. It will be very interesting to see what Microsoft will do together with Nokia, Samsung, Acer, Intel, Dell, Sony and others.

The next 9-12 months should see some exciting development both on the mobile and the PC markets, and the team members are glad to be part of it!

21 September 2011

HelpDesk OSP For Outlook And SharePoint - New Update

Yesterday Business Solutions published an update of the newly released version 3 of HelpDesk OSP, the Outlook add-on that connects Outlook to any SharePoint site. Most Community Members have already upgraded their installations, and with so many new users something happened that we don't like: bugs were discovered. We test our software thoroughly, but still some problems slip through now and then.

The problem concerned Outlook 2007 and 2003, where the HelpDesk OSP buttons in Outlook for default list did not work as they should. Therefore users had to select list for conversion even if they wanted to use the default list, and for a blank ticket they were asked to select caller from the Global Address list instead of being prompted with the new Caller dialog.

As many of the HelpDesk OSP users have Outlook 2010, it took a while before we got the first report about the issue. It came Monday, and in a remote session with the Community Member Tuesday our eminent lead developer saw where the problem was. And Wednesday it was solved and an update was released!

The developers even had time to add a new feature, requested by another Community Member: support for sub sites to Office 365 SharePoint. I recommend HelpDesk OSP users with Outlook 2007 or 2003 or users of the Office 365 SharePoint sub sites to upgrade.

Have you not tried HelpDesk OSP yet? Please do, if you need to publish from Outlook to the company SharePoint site. HelpDesk OSP enhances both Microsoft products, and with the subscription system you will always have a well functioning software adapted to the latest technologies. As this example shows we fix bugs very quickly!   

15 September 2011 Is Testing Windows 8

Yesterday Microsoft released a pre-beta version of their new operating system Windows 8, and we are excited to try it. Even though the products interact more with the Office applications than with the operating system, we always follow the Microsoft developments closely.

One thing that especially strikes us, is the trend of making software nicer to look at and easier to use. We have been putting a lot of efforts towards those goals in our own products lately, and we will continue to do so. Now we hope that Windows 8 will make this task easier. For example, could using the Windows 8 Metro user interface make it easier and faster to edit and submit the TimeCard for Outlook time reporting data? CEO Peter and Lead Developer Jayant is already testing the new release, and I will come back to you later with their comments. The installation went smoothly, and now they are both eager to see how Windows 8 can enhance the products.

08 September 2011 Develops Cloud-Connected Outlook Add-ons

To stay strong and be able to meet future development requests, the team has taken on a task that will change our products profoundly. User's don't have to worry, because they will still recognize the product they like and are used to, but the architecture behind it will be much different. The reason for this long term investment, is of course the technical development of the products we build on but also general changes in the business world. We see a future where teams continue to get more mobile and geographically dispersed, and therefore we want to re-build all of our applications for more web-based usage.

All of the Outlook add-ons have relied heavily on Outlook public folders or mailboxes for information sharing. This still works well in most organizations, and we will continue to support that usage. However, if we stand still, keep the current architecture and only add new features to our products, there will come a time when they have become old-fashioned. We don't want to wait for that day to make the necessary changes, because then we will prevent Member organizations from meeting and embracing the future. Members of Community deserve better! The products from must always be a help to make business more efficient.

Our developers have started with the comparatively simple application KBase. This is a knowledge base that is totally integrated in Outlook. The articles may also be embedded in a SharePoint site or OWA or be published to web pages with just a click of a button. The new KBase will have an ASP.NET MVC back-end and an SQL database, which will contain all of the tickets. We will supply this database for free if the user organization does not have an in-house or hosted SQL server or uses SQL Azure. Version 3 of KBase will have both a fully featured web interface and also, of course, an Outlook-interface. In addition, we will also make the web interface fully mobile and touch-friendly.

The new technique will also mean that our products will support the 64-bit version of Office 2010. Some Member organizations have asked for this, but we think most users will stay with the 32-bit version anyway. There are very few add-ons on the market that support the 64-bit version of Office, and the 64-bit version is only needed in special cases. However, for those who need it we want to give that support also.

The developer team has been working with this project for over a month, but I did not want to tell about it until we knew that the brilliant ideas of our CEO Peter was possible to realize. His understanding of how different techniques can be combined to create something new is the basis for Business Solutions, and now he has once again proved his skill.

05 September 2011

From Trainee To Junior Developer With Business Solutions has a new junior developer. If you follow this blog you might recognize Kanak Joshi, because I introduced her as our trainee in July. Kanak had then been with us for some weeks, and we had already seen that she performed her tasks willingly and quickly.

Now we have understood that Kanak is also a quick learner and a person who can find her own solutions. This is exactly what we need in the team, and therefore we were happy to offer Kanak a position as junior developer.

We are certain that Kanak will contribute to the development with new and clever ideas. When Kanak has learned our products better she will also take part in our user support. We prefer to have our technicians engaged in the support, to be able to give the knowledgeable service we are praised for and also to give them first hand understanding of any problems. Kanak will be a good help in remote sessions and second line support.

01 September 2011

ShareTask For Android Next App

ShareTask iconAugust has been a month of several important announcements in the IT business. Steve Jobs has stepped down as CEO of Apple, Hewlett-Packard wants to spin off its PC division and Google will buy Motorola Mobility.

As we see it now, only the Google-Motorola news will directly affect the future of It will not mean any big changes of our plans, but since Motorola for several years has had Google's Android as the only operating system in all of their smart phone devices, we think Android will grew stronger with Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility. This has made us prioritize something we have been talking about for a while: a ShareTask for Android devices.

Even if does not strive to be big on smart phone apps, we want to help our customers take advantage of the mobility benefits they give. Therefore we have begun developing apps in fields close to our own products together with partners who are experts on development for mobile devices. ShareTask for Android will be such a product.

In cooperation with, has earlier developed an app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch that gives you the SharePoint Task list directly in the handheld. You can edit the tasks, add new ones, attach images and much more with just a finger. Now we want to give Android users the same possibility, and earlier this week we signed the contract with our partner.

We have not only created ShareTask together with but also iNameDays, an app that adds name days in the standard iOS calendar, so I feel sure that our new project will be successful. I will come back to you about it as soon as there are more news to tell