31 January 2012

Useful Tools For A Good Support Service

Even if the solutions are built to be easy to use, they work in a complex environment and problems may occur. The most vital for a successful support is of course the attitude and skills of the people giving it, but technical aids make a big difference in how smoothly the customers can be assisted. Here are some products we have found useful.

Sharing and organizing support e-mails
HelpDesk OSP big iconThe most important support aid is our own application HelpDesk OSP. This Outlook plugin converts incoming e-mails to list items in a SharePoint 2010 intranet, where they can easily be shared and organized.

The HelpDesk OSP runs on a server and converts e-mails automatically around the clock seven days a week, and we have customized the SharePoint list to suit our needs. This way we can easily keep track of all cases and have a clear picture of the different issues and the actions taken to solve them.

PS operator console

Online chat service
I have earlier written a whole blog post about the Provide Support chat service we use, but I will still mention it again because this is a great tool. Provide Support were slow in optimizing their tool for Windows 7 so that multiple windows did open when there was a new chat call, but otherwise the tool has worked fine.

This product is easy to use, and the support given by Provide Support is good – via their online chat, of course! The image above shows the control panel Visitors tab, where the support staff can see who is visiting the website and what they are looking at. It is very interesting!

TeamViewer dialog Remote session software
After having used the free Microsoft application SharedView for remote sessions during several years we decided to switch to TeamViewer this summer.

SharedView served us well until we and others started using Internet Explorer 9 and Windows 7. Then SharedView was not reliable anymore, and we found it strange that Microsoft was not keeping their own product up to date even if it was free.

Maybe the problems are fixed now, but we are satisfied with TeamViewer and appreciate that nothing has to be installed on the machine our technicians need to take a look at.

With these tools and the knowledge of the support staff,  issues are usally solved without delay, and we know our Community Members appreciate our fast service. It feels great when users and evaluators praise the support team for quick and helpful support, and we do our outmost to live up to it.

30 January 2012

Release of TimeCard for Outlook 4.4 With Report On Behalf Of

TimeCard Business Solutions is happy to announce the release of TimeCard V4.4. The main new feature, Report on behalf of, is by its nature only for the workgroup version of TimeCard, but as there are some smaller improvements also we have published a new Single version too.

Report on behalf of
The latest new feature has been sponsored by the South African Community Member Hollard, and we are grateful for their support and confidence. The Hollard assistants and secretaries often need to report on behalf of other people, and with the new feature they can do that and still get the correct name into the statistics. Some of these people do not even have TimeCard installed!

It is very easy to use Report on behalf of. The administrator needs to check a box in the Common Settings dialog, and then a new dropdown with names will show in the Reporting dialog. So just go into the calendar you wish to report from, and report as usual. TimeCard shows by default the owner of the calendar as the first alternative in the new name dropdown, so normally you never need to touch it.

More info about TimeCard enhancements
I have written two earlier blog articles about the Report in behalf of feature, "Report on behalf of" feature added to TimeCard for Outlook and How TimeCard Can Report Time For People Who Don’t Even Use TimeCard, so please study them if you want to know more. Also refer to the TimeCard Revisions page for a full list of the improvements in version 4.4.

Free upgrades
Members of the Community are entitled to upgrade their TimeCard Workgroup installations without cost. For Member organizations with many users we will be happy to supply an MSI package for the client upgrade. Just contact our support department, and they will send you a download link.
TimeCard logotype
Try TimeCard! Business Solutions gives as much as 60 days of free trial for TimeCard Workgroup, so that you really have time to test the reporting properly.We give support to evaluators, so very welcome to contact us if you encounter problems with the trial or have questions about TimeCard.

First users in a Swedish town
Peter Kalmstrom, the creator of the Office applications, made his first TimeCard for Outlook when a Swedish town ordered a time reporting system that would be reliable but also easy for the users to learn. As they were already planning their time in Oulook calendars it was a natural step to build on that platform, and since Peter was an Outlook expert even at that time he could create what the clients needed. They have now been happily using TimeCard for over ten years, through update after update, and seen more and more features being added to "their" product. And our work will continue!

26 January 2012

Kanban Task Manager For Outlook - New Development Project

Today I am happy to tell you that Business Solutions has begun developing a totally new product: a Kanban board inside Outlook, for work with Outlook Tasks. In the images below you first see a traditional Kanban board and then a mockup of the Outlook plugin.
Old Kanban board
Kanban board visualizes the work process
Kanban is a Japanese word for "visual card", and it refers to a way of visualizing work, to make it flow and reduce waste. The traditional Kanban board has cards that tell what and how much should be produced and when it should be done. When managers get such a visual picture of the work process they can quickly reveal bottlenecks and blockers. Less time is spent on trying to sort out how projects are coming along, because everything is visible on the Kanban board.

Kanban integrated in Outlook
If we move the Kanban board into Outlook we get several advantages. We can give a nice, colorful user interface where it is easy to drag and drop tasks between different phases of a project. And you will have it all in front of you in the computer! No cards or pieces of paper are lost because they fall to the floor or someone takes them away to make a note. Tasks are synchronized automatically within the workgroup, so everything is up to date and everyone can see what is happening.
Kanban Task Manager in Outlook
Easy to learn
In many organizations, and certainly in all Member organizations, the staff is already using Outlook for various kinds of work. With a Kanban board in Outlook they will not have to learn another system. The Kanban Task Manager will use as much standard Outlook features as possible, and therefore it will be easy to understand and use.

Design idea for Kaban Task Manager
Kanban Task Manager will work in an Outlook folder, and when a user opens that folder he can reach the workgroup’s different projects. The project he worked with last time will be open by default. New projects and tasks can be created with a few simple steps.

Sharing Projects, Phases and Tasks
Kanban Task Manager will have three Microsoft options for sharing: an Access database, an SQL Server database and a SharePoint site. If the Access option is selected, none of the users must have Access installed, because the ability to read and write to an Access databases is included in Office. With the SharePoint alternative the workgroup can be geographically dispersed, so this option is great if you for example are working on projects that require specialist competence that might not be accessible within the office or even in the company.

The development of Kanban Task Manager has just started, and it will take some months before we can release the finished product. We are all excited about our new Outlook-addon, and I will of course come back with more news and images later. Welcome to contact us if you have suggestions or comments on the Outlook Kanban plugin. We are always grateful for constructive input!

UPDATE: Kanban Task Manager for Outlook was published in June 2012. More info at:

24 January 2012

SOPA, PIPA And Now ACTA - New BlackOut Protests In Poland

Today Wikipedia reveals the result of the website black-out I wrote about last week, and the figures are impressive. I quote from Wikipedia:

During the blackout:
  • The Wikipedia page about SOPA and PIPA was accessed more than 162 million times during the 24 hour period.
  • More than 12,000 people commented on the Wikimedia Foundation's blog post announcing the blackout. Most supported the blackout.
  • More than eight million looked up their elected representatives' contact information via the Wikipedia tool.

Did all the protests help? No, that cannot be claimed, at least not yet. Support for SOPA and PIPA has decreased in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate, but work on the two bills continues.

At the same time many are discussing ACTA, The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. This is an international trade agreement, which is negotiated by the European Union, the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia and a few other countries. The goal of ACTA resembles that of SOPA and PIPA: to enforce copyright and tackle counterfeited goods. The United States, Australia, Canada, Japan and a few others have already signed the treaty.

One big problem with ACTA is that all the negotiations are held in secret, and a wave of protests has arisen against the treaty. I am glad that Sweden has acted for better openness. The European Union has not signed ACTA, but now the Polish government has announced that it will.

Therefore, tonight many Polish websites will go dark for one hour to protest against their government's plan to sign the ACTA treaty. For the same reason Polish government websites have been attacked during the last days, and several of them were paralyzed on Sunday and Monday.

Still the Polish leaders say that they will to stick to the plan. And what can they do? Of course they cannot give in because of website attackers.

To close down a website is a more honorable way to show ones opinion. Even if we don’t know yet if the US protests will make a difference, the Wikipedia statistics clearly show that they were noticed. In that respect they were not made in the dark!

23 January 2012

The 35 dollar Aakash Tablet Improved

Last week it was announced that the second version of the Android based Indian tablet computer Ubislate7 would be released in April. Ubislate7 is commonly called the Aakash ‒ which means “sky” in Hindi. It is a fitting name, because the Aakash has a very special story. I only hope this version will live up to the expectations.

A computer for “the masses”
The most fascinating with the Aakash project is that it takes advantage of the high level of technological know-how in India (which also Business Solutions makes use of) to reduce the differences in education and economic conditions in this vast and varied country. The idea behind the Aakash tablet has been to develop a very cheap but yet good tablet computer “for the billion Indians who are cut off”, as Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of the manufacturing company DataWind expresses it.

Government support
The Indian government supports the project and has ordered 100 000 tablets, whereof 30 000 have been delivered. The plan is to give the Aakash to students of government schools and colleges for free and use the tablet to link 25000 colleges and 400 universities in a huge e-learning program. Also for other Indians the state is subsidizing each tablet with 15 US dollar, so that the cost is only 35 dollar.
Aakash tablet
Sold out
Today it is however not easy to get hold of an Aakash. When the first version was released in December 2011 it was sold out in just three days. Then Datawind was not able to deliver more tablets, and they were also accused of giving bad support to those who actually received an Aakash.

Skimpy technique
Unfortunately Aakash1 was a big disappointment from a technical aspect. One of the drawbacks was that it only supported wi-fi. Several parts of India still do not have access to networking options such as wi-fi, and since one of the main ideas behind the Aakash is to bridge the gap between the rural India and technology this is a serious limitation that makes that goal more difficult to meet.

New hope
The Indian government has been striving hard to make the Aakash project a success, and last week the minister of Human Resource Development , Kapil Sibal, expressed his confidence in the upcoming Aakash 2, the UbiSlate7+. It will have several improvements, like longer battery life and a faster processor. The new version also supports GPRS (SIM and Phone functionality), which means that it may be used with 3G and not only with wi-fi.

Premature release?
We are very aware that the balance between the urge to get a product on the market and the need for further development is difficult to keep, and maybe DataWind made a mistake and released Aakash too soon? It might have been better to wait with the first public release until the tablet held a higher standard. If the second version is as good as expected, many of the first buyers will probably regret their hasty purchase?  

It will be very interesting to hear the reactions on Aakash2 in April, and I will surely have reason to come back to the Aakash tablet later.

19 January 2012

Arab Spring For Too?

We use Google Analytics to analyze traffic to the website, and tonight when I compared the visits from November 2011 until today with the same period 2010-2011 I found what seems like a surprising effect of the so called Arab Spring.

Arab uprising
We have all heard about the sudden wave of demonstrations and protests in the Arab world that started in Tunisia in December 2010. The protests involved strikes, demonstrations, marches and rallies, and social media were frequently used to organize, communicate, and raise awareness in states whose governments tried to censor the internet.

Conflicting messages
Today the situations in many Arab countries are still unclear, and seeing the news one sometimes get the impression that very little is actually working. This picture is contradicted by the one given by Google Analytics. This traffic measurement tool shows that the number of visits to the website has risen significantly in countries like Algeria (200 %), Egypt (31 %), Jordan (100 %), Lebanon (67 %) Morocco (267 %), Saudi Arabia (59 %), Syria (200 %), Tunisia (540 %), Yemen 100 %) and United Arab Emirates (39 %).

visitor map
Striking visitor increase
Overall the number of visitors to the website is higher than last year, and the number of visitors from the Arabic countries is much lower than for example from USA and Sweden. Still I cannot help but see this delightful increase of Arab visitors as a result of a greater openness to the western world and to new technologies. I had expected that after what happened during the spring, but I had definitely not thought it would come so soon.

Anyone else?
Only Bahrain and Libya go the other way (-44 % and -33 %), but as there the visitors are few I don’t think it disturbs the impression of an Arab Spring for It would be very interesting to hear if more website analyzes give the same result?

18 January 2012

Wikipedia Closes Down In Protest

wiki protest   
The free online encyclopedia Wikipedia is a site in constant change where anyone can add text (after reviewal). It is one of the most visited sites in the world, and I often use it myself and have also contributed to it. Today you have to be very quick if you want to read something on the English Wikipedia, though, because the article you are looking at is closed down after a few seconds and the screen above is shown instead.

This is the first time ever Wikipedians have chosen to black out the site, and it is done in protest against two bills, SOPA in the United States House of Representatives and PIPA in the US Senate. SOPA stands for the "Stop Online Piracy Act", and PIPA is an acronym for the "Protect IP Act".

The bills are efforts to stop copyright infringement committed by foreign web sites. Wikipedians and many others are however afraid these new laws will severely inhibit people's access to online information if they pass. Business Solutions fully support the Wikipedia action, and we hope that this and other protests will influence the US politicians. We also have a strong interest in stopping copyright infringement, but it must be done in a way that will not harm the right to free expression.

Please click on the image above if you want to read more!

17 January 2012

Display Tutorials ‒ Assessment of Third Party Tools

The add-ons work inside Outlook, and as they operate in a well known environment they are easy to learn and use. They however require some studies from the administrator side to work at its best, so we want to present our product documentation and tutorials as nicely as possible. For this we utilize a number of third party tools, and here are my experiences with some inexpensive software we find useful on the website.

Presenting manuals and slide shows

The Office applications are extensively documented, and we make use of  Issuu to present our slideshows and manuals. The slideshow above is also embedded in the HelpDesk OSP slideshow page. HelpDesk OSP icon The Issuu embeddings give the website visitors a chance to take a first look at the document without having to download it. We think many hesitate to download if they are not sure what they will get, but the Issuu preview solves that problem.

I hope the impression of the documents is good, even if the Issuu quality is not the very best. Many presentations get a grey shadow in the middle of each page, and sometimes text and images are not quite clear. Nevertheless, I have noticed that quality has improved during the years we have used Issuu, and I assume they are still working on it.

Issuu gives traffic statistics for each file ‒ PPT or PDF ‒ and for our documents they show that most visitors come from the website. Only a few percent come from within Issuu, so I don't believe much in Issuu as a marketing channel. For showing our manuals and slideshows, and also for quickly looking something up directly online, it is however a useful tool.

Showing video demonstrations
Calendar Browser icon Demos are an important part of the documentation, and we use two different platforms to display them. One is YouTube, which is good for marketing. The video channel on You Tube displays a selection of videos. They are of two kinds, presentations and tutorials. The presentations of our products are embedded on the product homepages, see for example the Calendar Browser homepage. The tutorials do not directly involve our products but belong to the Tips section.   
TimeCard icon
We also use the media rolls for the product tutorials. As you can see on the TimeCard Workgroup demo page they give better control and customization possibilities, and therefore we get a nicer demo presentation that fits better into our MediaRoll

Sadly we have not been entirely happy with Once they downgraded our service level by mistake, and on another occasion they destroyed all our video thumbnails. Even though they acknowledged that it was their fault, it took several weeks of nagging until they had put the thumbnails back again – and then only with the default ones. We did not get all our custom thumbnails back.

In spite of these troubles we will continue using, but we will of course remember them if we get more problems. Just like with Issuu the statistics show that most viewers of our demos come via the website.

The team uses more valuable third party applications, and in a later blog I will assess our tools for support and sales contacts.

16 January 2012

The VIP Status – What Does It Mean?

Premium Subscription iconThe SharePoint and Outlook Solutions are licensed with a subscription system, and there are three subscription levels. All three levels include free use of the software, support and upgrades, but the Premium Subscription level also includes some other benefits. One of them is called VIP status.

Support priority
Calendar Browser icon The most important part of the VIP status is perhaps the first priority of support cases. We of course try to help all Subscribers as soon as possible, but if a Premium Subscriber gets a problem with their Solution, the team postpones all other tasks to assist the Premium Subscriber as soon as possible. The support mailbox and the online chat are supervised nearly 24/7 even if the office is not officially open, so we can act very quickly if needed.

In the event we had problems with TimeCard the people and helpdesk of Kalmstrom did a great job in solving the issue on a very short notice”, says Jeroen Graafland at Hay Group, a long time Premium Subscriber. And he adds: “When we discover a bug this is solved on a very short notice and deployed very easily via the update function of TimeCard.”

Influence on development
HelpDesk OSP icon Another important factor for the Premium Subscribers is the chance to influence future development. Our CEO Peter makes the final decision, as he is the one who can best judge the paths should follow towards the future, but he does his very best to include the requests from Premium Subscribers in his plans.

No registration
Folder HelpDesk icon Premium Subscribers have a special copy of their Solution, with the Premium organization logotype on the major forms. We return their confidence by making the Premium copy register free, so VIP Subscribers do not have to hassle with registration keys.

Worth the extra cost? TimeCard for Outlook icon
The Minimum and Medium subscriptions give good value for money, so we don’t recommend the Premium Subscription for all. If you have a small team managing incoming e-mails with Folder HelpDesk or HelpDesk OSP there is no need for a Premium Subscription.

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint icon But say that you are a big organization and have one hundred people reporting their time with TimeCard or booking resources with Calendar Browser – then we do recommend for you to consider the Premium alternative. It is there, among big companies and state and municipal authorities, we find the Premium Subscribers.

More info
Welcome to contact us if you have questions about VIP status and Premium Subscription. We will do our best to help you judge if it is the right alternative for your organization!

By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

(This blog post was updated 4 March 2015)

15 January 2012

Arfa Karim, Young MCP And Role Model, Has Left Us Too Early

Arfa Karim photo

Today the Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune reports that Arfa Kari passed away yesterday, at the age of sixteen. This Pakistani girl became a Microsoft Certified Professional when she was only nine years old, and she kept the title for four years.

After the Microsoft Certification Arfa Karim gained many recognitions, and in various ways she showed the world the great capacity of her brain. Unfortunately that amazing brain of hers was also the cause of her untimely demise, as in December she suffered an epileptic seizure leading to cardiac arrest damaging also her brain. Bill Gates made sure she got the best medical care available, but it was not possible to save her life.

I of course only know what I have read, but it seems that the world has lost a young girl who could have become a very influencial woman and a good exmple for young girls. Arfa Karim was a lovely girl, but she achieved her fame through her intellectual capacity and not for her looks, and we need more of such role models in the world today to balance the unwholesome cult of beauty.

I have understood that Arfa Karim has made an important impact in her home country already, but she could have done so much more if she had lived longer. I feel sad for this tragic loss, not only for Arfa and her family but also for the world society. Rest in peace, Arfa Karim, and thanks for showing us what is possible!

If you want to know more about this remarkable girl there are several instersting links at the bottom of the Arfa Karim Wikipedia page.

12 January 2012 Tip: Use CSS in SharePoint 2010

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a time saving invention when you work with websites. Most web designers want to use a limited number of fonts and colors on a site, and they also want all lists, heading types etc. to have the same look. Instead of adding the code for this on each page the info can be gathered in a CSS file. When a page has a link to that file, all formatting info in the CSS file will be applied to the page. Changes in the CSS file will apply to all pages that have the link, so with CSS it is easy to try out and change the formatting of a website.

Microsoft Certified Professional logotype
Microsoft Certified SharePoint expert
CSS may also be used with SharePoint, but working with SharePoint is not exactly the same as working with web pages. Our CEO has earned all the available Microsoft Certifications for SharePoint 2010, so he knows how to do it. In the demo above he shows how to get started with CSS in SharePoint. This demo is also included in the Tips section of the website.

Create the CSS file in SharePoint Designer
First Peter creates a CSS file in SharePoint Designer 2010, and since he wants to keep it very simple he just makes a change of the text color. When a link to that CSS file is added to the SharePoint homepage in addition to all the CSS files already uses by default, the custom styles is layered on top of what comes out of the box, and the text color is changed.

Add the CSS link in the browser
However, it is not possible to just add a link to the new CSS file in an ASPX page because SharePoint will not save it. Instead Peter explains how to edit a SharePoint web part in a web browser and add the link to the CSS file that way.

Expansion of SharePoint usage
Peter is fascinated by the endless possibilities of SharePoint 2010. For several years HelpDesk OSP has been one of the most popular products, and we also plan to add SharePoint as an alternative for sharing and storage in more applications. In the future will make a much stronger use of SharePoint than today, but I will come back to that in later articles.

10 January 2012

Exchange Resource Calendars Or Calendar Browser for Outlook?

Calendar Browser Outlook toolbar
Sometimes people ask us why they should use Calendar Browser for Outlook when they already have the built-in Exchange Resource Calendars. The answer is that Calendar Browser supplies a range of features that cannot be found in Exchange Resource Calendars. These are some things you can only do in Calendar Browser:

Book extra services
With Calendar Browser you may place a supply order with each booking, like catering services, conference material or IT equipment. The admin defines a list of extras that may be booked, and then the user just click
a button in the appointment and fill out the number of items in the dialog that opens.
Calendar Browser Booking info

Search free resources

Calendar Browser has a search function that lets you search for resources that are free on a specific date and time and have a specified number of seats.

Calendar Browser Description Calendar Descriptions
Calendar Browser helps you create elaborate descriptions of each resource. You can describe your calendars with full html, including pictures, links and dynamic content. Use a URL or take advantage of the Calendar Browser HTML editor, where you may either create your description directly or paste existing code.

Structured booking
Many organizations require a Project and/or Cost Center to be filled out when a resource is booked. This may be set to mandatory with Calendar Browser, and the add-on can also prevent double bookings or recurring bookings.

Overview of bookings
Even though the ability to view calendars side by side is getting better with each version of Outlook, Calendar Browser´s Overview feature contains many views that Outlook itself cannot yet match, for example the month joined month view and the printable schedule view. There are also dedicated views for showing all extra services booked for a particular day, allowing service staff to print a list of what they are to assemble for the day´s meetings. All of these views are nicely printable.
Calendar Browser Overview
Once your resources are being booked it is only a matter of time before someone asks you for statistics on the usage. Calendar Browser can output all of its data to an SQL or Access database. We also provide a fully featured statistics tool, our own OLAP Reporting Tool, that will allow you to analyze the data in a dynamic way. Once the old appointments are safely in the database you can option to remove them from the Outlook calendars, which improves Exchange performance.

Try it!
Does it sound interesting? If you want to see if Calendar Browser really can help your organization to get a more efficient resource booking system than the Exchange Resource Calendars, you are welcome to download and try the full version of Calendar Browser for 30 days without any obligations. We give support during the evaluation period too, so please contact us if you have questions.

09 January 2012

Outlook Booking Tool Updated With Support For Office 365 And Resource Grouping has today released version 7.1 of the resource booking application for Outlook, Calendar Browser . The first version was released over ten years ago, and ever since then this Outlook Calendar tool has been improved and adapted to new technologies. Calendar Browser Outlook Calendar View

Outlook Resource Calendars
The CEO and creator of Business Solutions got the idea to Calendar Browser when he was looking for a good resource booking software for a client and did not find anything on the market. Peter then decided to use what the client already had and liked - Outlook and Exchange - and built an add-on for it.

He let his client save info about the organization’s bookable resources in calendars, and people booked the resources by simply creating an appointment in the applicable calendar. Calendar Browser was born, and since then it has grown to a mature and popular product that is used worldwide.

Multiple installations
One of the new features in the latest release of Calendar Browser is the possibility to make several installations in the same Outlook. For big organizations with many bookable resources this is an important enhancement: Fewer resource calendars must be loaded if you separate them into several installations. Maybe all users do not need to choose between all resources, and then it is convenient for them to never see those resources at all.

Group Calendars after content
With multiple installations the administrator can group the resources in ways that make them easier to manage. Maybe you have rooms at several locations, or maybe you have several different kinds of bookable resources? Group them into separate installations, and the users can add the groups they need to their Outlooks and skip the rest.I have already written a blog article about multiple installations of Calendar Browser, so please read it if you want a more detailed description. There is also a faq on how to perform a multiple installation.

Support for Office 365
As usual aims to support the latest technologies, and therefore we have made Calendar Browser V7.1 compatible with Office 365, Microsoft’s new cloud-based platform. This means that all major products now have support for Office 365.

View Personal Calendars
Calendar Browser may be used with all kinds of Outlook calendars - public folders, direct booking mailboxes or personal calendars. Therefore Calendar Browser is not only a booking tool but also a tool for viewing calendars. Instead of adding resource calendars you may add the calendar of each user. The Overview feature of Calendar Browser can then display several kinds of views of the content in many people's calendars.

Upgrade or Try
Members of Community are welcome to upgrade to version 7.1 of Calendar Browser without any cost. If your organization don’t use this tool yet, you are very welcome to download and evaluate Calendar Browser for 30 days without any obligations. We will give you all possible assistance to make it a happy experience!

03 January 2012

Keep up with on Google+

To give everyone interested a possibility to keep up with the events of Business Solutions we offer several alternatives to follow us. Now we have added a Google+ page also.

Increasingly popular
According to Business Insider SAI Google+ gets more than 600 000 new users each day and has around 62 million registered users. Therefore it is of course important for to give Google+ users an easy way to see what happens in our company.

The Blog is the base
I blog several times a week, and I always mention product updates, new development projects and other that is directly connected to I also comment on important news in our business and how they affect our company.

Apart from these obvious subjects I like to tell about local customs, traditions and holidays in both Sweden and India ‒ in the latter case with the help of the team members in Indore, of course. And sometimes I just I want to share something that makes me happy or angry. I hope this mix makes the Blog varying and interesting to read. It is at least fun for me to write it! Square LogoLinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter
the software. has been represented in social media for around a year, but we have been more active during the autumn. On Facebook and Twitter we use company pages, but on LinkedIn we guide most business contacts to CEO Peter’s account even if we have a company page also.

‒ and now Google+
On Google+ we also use a company page, and of the medias mentioned above we find it most similar to Facebook. It will be interesting to see how this page develops.

Social media tracking
If you choose to follow Business Solution through one or more social media, you will get links to all blog posts. You will also get shorter comments, links to articles and other tidbits that are too short for a blog. However, you will have to click the blog links to read the whole articles and see the images.
Website sharing icons
In line with this elevated activity in social media we have added Like and Share icons similar those here in the blog to some of our web pages. Please, select the icon you prefer and help us spread the word about the software!

02 January 2012

2012 - Invests In People And Products

First I want to wish all blog readers a prosperous, healthy and peaceful New Year. Then I will not say more today, as I will call upon our CEO, Peter, to inform you about his plans for the future: Indore teamI have just left Indore after a very successful and constructive visit. Of course I already knew that we have a talented Indian team, but it was a joy to meet them in person and once again re-confirm it. goes cloudy
To better be able to meet future development requests, the team has taken on a task that will change the products profoundly. Current users will still recognize them, but the architecture will be considerably different. 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. cloud
Helping users embrace the future

If we keep the current architecture and only add new features to our products, they will eventually 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!

pilot project

KBase logotypeOur developers have started the new development path with the comparatively simple knowledgebase application KBase. We hope to soon be able to release version 3, which will have a fully mobile and touch-friendly web interface in addition to the Outlook interface.

Next step will be to rebuild PF HelpDesk, using what we have learned when developing KBase V3. PFHD logotype The new technique will also mean that our products will support the 64-bit version of Office 2010.

SharePoint alternative
With TimeCard you report time and expenses directly from within the Outlook calendar So far has mainly done client-side applications, but next year we intend to provide also server-side features and mobile applications that use the new SharePoint 2010 tools. For shared information store we also want to add SharePoint as an alternative to a database in Access or SQL.
Calendar Browser icon
Then users will be able to send their time reporting data directly to a SharePoint list from TimeCard or store meeting information in multiple calendar lists from Calendar Browser.

Windows 8
Windows 8 logoBy the end of February we expect to see the first Beta version of Windows 8, and this is a fascinating challenge for Judging from the pre-beta developer release there will be no significant compatibility problems for us. Instead we can right from the beginning start taking advantage of the benefits this new operating system will give, like the Metro interface and the integrated Windows Store.

More team members
For all this development we will need more staff, and during my visit to Indore I interviewed several promising applicants. We have already given an offer to another QA Engineer, and more will come.

Extended team for technical support
After having followed the support cases for several months developer Kanak is ready for a more active role, and from January she will take over the responsibility for the second line support. This will give our lead developer Jayant more time for planning and guidance of the new staff, but of course he will still be assisting if needed. To further improve the support our Office Manager Vipul will start helping Sigge with the first line. Beside his Master of Business Administration Vipul has a technical background, so that will work fine. Peter Kalmstrom

These are just some of the plans for 2012. I feel certain that it will be a thrilling and progressive year, and I hope you want to share it with us!
Peter Kalmstrom CEO, Business Solutions