01 January 2014

2014 – New Possibilities With Rebuilt Solutions

We have the first day of a fresh new year, full of possibilites. As usual I have a lot of plans, and with the help of the rest of the team, I am convinced I will reach important goals in 2014.

New architecture for "old "solutions
To tell you about the plans for 2014, I need to first look back at 2013. During last year we rebuilt product after product, starting with our knowledge base, KBase. KBase logotype

From being dependent on an Exchange server, KBase has now been made into an add-in for each PC, with a database or a SharePoint site as sharing platform for knowledge base articles and settings.

Folder HelpDesk iconAfter KBase, all old solutions were rebuilt. ("Old" means more than ten years on the market, but the products have of course been updated many times during that period.)

Calendar Browser iconThe aim has been to use the same design as in KBase, but with the more complicated Outlook solutions, Folder HelpDeskCalendar Browser and TimeCard Workgroup, we have not yet gone all the way.

TimeCard icon Why?
The transfer to the new architecture has required most of our development resources, so you might ask why we did not spend that time on adding new features instead? The answer is that we want to make sure the products can last for many more years and continously be adapted to new technologies and changes in our business.

With this new architecture the solutions will be very flexible. We can add SharePoint as an alternative to a database, and later we can take in other options as well without changing the basic build of our products again.
SharePoint icon
We can also create SharePoint versions of our products and make them possible to use with the Outlook versions when SharePoint is selected as sharing option.

Finalized transfer
In 2014 we will release new versions of the three big ones – Folder HelpDesk, Calendar Browser and TimeCard Workgroup – starting with the SharePoint version of TimeCard Workgroup and the last step in the rebuild of the Outlook version to work with SharePoint too.

Kanban Task Manager
Kanban Task Manager for Outlook logoIf you are using Kanban Task Manager for Outlook you have probably recognized the description of the KBase architecture. Kanban Task Manager is built in the same way and works with SharePoint already . There is also a SharePoint version of Kanban Task Manager.

However, Kanban Task Manager is a young solution that was developed this way from the beginning, so we did not have to consider any upgrade issues. With the older solutions we must be careful to not create problems for current users when they upgrade to the modern version.

Our first new release in 2014 will be of Kanban Task Manager for Outlook V2, and soon after that we hope to also release a single user version of Kanban Task Manager.

HelpDesk OSP
HelpDesk OSP logotypeAlso HelpDesk OSP was built in the modern way from the beginning, and eventually we plan a SharePoint based version for this issue tracking solution too. But first we will make the Outlook + SharePoint version easier to configure by giving a HelpDesk OSP SharePoint list for administrators to use as it is or customize.

Excel iconNew products
We also have two new products in the pipeline. One is a generic version of the Excel reporting tool we are using in HelpDesk OSP. It will let users select any SharePoint list and fields and transfer the data in them to Excel.

The other one, SP Attach, will help organizations to a better file sharing system than sending e-mail attachments. Users can attach files as before, but SP Attach will send the attachments to a SharePoint library and add a link to the file in the e-mail instead.

SP Attach icon Many IT admins feel that files attached to emails are a bad thing in many ways, and this tool will make it easy to do the right thing – post the file instead of attaching it. Furthermore you can take advantage of all the SharePoint library features when you share files that way.

More to come
These are our most important plans for the coming year, but there is a lot more that I will tell you about in later blog posts. As usual we are also open for suggestions on enhancements of our products.

Even before I went to India in December I knew we have a great team, and the visit to Indore made me feel still more confident that we are on the right way. 2014 will be a good year for Business Solutions, and I wish the same to readers of this blog.
A Prosperous New Year to you all!
By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

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