A Comprehensive Project Management Office

We have made significant upgrades to our widely used Work Plan App and transformed it into a Project Management Office Suite. This suite is a comprehensive P3M solution, flexible to fit the needs of each level of project management including the Portfolio Manager, Project Sponsor and Project Manager. Key Features include:

  • Program/Portfolio Visibility : Project Managers/teams can view a snapshot of their projects and drill into details where needed

  • Checkpoints : Project managers can manage the status of their projects through customized checkpoints/stage gates. Workflow capabilities enable alerts by email or Slack when stages must be evaluated

  • Risk and Issue Management : All users within the 3PM hierarchy can view and manage all risks, issues and actions assigned to them in one centralised place

  • Benefit and Cost Management : Track the progress and health of business case benefits through the project life cycle. Track commercial benefits on both the project and portfolio level! Control and track budgets, and track committed and anticipated spend

  • Reporting : Two-tiered reporting: View in-app dashboards  or generate output reports. Reports are tailored to a selected audience (Client, Teams, Execs, Finance) and can be generated automatically at a project or portfolio level.

Betty Crocker, IKEA and Softools?

What could US food company General Mills,  Swedish furniture giant IKEA and Softools have in common? The BBC recently published an article about economic behavior and psychology, specifically the idea that consumers experience higher levels of satisfaction from products they help create. Originally pioneered in the 1950s with General Mills’ Betty Crocker cakes and now dubbed the “Ikea effect”, this concept is truly the spirit of Softools! Except, rather than baking a cake or assembling your new desk, you can rapidly transform your business’s software use. We empower companies with a zero-code development tool, allowing them to construct process-improving business applications in their own image. Check out the full article here and see why dessert, furniture and software sometimes aren’t all that different.

Reliance Energy Case Study

Context

Reliance Energy is a professional services company working with organisations which develop, construct and operate energy projects. More recently Reliance has diversified, offering services into other industries. Despite modest staffing resources, Reliance Energy often have up to 50 projects running at any one time. The avoidance of duplicated work is imperative, and business critical project data must be efficiently captured and shared across the team.

Challenge

Operating within an industry which frequently undergoes regulatory change, Reliance needs to be agile and responsive, continually evolving its business model and processes. Standard off-the-shelf CRM and Project Management systems proved to be too rigid and expensive to customise and regularly adapt. As the portfolio grew rapidly, so did the back-office workload and the commercial risks associated with managing this off-system.

Solution

Reliance implemented Softools’ zero-code platform on which employees developed and configured applications without coding.  The resulting suite of apps automated previously time-consuming processes and has provided a much-needed means of effectively managing the projects.

Key capabilities include:

  • Project tracking & access to key documents

  • Automated Key Action reporting

  • Storage of project photos and videos directly to instantly accessible records

  • Project information exported into pre-formatted slides and reports for clients

  • Performance Reporting

Outcomes

Reliance now has an easily accessible, real-time view of all its projects. It’s now possible for Reliance to monitor and review its business, and to produce KPI reporting to help focus the team’s efforts where they’re most needed. Reliance now have complete visibility of key deadlines - “In one instance, our app alerted us to a deadline to sign a legal agreement that otherwise put a £350k project at risk”.

The ability to export data into pre-formatted slides saves Reliance up to a day each week in producing important project status reports necessary to keep key stakeholders in the know. Key suppliers have controlled access to the system, while clients and investor representatives are confident in Reliance’s abilities to manage projects and business successfully.

Reliance continues to grow their business supported by Softools’ agile and scalable system.

“Every bit of time we invest in configuring the system pays back 10-fold in terms of time savings and reduced risk of errors” - Natasha Goode, Reliance Energy

Softools attains ISO27001 accreditation

As part of the continued push towards quality, and recognising the importance of information security for a software services provider, Softools have attained the industry standard ISO 27001 certification to ensure we use best practice policies to ensure the organisation operates in a way which gives information security the importance it warrants, for both ourselves and our clients.

The certification was presented on 30th January 2019 on a sunny day at our offices in Henley on Thames before the snow arrived!

IMG-8398.JPG

Image lists showcase

To make apps more user friendly and intuitive we try and use image lists wherever we can to help users. Below are some visual examples of some image lists that have been used across the platform, please contact us if you would like any of these on your site. 

Speedometer

Speedometer

Current/Future impact with auto-complete number

Current/Future impact with auto-complete number

Faces for performance

Faces for performance

Auditor score happy

Auditor score happy

Auditor score unhappy

Auditor score unhappy

Speedometer

Speedometer

Risks, Actions, Insights and Decisions

Risks, Actions, Insights and Decisions

Cog almost complete

Cog almost complete

Cogs at 3

Cogs at 3

TBA Cog

TBA Cog

GMP Audit scoring

GMP Audit scoring

Yes slider button

Yes slider button

Harvey Balls and Red, Amber, Green arrows

Harvey Balls and Red, Amber, Green arrows

Risk button

Risk button

Insight Button

Insight Button

Action buttons

Action buttons

No slider button

No slider button

Self-registration with time-out sign up code access

SelfRegSoftools.png

Options to allow self registration of users with a given code has been enabled. This will allow the setup of one or many special codes, with expiry dates to allow different levels of access and use of a Softools site. Especially useful for allowing users to try systems for a limited period, or to give access to a small set of apps and data for users who self register.

Softools Newsletter No. 17

Softools Newsletter No. 17

2018 is proving to be the most exciting year in IT for the last ten years.  We talk about this as the ‘perfect storm’ with four major industry disconnects happening concurrently – all enabled through technology:  1) Corporate and Public Sector adoption of a cloud-first strategy, 2) the emergence of Enterprise Application Platforms (EAP) as the solution to ‘Shadow-IT’, 3) the Internet of Things (IOT) where all parts of the business can be connected real-time, and 4) Progressive Web Applications (PWA) that can work off-line and on any device.

In this months newsletter we cover a variety of topics including a new project with a globally recognised car company, our new relationship with OE consultancy Simpler, Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things discussion and an insight into the benefits of transitioning to an Enterprise Application Platform. We also have a whole host of New Features including a bar code scanner, draw box and self-registration with verification codes among others. 

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So, just what is a 'Smart Business'?

Smart Businesses are those that adopt emerging new technologies in a way that delivers: a) their business strategy, b) operational excellence across all internal core processes and external supply chain and c) pushes IT development into the hands of the operational teams.  However, technology will not be implemented just for the sake of staying ahead, but rather selectively in areas to drive productivity and competitive advantage.  This does not involve a wholescale change of technology, but one where all processes and supporting technologies are reviewed on a regular basis, in order to make simple KICK decisions: do we KEEP it, INVEST in it, CHANGE it, or KILL it?  And to enable it to make such decisions, the Smart Business will be constantly scanning its external environment for next generation technologies that should trigger the opportunity for innovation in the areas of: new value chains, streamlined processes, new products and services or innovative approaches for go-to-market.

To deliver the smart business will also require ‘smart leaders’ who understand the critical role of technology in delivering their growth strategies, and who utilise digital technologies to have the visibility and control they need over all aspects of the business.

- Andy Bruce, CEO Softools

Softools Newsletter No. 16

Softools Newsletter No. 16

This month is a bumper newsletter! We have so much going on at the moment that we have included everything from our new GDPR update, how to capture and share best practices, new marketing materials from Softools, mobile optimisation and updates on our 3 world-class events. In the Hot Topic area we discuss the rise of Shadow IT and its organisational impact and then we go on to cover our financial tracking for Operational Excellence projects toolkit. 

Our new features section covers some fantastic new updates like the ability to show which attachments you have in records, image action buttons, auto-translate for app builders, the ability to add calendar items directly to the users personal calendar, export to pdf and buttons to send out reports!

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Softools Newsletter No. 15

df6529e6-f65c-49fa-8092-63e37da2f6d8.png

The Softools Team wishes you and your team a very Happy Holiday season and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. 

This final Newsletter of the year will focus on upcoming items happenning in 2018 including the Smart Apps events happening in Q1, the Year of the App Builder, and access to the Softools Community Area. Our final Hot Apps for this year include Program Risk Management and the Asset Register and we have just released some new features including the ability to add a homepage background colour, buttons on homepages and naming of attachments. 

Would you like to have another app builder in your team or fancy learning the process yourself? Perhaps a refresher? Join us on one of our webinar-based Apps Incubator Programmes. See dates here.

Smart Apps London & Paris Events


We have two exciting events for CIO and CTO's as well as Operational Excellence Directors in London and Paris in 2018. Discussions with Business & Technology leaders over the last 12 months have identified new opportunities arising from emerging technologies and the increasingly pivotal role of IT to business survival and growth.  But they also talk about the complexity of their current infrastructure and how in an ideal world they would prefer to start with a blank canvas.  In these thought leadership events Softools,  in combination with Microsoft present what they call the the ‘2018 Tech Agenda’ - key challenges being faced by tech leaders, the key drivers of change, and a 10-point plan for Digital Transformation of the business.

Smart Apps UK - 31st January 2018
Smart Apps France - 6th February 2018

Sign up below if you would like to join us

Sign up here

2018 - The Year of the App Builder
 

We see 2018 as the Year of the App Builder, and to support this we have courses starting throughout the year and covering multiple time zones. The webinar based Softools Apps Incubator programme certifies users to ensure they have the ability to build apps from scratch, to configure existing off-the-shelf apps and to develop/optimise existing sites. App Builders in all sectors are utilising new features to create innovative new stand alone apps or complex enterprise solutions in hours.  Click here to download the latest Apps Incubator program outline and sign yourself or your colleagues up today.

Sign up to an Apps Incubator course here

Softools Community Area


Do you have a suite of Apps that you would like to offer to existing Softools Users? Are you an App Builder and would like to read and share tips with the App Build community? Do you have a new feature you would like to suggest? We have now launched our Softools Community area., introduce yourself to other Softools Users to discuss latest trends in Business Apps, learn helpful Tips & Tricks and raise Feature Request for what you would like to see in future releases. Sign up for an account on support.softools.net to be able to create new posts, comment on discussion topics and vote on feature requests.

Access the Community

Hot Topics

Smart Business Whitepaper


What will sector leaders be doing in 2018?  Whilst the answer will vary from sector to sector, it is clear that it will not be the same as in 2017.  We are already seeing the emergence of new value chains that involve companies working together in fundamentally different ways and using emerging digital technologies that will have a profound impact across all aspects of the business. 
Gary Hamel said in 2000 that “those that live by the sword will be shot by those that don’t”.  As we enter 2018, this statement will be truer than ever.  Those that fail to adopt new technologies and ways-of-working will be left behind by those that do!
This white paper focuses on the pivotal role of smart apps and Enterprise Application Platforms as the critical enablers of Digital Transformation – delivering a step-change in business, financial and operational performance based on the adoption of new technologies.

Access it here

Hot Apps

Program Risk Management


Over the last 4 weeks we have develop a Risk Management app based on international standards using in major construction and infra-structure programmes.  The Program Risk Management app allows the client, principle contracts and suppliers to work together on a joint Program Risk Register, where individual risks can be hidden or escalated as required.  As well as delivering in a mobile and off-line context, this new app offers to ability to: classify risks against a Risk Breakdown Structure RBS, render program risk on a 5x5 matrix ‘heat map’, and to present risks overlaid on a site map.  

Add this app to your site

Asset Register


The Asset Register app is a list of the assets contained in a business unit or team, and forms the basis of either the initial installation of the asset or the ongoing preventive or reactive maintenance program.  Assets are captured in terms of the meta data but also photographs taken by the installation engineer on the mobile, geo-location details and perhaps barcode information.  Linked to the Asset Register you would often deploy an Inspection app for planning scheduled reviews, and a Issues list for preventive maintenance or resolution of problems.

Add this app to your site

New Features

Homepage background colour


Linked to the ability to create clickable buttons on a homepage, we have introduced the option to add a background colour on homepages. This feature allows a clickable homepage to look like a single joined up page, rather than the clickable buttons looking slightly separate. This is especially useful on mobile devices.

Buttons on Homepages


There is now a new feature on homepages for zero code configuration to allow images and or buttons in some pre-defined layouts, combined with the other new feature - Homepage Background colours, we can now create a bespoke clickable homepage with images, colours and zero code buttons. Configuration of the homepages allow a range of options from 2x1 through to 3x3. Buttons can be zero coded to quick link to adding new records, or loading pre-selected reports. Buttons will also wrap responsively which is a key considerations on mobile devices.

Naming of attachments


Previously there has been no way to show on a record what attachments have been uploaded. There is now a new field type which shows a list of the attachments, including the friendly name of the attachment if one has been added. Because this is a new field type, it can be included in a word export for a record. The list of attachments also includes a link to the attachment, useful for naming image attachments for example.

All of these features are live and ready to be used on your site and in your apps.
Need some help getting started? No problem, drop us a note here:

Drop us a note

Softools Newsletter No. 14

Softools Newsletter No. 14

This month we've been Trick or Treating to bring you a bundle of treats ready to get your App Building tricks up to the Advanced level with our Apps Incubator programme gathering more and more attendees each month. We also have two upcoming Smart Apps events for CIOs and CTOs as well as Operational Excellence leads in both London and Paris where the conversation will focus on the 'Tech Agenda' and developing the Smart Business.

Would you like to have another app builder in your team or fancy learning the process yourself? Perhaps a refresher? Join us for an App Builder day at Henley Business School, including a lovely lunch with river-side views or sign up to the webinar-based Apps Incubator Programme. See dates here.

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Softools Newsletter No. 13

Softools Newsletter No. 13

The leaves are starting to turn and winter is coming (!). We started this month with our Annual Partner Day held at the Microsoft offices in Thames Valley Park and this months' newsletter will be covering off some of the exciting new features and functionality, deployments and stories covered there. Tech breakthroughs were discussed with talks on Industry 4.0 from IBM and Robotic Process Automation from Simon Turner. The big event of the day was the launch of our own new Offline capability using world-first technology. We then moved to the apps marketplace with BYO (Build Your Own) apps discussed by Reliance Energy and case studies from De-Risk followed by an insight into our own Go to Market success factors and How to Sell Softools.

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IoT Line Monitor

IoT Line Monitor

IoT Line Monitor
As more and more organisations seek to drive a step change in productivity as part of their Digital Transformation or ‘Industry 4.0’ initiatives, we are increasingly asked to link apps to real-time monitoring devices on production lines or machines.  This is referred to as the Internet Of Things IoT, and entails pulling data automatically from ‘IoT Hubs’ in order to present real-time performance data to: business leaders, plant and shift managers or engineering teams.

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GDPR

GDPR

Our hot topic for this month is GDPR as we are now just under a year away from these new regulations coming into place. In April 2016, the European Parliament adopted a new standard to improve data protection for individuals within the European Union (EU).  The GDPR does not simply apply to EU domestic business, but to companies worldwide that target their goods and services to European citizens.  The deadline for compliance is 25-May-2018, and fines for non-conformance will be as high as 4% of global turnover for the business.

In preparation we have put together a GDPR App Suite to provide a comprehensive solution for assessing compliance and managing actions to address areas of risk or non-compliance. The suite includes a Readiness Audit, a Data Flow audit, a Risk Calculator with a full Monte Carlo scenario analysis and a Mitigation Register. 

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