Softools Newsletter 12

As August is on the horizon many of us are looking forward to our summer break, but fear not, the Softools team will be working away to keep the new features coming and the apps and platform up to world class standard. This month we are announcing our Offline  due date, the launch of an Advanced App Builder Workshop and an update to the Refresh Programme. Our Hot Topic for this month is GDPR as it is rapidly approaching and momentum continues to grow.  We are also discussing some of our Hot Apps such as the IoT Line Monitor Audit and the Change Log app. 

This month in the new features section there is a re-cap of the last three months releases, by releasing them so rapidly we're aware it's hard to keep up!

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

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Offline due September
In September we are expecting to release our Offline version of Softools. With this exciting new development we are stealing a march on the competition by being the first to offer truly offline working in a cloud-based environment. Not only does this offer the option to use whilst not connected, but also offers significant advantages in poorly connected areas and patchy network connections such as trains or whilst travelling. 

New Advanced App Builder Workshop
Starting from the 17th-18th October we will be hosting a two day long Advanced App Builder Workshop for those that are interested in learning about how to build reports, use workflow and expressions, manage advanced settings, App linking and integration, in-app charts and much more.  The workshop will be run over two days and will allow advanced app builders to create complex custom solutions.

Sign up here

Refresh programme update
Last month we introduced you to some of our new Refresh Associates and since then we have been making great advances. The Refresh Program offers a suite of off-the-shelf business apps that provide a complete solution for business unit planning and governance.  As our new associates continue to use them, they are proving vital for internal use as well as 

Find out more

GDPR - (General Data Protection Regulation)
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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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.

Change Log
Change Log app is used as part of major programs or projects to capture, manage, track and report on changes.  Change management is critical to the in-full, on-time, in-budget delivery of project based activities.

P-Plans
Use the P-Plan (Performance Planning) app to align individual objectives with the overall goals of the business, and then to review both performance and capabilities as they evolve throughout the year.  The P-Plan can be used as part of a formal employee performance management process or on an informal basis when pulling new teams together.

Comms Plan
The CommsPlan App is used to plan effective communications across stakeholders within a project or program.  Most projects and programs succeed based on how effectively key stakeholders and actively engaged - what key messages to give to which stakeholders, how and when?

PA Consulting
PA Consulting is a leading professional services firm focused on delivering performance improvements for their global client base.  We are working with PA on major programmes in the Middle East to ‘de-stress’ complex infrastructure initiatives such as the implementation of a rail network to service the next Football World Cup.  The custom app-suite developed by PA provides an effective risk management approach including Monte Carlo scenario analysis for $billion+ programs, but can also be used for tactical risk assessments on smaller projects.

Template based icons
Bring your templates to life with a colour and imagery. Our experience has shown that making data entry forms more colourful aids user experience and buy in.
As an App builder, you can now add icons to your templates (with zero code) within AppStudio. Icons would usually be context sensitive, but can help with branding too!

Nested Reporting
We have now introduced a new capability that defines a (parent-child) relationship between two records within the same app.  Once configured, a list report can be set-up to show records at the highest level, with the ability to drill down into child records at the next level, and then the next level.  There are no limits to the number of levels that can be defined.  This exciting new feature enables a cascade of KPIs or Projects up and down all levels of an organisations – ensuring they are all linked and aligned.

Screenshots as attachments
Within the attachments area of records, the user can now select the 'Screenshot' button which will paste and save an image in the clipboard of the PC - complimenting the capability that already exists when working on tablets and smart phones. 

Base filters on charts and list reports
App Builders now have an option to set a 'Base’ or default filter on any report (charts or list reports).  These Base Filters are applied before any user filters are applied and cannot be cleared by the user.  This is useful if reports are created to show (for example) only ‘Status Red Risks’ on a Risk Register.  This capability also allows the creation of content rich dashboards where charts can represent different data sets for the same app, such as sales charts for regions.

In-List charts

This fantastic feature enables in-record charts to be displayed in the list report of records, this changes the way apps such as the KPI Dashboard app displays data.

Forwards and back on records
This nifty little feature enables the user to click 'forwards' and 'back' between records and will auto-save whilst doing so. This means you can navigate through a list of projects quickly and easily whilst seeing the complete set of data. It is also great for Audits and Assessments – moving from one topic to another with a single click.

New Field type: Embedded video
In any app we can now have a new field type which embeds a video from external content, meaning you can have video content play directly from within an app record.

Report Grouping

Where there are large numbers of reports on an Apps, we now allow reports to be grouped together, so the left menu on an App is less cluttered where an App has lots of reports

Randomised audit options

Using a traditional annual audit process, everyone knows when an audit is happening, so processes and procedures temporarily improve in anticipation of the audit. If we randomise parts of the audit and run them more frequently, we get a more consistent and permanent improvement in process. 
Weekly randomising parts of an Audit or an organisation’s checklist is an excellent way to apply continuous improvement and engage employees. For example, 2 weekly random questions that apply to the quarterly Data Protection Compliance regulations will ensure that processes are continuously enhanced and quick improvement actions take place more regularly, reducing the possible quarterly overload of work

Platform Versioning
When a new version of the platform has been released you will now be prompted to refresh your screen so that you have the most recent version available to you. Through this you will see how we are constantly updating and improving the platform for the benefit of all our users!

List Reports Paging
The Auto-paging capability on list reports has been replaced by a paging system to allow you to move backwards and forwards to the next set of records quickly.    

At the bottom of each screen, there is now a new footer bar showing the current page with the option to move next / previous where appropriate.  At the same time, we have introduced considerable speed improvements so that reports can now be used to drive performance review meetings real-time as opposed to having to print out reports, review in the meeting and update later.

We have also re-written the way in which the Inline Edit feature works so that it is much easier to use.  The Inline Edit button makes everything on the page instantly editable, with no lag or display changes.  Changes to fields are then instant as they are made with no save button requirements.  This feature alone will make regular review meetings a breeze, with status, comments, attachments and updates across multiple records a really simple tasks to perform.

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:

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To view any of these new features, simply go to the Softools demo site at:  http://azuuza.on.softools.net and log-in as Guest for both the user name and password (note that the password is case sensitive).  The Workplan app is normally the most feature-rich in terms of having all new features configured.