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!

‘Shadow-IT’ is quickly becoming the biggest challenge to CTOs in 2018, and a major obstacle to business transformation and growth. To find out more about what it is and how to address it contact Andy.

Top Stories

Updates for GDPR
As you are hopefully all aware, the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) will be coming into place on the 18th May 2018 and we have had many questions from our clients and partners about how we are preparing. We have implemented a new platform wide feature that allows each site to request that new users abide by company GDPR policies and general company T's and C's. This feature will need to be set up by the individual site administrators in accordance with client specifications. 

Click below if you would like advice on how to set this up

Capturing and sharing best practices
It is now possible to add best practices in the form of: glossary-of-terms, case stories, templates, frequently-asked-questions or presentations to an app that can then appear as Process Help – accessed by clicking on the ‘i' button on a record.  This provides real-time coaching and support for users (‘learning-at-thepoint-of-doing’), and is great for training programmes.


New Marketing Materials from Softools
We have created a new set of Marketing fliers for use by our clients and partners to showcase the benefits of the platform. The set includes the Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) flier, a CTO focused 'killing off Shadow IT" flier and a Global Manufacturing case study. Feel free to take a look at them below:

Are you mobile optimised?
As you all know, everything you create on the Softools platform is mobile/tablet ready, secure, scalable and user-friendly however by creating mobile specific homepages we can optimise the user experience when accessing apps on a mobile or tablet. By having specific mobile homepages we can have action buttons, graphics and visuals that are easy to navigate and look great. 


3 World Class Events
We started off 2018 with a bang and ran three Microsoft co-hosted events in Paris, London and Bangkok with attendants from all over the world. In total we presented to over 100 companies on topics covering:
- Tomorrow's business today - How will ways of working change in 2018?
- The Tech Agenda - What is the CTO's focus now?
- Smart Business - What technology will enable Operational Excellence
- EAP Transforming IT - What are the benefits
And much more... 

Our next event is on April 10th in Paddington, London (UK)


The Softools Apps Incubator Programme
We have changed the way we train app builders and now invite users to join us on a 2-hour weekly webinar course, spread over a 5 week period where they will learn everything about app building from the basics through to advanced and expert app building and site management. Sign up today via the link below, our next one starts on the 6th March:

Hot Topic

The rise of Shadow IT
Perhaps the largest challenge facing CTOs today is the reliance (or what one business leader called the ‘over-reliance’) on ERP solutions such as SAP and Oracle – “whilst an effective ERP system is a necessity for managing any large enterprise, it is often used purely for administration of the business as a financial and resource management tool and it rarely addresses what are increasingly seen as core processes such as risk management, innovation or major bid management”.  Given this scenario, is it any wonder that most operational heads look elsewhere for operational solutions?
To fill the operational void, business units often turn to Excel, and in all large enterprises there are now thousands of spreadsheets being used to manage what are business-critical operations.  Unfortunately, whilst Excel can appear to be a ‘free’ short-term fix, it is rarely the answer when working across teams of eco-systems including customers and suppliers.  Typical problems quoted include: lack of governance, modification by local users (adding rows and columns), inability to run real-time reports and duplication of data input.

  •  “If an application is not cloud-based, mobile and offline enabled and built on APIs that can integrate with other systems then it is not fit-for-purpose.  Over the next 5 years over 95% of the non-ERP applications will be retired or migrated to the cloud – this is enormous”.  Operations Director, Global Manufacturing

Hot App

Project Management – Financial Tracking for Operational Excellence Projects
Our Project Management tool for tracking financials allows data entry for savings that run over 2 years and the reporting functionality can easily show the total savings for an organisation. These savings can be split per location, category, start year, etc. This functionality and reporting is very useful for organisations that need to have visibility of projects across multiple locations.
The standard project management reporting of the hotsheet, showing Red, Amber, Green status, and other information such as Project Phase is still included within the tool.


Image 1 – Full Savings for All Active Projects that Start in 2018


Image 2 – List of Active Projects with Status and Updates

Partner of the Month

Advance Consultancy
Another Partner "appify's" their I.P. - Advance Consultancy have built their Activate process into and app that enables them to use their best practice process with clients and gain visibility of their results immediately in real-time.

New Features

Rework of App Help and Knowledge share to be Workspace Apps
You can now store App Help and Knowledge share assets in another App, and then link them through to the App you are working on. This means that assets such as a Glossary of Terms, FAQ's, Case Stories, help articles and more can be managed and stored in one app, and then be made available in the Learning Resources area of another App to encourage 'learning at the point of doing'.

New field type: Show Attachments in a record
If you need to show the list of attached documents within the record so that it can be viewed, shown in a report or printed out, then you can now do so using the new ‘Attachments’ field type.

Image action buttons
It is now possible to configure the landing page or homepage to be optimised for mobile devices.  This would typically show a logo or welcome image together with quick links to key applications or reports.  Combined with the ability to set the background colour and add links to the homepage on smart phones, new solutions look more and more like native apps.

Auto translations of Apps for App Builders
Apps can now be set up to run in any language using the Google Translation API .  As soon as a user selects a new language in their profile, all the apps will be translated into the language selected – providing a more personal and easy-to-use experience for local users around the world.

Date field with ability to add to users personal calendar
A new field type will show a + button next to date which will allow the date, event name and link to the record to be added to the users local calendar.

Export to PDF
Users now have the ability to export to PDF from within an app or record. If you already have word templates in place you will now be able to export them to PDF, alternatively get in contact with us to help you set this up.

Trigger workflow button to send a word report
Users can now use the Image Action Button to enable workflow scenarios. There are many ways to use this functionality.
In the example on our 5S application, once an audit is complete the user can click the Send Report button anytime to send an Email notification to the designated stakeholders which includes the Audit Results and a full report in Word format.