Showing posts from January, 2012

About Start Software

Start Software is an award-winning developer and leading publisher of asbestos software, systems for the legal services industry and more.

Want to know more about asbestos software Alpha Tracker? Alpha Tracker is the most used asbestos software in the UK, Australia & New Zealand with more than 60m items of asbestos data stored.

Our legal services software Alpha Legal helps will writers, accountants, solicitors, IFAs and estate agents to communicate securely with clients. Read about developments here on the blog.

Or need help with Alpha Anywhere or Alpha Transform projects or software development? You'll find useful info here.

100% of urgent issues resolved on time in January 2012

We received 49 urgent calls for assistance in January and for the first time every single problem was resolved within the customer's stated timeframe.

We've been hitting 90%+ for a long time now but to hit the magic 100% target is a real credit to the team, Elaine (our problem manager) in particular.  Thank you Elaine for all your hard work.

The only problem is that I'm not quite sure how we follow this in February!!

We've actually been tracking our success rate since 2003 and you can follow our progress on this chart (the red line tracks the high priority problem, the blue are the rest).

AccredIT quality re-certification successful

After another challenging day from our AccredIT quality assessor, we're thrilled to be able to announce that he has recommended us for re-certification to the accreditation body.

We work very hard to keep our service consistent and our software development processes thorough, professional and innovative.  Most of the hard work is Kim's (our Quality Manager) and her attention to detail is legendary.

We're all very pleased with the end result and our full order book reflects the confidence that our customers have in the products we deliver.

Windows 8? We're ahead of the game here at Start Software

We're working for a fantastic client at the moment - Countrywide Legal Services - and one of the software products we've built for them (in Alpha Five v11) is a "Extranet" for their consultants to log in and see the status of all of the business they are doing with the company.

Alpha Software, the creators of Alpha Five, were interested to see that the interface we've built for Countrywide mimics the new Windows 8 "Metro UI" style - very similar to that deployed on the Windows 7 Phone Series operating system.

We're really pleased with - it is stylish, functional and easy to use - and no doubt we'll deploy it in other apps soon.

Start team "a joy to work with"

We record and analyse all customer comments really carefully.  Even if our ISO9001:2008 and AccredIT certifications didn't need us to to this (they both do!) it is vital to know what your customers think of the service you provide.

The positive comments we receive are especially rewarding, and this was a lovely one:

Start Software created a solution within Tracker for Bureau Veritas, which matched our needs, but they also have worked continuously since our Go-live to ensure that the product continues to meet our changing requirements. The whole team at Start are a joy to work with and they never were too busy to try and help resolve our issues.

Start Software helps test and build latest Alpha Five v11 release

Our relationship with Alpha Software continues to flourish and over the last two weeks we have been working closely with their development team using the latest "pre release" build of Alpha Five v11.

Our latest project is a prototype job, customer and financial management system for a company specialising in dealing with household insurance claims where asbestos products may be involved.  The software build is in two phases - a prototype to firm up the scope of the project and then the final build. The time-scales are very tight with the prototyping phase lasting just a fortnight and Alpha Five is proving to be perfect for the job.

Using the pre-release candidate of Alpha means that we can use the very latest features that Selwyn and the team are adding to the product and we are able to feed back directly to them to influence the next day's build of the product.

Already the prototype is a usable web 2.0 "Ajax" database system with fully integrated mapping and scheduling facilities (see this link for more details of what systems using Alpha Five v11 are capable of) .  We'll be polishing the prototype up this week so that the client can see the next release of the prototype on Friday.

Mobile Data Studio 7.1.1

Mobile Data Studio 7.1.1 is now available.

This is a minor update which resolves a couple of bugs which users have spotted togther with better notifications for new sessions and new projects within Android.

Contact us for the latest installer or download directly from the CreativityCorp site.

Interview with Alpha Software Blog journalist published

18 Jan 2012: Skeleton support staff only

Apologies but staff illness has left us a little short in the support office today.

Please be patient if you can and only mark problems as urgent if they really are.

You can track live support cases via our web site's support page here as usual.

Resource Tracker v1.0.535 SVN6 available

This is a minor update with a number of bug fixes including one which affected SQL users copying/pasting appointments from one staff member to another.

Please contact the support office if you would like this update.

Order book full of web database developments

We've started 3 new projects this week, all for web-enabled database applications.

Each application is in a completely different market but each client shares the same wish to have a system which will work from anywhere and on any device - true cloud computing.

We'll be using Alpha Five to develop each of these applications and our partnership with the Alpha Five development team is growing daily.  This week, for example, we reported a possible bug in Alpha which resulted in a fix within 24 hours - that level of responsiveness makes our life so much easier.

I'm being interviewed for the Alpha Software blog this afternoon about the some of our experiences with Alpha - should be fun!

What are we planning in 2012?


Starting with the company itself, at the end of 2011 we at Start Software had grown the development team to the largest we have ever had (in 10+ years of trading) and this year we will be taking on even more programmers.

We're working on an update to our web site - they say that plumbers are the most likely to have a leaky tap at home and our web site is now starting to look a bit out of date!  The truth is that most of our new business comes from word of mouth and personal recommendation, but that shouldn't be an excuse for having a less-than-first-class web site.  Watch this space.

With our new skills in Alpha Five we can now deliver web-based database systems with desktop-like ease of use and functionality, and I'm expecting our relationship with the Alpha Five team to grow in 2012 so that we become one of their leading UK partners.  Does this mean we'll be dropping Microsoft Access for software development?  Not at all - but I expect that the majority of new projects will use Alpha Five (against SQL Server databases).

For our Tracker customers, we are working on major updates to Tracker Web Server and Resource Tracker. Expect to see a more "Web 2.0" style with Tracker Web Server and much better performance with Resource Tracker.  Our new module which links Resource Tracker to Google Calendars is proving very popular and this will be developed further this year.

We have an order book full of new "bespoke" projects, and although some of these will only see the light of day within a specific company, where clients have agreed that we can market the products more generally afterwards we'll be able to reach into new markets.  Very exciting!

Finally, we'll be launching a couple of web-based subscription services this year, again into brand new markets.  

We're all really excited about business prospects in 2012.  The press are still talking down the opportunities for British business but most of my business contacts are doing just fine - I have a feeling that well-run businesses selling quality products and services will do well again this year... so our ISO9001 renewal and a re-certification within the prestigious AccredIT quality framework will hopefully stand us in good stead.

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