Showing posts from June, 2019

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.

New energy client goes live with asbestos software Alpha Tracker

Kim has been on another trip to the north of Scotland to train our latest energy industry customer to use asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

With so many Alpha Tracker clients in Scotland, perhaps it's time to open an office?  Kim has been checking out John o'Groats for suitable office locations...

Kim at John o'Groats - photos of the Alpha Tracker training sessions below

Alpha Tracker Release 31 in beta test

We've almost finished asbestos software Alpha Tracker Release 31.

Our beta testing asbestos consultancy clients are giving us feedback now so that we know it is complete and ready when we make it publicly available.  It is a mainly a security and performance update though we are squeezing in as many new features as possible.

If you have an idea for a new feature that you'd like us to consider, please!

When did you last check your server backup?

There's an old saying in IT... a backup is worthless if you don't regularly check it and try to restore from it.

With so many companies now outsourcing their servers to the cloud - either Amazon, Google or Microsoft - it is easy to become complacent and assume that backups are automatically done and checked.  In most cases, though, this won't be the case and the cloud server provider will only offer a backup and restore service for an extra fee.  If you're not paying that fee, you probably don't have a backup!

For our asbestos software (Alpha Tracker) clients, if we have organised the hosting in Amazon or Fasthosts for you we will also be backing up your data and we will be testing those backups, typically monthly.  We are now writing to our clients every quarter to confirm the backup situation so that there is no doubt or potential for confusion.

However, if you have organised your own in-house server, or are paying Amazon or Fasthosts yourself for a cloud server, do not assume that "someone" will be backing up your server and regularly checking it can be restored.  Check your arrangements as a matter of urgency and make doubly sure that your backup is in place and secure.

If you need any help or advice, please do contact Elaine in the office and she will be able to assist.

New orders for asbestos systems for UK power stations

We're pleased to announce that we've received new orders for our Alpha Tracker asbestos system for use in several UK power stations.

Alpha Tracker is now used by a huge range of organisations, from the core market of asbestos consultancies and asbestos surveyors, right through to the energy industry and even one of the UK's largest corporations with a £2bn turnover.

Further information will be posted when we have clearance from our clients.

How is our support desk performing?

Each month we blog our Start Software Support Desk stats so you can see how we are performing.

The answer is... pretty well! 

Support Stats to May 2019

For high priority problems, we are consistently solving them within the timescales set by our clients 93% of the time.  That's pretty impressive given that we take 200+ calls of this nature a month.

For all other calls (on average, 300-400 a month), the figure is more like 87%, but that's still pretty good.

Remember... we're the only asbestos software provider to offer 24 hour, 7 day a week, personal support to our clients.  You can call or email us as often as you want.  That's how important it is to us that you are pleased to have chosen Alpha Tracker from Start Software for your asbestos system needs.

Thinking of moving from physical to virtual servers?

Physical servers were once the only option.  A big, expensive, complex computer would be purchased, configured and installed by technicians and would sit up the corner of an office, humming away merrily keeping a company's IT running.

The problem is that physical device can and do break.  Hard disks can fail. Servers can be damaged or even stolen.  And as time moves on, what was once a leading edge server can seem terrribly slow as the demands of the operating system, software and the business itself grow.

The solution can be virtualisation, where the physical element is eliminated.  Virtual servers use shared hardware to protect against failure, and can be upgraded or enhanced with only a click or two of a mouse.  In most other respects they operate just like a real server and they are normally the first choice for our Alpha Tracker asbestos software clients now.

But what happens if you want to switch from physical to virtual, is that possible?  It is, and we are doing an increasing number of these moves for our clients.  In fact, Jack completed one last week and we received this lovely comment from a client about the move:
"Thank you very much for all the work on this.  It went off seemlessly and professionally.  I very much appreciate it Kind regards Don"
So - do get in touch if you think that it is time you moved your system to a virtual server and we can explain the process and give you a quote.

Asbestos software client grateful for help after server crash

One of our Alpha Tracker asbestos software clients recently suffered a catastrophic server hardware failure and we have been supporting them to help get their system back online as quickly as possible. 

It has been a difficult time for all concerned, not least because the server company's level of customer service fell far short of what was expected.  However, after lots of hard work from our software installation and support staff we have recovered the situation and today we received this lovely comment from our client's Managing Director:
"Can I take this opportunity to thank you and the team for all the help and assistance you have provided over the last few weeks, yourself and all the team at Start provided great support and excellent customer service through what was a challenging period."

It's a reminder, of course, that servers do fail and that you need to be absolutely confident that backup and restore processes are in place and regularly tested.  If you have any doubts about your own system, now is a good time to check!

Adam's 40th at the "Start Software pub", the George & Dragon

Developer Adam has just turned 40!  He's been with the company for longer than any of us like to remember and we celebrated his birthday at our director Robin's pub, the George & Dragon in Much Wenlock.

Adam with 4 candles - 40 wouldn't fit!
If you're passing Much Wenlock (it's between Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury on the A458), do call in to the George & Dragon and you'll get a warm welcome.  You might even get a discount if you mention Robin to the bar staff!

The George & Dragon, Much Wenlock

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