Showing posts from August, 2021

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.

The release notes are now available for Alpha Tracker Release 36

Kim has finished the release notes for Alpha Tracker Release 36 and you can find them here:

The release notes are always worth a read!

We do recommend that you spend 5-10 minutes reading the release notes if you can, as we highlight important changes and new features in asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

Even if you don't have time to read them, do print them out and keep them with your system documentation in case your accreditation body wants to see them at a visit.

New integration with TrustID coming very soon

We have partnered with ID verification specialist TrustID so that Alpha Legal users will be able to securely request ID documents and verify them all within Alpha Legal.  

This is an exciting addition to our feature-set and will make Alpha Legal an even better, simpler and more cost-effective tool for estate agents, accountants and solicitors nationwide.

TrustID and Alpha Legal are working together

We'll blog again once the feature is available to all users.

Are you making full use of project milestones? You might be able to ditch a spreadsheet (or two!)

Project milestones are an easy way to track the jobs in your business.  If you set them up properly in Alpha Tracker, you won't need any additional spreadsheets to track jobs as they progress because Alpha Tracker will do it all for you.

"Milestones" are key events in the life of a project.  You don't want too many, but just enough to enable you to track the most important stages in a project.  We suggest that 10 on a job might be too many - aim for a handful, at most.

Step 1 is to set up the milestone template for each type of work you do.  Do this in the menu option Setup|General|Project Types.  Click the "+" button to show the milestone template:

First, set the milestone template

Step 2 is to update the milestones as you complete them.  Open the project, click the "Milestones" button and simply update who did what and when.  Double-clicking is a quick way to set "today" and "me" as the date/time completed and the person who completed the milestone:

Update the milestones as the job progresses

OR - here's a great tip - use the "+" button on Project List to get to the same milestone screen:

Timesaver - use the "+" button to show the project milestones

Step 3 - ditch the spreadsheets!  Alpha Tracker has many screens which show you the milestones and how you are doing on each job.  You can even configure Tracker Dashboard to automatically send you daily, weekly or monthly emails with summaries of your company's KPI performance.

We also have a new "Project Pipeline" screen coming in the next Alpha Tracker release.  Here's a sneak preview...

Look out for the new Project Pipeline screen, coming soon

New asbestos sample/item "auto-numbering" options coming soon

Do you use the AutoNumber button on our "Survey Items" screen?

Do you have clients who want you to number each item you record using a numbering scheme of their choosing?

If the answer to either of these questions is "yes", read on!

New option coming soon to the AutoNumber button?

We've decided to extend what our AutoNumber button does.  Currently, clicking this button will assign a number to each item in an asbestos survey, but always starting always at "1".  Naturally, Alpha Tracker has a unique identifying number for every item and this is always assigned when your surveyor sends their data back to the server - but the AutoNumber button is a popular feature where consultancies want reports to have items numbered 1, 2, 3.. etc.

The new functionality behind the button will allow you to start the numbering from any number, not just 1.  In particular, if you have clients who give you a batch of numbers and want you to take numbers from a range, the new features in AutoNumber will allow you to do this, completely automatically.

Do get in touch with Elaine if you want more info - we'd be delighted to hear from you!

Alpha Legal and Countrywide working closely together

We're proud to be associated with Countrywide Tax & Trust Corporation (CTTC) because Alpha Legal enables their will writing and estate planning consultants - 1,000s of them - to communicate securely with their clients.

Countrywide Tax &Trust and Alpha Legal working together to improve the client experience 

Will from Alpha Legal support visited CTTC this week to train software specialist Humza.  Nice photo, both!

Tracker Filer has been updated to help you with Account Management (in particular)

The beta test version of Tracker Filer has been signed off and the latest version has been released.  

This Tracker Filer update has an amazingly useful new feature - do watch this short video to find out more.

You can now cc Tracker Filer at your organisation even if you don't specifically mention a quote or project number.  Tracker Filer will look at the email address(es) you have sent or cc'd the email to, and then save the emails as records in the Alpha Tracker CRM module.

That might not sound like a game-changer but we've been using the feature in beta test for a few weeks and it has saved us hours of admin!  Do call and speak to Robin or Elaine if you want to find out more.

Alpha Tracker Release 36 is now available

Jack has released Alpha Tracker Release 36 and it is now available for you to update your system.

Here's a 5-minute intro to this update - it's well worth watching if you can find the time.

I've highlighted some of the new features for you in the video:

  • more sophisticated quote and project cost breakdowns

  • a better (simpler) screen for entering asbestos lab results

  • equipment QR codes for tracking and asset management

  • faster document creation

  • the new Account Management features.
Kim is finishing the release notes now - we'll blog again as soon as they are ready to download.  It's always worth doing that and keeping the release notes to show the accreditation body at the next visit.

Tried the Alpha Tracker plan "hotspots" feature yet? It's easy, quick to do and puts your site plans on another level (no pun intended!)

Our Hotspot feature in Alpha Tracker isn't used by all of our asbestos consultancy clients.  Are you one of the Alpha Tracker users missing out?

When you Hotspot a site plan, you click to place the samples onto the drawing, it's as easy as that.  The benefit to you is that you then get automatic colour-coding of the samples.  Once the lab has input their analysis, the samples on the site plan automatically colour-code to show positives in red and negatives in green.

The benefit to the client is that the site plans then become active on the client portal.  They can zoom and pan around the plan and click on the samples to find out more about the asbestos at that location, including the photos taken by the surveyor and the condition of the asbestos found.

Alpha Tracker hotspots - are you making the most of them?

There is more information in the Alpha Tracker User Guide, found here and the release notes for Release 35, here.  Or just get in touch with the support desk (UK or Aus/NZ) and we'll set up a screen share to show you how they work.

Lovely feedback from an Alpha Legal user

Thanks Jan, of Jan Cook Wills & Trusts, for this lovely Alpha Legal feedback!

Jan says that Alpha Legal is a "Great service"

Jan uses Alpha Legal to ensure that the communication with her clients is completely secure. Jan's excellent website is a great place to start to find out more about her and the services she offers:

Visit Jan Cook's excellent website

If you are a will writer, estate planner or solicitor and you're still using email for secure client communications, it's time to stop! Alpha Legal is really cost-effective, easy to use and completely secure. Register risk-free today.

Another asbestos consultancy chooses Alpha Tracker for asbestos air monitoring

Kim has been on the road again this week training the asbestos professionals at Broadland to use Alpha Tracker's air monitoring module.

Broadland chooses Alpha Tracker for asbestos air monitoring

Alpha Tracker works for all environmental consultancies - whatever size and whatever specialism.  Do get in touch if we can help you to improve your efficiency and customer service.

View appointments on a map to help you schedule more efficiently

Did you know you can view Alpha Tracker diary appointments plotted on a Google Map?

This makes it so easy to see how far asbestos surveyors are travelling between appointments and who is already near a job you need to schedule.

View site staff appointments on a map

It's so easy to show the map:

  1. click Resources|Select Resource

  2. choose the staff you want to map

  3. enter the appointment date range - that's it!
We're making this process even easier in Release 36 and we're also expanding the information shown on map.  All great suggestions from our wonderful Alpha Tracker asbestos consultancy clients.

New "Quick Start" action tiles coming soon - helping you to get things done

Watch out for our new "Quick Start" action tiles on the Alpha Legal home page.

The three new "Quick Start" action tiles

You'll find them above the Dashboard section.  With one-click, you'll be able to easily:

  • send a form to a client (including asking for ID documents)

  • share a document, securely

  • send a document for e-signature.
We're in final beta test now and hope to have the update published in a week or so.

Meeting planner on way in Alpha Legal

We're making some big changes to the calendar feature in Alpha Legal.

Alpha Legal's meeting calendar

The first change we're making is to help you to book meetings with more than one person.  Suppose you have a Will review with a client and they want their children to be at the same meeting (either physical or virtual, via Zoom or Teams).  You'll soon be able to add everyone into the meeting appointment within Alpha Legal so that everyone gets the invitation and you also have their contact details to use when prospecting for new business.

The second change will help when you need multiple people to attend a meeting and finding a suitable slot is proving complicated (isn't it always!).  The new Meeting Planner feature will enable you to suggest a number of slots to any number of people.  Each attendee will be able to mark the appointments that work for them until a suitable time is found.  So much easier than emailing or calling everyone to find something that works for everyone.  Perfect for Trust meetings, of course.

We're hoping to publish these changes in September - watch out for the update.

Release 36 of Alpha Tracker due this week

If the feedback from our Alpha Tracker beta testers is good, we should see Release 36 made publicly available later this week.

Could Release 36 be available this week?

There are so many improvements it's hard to know where to start!  Some of the ones we think will be most popular are:
  1. The new Account Management features

  2. Faster document creation

  3. Automated documents when key milestones are completed - this is a gamechanger!

  4. Equipment QR codes for tracking and asset management

  5. A better (simpler) screen for entering asbestos lab results

  6. More sophisticated quote and project cost breakdowns.
Keep your fingers crossed for us - please - we're keen to get these features to our lovely customers.

Alpha Tracker training complete for Paramount Environmental

Kim has been touring the UK this week delivering training to new Alpha Tracker clients.

The asbestos professionals at Paramount Environmental were on her schedule - here's a quick photo Kim took during the Tracker Mobile training session.

A Paramount asbestos surveyor getting to grips with asbestos software Alpha Tracker

Meet the Alpha Tracker Wallboard - your new best friend helping you to increase profitability

Alpha Tracker's scheduler has a built-in financial planning tool called the Wallboard, and it's brilliant.

The Alpha Tracker Wallboard

The Wallboard takes data from Alpha Tracker projects & appointments and shows income generated for your business by each member of staff.  It can show you this information weekly or monthly, in the future or in the past.  So it helps you to plan and forecast as well as analyse past performance.

You access the Wallboard from the "Select Resource" menu:

  1. click "Choose Resource"

  2. choose the staff you are interested in

  3. click "Wallboard"

Find out more by searching the Alpha Tracker user guide for "Wallboard" or contact our support desk for help.

Another 1,000 client IDs have been verified via Alpha Legal

Another 1,000 clients have verified their IDs via Alpha Legal's secure forms and messaging.

If you are still requesting copies of ID documents (passports, driving licences and bank statements) via email, it's time to stopEmail is not secure!  Try Alpha Legal instead - it takes two minutes to register your business and it is completely risk-free! 

98% of high priority queries resolved within 2 hours - great work from the Start Software support team in July 2021

Our support desk has had an excellent July.

Excellent performance from our support desk in July 2021

98% of high priority calls were resolved within 2 hours, and 91% of all calls were solved within the caller's requested timeframe.

We're really proud of our support desk - read all their news here.

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