Friday, 30 September 2022

We're celebrating our Living Wage anniversary at Start Software

We are celebrating the anniversary of committing to being a Living Wage employer.  We're proud of it.


Want to find out more?  Click https://www.livingwage.org.uk/, read about the benefits for your employees and your business, and join!

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Elaine is at the NORAC AGM - it's been a really good day, already!

Director Elaine is at the National Organisation of Asbestos Consultants' AGM today.


It's been a really useful day for Elaine already, meeting lots of Alpha Tracker asbestos consultancies, old friends and new!

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

National Cyber Awards finalists! Want to work at Start Software here on the University of Wolverhampton's Telford campus?

Our Telford office is situated on the University of Wolverhampton's Telford campus. 

Start Software's Telford development office

The University of Wolverhampton has been shortlisted as a finalist for the National Cyber Awards 2022 in the “Cyber University of the Year” category.  This is great news for us at Start Software, as we specialise in the development of secure web systems including Alpha Tracker and Alpha Legal.

We're looking for new developers to join our team.  Interested?  Get in touch!

Friday, 23 September 2022

Another Alpha Tracker order! A leading New South Wales asbestos consultancy is joining the Alpha Tracker family

We're delighted to be welcoming another Australian asbestos consultancy into the Alpha Tracker family.

Another New South Wales asbestos consultancy is switching to Alpha Tracker

Watch this space for more information... we'll post again once they are fully live!

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Google has approved and verified our latest Calendar Sync app

Google approved our latest Alpha Tracker Calendar Sync app over the weekend. 
The notification from Google completes the actions we had following their change of policy which had caused some of our Alpha Tracker asbestos consultancy clients an issue (see https://blog.start-software.com/2022/07/important-google-calendar-sync-alert.html).

Our support team are contacting all affected clients and updating their systems but do give us a call (UK or Aus/NZ) if you want to discuss this issue or have any further questions.

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Welcome Dhiana! We are growing our Telford office team again

Our Telford office is expanding again - welcome Dhiana Allen-Bailey!

New Customer Service Assistant Dhiana ("Dhi") 

Dhiana has joined us to help our clients with queries, problems and system changes, working closely with Zac, James and Elaine.

Do say hello when you next call in and make her very welcome!

Thursday, 15 September 2022

The Daily Mail has exposed the "Shameful failure to tackle toxic legacy of asbestos"

Congratulations to the Daily Mail for publishing this powerful piece about the shameful failure to tackle the asbestos problem here in the UK: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-11182621/Shameful-failure-tackle-toxic-legacy-asbestos.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

The Daily Mail has exposed the failure to tackle asbestos

Liz Darlison, CEO of Mesothelioma UK, and her team worked hard to get this story into the press.  

You can read more about Mesothelioma UK and the amazing work they do here: https://www.mesothelioma.uk.com/

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Robin is presenting at the Contamination Expo at the NEC today. Drop in to find out what OpenAsbestos is all about

If you're heading to the NEC for the Contamination Expo, head to the Keynote Theatre at 13:45 today!

Robin is presenting at the Keynote Theatre

Director  Robin is talking about the OpenAsbestos initiative and how it supports UKNAR in its mission to make asbestos information available to all that need it.

Joining Robin on the platform are legendary asbestos campaigner Dr Yvonne Waterman, and the co-founders of UKNAR, Andrew Paten and Andy Brown.


Friday, 9 September 2022

Exciting news! Alpha Legal has been short-listed for the Today's Wills & Probate Awards 2022

Stop press! Alpha Legal has been shortlisted for the Today's Wills & Probate Awards 2022.

Wish us luck!

We are one of three firms short-listed for the Legal Supplier of the Year award.

Alpha Legal has been shortlisted for Legal Supplier of the Year

Our covering statement reads as follows:

"Start Software has demonstrated its commitment to providing exceptional service to its clients by investing thousands of hours in the development of Alpha Legal - the most secure and easiest to use client portal for the legal industry.

Tackling the inherent insecurities of email head-on, the cyber-security experts at Start Software have built the Alpha Legal portal to help will writers communicate securely with their clients, protecting their businesses, their clients and their reputations.   

In the short time that Alpha Legal has been available, the portal has processed nearly 100,000 ID documents and has helped 10,000+ clients to read and approve draft wills and other vital documents.

Start Software’s ISO9001-certified 24x7 support service means that will writers and clients can call at any time of the night and always speak to a human being.  This personal contact coupled with our cyber-security expertise makes us unique as a legal supplier." 

Wish us luck - we have everything crossed!!!

We're talking OpenAsbestos at the Contamination Expo on Wednesday 14 September - come and find out all about it!

Are you heading to the Contamination Expo at the NEC, Birmingham, next week?  You can grab your free tickets here if you don't already have some.

Find out about OpenAsbestos at the NEC next week

We are available to talk about OpenAsbestos on the UKNAR stand with Andrew Paten and colleagues at CT F10 (near the visitor entrance & the UK Asbestos Training Association - UKATA).

Also - at 13:45 on Wednesday, we are presenting with Andrew in a panel session hosted by legendary asbestos campaigner, Dr Yvonne Waterman.  We will explain how the OpenAsbestos initiative can support the UKNAR vision of making live asbestos registers available to all who need to see them.

OpenAsbestos is an industry-wide initiative aimed at making asbestos data available no matter where that data is currently stored.  For example, our Alpha Tracker asbestos software hosts asbestos register for 6 million buildings.  Imagine if all of that asbestos information was available (with the duty holder's permission, of course) to all contractors needing to work safely at a site?  That would be a real game-changer in the industry helping to make all buildings asbestos-safe.


Saturday, 3 September 2022

Xero authentication change - take note if you use the Alpha Tracker -> Xero automatic connection

Do you use Alpha Tracker's automatic link with the awesome Xero accounts software?

If so, when you have upgraded to Alpha Tracker Release 38 you'll need to be aware of a change in the Xero authentication process.

From Release 38 onwards, you only need to sign into Xero once - on the Setup|General|Linked Accounts screen:

Ask your Superuser to link Xero to Alpha Tracker

For more information, check Kim's detailed Release Notes or get in touch with Support (UK or Aus/NZ).

Thursday, 1 September 2022

How quickly do we answer your technical support queries? Take a look at our August 2022 performance stats

Our support desk answered 458 calls in August 2022, about average for this time of year.

Nearly 92% of high-priority queries were resolved within 2 hours (many much faster than that, of course).  8 of 10 problems (including low and medium priority) were solved within the timescales set by our users.

Support Desk - August 2022

This isn't bad at all, but this performance shows a dip compared to the highs in April, May and June so we'll take a look at how we can improve again.


Friday, 26 August 2022

UKATA has published an article about our OpenAsbestos data sharing protocol. It's worth a read!

Our friends at UKATA have published an article about the OpenAsbestos asbestos data sharing protocol.

Read the article on the UKATA website


If you would like to more, visit https://www.openasbestos.org/.  

PS You should also ask your asbestos software provider if your asbestos system is OpenAsbestos compliant (Alpha Tracker is, of course!) - and ask them why not, if not! 

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

The latest Alpha Tracker Mobile app update is available from the Apple & Google app stores

Want to access Alpha Tracker's key features from your smartphone?

Download the latest Alpha Tracker Mobile app from the Apple or Google app stores:

The latest Alpha Tracker Mobile app is now available for download

Using the app you can:
  • access your appointments

  • review your enquiries or quotations

  • review your projects (jobs)

  • create a new client, enquiry, quote or project (job)

  • sign off an asbestos report

  • view the asbestos register at any site
Would you like us to add more features?  Get in touch! (UK or Aus/NZ)

Tuesday, 23 August 2022

Thank you to Mesothelioma UK's Liz Darlison for a fascinating, educational and inspirational afternoon

Most of the Alpha Tracker asbestos software team visited Mesothelioma UK's Loughborough HQ yesterday afternoon to meet CEO Liz Darlison and to hear about the incredible work that her team does.


Mesothelioma UK supports patients suffering from this awful asbestos-related disease as well as funding research and nursing posts across the UK.  Liz's presentation, over a generous buffet (thanks Liz!) taught us all so much about the importance of working within the asbestos industry.


We'll continue to proudly support Mesothelioma UK and the work they do.  Would you also like to support them directly?  Click here to donate or read this if you are a company working in the asbestos industry wanting to make a difference.

Monday, 22 August 2022

Robin to speak at the European Asbestos Forum - 10 & 11 November, 2022. The topic is OpenAsbestos, a new open standard for asbestos data sharing

Our director Robin is speaking at the European Asbestos Forum in Amsterdam on 10 & 11 November.

Read about the EAF conference speakers here

Robin is introducing a new industry initiative - OpenAsbestos - and how it could make asbestos data more widely available to all, no matter which asbestos system the data is stored in.  Start Software's Alpha Tracker asbestos software is already OpenAsbestos compliant, of course!

Read more about the European Asbestos Forum and how to register here.

Friday, 19 August 2022

Free "get the most out of Alpha Legal" consultations available - just ask!

Are you getting the most out of your Alpha Legal subscription?  

Want to talk through ideas or find out about the latest features in the industry's most secure portal?


Dan and the team are here (hear?!) for you. Give us a call and arrange your free consultation!

Ever wonder how important being asbestos-safe actually is? Read about a day in the life of Jo Hargrave, Clinical Nurse Specialist

We can all get blasé about working in and around the asbestos industry.  

Developing software for the asbestos industry (we have been market leaders for nearly 20 years now - see here) puts us at a distance from the people working directly with the material or those affected by it. We very rarely come into contact with asbestos and almost never meet sufferers of asbestos-related diseases.

This is why our connection with Mesothelioma UK is so important.  They support patients, families, and even provide nurses to deliver treatment and support on the ground.  

Jo Hargrave, Clinical Nurse Specialist

I spotted this blog post on the Meso UK website about "Meso Jo" Hargrave, Clinical Nurse Specialist.  It's absolutely worth a read to understand how she and her colleagues help patients day-to-day.  NHS staff working with Mesothelioma are delivering invaluable patient care in difficult circumstances and with limited resources.  We support all that Jo and other nurses working nationwide are doing.

The whole Alpha Tracker asbestos software development team is visiting Mesothelioma UK HQ on Monday to learn more about what they do and to see how we can help them to deliver the services they provide.  We're looking forward to it!

Thursday, 18 August 2022

Another Alpha Legal milestone - 75,000 ID documents processed

We've hit another Alpha Legal milestone with 75,000 ID documents processed for our will writer, solicitor and accountancy clients.

75,000 ID documents have now been processed by Alpha Legal

Can the most secure client portal in the industry help you and your clients?  Get in touch!

Meet the latest asbestos consultancy to switch to Alpha Tracker - Zephyr Environmental are live!

Welcome to Oxford-based Zephyr Environmental, the latest asbestos consultancy to switch to Alpha Tracker from Start Software.


Our trainer visited Zephyr last week to train their asbestos professionals to
  • create quotations for asbestos services (read more)
  • book jobs into Alpha Tracker and schedule using the in-built diary (more)
  • capture asbestos data on-site including plans and photos (more)
  • update asbestos sample results from the lab (more)
  • produce asbestos reports automatically, with one click (more)
  • share results with clients using the flexible client portal (more)
take photos within our Tracker Mobile app

record samples using any Android or Apple device (smartphone or tablet)

produce reports automatically - with one click!

We're looking forward to our partnership with Zephyr - an asbestos company offering the full range of asbestos services to domestic and commercial clients.

Can we help your asbestos consultancy to become more efficient?  Are you fed up with your existing software provider's poor attitude to customer service?  Give us a call!

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

HSE Releases Mesothelioma statistics for Great Britain, 2022

Our friends at NORAC have just signposted that the HSE has released the Mesothelioma statistics for 2022.

The HSE report is, not surprisingly, a sobering read but also takes an unexpected look at the relationship between the coronavirus pandemic and mesothelioma deaths.

Read the full HSE report here

We support the Mavis Nye Foundation and Mesothelioma UK in the work they do in support of sufferers of asbestos-related diseases.  We urge you to join us and do all you can to support them and their work.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Release 38 of Alpha Tracker is a monster! 600 improvements to enjoy

Welcome to this monster update of asbestos software Alpha Tracker - Release 38! It's the biggest update we've ever produced, with more than 600 new features, performance updates and bug fixes.

Here's a 10-minute video to run through the most important changes - it's worth a watch:


(you can also watch the video here: https://youtu.be/0zK20TzZ9-A)

The six highlights are:

  1. Much faster login - it will be half the normal time, typically

  2. A new favourites bar for quick access to the features you use the most

  3. Sample barcodes and improved chain of custody

  4. Instant quotes (you'll need to ask us to enable this - it needs a quick template change)

  5. A smoother invoicing process from start to finish

  6. Map scheduling - perfect for busy consultancies doing lots of domestic surveying.
Kim's release notes are live here: https://www.start-software.com/tracker/alpha-tracker/release-notes/.  You'll also find a highlights document so that you don't need to read all of the notes to find the best new features!
The new highlights document - a one-pager that's worth reading

Hope you enjoy the update and the hard work the team have put in to get it ready.  

If you need help or have any questions, get in touch 24x7 (UK or Aus/NZ).

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Important Google Calendar Sync alert. Google have changed their process and you may be disrupted. Please read

If you have connected your Alpha Tracker diaries to Google Calendars via our Calendar Sync service, you may find that your appointments are not syncing properly.


Google has made a change to the way that apps like Calendar Sync can communicate with their systems, including Google Calendar.  We have updated the app and been in touch with Google, but we are having to wait for them to verify our app again before they will enable seamless syncing again.

We are sorry if you are disrupted by this Google change.  If you contact our help desk (UK or Aus/NZ) will be able to talk you through some options and workarounds.

Meet ZenLegal, the latest Alpha Legal subscribers

Meet ZenLegal! The legal specialists at Zenco are our latest Alpha Legal subscribers and they have an amazing 4.9 score on Trustpilot - a real feather in their cap and a demonstration of the quality service they provide to their clients.

ZenLegal has a terrific website here at www.zenco.com and this explains how they work, their prices, the range of services they provide (including Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Trusts) and how to book an appointment.  All very easy and straightforward.

Visit the ZenLegal website at www.zenco.com

ZenLegal welcomes new clients for all of their services, and for Trusts in particular.  Do get in touch with them and mention Alpha Legal when you do!

Thursday, 21 July 2022

Asbestos round-table meeting in London today - we're helping to move agenda forward to make the UK asbestos-safe

Sir Stephen Timms MP joined our director Robin along with asbestos industry friends and colleagues today at a round-table meeting to discuss asbestos management in the UK.  

Chaired by ResPublica, and inspired by asbestos campaigners Charles Pickles, Mavis Nye and Liz Darlison, the meeting discussed the Select Committee report, the Government's response to it, and what should be done next.

Our asbestos software Alpha Tracker holds asbestos information about millions of buildings in the UK and we'll be using all of this data to help provide the evidence needed to convince Government to change the way that asbestos is managed.  Our OpenAsbestos initiative was also mentioned as it will help to support the UKNAR proposals to make a national asbestos database a reality.

Meetings like this are sometimes a bit of a challenge, but this was a joy, with the icing on the cake being a hug from Mavis, too!

Robin with asbestos campaigners Mavis and Ray Nye after the meeting

There was even time for some sightseeing on the way back to the train.

It's been a while since I've seen the Houses of Parliament without scaffolding

Big Ben was looking in fine fettle

London does the pomp & ceremony so well! London was full of foreign tourists


Wednesday, 20 July 2022

What's it all about, Alfi?! Look out for our new Alfi app in the Google & Apple app stores

If you're as old as me, you'll remember Cilla Black singing the classic song, "What's it all about, Alfie".  If you're not, try watching this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glpIgnmKrZc and at least you'll understand the reference in the title of this blog post!

Our new Alfi app is about to hit the App Stores (Google & Apple) and it replaces the Family Finances app which has been a companion to our Alpha Legal secure portal for more than a year.

We'll blog again soon to let you know about all of the amazing new features which will benefit all Alpha Legal subscribers and their clients, including:

  • notifications direct to the app... keep in touch with your clients wherever they are and whatever device they use

  • a fantastic new homepage dashboard with the client's net worth front-and-centre

  • Fact Finds direct to your client, either personal or probate-related

  • secure document sharing from you to your client or your client to you

  • an ever-lasting and secure digital vault for your client to store their most precious information.
If you'd like more information about Alfi and what it can do for you and your clients, get in touch!



Release 38 of Alpha Tracker - our biggest update *ever* - is rolling out to customers this week

We've finally wrapped up Alpha Tracker Release 38, our biggest update to asbestos software Alpha Tracker, ever!

You'll immediately notice that it is much faster to sign in compared to previous versions, and you'll notice that it looks cleaner and easier to navigate

It might take you a few moments to notice the "stars" on the menu items - these allow you to build your own personalised favourites bar at the top of the screen - a huge time-saver!

Click the "stars" on your favourite items to build your own menu bar 

Another amazing new feature is our map scheduling screen which is perfect for busy consultancies working with domestic surveys, in particular.

Our new Map Scheduling screen will even produce an optimised driving route for your surveyors!
 
Some of the other new features include:
Watch out for our Release 38 video and the new release notes document, both coming next week.

Friday, 15 July 2022

Alpha Tracker is now an Industry Associate member of UKATA - the UK Asbestos Training Association

Start Software (Alpha Tracker) has joined UKATA as an Industry Associate member.

We've wanted to work more closely with UKATA and their members for a while, so we're really pleased to have started our partnership.

Find Alpha Tracker under "software" on the UKATA website

Find out more about UKATA here or about our asbestos software Alpha Tracker here (UK or Aus/NZ).

Monday, 11 July 2022

Update on Amazon AWS outage Sunday 10.7.2022 affecting some UK Alpha Tracker users

One of the Amazon AWS Datacentres had a "thermal event" yesterday afternoon (we are guessing an air conditioning failure) between 17:30 and 19:30 UK time.  This issue affected approximately 10% of our Alpha Tracker clients whose systems became temporarily unavailable.  We are sorry about that.


Amazon recovered their environment quickly and all Alpha Tracker systems automatically recovered by 19:30 last night.

If you need any more information, please do call us on 0333 301 1010 as usual.


Sunday, 10 July 2022

Can the Alpha Tracker consultancy family fund a Mesothelioma nurse? Can you help?

Mesothelioma UK and the Mavis Nye Foundation are working together to fund a new mesothelioma nursing post.  

You could help us to fund a mesothelioma nurse post

We had an idea here at Start Software.  Could the Alpha Tracker family of consultancies come together to collectively fund the £2,000/month needed for the post?

What an achievement that would be.  If you can help, please complete the form below and Robin will be in touch.

The form is also available here: https://forms.gle/VqwW1VHUF8ZLs4co9




Wednesday, 6 July 2022

LinkedIn webinar 10:00 today! Learn all about Alpha Legal and what it can do for you, your business and your clients

Come and learn about Alpha Legal in our live LinkedIn webinar at 10:00 today!

Here's the link to register: 

Dan will show you what our Alpha Legal portal can do - it's easy, safe & secure

Join lead developer Dan as he shows you what Alpha Legal can do for you, your business and your clients.  Stay until the end and you'll also get a special offer and free trial!

Monday, 4 July 2022

96% of High Priority calls are resolved within 2 hours - June 2022 Support Desk update

We've just analysed our Support Desk stats for June 2022 and a near-record 96.21% of all High Priority calls were resolved within the target 2-hour timeframe.

Graph showing improved performance during May & June 2022

We're looking now at streamlining how clients make contact with us (currently there are several ways including email, phone calls and our website). We'll let you know if anything changes.

Alpha Legal is sponsoring the Modern Law Conveyancing Awards 2022

We're really pleased to announce that Alpha Legal is sponsoring the Modern Law Conveyancing Awards 2022.

Come and meet the Alpha Legal team at the Conveyancing Awards 2022

The event takes place on Thursday 24 November 2022 at The Rum Warehouse, Liverpool.  We can't wait!

Friday, 1 July 2022

We've added #AMD22 to our Alpha Tracker home page - supporting Mesothelioma UK's Action Mesothelioma Day for 2022

We're supporting Mesothelioma UK's Action Mesothelioma Day for 2022 by adding the Twitter feed for #AMD22 to our Alpha Tracker asbestos software home page!

Alpha Tracker's home page with a new #AMD22 dashboard

Go to https://twitter.com/hashtag/AMD22?src=hashtag_click to follow the Twitter feed yourself!  And do support Meso UK's campaign - it really helps sufferers of this terrible disease.


Zephyr Environmental is joining the Alpha Tracker family

We're really pleased to announce that asbestos specialist Zephyr Environmental from Oxford is joining the Alpha Tracker asbestos software family.

Zephyr Environmental's excellent website

We'll post more information when Zephyr go live!

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Alpha Tracker is now a member of NORAC - the National Organisation of Asbestos Consultants

We're pleased to announce that Start Software (Alpha Tracker) is now a corporate member of NORAC, the National Organisation of Asbestos Consultants.

NORAC and Alpha Tracker working together

We're looking forward to meeting NORAC members at future meetings and discussing ways to improve our asbestos software systems to benefit the asbestos industry in the UK.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Asbestonomy conference over for 2022. Bring on 2023!

We have just spent a couple of days in London at Asbestonomy 2022.

This international asbestos conference gave us an opportunity to listen to amazing speakers, talk to clients, talk to competitors and meet some wonderful people who are all working together to solve the asbestos problem - once, and for all.

Some of the people we want to highlight (and who we are working with us here at Alpha Tracker) are:
Here are some of the photos I took at the event:

Andrew Paten (UKNAS), Dr Mavis Nye BEM, Robin

Robin with Alpha Tracker user Neil Munro from Acorn Asbestos

Mavis beginning her presentation

Robin, Dr Yvonne Waterman and Andrew Paten

The conference reinforced what an important industry this is.  So many stories of disease, suffering and, tragically, premature death.  It's vital that we all work together to sort this problem out.

We introduced a new industry-wide initiative called OpenAsbestos, which aims to provide an open, industry-wide framework for the sharing of asbestos data.  This supports the UKNAR initiative to develop a UK-wide national asbestos register but also goes much further - enabling all systems and organisations with an interest in asbestos to access data easily wherever it is stored.

If you'd like to know more about OpenAsbestos, please do get in touch with Robin directly.


Best Foundation now working in partnership with Alpha Legal - new subscribers receive 1,000 free credits

The Best Foundation is the new estate planning membership organisation devoted to modernising and improving the will-writing industry.  

Their mission statement says it all: "Be the Best of the Best: Supporting best practice and using the best of digital innovation in the estate planning industry".

We're delighted to announce that Best Foundation members can now subscribe to Alpha Legal and receive 1,000 free credits to use when:
Alpha Legal is easy, safe & secure and the best client portal on the market.

Best Foundation is working with Alpha Legal

How do you take advantage of the offer?