Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Microsoft patch their problem Windows Updates

It looks like Microsoft have patched their faulty July Windows Updates and the update will be rolling out to servers shortly.

We are testing the patches on our test Alpha Tracker servers and will publish more info here when we have it.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

More info about the problematic Windows Updates from last week

We blogged last week about the July Windows Updates causing havoc to servers around the world.

More information has emerged about the impact of the updates, including the issues being caused to IIS and SQL Server, the bedrock of most web-based systems.

In particular, for Alpha Tracker asbestos software users, you may find that servers which have had the updates applied do not allow you to log in or may only run for a few minutes before having an issue.  The solution is to get the Windows Updates uninstalled for now and tell the server not to install them again.  Our support desk can give you more specific information if you need it.

Microsoft is working on a solution and you can read more information here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-nz/help/4338815/windows-81-update-kb4338815



Monday, 16 July 2018

Another London council changes system to Alpha Tracker

We've just received notification of another Alpha Tracker asbestos software order.

In this case, the order has come from a large London council after deciding to swap their system to Alpha Tracker.

We'll post more information when the council goes live and we've moved all of their in-house asbestos surveying team over to their new software.

I thought summer was going to be quiet!!

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Windows Updates causing havoc this week

Automatically applied Windows Updates from Microsoft have caused problems across the globe this week, and some Alpha Tracker users have also been affected.

Two security patches from Microsoft were released this week and have been automatically applied to many servers.  Once installed, the web server software which powers asbestos software Alpha Tracker either won't restart or will restart but then fail after a short time in use.

Our support desk became aware of the issue yesterday morning and quickly established that the Windows Updates were the root cause of the issue.  We are resolving the issue as it arises and contacting IT support companies who service our clients' systems so that everyone is aware of the problem and how to fix it.

We are sorry that these updates from Microsoft have caused issues for our clients.  Generally speaking, these server updates from Microsoft are a really good thing (providing security and performance improvements, generally) but occasionally they do go wrong.  Hopefully we won't have another occurrence like this in a long time!

Monday, 9 July 2018

Another NATA endorsed asbestos laboratory is switching to Alpha Tracker

Our order line is as hot as the weather!


Another National Association of Testing Authority (NATA) endorsed Australian asbestos laboratory has placed an order for asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

The lab, with headquarters in Victoria, will be switching to Alpha Tracker later this summer.

Watch this space for more info!


Friday, 6 July 2018

Specialist asbestos consultancy TACsurveys chooses asbestos software Alpha Tracker

UK Midlands-based asbestos & legionella specialist TACsurveys have chosen asbestos software Alpha Tracker to run their operation.



TACsurvey's asbestos specialists identify and provide their clients with recommendations for the suitable management of any asbestos containing materials

the TACsurveys excellent, modern web site

TACsurveys specialise in all areas of HSG264-compliant asbestos surveying, asbestos management and ACOP L8 legionella risk assessments. All of their surveyors have a minimum of BOHS P402 and are regularly audited using strict in-house management systems.

You can contact via email info@tacsurveys.co.uk or on 01332 974665.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Eastland Envirocheck choose Alpha Tracker to deliver their asbestos services

We're really pleased to announce that another environmental consultancy - Eastland Envirocheck - has chosen asbestos software Alpha Tracker to deliver their professional asbestos services.




Eastland Envirocheck, based in Gisborne, New Zealand will be using Alpha Tracker to deliver their full range of asbestos services to clients alongside their other environmental services including Methamphetamine testing for all types of property.

For more information about Eastland's services, contact info@eastlandenvirocheck.co.nz

Can we help your asbestos business to increase efficiency and reduce administration?  Do get in touch (UK or New Zealand/Australia)

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Protec Group choose asbestos system Alpha Tracker

Auckland-based Protec have chosen Alpha Tracker to be their asbestos software and we are delighted to welcome them to our increasingly large extended Alpha Tracker family!


Judy & Leanne will be servicing their business from our Adelaide office and are focused on getting Protec up and running as smoothly as possible.

Well-known for their wide range of compliance and training services within the hazardous materials sector,  Protec will be using Tracker Mobile and Alpha Tracker to automate their asbestos operation to give their clients the best possible service.

For more information about Protec Group's services, do contact them here admin@weareprotec.co.nz

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

*Blush* lovely client closing remarks after selling his business

We've just had an email from a software development client who has sold his business and is now heading towards a long and happy retirement.

He emailed to say:

"May I say a huge thanks for all you help over the years..... The best IT company I have ever dealt with in terms of understanding the Customer's needs and talking in plain English. It has been a pleasure and if I can help in any way going forward please let me know"

How kind!

Monday, 2 July 2018

Support desk performance in June 2018

Following on from May's stats, June turned out to be another busy month with 561 calls taken.

92% of the high priority calls were solved within the 2 hour deadline which is a good result given how busy we were.


As you can see from the chart, above, this is a slight dip in performance but, looking at all types of problems (including the low priority ones) our response times have been slightly better than they were in May.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

More Alpha Tracker sales to UK asbestos consultancies

What a busy week for Alpha Tracker sales... and it is only Thursday lunchtime!


Welcome to the asbestos professionals at AMC Asbestos - great to have you on board.

Also a warm welcome to RSF Services - another asbestos consultancy choosing asbestos software Alpha Tracker to help them to streamline their admin.


Wednesday, 27 June 2018

US healthcare giant Humana pilots the Start Software-developed AllTold app

AllTold is a new app enabling senior citizens to tell their life story for family and friends.

AllTold brings generations together
Built by Start Software using the Alpha Anywhere development platform, AllTold is designed to bring generations together, using Android or Apple tablets to create an interactive record of a senior's life story for family and friends.


AllTold is the brainchild of two psychologists and Start Software's director Robin Bennett with the intention of helping older people with social isolation, loneliness and to strengthen memories.

US healthcare giant Humana has launched AllTold as a pilot in New Orleans and Start Software staff Robin and Tom have been working in the Humana wellness centre with new users of the software.  Tom was even on TV!


Friday, 22 June 2018

More asbestos consultancies in the UK and New Zealand switch to Alpha Tracker

We've had a busy week of orders with asbestos consultancies in the UK and New Zealand placing their orders for asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

Two factors are especially pleasing:

  1. the companies are switching from other products - they have not enjoyed working with our competitors and have heard that our approach is better and our support is superior
  2. we have not had to "sell" to these companies as asbestos surveyors working for them have given their personal recommendation instead.  Result!
Can we help your asbestos consultancy switch systems?  Do get in touch (UK/New Zealand).

Friday, 8 June 2018

Alpha Tracker Release 28 release notes are now available

Kim has finished the release notes for asbestos software Alpha Tracker Release 28 and these are now available on our website here:

Alpha Tracker Release 28 release notes

You can see a quick video overview of the GDPR features in Release 28 by clicking here.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Alpha Tracker features with Capital Environmental Services in Builders and Contractors magazine

Judy just sent this clipping over from our Adelaide office - a nice Alpha Tracker
feature in the latest copy of Builders and Contractors magazine alongside our asbestos consultant client Capital Environmental Services.


Give Leanne or Judy a call in our Adelaide Alpha Tracker office if you would like to know more.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Allium client St Austell Brewery adopts the Alpha Tracker Client Portal

It's lovely to read news stories about our clients' clients making full use of the Alpha Tracker asbestos software Client Portal.



Allium's client St Austell Brewery have started to use the asbestos management system and will be enjoying the many benefits it brings as Allium quote on their blog post:
"... operators of multi-site businesses are impressed with the user friendly interface, configurable compliance dashboard and “drag and drop” document storage capability. 
Our secure portal allows clients to keep all their asbestos information together in one easily accessible place, no more boxes of dusty folders in the store room! 
The system holds all surveys undertaken for a client, generates photo registers, manages re-inspection schedules and clearly shows which premises are compliant and which have issues using a colour coded status board."
Are you making the most of the Alpha Tracker Client Portal? Get in touch if you want to know more!

Monday, 4 June 2018

Are these the oldest Tracker Mobile handsets in the UK?!

One of our Tracker asbestos software clients has just updated to the latest Alpha Tracker cloud-based asbestos system.

Like most of our customers, they have been using our systems for years.  In fact, lots of years... so when they upgraded to Alpha Tracker they also took the opportunity to get new Android tablets to use with our Tracker Mobile site asbestos data collection system

Their old handsets were so old, so I asked if we could have them for our mini-museum of kit here in the office... and here they are!!

Were these the oldest Tracker Mobile handsets in the UK?
I think these units are 10+ years old... can you beat that??






Support performance during May 2018

We had another busy month on our support desk (providing support to our Alpha Tracker asbestos software users and customers with a variety of other software systems we have built).

In total, we answered 516 calls over the month.  94% of the high priority calls taken were resolved within 2 hours and 80% of all calls were resolved within the timescale agreed with the caller.


That's a dip in performance compared to recent months reflecting some changes in staffing on the support desk perhaps?

We are about to introduce an extra "self help" option which will assist newer users with some of the common queries in particular.  Let's see how that affects our stats in the coming months.

(you can view other blog posts about our support performance by clicking here)

Friday, 1 June 2018

Heart of Wales Property Services go live with asbestos software Alpha Tracker

The asbestos professionals at Heart of Wales Property Services (HOWPS), a joint venture between Powys County Council and Kier Group, have just switched to asbestos system Alpha Tracker.

HOWPS are responsible for a huge portfolio of property and needed a more efficient way of managing the asbestos within buildings for property owners and tenants.

We are delighted to be working with HOWPS and look forward to a long working relationship.

Here are some of the photos that Kim (our Alpha Tracker trainer) took on the training day.




Friday, 25 May 2018

Alpha Tracker's director in Australia is now officially... Australian!

A big congratulations to Alpha Tracker director Judy and her family who have successfully completed their Australian citizenship ceremony.

A very proud image of Judy and her family at the citizenship ceremony

This means that Alpha Tracker Pty Ltd supplying and supporting asbestos software Alpha Tracker to customers in Australia is now officially an Australian business with an Australian director.

If we can help your asbestos consultancy in Australia to improve your efficiency and productivity, do get in touch with Judy or Leanne in our Adelaide office on 1300 946 310.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Alpha Tracker Release 28 - the GDPR update

Someone told me a GDPR joke yesterday and it's worth repeating...
"Knock knock"
"Who's there?"
"GDPR"
"GDPR who?"
"Sorry, I don't have your consent to tell you..."
(for our Australian and New Zealand Alpha Tracker customers reading this post... be thankful that you don't have to worry about this new layer of data protection regulation!)

Anyway, I bet you're as fed up with GDPR as we are... but at least the latest version of asbestos software Alpha Tracker, Release 28, will help you with your GDPR admin.

In addition to the GDPR-specific features (which Kim is documenting in full and which will form part of the release notes and updated manual), there are 200+ new features, performance improvements and bug fixes.

One of the most important new features is a new link to the popular CRM system from Really Simple Systems - something which is worth looking into if you want to use a CRM system alongside Alpha Tracker.

Here is a quick video to introduce Release 28 to you:



If you want help to install Alpha Tracker Release 28, just get in touch with the support team as usual, or feel free to download and install the update yourself.

Monday, 21 May 2018

DAF Risk Consulting go live with Alpha Tracker

Asbestos specialist consultancy DAF Risk Consulting has just gone live with asbestos software Alpha Tracker.

Find DAF Risk Consulting's website here
DAF are specialists in all asbestos sampling and surveying services as well as Legionella (water testing) too.  Read about their full range of environmental services on their website here.

After receiving their Alpha Tracker asbestos software training, they are now ready to take advantage of the increased efficiency and productivity the system will give them.  Welcome on board!

Owner and principal consultant Damian Fazackerley

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Another productive week in our Adelaide office

I've been working with Judy & Leanne this week in our Adelaide Alpha Tracker office.

The Alpha Tracker office in Adelaide, South Australia
It's been really worthwhile and we've been particularly busy (as usual!):

- meeting new clients interested in our software development and support services (mobile data in particular)

- Skyping with asbestos consultancies to discuss new Alpha Tracker software opportunities

- meeting our Australian bank manager to set up a new business structure here which will benefit our customers in Australia and New Zealand in particular.

I've also had the chance to do some sightseeing and enjoy all that Adelaide and the South Australian coast has to offer.  It really is a very special place to visit.

The Adelaide Oval at night
Night fishing off the Glenelg pier
My new Adelaide ride! The Ofo bikes which have appeared across the city

Not a bad commute!



Another asbestos consultancy chooses Alpha Tracker

We've just had another asbestos software Alpha Tracker order from a building & property maintenance business, Degiorgio Properties.

Degiorgio Properties are expanding their operations into asbestos and needed a quick and easy way to deliver first-class asbestos reports to their clients.

We're really looking forward to working with our new client.

Can we help your asbestos business to increase profitability and efficiency?  Do get in touch.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Software meeting at Penfolds Magill Estate

Judy & I had an excellent software meeting this morning at the world-famous Penfolds Magill Estate in Adelaide.  We were discussing their mobile data collection system and how we could support and improve it.

What an interesting and impressive site & business Penfolds is.  Hopefully we'll be seeing much more of them and their business in the future.








Sunday, 13 May 2018

Alpha Tracker and the BESA Group - you're in safe hands

BESA Asbestos is a specialist asbestos consultancy working for clients from their Lincolnshire base.

With the asbestos skills and experience to deliver the full range of asbestos services, BESA Asbestos  (part of the BESA Group) offer their customers asbestos management, refurbishment & demolition surveys, asbestos consultancy, bulk sample analysis, project management and asbestos removal services.

BESA have chosen asbestos software Alpha Tracker to improve their productivity and further enhance the service they deliver to their clients.

Our trainer Kim visited BESA to deliver their Alpha Tracker training face-to-face and here are some of the photos she took whilst she was there:









Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Kim is 10 years old today!

Our technical author and Alpha Tracker asbestos software trainer Kim is celebrating 10 years at Start Software today.

Robin & Kim - our first (and last!) selfie

Congratulations Kim and thanks for putting up with us all for such a long time!  And hope you enjoy your celebration meal out with Tim at the fantastic Raven in Much Wenlock.

Friday, 27 April 2018

GDPR and what it means for Alpha Tracker asbestos software users

All UK businesses have been wrestling with GDPR (the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679) and what it means to them.

In particular, Alpha Tracker asbestos software users will be wondering what we have in store so I thought a blog would be useful to summarise the 6 key GDPR principles and where we are making software changes to suit.

Please note - if all your Alpha Tracker asbestos consultancy work is "business to business" then GDPR is less relevant to you.  But... if you do any asbestos surveys, re-inspections or removals at domestic premises and store personal information including names & addresses of homeowners or tenants then you need to take careful note of GDPR!

1 Rights of Individuals

There are a number of new rights for individuals enshrined within GDPR.  For example, there is a "Right to Erasure" or "Right to be Forgotten" and a "Right to be Informed" about what an organisation stores about an individual.

In the next Alpha Tracker release, we have new features to help your staff to deliver these rights.

2 Right to be Informed

Businesses need to make sure that people understand what is being stored about them and why.  They will also need privacy policies to meet the GDPR requirements.

In Alpha Tracker, we will enable you to link the software to your policy so your admin and customer-facing staff have easy access to it.

3 Right to Erasure (“Right to be Forgotten”)

This allows individuals to request that their personal data is removed from an organisation's systems.

The next release of Alpha Tracker has a feature designed to make this quick and easy to do.

4 Data Protection Officer (DPO)

Businesses will be required to appoint a DPO to help them comply with all their obligations under GDPR.

Alpha Tracker will enable you to store the details of the DPO in the system so that customers and staff can easily identify the person responsible.

5 Obligations on data processors

There are new obligations on organisations to keep data more secure.

We will be offering our Alpha Tracker customers enhanced security features including, for example, the encryption of all data held within Alpha Tracker and moving server data centres to facilities with the highest possible security standards.

6 Data Protection Impact Assessment and data breach response

If there is a data breach, the GDPR regulations insist that organisations follow a specific, thorough process in response including identifying individuals affected and notifying the appropriate authorities.

In all of the years we have operated Alpha Tracker, we have yet to experience a data breach. We are not complacent, though, and we will continue to focus on server and software security as a priority.  We have also updated our procedures should we become aware of a data breach.  

Monday, 23 April 2018

P2 Environmental Consulting goes live with asbestos software Alpha Tracker

Welcome asbestos specialists P2 Environmental Consulting to the Alpha Tracker family!

P2 offers the full range of asbestos consultancy services and the directors have decided to switch to Alpha Tracker to improve their efficiency and productivity as well as to improve the service they give to their clients.

The P2 Environmental Consulting website
Our Alpha Tracker trainer Kim enjoyed meeting the P2 staff at their training sessions.  Here are a couple of photos from the training day:




Thursday, 19 April 2018

Alpha Tracker customer comment (*blush*)

We like feedback of all types.  Direct, constructive criticism helps us to improve.  Positive feedback send us home with a spring in our steps!

This is what one of our Alpha Tracker asbestos software customers emailed us this week:

As I’m sure you are aware ‘Alpha Tracker’ has been doing what ultimately we require.
Over the period I have added, amended, removed data with success.
I can also categorically say the support from yourselves has been great. 
They always say it’s the resolution time when something doesn’t work that is always a true measure of a good product/good customer service.
Keep up the good work!

Monday, 16 April 2018

March support performance at Start Software

The support desk's performance was slightly up in March compared to the February results with 89.1% of high priority issues being resolved within 2 hours:

Support stats for March 2018
Across all calls, the percentage was 85.4% with 480 calls for assistance being logged altogether.

We're working a new "self help" support website currently which will help Alpha Tracker asbestos software users (in particular) with common queries... I'll post more info on the blog when we're ready to switch it on.

Friday, 13 April 2018

My "Long Mynd Hike" for Mesothelioma UK makes it into print!

My copy of the Mesothelioma UK magazine has just dropped on my desk and it was a surprise to see my Long Mynd Hike story make it into print. 6 months on and my feet are still sore! 

Thanks again to everyone who supported me - it's important to me personally and us as an asbestos software business that we support asbestos cancer charities as much as we can. 

Mesothelioma UK's excellent publication

My story in amongst some really inspiring fundraising initiatives

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Highland Asbestos Services goes live with Alpha Tracker

Another Scottish asbestos consultancy - Highland Asbestos Services - has gone live with asbestos software Alpha Tracker.


Highland Asbestos Services are asbestos specialists and deliver management surveys, refurbishment/demolition surveys, re-inspections and asbestos sampling & analysis services to various industry sectors.

Kim travelled up to Inverness to meet the asbestos professionals and admin staff at Highland to go through the process of producing automated asbestos reports using Tracker Mobile and Alpha Tracker.  Here are some of the photos she took on the training days:






If we can help your asbestos consultancy to "ditch the paper" and start producing asbestos reports with virtually no admin input, do get in touch.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Two more asbestos consultancies go live with Alpha Tracker... 11,145 miles apart!

We trained two more asbestos consultancies yesterday to go live with asbestos software Alpha Tracker - and at opposite sides of the world!

Kim was training a consultancy in Inverness, Scotland and Judy was training another in Gisborne, New Zealand.  According to this "as the crow flies" distance calculator (http://tjpeiffer.com/crowflies.html), these two new asbestos consultancy Alpha Tracker clients are 11,145 miles apart! I think that's a record...

More details to follow.


Tuesday, 10 April 2018

On the road to meet more Amianto (NGNine) asbestos software users

I'm on the road again today to meet more Amianto asbestos software users. 


We announced the acquisition of NGNine Ltd and their Amianto asbestos software last month (see http://robinbennett.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/acquisition-of-ngnine-ltd-complete.html).  I've enjoyed travelling the UK during the last month to meet the Amianto users, to learn about their organisations and to tell them about our plans.  I think today is the last day of these introductory meetings - I need a break!

Monday, 9 April 2018

Widespread Office365 email issue causing problems for some Alpha Tracker users

We've been receiving support calls from Alpha Tracker asbestos consultancy customers since the end of last week about emails not being received from the system.  In particular, emails with automatically generated asbestos reports are not being received by users.

We've been investigating and it seems that a Europe-wide issue with the Microsoft Office365 email servers is causing our users some issues.  It is not affecting all Alpha Tracker users, but it is affecting some and we are sorry that Microsoft's issue is having this knock-on effect to our customers.

Office365 reported issues
You can monitor the Microsoft systems here: http://downdetector.com/status/office-365

For affected customers we are aware of, we have switched email setting to use alternative email servers so if you are continuing to have email problems please do call us on our support line.