Marshal at GFOA in Banff AB

Put it in your calendars, Joesoftware will be attending the GFOA AB in Banff starting May 29th. Stop by our booth to meet Marshal, our Health and Safety Management application. We are excited to introduce Marshal at this years’ conference – it’s a perfect fit for municipalities and government agencies of all kinds and has been developed to comply with Alberta safety standards, which are some of the most rigid standards across Canada. Considering these high standards, and utilizing Microsoft’s CRM platform, Marshal allows you to create custom dashboards and work flows to suit all of your municipality’s needs. Come and talk to us about what we are doing with the MD of Greenview!

Joesoftware is not only a longstanding Microsoft Silver partner but we also develop and offer other products too. Penny, Spencer and our newest product Marshal allow us to demonstrate our expertise with Microsoft products and provide you with a personal and full experience.

We look forward to seeing you at GFOA AB 2016! For more information feel free to contact Sheila.

GFOA logo

Marshal informantion sheet


Benefits of Paperless Safety Compliance

Safety and compliance in the workplace is no longer optional. More and more, companies are focusing resources on ensuring that they are creating a culture of accountability with inspections and planned maintenance becoming fundamental necessities.  Many organizations are still working with their existing paper-based inspection models or practices, using paper forms and reports which are easily lost, damaged, or otherwise compromised, increasing the time and resources required to properly maintain them.   This manual practice and lack of controls risks rendering the time committed to each inspection lost time if tracking becomes inadequate and/or is unavailable for comparison against the next task.  Moving this into a spreadsheet is similarly easy to neglect or can be unintentionally destroyed through deficient or missing work flow, notifications, follow up and planning.  In the end, what you lose is the ability to compare and to access relevant history which is critical to the inspection process.  Regrettably, lack of resources, space and other priorities provide little time to meticulously track and file each document leaving risk for unfinished tasks, potential lack of ownership and unreported deficiencies leading to potential safety violations and challenging the ability to manage hazards in the workplace.

The benefits of paperless safety work-flow are countless. Paperless safety solutions promote efficiency by providing highly organized records and improved accountability and personal ownership. It facilitates trend analysis, charting and forecasts by maintaining easy access to work histories with accurate and timely access to logs, certificates and alerts.  A safety application promotes accountability throughout the chain of command by providing competent workflow; reminders ensure deadlines or inspections are not overlooked and in the end focusing you on success around meeting your goals and objectives in a timely fashion, saving you time and resources.

Paperless safety solutions provide access to all participants through the use of web portal technologies to allow access from any web browser, including mobile devices.  Key features of a web portal include system administration, asset and facility management, report generation, automatic notifications and metrics, data-exporting/importing and the ability to customize automatic alerts and emails ensuring the right people have access to the information they need in a timely fashion.

Most importantly, paperless solutions keep workplaces safer and companies compliant with industry safety standards and lessen the risk of workplace accidents and potential OH&S violations.

For more information on Marshal please visit Joesoftware   or contact


Safety Meetings – Make Them Meaningful!

Use safety meetings as an effective, simple way to familiarize your employees with workplace hazards to reduce job related accidents and injuries.

Initially this can seem like a daunting task, but by applying some thought to it, you can maximize your benefits.  You can define a set of meetings for your needs by examining your business cycles and taking into consideration equipment and environmental factors.

Helpful Tips:

1. Consider the type of work your company does and the equipment that is commonly used.  In a factory or manufacturing work place, meetings on forklifts, dollies and carts cleaning, electrical, pinch and crushing hazards could be important.

2.  For construction work, consider using meetings specific to heavy equipment, scaffolding, steel erection, fall protection, concrete, and public/traffic safety.

3.  If your business is conducted outdoors where extreme weather conditions can occur, you can include tips for working in cold weather such as dealing with ice and snow, hypothermia, colds and flu, and severe driving conditions.  In summer conditions, meetings could focus on hydration, beating the heat, hyperthermia and other environmental issues.

4. If your business is seasonal, during the periods when new employees are added as work ramps up, consider focusing on new hire training. These meetings could include work ethics, Personal Protective Equipment, work competency and fitness, discipline, basic safety and first aid training.

Whatever your business, location, or unique requirements, with a little planning you can maximize the benefits of your safety meetings.

To SharePoint or Not to SharePoint

One of the most common questions we hear from our clients is “what is the best way to handle documents within Microsoft Dynamics CRM?” Almost every one of our clients wants to attach documents into their CRM implementation. The simplest way to do that is to use the Notes feature in CRM, but is that the best way?

Notes is a feature that is available on multiple entities. The Notes feature in CRM allows you to enter text or attach a document which is stored against an entity. A time and date stamp is applied to Notes when they are saved. This means that over time you can see a chronology of Notes, when they were created and also who created them.  While Notes is simple and easy to use, it provides very limited document management functionality. You can’t even search for a document that is added in Notes.

Microsoft SharePoint supports the whole lifecycle of managing a document, including document creation, version control, review, publishing, and finally document disposal or retention. For more robust document management we often consider implementing Microsoft SharePoint alongside Microsoft Dynamics CRM, due to the ease of sharing and searching for documents between these two systems. Microsoft SharePoint allows users to store documents that are contextually related to records in CRM, and then to search for these.

There are a number of ways to integrate CRM and SharePoint together. The simplest way is to use the out-of-the-box integration provided by Microsoft. This causes a folder to be created in SharePoint to house documents that are associated to a record in CRM. Records can then be seen either in CRM or directly in SharePoint. Alternatively, IFRAMEs can be used to show SharePoint pages in CRM, or CRM pages in SharePoint. Another option is to utilise Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint to connect to CRM or to search entries in CRM. A final option which is used less often is to build custom code to integrate SharePoint and CRM.

While documents can easily be attached to CRM records using the Notes functionality, it is not always the best option. If your organization needs to be able to easily find and retrieve documents related to CRM entities, consider using SharePoint to meet your needs.

Documents Access for Mobile Workers

Having a smart phone means that you can take your office with you wherever you go. Mobile workers are requesting tools to support their work out of the office, and organizations need to be able to respond in a secure, cost effective manner. Many organizations start out by enabling employees access to email on their smart phones. As a first step this can be invaluable, but it inevitably leads to employees wanting more.

Once employees have access to email on their smart phone, generally the next thing they want is access to documents. If your organization stores documents in shared folders that can be a tricky request to fulfil. But did you know that if you use Microsoft SharePoint to manage your documents then providing access to documents on a smart phone is really simple?

Microsoft SharePoint 2013 cost effectively delivers documents to your smart phone.  It even provides multiple ways to view documents: one view that is optimized for a mobile browser and a second full-screen view that mimics the desktop view of a SharePoint site and serves this up to a mobile device.

The obvious issues with providing access to documents on a smart phone is one of security. Luckily, SharePoint Server 2013 supports multiple authentication methods and authentication modes compatible with a variety of mobile browsers and devices.

Microsoft SharePoint 2013 on a smart phone uses the same access settings that you have when you access SharePoint from a desktop, laptop or tablet.  Using the security settings in Microsoft SharePoint 2013, you have the ability to set privileges regarding what employees can see, share and edit. You can see what employees have viewed or edited via the audit trail in the system.

Providing mobile workers with direct access to documents via a smart phone provides endless options to organizations that are seeking to improve business efficiency. You can make your forms available to your mobile workforce so that they can be completed in the field. Alternatively, you can provide reference information about your clients, like quotes and invoices. Where will you start?