A Secure Interface

A Secure Interface

Providing our clients with a secure way to share, store, and manage data has always been a top priority of AMS Collaborator, and one of the key selling points of our AMS Connect software. With capabilities to create folders and subfolders to manage a project or store confidential documents, and to manage those documents in such a way that only those who have a need access are granted permission, the software has been a perfect solution to the security needs of many of our clients. A prime example of this need is the utilization of the software as an HRIS system. A client of ours recently converted all of their personnel files to electronic copies. Requiring a place to securely store and manage this confidential employee information, we developed a system in the documents module that provided the HR department with a means of limiting access to files to only those managers with a need to know. Additionally, the database module was tailored to provide a leave tracking and administration system, allowing HR and management with a way to communicate and track an employee’s status while on leave, and to upload and store confidential medical documentation. With this ongoing need for secure storage and collaboration in mind, AMS Collaborator is constantly pushing out updates and enhancements to make this process more streamlined and user friendly. A recent update to the security capabilities of the document module provides administrators (or those users who have been granted permission to modify documents) with the restructured ability to add groups and users to a folder or individual document. When modifying a folder or document, in the “Permissions” field, when “All Members” is deselected, you can now add assigned groups by simply checking the group name, or can add individual members in a more efficient manner. A member search bar has been added which auto populates the closest match to the name you’re typing in. Additionally, you have the option to click on the “Participant List” icon to the right of the search bar to select a user from the provided list. For example, when using the software for personnel file storage, the HR Manager would be able to limit access to confidential data and documents, but add supervisors to documents related to performance and discipline. This more efficient and much quicker way of adding these individuals or groups to certain documents created a simplified way of safeguarding confidential and restricted information. Designed to meet the security measures needed by our clients, the AMS Connect software allows for customization in workflow and document storage and sharing, and limits the displayed data to only those users who possess the appropriate permissions. The perfect answer for organizations requiring customizable, secure, and affordable solutions for these needs, contact us today to see if the AMS Connect software is the effective solution for your security needs.

What’s in an Image?

The AMS Connect software has been used by many of our clients as a tool for managing employee data and information. With capabilities to tailor the software into a functional HRIS (human resource information system) system, users have the ability to convert employee personnel files from hard copies to electronic, creating confidential and personnel files for each employee, customized to that individual based on the documents stored (e.g., creating additional sub files as needed, such as a confidential medical files). We recently released an enhancement that allows the AMS Connect’s Database module Image Field types. This means that when you add this field, you can place the image into your list or record view just like you would any other field within your database. For example, if you were using the software as an HRIS system, when you attach this field to the record, you can upload an image for each employee, for each file you create for each individual to store employee information and documentation. When adding an image to a record in your database, you have the option to rotate the image as needed. The system can support any photo type (e.g., jpg, gif, png, bmp, etc.) and the site will automatically size the image to the maximum dimension of 1024. Not only is this new update advantageous when using the software for internal purposes such as employee files, but the new Image Field types allows you to further customize your client and customer’s data. Contact us today if you have any questions about this new feature or how to implement it into your own databases.

Zippy Download

When recent organizational changes impacted all employees, a company with a large number of employees had the need to send out a memo to all employees, with each document tailored to each individual (e.g., name, job title, etc.). A long-time client utilizing the AMS software, the requirement for large download and upload capabilities arose, prompting our technicians to enhance the software to make this latest option available for users.

Last week we finalized and rolled out an enhancement to our clients that provides additional download capabilities, and enhances the upload capabilities. With the new downloading option, users with appropriate permissions have the option to select multiple documents and zip and download these files in a single file. The enhancement to the upload removes the existing file size limit of 50MB, with a new maximum file size limit of 2GB.

The download enhancement allows users to zip multiple (or large in file size) documents into a zip file, providing them with the option of exporting one file rather than multiple, smaller batches of documents. When active, “Zip and Download” will be an option for the multi-select at the bottom of the document list. Selecting multiple files, and choosing the Zip and Download option will display a screen to the user indicating that the system is preparing the download. Depending on the size and quantity if the selected files, this may appear for as little as a few seconds to perhaps a few minutes or more.

Please feel free to contact us via email or phone if you have any questions on how to use or activate this recent enhancement.

Home Page Enhancements

The ability to completely customize the extranet site, creating a tailored look and feel that directly reflects your organization, is a unique feature of the AMS-Connect software that is highly advantageous to our clients. With the opportunity to create a Home Page that includes colors, logos, fonts, and various other elements that are unique to the company, employees and clients alike can navigate securely through a site that truly feels like their own site.

We have recently applied several enhancements to the AMS-Connect software that have impacted the Home Pages of the intranet/extranet sites. This update adds the following capabilities:

  • Image support;
  • Home Page Content for the Site Home Page (not just the Workspace Home Pages); and
  • Site Home Pages are now managed under Site Layouts so that different Home Page setting can be applied to different layouts (previously there was one Home Page setting for the entire site — note: that menu option is now gone).

Working with Home Page content directly through the site via online editing is now fully supported, though the legacy option of customizing your Home Page content utilizing a Word document is still supported.

Not only are these enhancements beneficial from an aesthetic perspective, the updates improve the process of tailoring your workspace customize your site aids in your branding, communicating to your customers and clients who you are and what you have to offer. With the ability to modify your workspace to match your organizations website, your customers have a sense of security which is a top priority of AMS-Connect.

Please feel free to contact us via email or phone if you have any questions regarding this update or how to apply the changes to your own Home Pages.

Discussion Enhancements

The AMS-Connect software is a powerful tool used by our clients for project management and task collaboration. With the Task and Database features of the software, multiple individuals, often working remotely and in numerous offices and sites, are able to efficiently collaborate on projects, access and share particular project information, and consolidate conversations, notes, and documents in secure workspaces.

When using the software for project management, users often need to organize discussions and conversations regarding the project into one place, accessible to all participating individuals. With the goal of improving communication and more efficient project planning, the Discussions feature allows for secure, private discussions that can be organized and categorized to save time and ensure maximum productivity.

The Discussions feature of the AMS-Connect software has recently undergone a significant user interface update (described below). Additionally, the user interface for those participating in discussions – whether creating new posts or responding to existing posts – has been significantly updated to provide a more modern and responsive experience. These updates include:

Updated Posting and Responding

Discussions are designed to be interactive conversations or question and answer sessions between users. A new topic may be created by users with the appropriate permissions, and posts may be added to that topic. Users can create new posts or respond to posts made by other users.

Refined Permissions and Dialogs

When adding new or modifying existing discussions, common functions including the Owner and the Created Date have been updated to inline capabilities. A user creating or modifying a discussion can simply begin typing a name into the owner field and it provides a list of potential users that match; and the created date now displays a calendar selector dropdown.

Similarly, the Allow to Participate options have also been improved.  Available groups will display in the list with checkboxes to allow for easy selection.  To also assign specific members, simply begin typing the member name in the provided box and select “to add.”

Categories and Color-Coding

Much like the capabilities of the Notes feature, discussions can also be assigned colors and categories.  In addition, the complicated layers of discussions from the previous version have been removed and flattened to simplify navigation.

The Discussion feature of the AMS-Connect software is a useful tool for ensuring project and workflow management is communicated and managed in a streamlined and resourceful manner. These recent updates positively impact efficiency and functionality, providing the user with updated resources for effectively organizing and maintaining project discussions.

Efficient Organization and Sorting

As we recently discussed in our last post, we have released a number of updates to the AMS-Connect software to improve functionality and usability.  These updates include sortable view lists and document folder relocation.

Our clients often use the “Database” feature as a task management and workflow solution tool to track progress and communicate duties for large or complex projects.  Keeping smaller subprojects and tasks arranged and structured can be a challenge, particularly when you have multiple individuals working on a large project.

Within a specific database, you can create different views of the data reflecting the particular set of tasks or status needed.  For example, a view can show all the outstanding invoices to be paid; another view can display pending orders; and many other variations.  For some databases, views will be used to define a workflow process, each view displaying the tasks that are currently in that step of the workflow.  You even have the ability to assign permissions to views restricting access to the records in that view to specific individuals or groups.

In previous versions, views were listed automatically in alphabetical order.  If the views represented different workflow steps, it was necessary to prefix the view names with a number or letter to display them in the correct order.

This latest enhancement allows the view list to be manually sorted in any desired order.  While the default would be in alphabetical order, the administrator can now re-order the views by simply dragging and dropping them.

In addition to this new ability to sort and organize views, you now also have the ability to change the folder location of a document linked within a database record, ensuring documents are properly categorized and organized within your workflow system.

These two updates provide users with more capabilities in organizing and maintaining an efficient flow of tasks and document management. The ability to move documents to alternate folders as necessary, and to create a customized order for your views ensures working with remote offices, employees, and clients is streamlined and effortless, all while maintaining high levels of security and tracking.

Database for Project Management

The “Tasks” feature of the AMS-Connect software is a great resource for collaboration amongst employees who require the need to communicate regularly, share notes, coordinate tasks, and track the statuses of projects they are working on as a team. This feature is also useful for creating basic workflows for project management, but often projects need a more customized approach when it comes to tracking progress and development.

This is where the flexible “Database” feature comes in. Unlike the “Tasks” feature which provides pre-set fields, the Database feature allows you to create custom-defined fields which can be tailored to the specific needs of your project. This powerful tool allows our customers the option to create their own customized databases for project management, collaboration, tracking, intranet functionality, etc.

Additionally, with the permission capabilities for views, you have the ability to create workflows complete with notifications when items are ready to be moved from one user to the next. When a user finishes their portion of a task within the Database feature, you can set the Database to automatically set the task to the next user in the workflow. Automatic email notifications can also be created, notifying the new user of this workflow change.

For example: your office is working on a client project that requires detailed management such as due date and milestone tracking, documenting the dates of communication with the client (e.g., the dates correspondence is mailed), fields for taking notes, automatic view permission changing, and the ability to upload and share documents pertaining to the project. With the database feature, you can customize these fields and permission sets to create a project management system that is completely tailored to your organization’s needs, or more specifically to the needs of that particular client or project.

In a recent update to the AMS-Connect software, a number of updates were released that enhance the usability and functionality of the “Database” feature. These updates include: sortable view lists; key field designation; and document folder relocation.

Continually updated to ensure maximum efficiency and custom features for end users, the database feature of the AMS-Connect software allows you to completely customize your database for ease of use and productivity. Contact us today if you need help setting up a customized database or to see if this tailored resource is what your company needs to take project management to the next level.

Project and Task Collaboration

Project management is a part of the day-to-day activities of many organizations. With multiple individuals working on a project at any given time, there is often a need to consolidate conversations, notes, documents, and project statuses to ensure that everyone is on the same page and kept in the loop with current progress.

A client of the AMS-Connect software has a number of employees who work remotely. Having utilized the application for other uses in the past, they were curious if their software possessed an option for project collaboration. Utilizing the “Tasks” feature, the client created a workspace in which ongoing projects (tasks) were created with permission sets to allow specific users access to certain projects.

By implementing this tool, employees were able to communicate regularly, input notes, coordinate future tasks, and track the status of their progress. They created their own project management tool and document management system, allowing remote employees and clients the ability to access, share, and discuss all aspects of the project, while maintaining high standards of security and auditing.

While useful for basic workflows and project management, some projects require a more customized approach, with specific fields in which to track data and progress. For this purpose, the “Database” feature of the AMS-Connect software allows the client to create a completely tailored project management tool for tracking and collaboration. In our next post, we will discuss how this feature can be further developed to create a more customized tool for project management.

Custom Client Connection

We recently discussed the aspect of branding and how the AMS Connect software can help you establish and present your brand through our customized extranet site, resulting in the successful management of your business and providing a connection with your clients that is uniquely yours. Not only is the AMS Connect software completely brandable and customizable in this regard, it also allows you the opportunity to develop solid relationships with your clients and customers.

Strong client connections mean security. AMS Connect understands the need for your customers to feel like their data is safeguarded and protected by you. From an end-user perspective, your customers can relax feeling that when they retrieve or upload documents, or work on tasks utilizing our project management feature, they have never left software outside of the control of your organization.

This brandable and customizable aspect of our software provides you with a site that is under your complete control.  From login credentials to the look and usability of the site, you can be the administrator of your own site.  Unlike many file and collaboration sites, AMS Connect is branded to you rather than branded to whoever the site provider is.  AMS Connect also gives you full power to manage the site rather than handing over risky security protocols to a faceless organization with unreadable end-user agreements.

AMS Connect’s top priority is your data security as well as the reliability of your customized site.  All of this provides your clients with the security of knowing that you are working directly with them rather than with or through an unknown or potentially risky document sharing space.

Contact us today to see how our truly secure and customizable collaboration can help build your brand and relationship with your clients.

Version 6.7 is Coming

We are listening to you and regularly updating our secure extranet software accordingly.  Our goal is to provide our customers the most secure, flexible and usable extranet software in the market.  As part of this goal we are always looking for ways to improve not only the stability and security of the software but also the end-user experience.  To that end we are in the final stages of beta testing of our latest version of the AMS Connect software.  Listed below are some of the major enhancements you can expect to see once you upgrade your site to version 6.7.

  • Drag and drop functionality – This functionality now allows for files to be dragged onto folders or document lists, or within the Add document screen for upload. From Add document, dropped files can also be removed before submitting to remove any inadvertently added.
  • Additional “Display as” options – You are now able to select “Secure PDF” and “Image” within the document profile.
    • Secure PDF option will allow the owner to apply a password to any document that can be converted to PDF (password will be available to users viewing the document).
    • Image option will render the Document as a paged set of images for end users with limited permissions. This feature is an improvement over the former security of Adobe “FlashPaper” and will prevent downloading or copying the text from the document.
  • Document Expiration Date – you now have an optional Retention setting (depending on your Workspace Preference setting) that would allow document to be automatically deleted from the system when that date elapses. Once your workspace is set up you can now select “Document Expires” with a “Document Expiration Date”.

In addition to the above enhancements, AMS Collaborator will be adding a complete update to the notes and discussion features within the AMS Connect software.  Final testing and verification are expected to be completed by February 2017.

AMS Collaborator has scheduled two live demos for the new features at 9:00 AM Pacific Time on Tuesday January 17th and Thursday January 19th.  The live demo is anticipated to take approximately 15 minutes.  Please email info@ams-connect.com if you would like to join one of our demos.

Don’t forget to contact AMS Collaborator to schedule your AMS Connect site for upgrade.