Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Join SmartSimple at the 2014 Annual Conference on Corporate Contributions

SmartSimple is excited to announce that we will be attending the Annual Conference on Corporate Contributions (ACCP) from March 2-5, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Participants across the country will have the chance to connect with industry professionals and discuss pressing issues that face contribution management and corporate social responsibility. Visit ACCP's official site for more information about this year's conference and upcoming events.

SmartSimple will be showcasing our industry-leading grants management software GMS360º. We'll also be demonstrating eCSR360º, a platform to track and manage your corporate philanthropy efforts.

With eCSR360º you have full control over your organization's employee volunteer network, Employee Matching Gifts, and Dollars for Doers, where your organization can sponsor and donate to not-for-profits on behalf of your employees. To learn more, just visit our main site.

Relationship Manager Sarah Jane Nicholson and Director of Business Development Gary Modlin will be attending on behalf of SmartSimple.

Stop by our booth for a chat or email sales@smartsimple.com to arrange a discussion about how SmartSimple and GMS360º will benefit you. We look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, February 24, 2014

10 Simple Tips for Improving User Experience (Part 1)

The following post has been contributed by our Web User Interface & Graphic Designer, Mark Bridger.
 
We at SmartSimple are always striving to ensure our users have the best possible experience when using our products. Effective user interface design makes the user’s interaction with a system as simple and efficient as possible.

To aid this goal, we have compiled a list of 10 usability principles (known as Heuristics) that you can use to help find usability problems in any design. In this post, we'll show you the first five:

1. Show System Status


Tell the user where they are in the process and what is going on.
  • Time: Show a progress bar and estimated time to completion if a task is going to take more than a second.
  • Space: Show how much storage space the client has left so they don't run out of space.
  • Change: If a user made a change to a page and tries to navigate away, notify them and give them an option to save so they don't lose data.
  • Action: Show what immediate action is desired from the user.
  • Next Steps: Show the user what they are expected to do next, e.g. if they should they wait for an email, if someone will contact them, etc.

2. Use Familiar Metaphors & Language


Match your interface with visual metaphors that people are familiar with, and use understandable, clear language and categories.

  • Familiar Metaphors: The trash bin is used to visually communicate that you are throwing something out or deleting it.
  • The World in Miniature: You can find an example of this metaphor in print dialogues. Before printing, you are shown a preview of what your document will look like on a page.
  • Familiar Language: Use terminology that’s clear, direct, and easy to understand, e.g. "Email Us" instead of "Electronic Correspondence". 
  • Familiar Categories: Avoid non-standard categories. For example, if your business supports different States, simply display a list of those States rather than breaking them up into arbitrary regions.

3. Control & Freedom


Give users the ability to control and explore data.

  • Undo/Redo: The user should have the ability to go back and forth. They should never be stuck on a fixed path.
  • Explore Data: Give users a data set and allow them to filter, search and explore the data so they can understand what their options are.

4. Consistency & Standards


Buttons and navigational tools should be placed where people would expect them. Additionally, using standard conventions are imperative. For example:

  • Consistent layout: If your buttons are on the bottom of a page and summary information is at the top, every page on your site should have the information placed here as well. 
  • Conventions: Alerts during processes such as installation or data import should use affirmative language like "Yes" or "Continue Anyway".

5. Error Prevention


Provide needed information, clarify when necessary, and remove unnecessary restraints.

  • Provide Needed Information: In an alert about overwriting an image, display information to clarify the process. For example, show the user a thumbnail of both images. This will make it easier for the user to decide whether or not to go through with the desired action.
  • Descriptive Action Buttons/Links: Buttons and links should clearly state what they will do, e.g. "View Brochure" rather than "OK or "Click Here".
  • Remove Unnecessary Constraints: For an initial search, don't force the user to pick a category. Let the user initiate a search, and filter or relax the constraints on the results.

Want to learn more about SmartSimple and our software products? Visit our main site, email us at info@smartsimple.com or call toll-free 1-866-239-0991.

Check back soon for our final 5 tips to improve user experience!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

SmartSimple's Case Management System FAQ

The SmartSimple FAQ series will highlight answers to some of our most frequently asked questions surrounding our 360° software suite. Keep checking back on our blog for new entries!

This FAQ addresses questions concerning SmartSimple's case management software suite, which includes IME360°, Insurer360°, and Employer/Employment services.

IME360° (Independent Medical Examiner) FAQ


Are multiple users able to view a particular file/claimant at the same time?
Yes, the system supports this.

Can we manage all locations?
Yes, as a web-based solution, the system is designed to be used from all locations including home offices and external provider locations.

In Ontario, can we submit invoices to HCAI from SmartSimple?
Yes, IME360° is fully integrated with HCAI in Ontario at no additional charge.

What reports are included in IME360°?
Report types include: number of referrals received by referral source, number of referrals received by referring company, reports due from assessor, reports due to referrer, and scheduled services.

We are required by an insurer to use SmartSimple, do we use their version? How do we login?
You use a SmartSimple system specifically for your practice. This system can communicate referrals back and forth with the insurer’s system. Access is gained through a unique web address plus an individual username and password.

Can I add notes to a case?
Yes, notes are a vital feature of the system. The workflows of notes are controlled by user role, and any number of note types can be defined.

What letters are included in IME360°?
Claimant Appointment Letter, Referral Confirmation Letter, Assessor Notice Letter, Transport Booking Letter, Interpreter, Booking Letter, No Show Notification Letter, Email Template for Cancellation Notification.

Insurer360° FAQ


Are multiple users able to view a particular file/claimant at the same time?
Yes, the system supports this.

Can using SmartSimple contribute to better outcomes for insurers?
SmartSimple provides insurers with a vastly superior approach to understanding the work that is being carried out by their partners.

How can I track a vendor’s performance?
The details of all vendor activities are available within Insurer360°. Insightful reporting is available based on these activities.

Employment Services FAQ


Who can create job postings in the system?
Only users with the correct permissions – such as staff, employers and community partners – can create and upload job postings.

Which types of employment service cases can be managed by the system?
Employment assistance, job counseling, career paths for new citizens, and second career assistance.

Can resumes be uploaded and then made searchable in the system?
Yes. Resumes can be uploaded and attached to any employee or client profile. The ability to search and filter resumes in the system is an essential component of the system.

How are job postings created?
Users with the correct permissions can use a sample template in the system or configure a template of their own.

What formats can data be exported to?
Reports and data can be easily exported with one click to Microsoft Excel, Word, HTML, PDF or CSV.

Employer Services FAQ


What aspects of disability case management does the system oversee?
The system oversees everything from progress reporting, treatment, short or long-term disability management, and return to work co-ordination.

How easily are cases accessed in the system?
All relevant case information is available from the portal dashboard. Cases can very easily be searched or filtered by criteria such as Type, Keyword and Status.

Can case information be shared with other services that use their own SmartSimple systems (i.e. practitioners, treatment centers)?
Yes. The Data Exchange function is an integral aspect of the system – it enables SmartSimple users to seamlessly share information such as status changes, appointments, legal details, and more.


To learn more about  SmartSimple, please visit our main website or official Wiki. Don't hesitate to contact us at info@smartsimple.com or 1-866-239-0991.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Employee Spotlight - Brian Lai

Our Employee Spotlight series will highlight a different member of the SmartSimple crew every week. Take some time to get to know the wonderful and diverse team behind the SmartSimple platform!

Brian Lai is a Business Analyst and has been working for SmartSimple since May 2011. Brian was also the recipient of the very first SmartSimple Innovation Award in October 2013. For this week's Employee Spotlight, we spoke to Brian about his best subject matter expert tip, his hobbies, and a case of mistaken identity.

Intrigued? Keep reading!


Subject matter expert tip:
Review lessons learned and best practices from past projects and apply them to future projects. Documentation is key, especially in an agile development environment where requirements can evolve at a rapid pace.

Make use of flow charts, custom field notes, and code comments to help with requirement traceability and to provide a refresher as to why things are done.

What is your favourite part about working for SmartSimple?
Being able to work on a wide range of diverse projects alongside the brilliant minds of SmartSimple. The culture is also very inviting and helps facilitate a fun and productive environment.

What are your hobbies?
DIY projects (home improvement, tinkering with electronics), listening to music, paintball, and urban photography.

What is your favourite movie, book, or album?
My favourite music album is OK Computer by Radiohead, my runner up is Since I Left You by The Avalanches.

My favourite movie is either Akira or Memento.

What is the one thing you couldn't live without?
My family and friends.

Random fact about you that most people wouldn't know:
Due to mistaken identity, I was once considered by a news reporter as a subject matter expert in Wildlife Conservation for a whole 5 minutes. (It's a long story.)

Personal quote:
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Want to know more about SmartSimple and the team behind it? Visit our main website, email us at info@smartsimple.com or contact us at 1-866-239-0991. Check back next week for another installment of SmartSimple's Employee Spotlight!  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

SmartSimple's RMS360° Research Management System FAQ

The SmartSimple FAQ series will highlight answers to some of our most frequently asked questions surrounding our 360° software suite. Keep checking back on our blog for new entries!

This FAQ addresses questions concerning SmartSimple's RMS360° research management system:

General FAQ


Which processes of the research lifecycle can be managed by the system?
This is entirely up to you. We configure your system to handle any and all processes that you deem essential to your organization. Any number of processes can be created across the application, review, award, and post-award stages.

Can we decide the type of access that external parties (i.e. researchers, grant reviewers) have with our system?
External parties log in through specialized portals (i.e. a researcher portal, a grant reviewer portal) with their own username and password. Their permissions and roles are set by you.

Can RMS360° integrate with other accounting systems such as QuickBooks?
Yes, many clients are integrated with a wide variety of systems, including QuickBooks, SAP, and custom systems. The fee depends on the complexity of the work.

How can I be sure SmartSimple can be trusted with our data?
SmartSimple is a trusted provider to many organizations. We are annually audited by Deloitte to ensure our compliance with CSAE 3416 (CICA 5970) "trust" standards.

Panel Management FAQ


Can reviewers be assigned to applications as individuals and/or members of a review panel?
The system supports both processes. Administrators have the ability to assign any number of reviewers to an application. The maximum number of reviewers in a panel is set by the organization.
              
Can notifications for reviews and proposals be automated?
Yes. The system supports the ability to create workflows around any notifications necessary to your organization.

Are reviewers able to declare a conflict of interest?
Yes. Once assigned to an application, a reviewer can assess the information and declare a conflict of interest should one be noticed.

Research Outcomes FAQ


Can reminders for due dates be automated?
Yes. The system supports the ability to create workflows around any notifications necessary to your organization.

Can scientific progress, summary reports, etc. be exported from the system?
Yes. Reports, documents, dashboards, and other system-generated data can be exported in multiple formats (e.g. Word, Excel, PDF, XML, etc). 

How much of the system can be configured?
The system is completely definable by you, the organization. Key performance indicators for reporting outcomes are configured based on what your organization deems essential.

To learn more about RMS360° or SmartSimple, please visit our main website or official Wiki. Don't hesitate to contact us at info@smartsimple.com or 1-866-239-0991.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Employee Spotlight - Serkan Bilgi

Our Employee Spotlight series will highlight a different member of the SmartSimple crew every week. Take some time to get to know the wonderful and diverse team behind the SmartSimple platform! 

Serkan Bilgi is a Senior Business Analyst and began working at SmartSimple in May 2011 (as an intern, FYI!). This week, we spoke with him about his favourite part of working for SmartSimple, his favourite album, and how important music is to him.

Serkan as a graduate!
Subject matter expert tip:
Listen to your clients and ask questions. Always look for methods to be more efficient - avoid the quick-and-dirty method. More importantly, share the knowledge with your teammates.

What is your favourite part about working for SmartSimple?
Every day I get to solve the problems of people who are making the world a better place by funding research and nonprofits. As a cherry on top, I get to work with a diverse, friendly, and dynamic team. I also get to see the company grow as everyone contributes constantly.

What are your hobbies?
Composing music, shooting and editing photos and videos, playing tennis, and a newly found one: collecting vinyl.

What is your favourite movie or book?
Movie: Back to the Future 2.
Book: Samarkand by Amin Maalouf.
Most importantly, my favourite album: Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd.

What is the one thing you couldn't live without?
Family - who, ironically, are all back home (in Turkey).

Random fact about you that most people wouldn't know:
I've played the drums for 15 years, recorded an album back home, and have played on national TV.

Personal quote:
"Us and them / And after all, we're only ordinary men," - Us and Them by Pink Floyd.


Want to know more about SmartSimple and the team behind it? Visit our main website, email us at info@smartsimple.com or contact us at 1-866-239-0991. Check back next week for another installment of SmartSimple's Employee Spotlight!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

SmartSimple's GMS360° Grants Management System FAQ

The SmartSimple FAQ series will highlight answers to some of our most frequently asked questions surrounding our 360° software suite. Keep checking back on our blog for new entries!

This FAQ addresses questions concerning SmartSimple's GMS360° grants management system:

Can we bring in historical data from our existing system?
Yes, we have multiple easy-to-use methods available to import historic data. For MicroEdge GIFTS™ users, we have a fully automated process to manage the transfer.

Can the system integrate with (and look like) our existing website?
Absolutely. Your branding will be applied to all parts of the system including login and registration pages, as well as reports.

Will we be able to change system settings (such as data fields, program coding and application forms)?
Yes, all system settings are accessible and under your control.

Can soft copy documents be stored within the system and retrieved via keyword searches?
Yes, all documents stored in the system are keyword searchable, subject to the permissions that you can control.

Does the system allow grantees to submit post-grant reports?
Absolutely, we believe this is a vital part of any GMS360° lifecycle. All post-award activities are managed through the system.

How can we capture detailed financial information within the system?
Our useful online budget tool, similar to an MS Excel spreadsheet, is used by applicants to create their budgets. Funding program financial data is managed though an additional application that allocates funds from different sources to individual awards.

What kind of reporting mechanisms are supported?
The grant is automatically associated to a set of future reporting activities. These activities trigger alerts to both the awardee and program staff as they become due. These reports include narrative fields, codes and attached documents.

Does the system have dashboards and other personalized views?
Yes, all views of data are customizable and these personalized views can be included in user-defined dashboards.

Can we link payments with our accounting system?
Absolutely. Once awarded, the grant is automatically associated with a set of future payment records. These records are then transferable to any accounting system.

How will we be assured our data is secure? Can we have a live backup of the data at our site?
Your data is protected in many ways. Our servers are protected in secure bunker type hosting facilities (certified to SAS70 standards). System access is protected through the use of banking standard SSL encryption, hard disk encryption and optional two-factor authentication.

All system access is role-based and controls what the user can see, down to the single field level. For clients that opt for a Managed Server Solution, a live backup is provided at the client designated hosting location.

Do you support Single Sign-On?
Yes, Single Sign-On is supported though industry standard such as SAML 2.0 and OAuth 2.0.

What is the average length of time it takes to implement the system?
This depends on the complexity of the organization and can vary between 30 and 90 days. However some large and complex requirements can exceed this time.

What kinds of training programs do you offer and how is training delivered?
Web-based instructor lead, on-site instructor lead, self-paced materials, and YouTube video tutorials.

What are the fees for License and Data Conversion?
GMS360° is offered as a Software as a Service and as such, monthly User License Fees are based on the actual number of users. This gives you peace of mind that you won't be paying for unused licenses.

Data conversion is offered at a fixed cost for GIFTS databases. Fees to migrate data from other sources to SmartSimple are dependent on the structure of the data. All systems include importation of client contact and organization data. Staff user training is included with every system.


To learn more about GMS360° or SmartSimple, please visit our main website or official Wiki. Don't hesitate to contact us at info@smartsimple.com or 1-866-239-0991.

Monday, February 3, 2014

SmartSimple Employee Spotlight - Gary Modlin

Our Employee Spotlight series will highlight a different member of the SmartSimple crew every week. Take some time to get to know the wonderful and diverse team behind the SmartSimple platform!

Gary Modlin is our Director of Business Development and has been working for SmartSimple since February 2010. We talked to him this week about his hobbies, subject matter expert tip, and the wildly different direction his career could have taken!


Subject matter expert tip:
Constantly increase the knowledge about your own company’s products and services so you can better keep your clients up to date and informed. Keeping clients updated will save them the time and increase our own value to them.  

What is your favourite part about working for SmartSimple?
The terrific clients and prospective clients I meet on a regular basis. The people I work with are pretty cool, too.

What are your hobbies?
My kids, spin class, and beating Brad Robertson and Eric Lauer (our amazing Project Manager and Technical Community Manager respectively) at golf.

What is your favourite movie or book?
The Shawshank Redemption. Talk about perseverance and the will to adapt!

What is the one thing you couldn't live without?
My children... and chocolate.

Random fact about you that most people wouldn't know:
I was *this close* to being a professional baseball player.

Personal quote:
"You can't act like a skunk without someone getting wind of it."

Want to know more about SmartSimple and the team behind it? Visit our main website, email us at info@smartsimple.com or contact us at 1-866-239-0991. Check back next week for another installment of SmartSimple's Employee Spotlight!