Glasnost

Glasnost and Skype

We've taken to using Skype a lot recently. In particular the screen sharing facility. For those not familiar with this one can simply allow people you are having a Skype session with to view your computer screen or indeed they can allow you to share their screen. Whether you are giving a product demonstration, or working together on a document, or simply letting people know what you are working on, this works brilliantly.

Combine Glasnost with Skype and your productivity will rocket !

www.skype.com

Glasnost 21 and Virtual Assistants - The perfect match ?

If you are a Virtual Assistant then Glasnost has a lot to offer you and could really turbo charge your productivity. For a start the whole service is available online, so wherever you or your colleagues, clients or suppliers are, everyone can access the same information.

Also the service was specifically designed for working with people outside of your own company or network. Our subscription plans are based on external users who can access projects and image galleries and internal users who also get the CRM / contact management module.

And the functionality we've built into the service covers much of what one needs to do on a day to day basis. We originally built this software to help us run our own web software business and we think the things we required are pretty commonplace amongst 'knowledge workers'. Below is what we needed and what we built into Glasnost. If your requirements are similar it WILL work brilliantly for you as well.

We needed:

Contact Management to: 1. Manage many companies details 2. Manage and interact with many contacts 3. Track all comments, assign tasks and store documents relating to the above 4. Create Task reports for sales meetings 5. Be able to create good looking email newsletters 6. Be able to send these newsletters to unlimited custom mailing lists 7. Link companies to relevant projects 8. Distribute contact details by vCards 9. Keep abreast of what our clients were doing by enabling real-time searching across Twitter, Google News and Google Blogs.

Project Management to: 1. Create unlimited projects and link users to them 2. Track and share comments 3. Track and share tasks 4. Track and share documents 5. Have advanced search facilities across tasks and documents 6. Have good quality reporting on project activity 7. Keep everyone updated by email whenever any activity occurs 8. Have all the above outputted to bespoke RSS feeds 9. Link projects to companies and image galleries

Image Management to: 1. Store and share any number of image galleries for marketing, presentations, websites etc 2. Add comments to images 3. View metadata and licensing information of images 4. Batch upload and edit images 5. Create custom lightboxes 6. View as slideshows 7. Link galleries to projects and companies

Instant Messaging to: Text chat and share documents in real time with a fellow user

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: 1. Be able to view and keep track of all the above really easily 2. Do it all with a system which is attractive and a pleasure to use. 3. Be able to easily collaborate on all of this with our colleagues, clients and suppliers

Please take a free trial of Glasnost and let us know how you get on.

Antony

Glasnost 21 integrates with Google News and Google Blogs

Following the integration of real time Twitter search into Glasnost's Contact Management Module, and the further availability of direct linkage to 3rd party data feeds, we are pleased to announce that we've added real time search results from Google News and Google Blogs. So now, as an example, if you have Microsoft as a contact company in your system you will see a feeds panel that looks something like this:

Data Feeds

This shows that Glasnost is pulling back data from all these services relating to Microsoft. Click on one of them gets you to a screen like this:

Data Feeds

Which enables you to view the full story, move back and forward to further stories from the same feed, or switch quickly to data from another feed.

All of which builds up a fully rounded overview of your customer. What they are saying, and what others are saying about them.

Our aim is to help you be as well informed as it is absolutely possible to be. Linking all the knowledge within your own organisation with the best from outside is a big step in fulfilling this objective.

We hope you find it useful.

Antony

Add / Edit / View Comments - handy new feature

At Glasnost we always aim to avoid 'bloatware'. Adding endless functionality can seriously damage the user experience. We've aimed from inception to avoid the problems so many of us have experienced with products from .... sssh you know who ! But we do respond to our users, and several have said that whilst they appreciate the ease with which comments can be added, either on their own or attached to tasks, sometimes one simply wants to write a bit more than a quick note. And when you want to say a bit more you need a bit more space to do so.

So our small but perfectly formed comment boxes are sometimes just a bit too dainty.

Which is why we've now added a neat little tab in the bottom right of the pop ups that allow you to resize the window to fit your requirement. Either writing a comment, replying to one, or simply viewing a comment is now just that little bit more accommodating.

A small thing - but we hope you find it handy.

Antony

"How do I know thee? Let me count the ways."

Sorry to misquote Elizabeth Barrett Browning but we've added a number of new ways for you to keep informed about your contacts. It is now possible to add a URL as a named contact method. So if your contact has a Linkedin profile you can now create a contact method of 'Linkedin', specify it requires a URL, and add in the relevant data.

add new contact method

As well as this we've added default contact methods for Twitter and Skype. And so, from just the one screen you can see the complete range of contact methods for all your contacts. and of course, click directly through to launch these external data sources where appropriate.

view contact method

Combined with the Twitter feed integration at the company level, we think these enhancements will add to your knowledge and enhance your relationships.

Antony

Glasnost 21 integrates with 3rd party data feeds

Following the integration with Twitter, Glasnost21 has today launched the availability of two 3rd party datasets, directly linked into the Contact Management module.

cityoffices feed

High value subscription services covering the commercial property market, cityoffices.net and Metropolis data can now be accessed on the same screen as company data. So, for example, if you are on the details page for leading consultants Knight Frank you will see, as well as feeds from Twitter, any stories relating to Knight Frank from these two 3rd party sources. And you can also free text search across both these services, regardless of the company you are currently dealing with.

A 'Pin Story for Later' feature also allows you to tag stories as noteworthy and store them separately for easy access, or to highlight to colleagues.

For subscribers these services represent an immensely powerful way to incorporate high quality research into your working environment. Rather than going off to another website to access information, that very same information is piped straight into the system you are working on.

Open and transparent access to the information you need.....the Glasnost way.

Glasnost 21 adds support for vCards

Starting today, Glasnost users can update all their colleagues to new additions or edits they make in the Contact Management module, by automatically sending multiple vCards by email. To explain the benefits of this, here is the process one of our clients uses to manage their contacts amongst a dispersed team.

This Management Consultant has a team of people spread around the UK and Europe. Prior to using Glasnost they all shared one copy of Outlook to keep track of contacts. On moving to Glasnost they uploaded all their contacts using the bulk contact upload facility in System Admin. That gave everyone access to the latest information. So, when online, all the team had everything they needed.

The only issue then was how to make it easy for everyone to import new contacts into whatever mobile phone they used.

And that is where vCards come in.

Now when you view a contacts full details page you will see a link saying 'Send vCard to..' Click on this and you will get a pop up listing all your colleagues on Glasnost. Simply select who you want to email and click OK.

Every user you selected will then receive a branded email saying that they have been sent details of XYZ in vCard format. From there it's easy to process this information into their mobile address book.

Simple, efficient and very useful.

Hope you like it

Antony

Glasnost 21 introduces Twitter integration

We are pleased to announce that Glasnost 21's Contact Management module now integrates, in real time, with Twitter. This allows you to supplement your own data with up to the moment data pulled in from Twitter.

How does it work?

Twitter

When you add or edit a new Company in the Contact Management module you can update the 'Corporate Twitter ID' field in the form. Then, when you go to the details page of that Company, you will see, in the right hand 'Feeds' pane, the Twitter logo. Upon loading this will perform a live search of the Twitter database to see if that Company has published any Tweets. If it has there will be a 'Tick' icon next to the logo.

Click on the logo and Glasnost will now search for any Tweets from the Corporate ID AND also perform a 'Like' search using the name of the Company. The latest Company Tweet will be displayed at the top with an option to 'View All'. Below will be the results of the 'Like' search. Click on any of these items and a pop up window will be launched providing all the relevant information plus a link through to the Tweet itself on twitter.com.

Glasnost also provides a search box that enables you to perform a live Twitter search for any term.

With Twitter use becoming so pervasive across the Internet, this functionality allows you to keep informed and up to date not only with messages being put out by the companies you deal with, but also with thoughts, comments and opinions that other people have about them. Potentially crucial information that can give you a real edge.

We hope you enjoy using our Twitter integration and please do contact us if you need any assistance or would like further information about Glasnost 21.

Why does Glasnost do what it does?

Glasnost started out as a way to help us run our own web software business. First as an HTML system but now as an Adobe Flex Rich Internet Application. In our business we need:

Contact Management to: 1. Manage many companies details 2. Manage and interact with many contacts 3. Track all comments, assign tasks and store documents relating to the above 4. Create Task reports for sales meetings 5. Be able to create good looking email newsletters 6. Be able to send these newsletters to unlimited custom mailing lists 7. Link companies to relevant projects

Project Management to: 1. Create unlimited projects and link users to them 2. Track and share comments 3. Track and share tasks 4. Track and share documents 5. Have advanced search facilities across tasks and documents 6. Have good quality reporting on project activity 7. Keep everyone updated by email whenever any activity occurs 8. Have all the above outputted to bespoke RSS feeds 9. Link projects to companies and image galleries Image Management to: 1. Store and share any number of image galleries for marketing, presentations, websites etc 2. Add comments to images 3. View metadata and licensing information of images 4. Batch upload and edit images 5. Create custom lightboxes 6. View as slideshows 7. Link galleries to projects and companies

Instant Messaging to: Text chat and share documents in real time with a fellow user

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: 1. Be able to view and keep track of all the above really easily 2. Do it all with a system which is attractive and a pleasure to use. 3. Be able to easily collaborate on all of this with our colleagues, clients and suppliers

So that's why Glasnost does what it does!

We think lots of other business work in a similar way and so now Glasnost is available, fully custom branded to anyone.

Enjoy

Antony

Glasnost reporting options

Glasnost provides various reporting options. Contact Management You can perform a contact or company search (simple keyword, by tag or using the advanced option) and then when the pop up results are shown you can click on 'Export to Excel'.

You can create task reports. To do this click on search tasks in the left hand menu and then choose your search criteria. You can search by task added date, task end date, the company related to the task, who the task was assigned to, and the task status. Click on search and then when the results show look at the bottom of the results pane. Here you will be given the option to 'Export to Excel' or 'Create Task Report from These Results'.

If you opted to create a task report you can then click on task reports in the left hand menu, and then edit the report, email a pdf of the results to another system user (or yourself of course).

You can also click on history to view a pdf of previously created reports. In this way you can create a task report once, and then re-run it as you wish. Handy for sales meetings where you may wish to distribute a task report prior to a meeting.

Project Management You can perform task searches in the same way as in contact management. In this case tasks can be searched by task added date, task end date, free text across the title and description fields, by task ID, by selecting one or more projects to search, who the tasks are assigned to and the task status.

Again, you can export to excel the results or create a task report. And again by clicking on task reports you can edit. email or view a history of previously sent tasks.

RSS Feed You can set up your own personal RSS feed of project data. If you do this (by clicking on the option in the left hand menu) your RSS feed will include all additions or updates, made by any project participant, across all the projects you are linked to.

Email Not reports as such but if you are linked to a project every time anyone adds or edits anything to do with a project, Glasnost will email you the information.

We thought carefully about the reporting options in Glasnost and hope we have covered the 'essentials'. If there are other options you would like to see please let us know. We will always endeavour to match your requirements.

Antony Slumbers

IE6 - Not an issue here !

As many people know the dreaded browser Internet Explorer 6 is still used by 20% or so of Internet users. Admittedly this is more in a corporate environment than amongst home users, but nevertheless it is, to the developer community, an astonishing figure. Eight years old it is has not only been superceded by IE7 but more recently by IE8. It only ever was an OK browser and it's replacements are dramatically better. IE6 is full of security holes, does not have tabbed windows (how do you live without that) and is very slow. Both the latter IE's are better, as is Safari and, our choice, Firefox.

Why isn't it dead ? The answer involves apathy, ignorance and inertia - not to mention the arrogance of the large corporation. However, at Glasnost we decided before we started development that, much as we may be baffled by how anyone could believe sticking with IE was a good idea, we knew many would, and many of those would be in a position to force many, many other users to follow suit (spot the large IT department). So we built Glasnost using Adobe's RIA software, Flex. This is, in essence, dynamically controlled, database driven Flash. And because of that, so long as you have Flash Version 9 or later (and almost everyone does), it does not matter which browser you use. You will still be able to enjoy all the latest bells and whistles that we've built into Glasnost to make the user experience as rich as possible.

So, if you are using IE6 and are allowed to update it, we think it would be to your own advantage, but if not:

WELCOME IE6 USERS - YOU ARE WELCOME !!

Antony

Where did Glasnost come from ?

Glasnost was initially developed for our own use. As a company that did not exist before the Internet we have always operated pretty much virtually. We have always needed our tasks, comments and documents to be instantly available to team members via the Internet.  Coding takes place via a VPN (Virtual Private Network) but all interactions between the team are over the public Internet. We needed a secure flexible intuitive but powerful set of tools to make this work so, over a period of years, we developed the first - HTML based - version of Glasnost. This included Contact, Project and Image Management. Some two years ago, as online tools became more and more powerful and the age of RIA's (Rich internet Applications) started to emerge, largely in the form of Adobe's Flash/Flex platform we looked to see how we could build a 'Next Gen' version of Glasnost that we could start to use directly with clients but also with a view to making it available to third parties. And that is what we've done.

Starting in early 2007 we had, by January 2008, a product ready for use. Since then we have been refining and redefining the functionality as we garnered feedback from clients and came to understand ourselves how a service like Glasnost really can improve the way we run our business. On top of the core Contact, Project and Image Management we added:

1. A Notepad'  feature, which is unique to each user, to mimic the scribbling of notes and aide-memoires one normally uses paper for.

2. A simple to use but powerful Newsletter module which allows for the easy creation and sending of smart, functional email newsletters (that are 'likely' to get through corporate firewall's).

3. An Instant Messenger like module (Online Now we call it) that allows you to 'chat' with other Glasnost users in real time, as well as send attachments.

Nowadays Glasnost is at the heart of how we operate, both as a company, and with our clients and suppliers.  For us, being able to handle all our Contacts Projects and Images in one place, knowing that - if it matters - 'it's on Glasnost'  is a godsend.

Antony

Some New Features

We've been working away on some new features following requests from users. In Contact Management there is now a 'Bulk Import Contact' feature which speeds up the process of adding multiple new entries into Glasnost. We provide a sample csv file which shows you the 'best' format to use during the import process, though you can also map your fields to the ones in Glasnost.

Further improvements to Contact Management include:

a) The facility to download to spreadsheet Company and Contacts details should you wish.

b) The facility to search for Contacts across multiple offices of the same Company.  So for instance if you wish to find all your contacts at ABC Ltd, whether they are in the London, Frankfurt or Madrid office you can now do so. And of course then download the results to spreadsheet.

c) In Project Management you can now download to spreadsheet the results of a Task Search. This is handy for such things as toting up the time spent on Tasks, or grouping Tasks by type.

d) We've added 'Reset' buttons to all Glasnost searches to make it easier to redefine search criteria.

PLUS we've now incorporated our new HELP system, which you will find in the top navigation bar of Glasnost to the right of Contact Us. This covers a multitude of FAQ's and provides extensive 'How do I' advice. We make big use of videos so please do consult this area for clear guidance on making the most of Glasnost. If you would like us to provide additional video guides please let us know.

We hope you find these new features helpful.

Antony

Glasnost - What's in a name ?

Perhaps you need to be of a certain age to instinctively appreciate the significance of the word Glasnost, but we think what it encapsulates has a timeless quality and is particularly pertinent to the early years of the 21st Century. The BBC has described Glasnost as 'the spirit of openness encouraged by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s, which accelerated the collapse of communism.'  Glasnost's wikipedia entry talks of 'the main goal of this policy was to make the country's management transparent and open to debate, thus circumventing the narrow circle of apparatchiks who previously exercised complete control of the economy.'

Fine, but what has that to do with business? Well, I doubt I am alone in finding eery echoes of this lack of transparency and openness in corporate life, and not the first to comment on how such policies stifle innovation and progress. Information is Power they say, but so often the hoarding of information benefits only the few, and holds back the many.

Glasnost came out of a feeling that, apart from not wanting to run our own business in a closed and opaque way, we were sure many other individuals would like it if their businesses didn't either. So many of us now work in companies with clients, colleagues and suppliers all over the place, in different buildings. cities and even countries and in this world you need different tools. You really do not need to physically be with others all the time, indeed it is often more productive if you are not, but you do need easy access to open and transparent information.

Life is simply better that way !

Antony.

Welcome to Glasnost : Who's behind Glasnost?

Glasnost has been developed by Estates Today and we are a software company that has been building web applications since the early days of the internet in 1995. Our specialist area has been in websites, intranets and business applications for the UK Commercial Property Industry. We run the Office Market Research website, www.cityoffices.net, manage all the public websites of leading international firm of property consultants King Sturge, and developed and run the Community and Property Management website, www.vicinitee.com in partnership with the UK's secnd largest property company, British Land Plc. We also recently launched the new research portal of the British Council for Offices.

Our software helps to run some of the UK's most iconic buildings, including the great 30 St Mary Axe, known globally by it's sobriquet 'The Gherkin'.

Modesty aside our software is used by thousands of people every day and, as they say about a certain hardware manufacturer (or Cult ! ) - 'it just works'.

Antony.