ALMComplete Release 9.6 Simplifies Customer Support and Improves Reporting
Today we launched Release 9.6 of our ALMComplete, QAComplete and DevComplete products, all available at http://www.smartbear.com. This release has both cool new features, and provides some features and enhancements that improve the deployment and upgrade experience for On-premise customers. First, let's discuss the really cool features.
In the ALMComplete and DevComplete editions, we added a new Task Board that helps individuals organize tasks assigned to them by their Project Manager or Scrum Master. Based on feedback from demos, surveys and our Client Advisory Board, developers and testers said that they needed an easy way to manage tasks assigned to them. Some suggested that they were using a white board in their office to post what things were in their "To Do" list, what things they were "Working On", and what things they had "Completed." By categorizing them this way, it made it easy to figure out how well they were progressing on the tasks they had been assigned. We really liked the idea of the Task Board, so we decided to create a "Virtual Task Board". This new feature allows developers and testers to see their tasks in 3 categories. Using this, you can quickly post time towards tasks and drag and drop tasks from To Do to In Progress or Completed. Project Managers and Scum Masters like this as well because they can continue using the Hierarchical Project Plans and each task they add is automatically set up on the individual's Task Board, allowing each role to work as they desire. Below is a screen shot of the new feature, if you want more info on it, here is a movie that illustrates it: http://www.softwareplanner.com/GuidedTours/EdgeUI/Camtasia.asp?FileName=TaskBoards.
Configurable Support Management
After doing tons of demos with clients and prospects, one of the most frequent discussions revolve around support management. Many of you told us that you needed an easy way for your clients to submit support tickets and incidents to your technical team. You probably realize that you could give your clients access to your instance of ALMComplete but you wanted to really simplify what things your clients could see, restrict them to only things that pertained to them, and you did not want to purchase a license for each of your clients to log into ALMComplete. Well, we heard you! With ALMComplete release 9.6, you can now create Support Sites for your clients to log into, allowing them to post support tickets and allowing them to track the status of those support tickets on-line at any time. We even took it a step further. We figured if you wanted to create a support site, you would want the freedom to customize it. To empower you to do that, we allow you to specify your logo, provide the ability to link to a custom cascading style sheet (CSS) to provide even more freedom in configuring the look and feel, and we allow you to customize what information you collect from your clients. Once your support site is setup inside of ALMComplete, we provide a URL that you can hook up directly on your website so that your clients can then begin submitting tickets to you. All tickets that are submitted flow into your edition of ALMComplete (into the Defects section folder you designate), allowing you to not only manage the tickets from within ALMComplete, but also allowing you to use our rich dashboards to report on the status of tickets over time. We think this feature will result in happier clients for you and will greatly improve communication between your team and your clients. Below is a screen that shows off some of the configurable data collection, if you would like a more in-depth preview of this feature, watch this quick movie: http://www.softwareplanner.com/Movies.asp?Topic=SupportManagement.
Browser Neutral Reporting
We've received many accolades for our deep integration with SAP Crystal Reports, allowing teams to launch professionally designed reports that can be viewed on-line or emailed to others. However, in past releases, Crystal Reports required an ActiveX or Java applet download and did not support rich text formatted data as well as many liked. To improve this, we upgraded to the latest version of Crystal Reports (2008 edition). By doing this, you can now launch reports without the need for ActiveX or Java, so this allows our Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari friends to run reports quickly without the need to download a Java applet. It also supports rich text formatting much better so if you use our rich text editor for long descriptions of defects, requirements or test cases, the formatting of that will easily flow over to your reports in WYSIWYG format. No more lost bullets or numbering, formatting is as you would expect it to be. Below is an example of our new .NET viewer that works with any type of browser, if you want more details on the new reporting capabilities, take a peek at this movie: http://www.softwareplanner.com/Movies.asp?Topic=ReportingCrystal.
Enhanced Support for Automated Testing
As you may know, ALMComplete and QAComplete have the ability to show test run history from automated tools like SmartBear's TestComplete and HP's Quick Test Pro. It also provides the ability to schedule automated tests from within ALMComplete and QAComplete, simplifying the running of tests. Many of you have used this feature for a while now and have enjoyed the additional reporting and dashboards that show your automated and manual test efforts, side-by-side. After launching this feature last year, some of you said that it would be really cool if we could support keeping your automated test scripts on network shares. This allows you to keep your automated test scripts under version control and to keep the scripts in a centrally located network share that all of your automation engineers could access. Release 9.6 now supports both local and network shares. So if you now want to keep your automated test scripts on a network share, feel free to do that, we can support it!
Additional Enhancements for On-Premise Deployments
In addition to all the cool features mentioned above, we also added some additional features and enhancements that improve the deployment and upgrade experience for On-premise customers. On-Premise Installers enable a wizard driven self-installation of our software. Available on May 2, 2011, we will be offering an upgrade wizard to easily upgrade to the latest version in just minutes. Crystal Reports 2008 - With the new Crystal Reports 2008 upgrade, you will now have more flexibility in scheduling reports to run unattended. Using ALMComplete, QAComplete or DevComplete, you can easily setup any of your Crystal Reports to run on a particular date (or on a recurring schedule) and specifiy who the report should be routed to. Set it and forget it! More Flexible Active Directory Integration - If your team is using LDAP or Active Directory, we now provide an easy way to configure your user account synchronization. When you go to the Setup System Configuration area, you will notice a new Active Directory Configuration tool. From here, you can specify the details of your LDAP or Active Directory connection, specify rules for account setup and disablement, and custom define emails that are sent out when new users are added. Want to learn more? See this movie: http://www.softwareplanner.com/Movies.asp?Topic=ActiveDirectory
To learn more about the additional enhancements, visit the What's New web page.
Well, that's a recap of the new features, hope you enjoy them. If you want to see a quick movie that illustrates these new features, click here: http://www.softwareplanner.com/movies.asp?Topic=Release96.