By Tom Borak on September 4, 2019
The work of a quality professional is never done! It’s tough to sleep with the drum beat of “continuous improvement” pounding in your head. We feel the same way about the continued development and quality of the Qualtrax platform! While this latest release, 2019 R3, doesn’t include any major new features, it does address a few items in the “continuous improvement” category.
You can read the full release notes here.
Without further ado, here’s what’s new:
We’re still hammering away on the much-anticipated release of My Dashboard (more on that later), but we have some important security and user interface updates, as well as some upgrades and fixes we want you to know about.
It feels like we can’t go a day without hearing about a major security breach at some large-scale organization. I don’t know about you, but I’m about ready to put my credit in the deep freezer! Unfortunately, security breaches aren’t just a challenge for financial institutions, and the information you and your team rely on Qualtrax to protect can be just as valuable to someone with the wrong intentions.
For this reason, we’ve taken some steps to make our platform even more secure by incorporating best practices and recommendations for web applications from well-known security tools. Moving forward, all data entered in fields will be encoded to protect your organization from any malicious scripts that may be injected by other users. We are also taking precautions to validate redirects, ensuring Qualtrax links do not send you to an untrusted external site, and secure cookies, to be confident you are communicating with the Qualtrax system in a secure manner.
“…we’ve taken some steps to make our platform even more secure by incorporating best practices and recommendations for web applications from well-known security tools.”
We don’t anticipate that anyone is bent on hacking into your Qualtrax instance, but rest assured that we are very aware that the possibility exists and we are not taking any chances with your data! As always, please use common sense when it comes to setting permissions on your documents and ensuring that only approved individuals are allowed access to your system. We believe that our security-minded users will be happy with these upgrades and that they will bring additional peace of mind to the rest of your organization.
Moving along, some of you noticed some changes to the functionality of workflows with the changes we made in our last release. “Thanks for noticing,” (in our best Eeyore voice). We’ve made some fixes and everything should be back to normal. Both fixes involve subforms. Now, when a subform is added to a step of a workflow definition where instances already exist, the subform will allow values to be added at the current step rather than erroring out. Once your Qualtrax system is upgraded to the version with this fix, existing instances will automatically work correctly. Secondly, we’ve fixed a defect that was causing a new row to be added to a subform on a second route attempt. With this fix, if your workflow fails to route successfully because you were missing a required field somewhere in the workflow instance (it’s OK, we all make mistakes), the subform rows will not be affected when you try to route it again. In other words, you won’t have extra blank rows showing up in the subform later in your workflow. Marie Kondo will be pleased. If you don’t know who she is, I’ll wait while you google her.
Our final note for this release is a small, cosmetic touch to improve your user experience. We’ve added a clear icon for your “favorites” menu. This minor adjustment helps bring the feature more in line with the modern feel of our new interface. You can’t find that in SkyMall! This little ditty is currently behind the feature flag in the software, so you’ll only notice it if you’ve already flipped the switch on the “new look and feel” of your Qualtrax instance.
As I mentioned at the top, our team is working hard to get this new interface into your hands. However, it must be noted that there are a LOT of moving parts! There are tons of possibilities and we have a lot of ideas on how to build and incorporate how we visualize data in the Qualtrax system. In the most basic sense, the first version of My Dashboard will take your existing inbox items and put them in a single, line-of-sight format.
“In the most basic sense, the first version of My Dashboard will take your existing inbox items and put them in a single, line-of-sight format.”
“Of course,” you may be thinking, “That’s exactly what I want!” But now we’re back to the part about having myriad possibilities for what that means to you, versus what it means to another user. See where I’m going here? The fact of the matter is this: the amount of work required to take the next step is significant, so we must be very calculated in choosing the best overall direction because, depending on which functionality we pursue, the roadmap to get there changes.
With this in mind, we have decided to unveil My Dashboard as a beta release when it makes its debut later this year. As such, we want to take this opportunity to share a little bit about what you can expect from the initial release and how we will be leaning heavily on your feedback to ultimately deliver a solution that will meet your needs most effectively.
Our intention with this release is to solicit your feedback – that’s right, we want you to have the opportunity to take it for a test drive. Tell us what you like, what could be better, and how to make it as user friendly and intuitive as possible for your use case.
In its initial release, the My Dashboard feature will serve primarily as a visual indicator, allowing you to get a more organized and streamlined look at the tasks in your inbox. Your active tasks will be grouped by type and status, so you can see the big picture at a glance.
When you click on a dashboard widget, you will be redirected back to your general inbox rather than to a sorted data set. This is where your feedback comes in: When you clicked on a specific item, what results were you expecting? What would you like to see?
These types of questions are very difficult to answer until you are actually using the feature to accomplish your day-to-day tasks, so rather than assume we know what you want, we’d rather hear it directly from you! We’ll reiterate all of this when we actually launch the beta version of My Dashboard later this year, but we want to make sure you have your thinking cap handy and your notepad at the ready.
As always, if you have any questions about this release, please let us know! We are proud of the progress we’ve made and are confident that the overall direction of the Qualtrax system is true.
Until next time, keep it quality!