|The software company of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators|
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This Frequently Asked Questions section lists the most common questions we are asked by existing and potential users. As the largest supplier of corporate data, company secretarial and compliance software in the world, there can, from time-to-time, be misunderstandings as to what our products can and cannot do.
Our FAQ section, product feature focus areas and website in general, answer these questions, we hope, in a clear and honest way. We are also very pleased to answer any questions of concern about any area of our business directly.
Whilst we are always very pleased to be part of any feature-for-feature comparisons (we have full functionality/feature lists available on our website for all of our products) against other market products, we will always focus on what our software does today and why it is the best in the market.
The web-based vs. web-enabled issue
What do the terms “web-based” and “web-enabled” actually mean?
Search google.com for "web-enabled" and you will find a million different interpretations. However, we prefer the definition, which describes web-enabled as a process of putting a web front-end onto an existing application (frequently a Windows-based application). This process is often called “screen scraping”.
Darwinmag.com provides a good comparative definition of “web-based” and “web-enabled”: "Web-based applications are built from the ground up to run over the web. Web-enabled applications involve adding a web interface to traditional applications that may have been created even before there was a web."
What are the advantages of a web-based, as opposed to a web-enabled, application?
Web-based technologies, such as Blueprint OneWorld, apply a designed-for-the-web interface. They do not require other interfaces, such as Windows, to operate.
Competent software designers design their software to be componentised and therefore re-usable. This process maximises the availability of complex software algorithms into a variety of environments and platforms. Designed properly, these components can be very scalable, highly reliable and extremely versatile. Blueprint OneWorld is such a system.
We have been told that ICSA Software International's web product is not a true web application, but simply a Windows-based, web-enabled product. Is this true?
This is an interesting comment when you consider all of the hype from some suppliers concerning their products. This is simply not correct. Blueprint OneWorld is a software application designed and written from the ground up as a true web-based product.
Blueprint OneWorld does not rely on, nor does it employ any ActiveX controls to run code on the user's desktop.
We understand that you do not have a web application, you only offer a Citrix-based solution for users who have a need for multiple location access to their corporate records, is this correct?
This is not correct. We offer a true 'born-on-the-web', browser-based application called Blueprint OneWorld. This application simply needs a web-browser to run, and requires no installation of software at the desktop. Whilst developing the application we ensured that it retained all the functionality our users had become accustomed to in our desktop application, Blueprint 2000. In other words, we have not left out features users expect and need, based on their experiences of our other technology platforms.
We have been told it is not possible to run your Blueprint OneWorld web application without your Blueprint 2000 desktop application, is this true?
This is not true. Blueprint OneWorld is an independently developed, thin client web-based application. This means it is not a web-enabled Windows application, it does not need Blueprint 2000 to be installed to operate and does not have to be installed on the users desktop machine. You simply run and access it using your web-browser and your company's Intranet or Internet connection.
Blueprint OneWorld functionality and features
Is it possible to email web pages from within Blueprint OneWorld? We would like to view a screen of, say, the current officers of a company and simply email it on to another person?
Yes, this can most definitely be done. We see emailing screens as being a very important feature for those users who want to very quickly and easily send information they are viewing in Blueprint OneWorld, to other colleagues. However, we have also extended this so that users can:
- Automatically read address books from their corporate email system, and email addresses held within the Blueprint OneWorld database
- Easily view all email attachments
- Since all documents produced by Blueprint OneWorld are automatically created in either your standard word processor or the industry standard Adobe PDF Format, they too can be:
- Easily emailed
- Documents can be edited prior to emailing using your standard WP
- Forms are sent as Adobe PDF documents
- Recipients using the freely available PDF viewer can view documents sent to them in Adobe PDF format. PDF document creation is automatically achieved in Blueprint OneWorld. There is no need to learn or purchase any extra 'add-on' software.
Is it possible to easily print web pages from Blueprint OneWorld, without having to run a report?
Yes it is. Again this is a feature we believe our users will find very useful. Without the need to run separate reports, a user can simply select the print option to print the screen they are currently looking at.
Is it true that the only way to get a graphical group chart in Blueprint OneWorld is by running an external charting program?
No this is incorrect; Blueprint OneWorld has three options for printing graphical charts, two of these without the need to run an external application.
- Option one allows users to quickly print a textual representation of their charts
- Option two allows users to view a graphical representation of their charts, all without leaving the program or running any other software
- Option three allows users to export chart information from Blueprint OneWorld to charting applications such as Microsoft Visio, to perform more complex formatting requirements to the charts
Each of our charting options has extensive filtering capabilities for both legal and non-legal group charts. Charts can be automatically produced from the shareholdings section in the system; these can be edited and added to. The system also allows for the definition of user-definable group structures.
Is it possible to electronically file documents from within your Blueprint OneWorld web application?
Yes it is. Blueprint OneWorld was the first web-based company secretarial software application to be able to submit forms electronically to Companies House in the UK and the Companies Registrations Office in Ireland. Other suppliers are claiming to do this, but it is our understanding that this is not the case at this stage.
We can also electronically incorporate companies (same-day) at the UK Companies House.
We would like to be able to easily design our own reports without the need to revert to our IT department or learn and run complex external report generator applications. Can Blueprint OneWorld do this?
Yes, Blueprint OneWorld can do this. It has its own, very easy-to-use internal 'point and click' Report Generator that makes it simple for end-users to build their own reports. There is no need to run external applications or learn complicated syntax commands for users to access and report on their data.
How well would you say your system copes with true document management functionality?
True document management is one of the big advantages offered by our system. Firstly, we ensure that documents are produced in a format users can easily work with - their Windows word processor. This includes the templates that drive how the documents are produced. As minutes and resolutions are produced they can simply be amended or added to.
Once a document is produced by our system, it is assigned a unique serial number and retained within the database. Users have to 'book out' documents to amend them. Documents can only be replaced in the system if they have been 'booked- out'. Full change control is also maintained by the system.
We already use Microsoft Word for our word-processing; how does your system produce its paperwork?
Our application automatically and internally generates all of your paperwork in an editable format (excluding forms) in Microsoft Word. There is no need to run, learn or purchase, any other external applications. Forms are generally generated as Adobe Acrobat PDF files.
Will we need to purchase any other third-party applications to run your software?
No, any third-party toolkits needed are supplied as part of the price we quote you.
We are being told that even though you have the largest user base in the world, you do not have the largest number of web-based users. Is this true?
Without access to our competitor's records, it would be very misleading for us to comment on this statement. We exceed over 13,000 users for our web applications. - We have been told that some suppliers are forcing users to move to a web-based application due to the inferiority of their desktop product range. ICSA Software's Windows company secretarial and compliance software, Blueprint 2000, is a market leading, state-of-the-art application, that continues to offer our users a choice in the technologies they adopt for their company secretarial and compliance requirements. Many users simply have no need for a web product, or the infrastructure costs involved in implementing a web-based application. For those users, we have a modern, feature-rich, leading application in Blueprint 2000.
Upgrading from Blueprint 2000 (desktop Windows application) to Blueprint OneWorld
Is it true that, if we upgraded to your Windows application, we are going to be asked for an additional upgrade fee should we decide to move to your web-based application at a later date?
This is incorrect. Existing and new users of competing products who choose to upgrade to our market- leading company secretarial and compliance software application, Blueprint 2000, will be credited in full for any upgrade fees they have paid, if at a later date they wish to move to one of our fully web-based applications. Our experience to date has shown that many users are not ready for, or do not need, the functionality and features a web-based application can offer. There are also many users who are not ready for the hardware investment required for many web installations to run. For those users, we have Blueprint 2000. ICSA Software International has always believed users should have a choice, and not have technology forced upon them.
General questions about Blueprint OneWorld – worldwide support, user-figures, discounting etc.
We have an extensive need for UK-specific compliance. Is your web-based product as feature-rich as your Windows desktop application?
It is. We firmly believe that users should not be expected to compromise on UK statutory requirements, simply because they wish to run what many might call the latest technology. We welcome feature-for-feature comparisons of our products against other offerings in the market place. It has always been the policy of ICSA Software International to address 'Real Issues, with Real Solutions'.
Do you heavily discount your software just to get business at any cost?
We firmly believe in quoting a fair price for the UK's market-leading company secretarial software application. We also take a long-term view of wanting to ensure that our revenues today, should be adequate to allow us to invest in our software and support systems for our clients, tomorrow.
Do you have support centers for your users around the world?
We do. As the global leader in the provision of corporate entity, company secretarial and compliance software, we take great pride in being the only supplier in the world to have support centers in London, Ireland, Stratford (Connecticut, USA), Johannesburg, Mauritius (our off-shore division), Malaysia and Sydney. It is what we call Global Reach - Local Presence. We should also point out that our main support centre in London has 12 staff dedicated to just supporting our clients. We always believe that potential users of our software, or for that matter any other application, should ask "'how big' is your support infrastructure". At ICSA Software International the after-sales support is as important, if not more important, than the lengths we will go to, to get your business in the first place. It's the ICSA Software International difference!
We are being told by some of your competitors that they financially have had the most successful year ever, does that worry you?
An interesting and amusing point, it depends on where you are starting from, and what the actual numbers are! But seriously though, our business in the UK and overseas continues to increase year-on-year. Healthy, honest competition is good for the market generally and, if nothing else, it enables us to continually highlight why our products remain the market leaders
We are being told that we should not consider your web-based application as a record number of your users have converted to competitor products. Is this true
I guess that when in previous years we have lost no users and then we lose 2 it could be claimed as a record number! I think the number of users converting to our products speaks for itself, as an indication as to which way the market is moving. Certainly we would rather lose potential users than continually undercut the original quoted cost of our applications to simply get new users. We strongly believe in the long-term view and the need for fair revenues for a 'best-of-breed' product that will enable us to continually reinvest for the benefit of users. Luckily, we also have no long-term external debt/investment that has to be serviced.