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A new Asset Manager User Guide is now available for online browsing or download/print:

A new User Guide for Training Manager is now available for online browsing or download:

As most of you know, Training Manager allows you to configure required training for your personnel. In previous versions of Training Manager, these requirements were enforced “Immediately” meaning that as soon as you added a new employee to the database and assigned them to one of the Groups or Job Roles with assignments, they would immediately show up as “Overdue” on the status reports unless they had completed the training already.

Many of you contacted us and requested an option to define a “grace period” for new hires in order to give them a reasonable amount of time to complete the training before it would appear “Overdue” on the status reports. I’m happy to announce that this option is now available in the current version of Training Manager.

Now you may set the “Initial Training Due Date” when adding an Assignment as shown in this example:

New Assignment Form
New Assignment Form

As you can see, the initial training is due “By Hire Date + 30 Days”. The training status for the first 30 days will no longer appear as “Overdue”. Instead, it will appear as “Untrained” if it hasn’t been completed during the first 30 days. This lets you know that the training is required, but it is still within the grace period. The status will change to “Overdue” if it hasn’t been completed after 30 days, otherwise, it will change to “Up to date” after it has been completed.

We hope this feature will help to make the status reports more useful for your organization. Thanks to everyone who provided the feedback leading up to this enhancement.

Website Fail-Over In Place

The kzsoftware.com website was down for 3 hours last week due to a power outage at the data center hosting the site. A redundant server has been configured at an alternate datacenter in another state with automatic fail-over to prevent this problem from occuring again.

Faster Downloads

We have just finished moving our software downloads to Amazon’s CloudFront distribution network. This change will allow our customers around the world to download the software from the server closest to their location (*See below). Website visitors may click the download link, and the software will be automatically downloaded from the closest server.

We hope this will improve the download experience by improving the reliability of the downloads and making it much faster to download the software.

*Download servers are located in 14 Cities across 3 Continents:

United States

  • Ashburn, VA 
  • Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Miami, FL
  • Newark, NJ
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • St. Louis, MO

Europe

  • Amsterdam
  • Dublin
  • Frankfurt
  • London

Asia

  • Hong Kong
  • Tokyo

You may import your master course list using the menu option Tools –> Import –> Courses.

Requirements:

The list of courses should be in a comma-separated-values format (.csv). If you have the list in MS Excel, you can use the Save-As function to save the file as a .csv file. A .csv file can be opened in MS Excel, or in Notepad. For example, here is a sample listing of 2 courses in .csv format and displayed as text:

Sample Data:

CourseTitle,CourseNumber,CourseCategory,DefaultLocation
Introduction To Customer Service,CS101,Internal,Training Room #1
Advanced Customer Service,CS400,Internal,Training Room #2

The field delimiter is a comma. If your course information contains commas in the actual field values, you will need to use a text qualifier as shown below:

CourseTitle,CourseNumber,CourseCategory,DefaultLocation
“Customer Service, Introduction”,”CS101″,”Internal”,”Training Room #1″
“Customer Service, Advanced”,”CS400″,”Internal”,”Training Room #2″

Note that in the above example, a comma appears in the CourseTitle field. In order to include this data in the import and prevent the program from seeing the comma as the separation before the next field, quotation marks are placed around the field values.

Testing:

You may run a test import by copying the example data above and pasting it into an empty notepad file. Save the file with the extension .csv on the end, and then import the data using the menu option Tools –> Import –> Courses.

We often receive emails from customers who have purchased a Standalone edition of one of our software products for use on a single computer and then later decide they would like to upgrade to a Network edition for use on multiple computers. One of the questions that comes up is:

Can I upgrade to a server database and copy the data from my existing database to the new one so I don’t lose my existing work and have to enter it again?

Yes – the basic process is to create a backup file of your local database before the switch over, and then restore it to your new server database. Here are the specific steps:

  1. Backup your local database (menu option: File –> Backup). This will create a compressed backup file containing your data.
  2. Install and configure the remote database server. For instructions, select the link for your product near the top of the follwing page: Database Server Setup Instructions
  3. Install the network edition of the software on your computer.
  4. Connect to the remote database server (menu option: Tools –> Database Connection)
  5. Restore your local database backup copy to the server (menu option: File –> Restore). Select the backup file that you created in Step 1, and then click the Restore button.
  6. You can then install the network edition on additional user’s computers and connect them to the remote database server (Step 4).

Note: if you are currently licensed for a standalone version of the software only, you will need to purchase an upgrade license key to continue adding new data to the server database. For a link to purchase the upgrade license, contact us through the Support page on our website at www.kzsoftware.com. Let us know which edition you are upgrading from, and we will provide you with a link to purchase an upgrade license.

“Assignments” in Training Manager allow you to track the status of required training for your personnel. This post provides clarification about how this feature works and how the training status is updated.

You may create assignments on the Assignments tab which will set required training for individuals based on the criteria you have chosen.  There are three types of Assignments which you may create on the Assignments tab: Group, Job, and Individual. When a user has been assigned a course, it is “required”, and it will show up on their status report as either “Overdue” or “Up to date”.

Group Assignments

If you create a Group assignment, it will be automatically assigned to everyone in the chosen group.  When new people are added to the group, they will also have that assignment automatically set up for them.  You may also choose “All Groups” if you have an assignment which you want to be added for everyone.

Job Assignments:

Job Assignments are similar to Group assignments, except that they are applied to everyone within a particular Job Role rather than people within a particular organizational group.

Individual Assignments:

You may use Individual assignments for one-off specific requirements.

More Details:

When a course is Assigned, the status will be “Overdue” until it has been completed per the criteria in the Assignment. The Assignments mean that the Course is absolutely “Required”. The Status for a Required course will not be “Up To Date” until it has been completed. For example, if a course is required every year, but it has never been taken, or it has not been taken within the past 12 months, then it will be “Overdue”. If it has been taken at any time within the past 12 months, then the status will be “Up To Date”.

The Overdue and Upcoming Status report displays all records that are either Overdue or with an expiration date within the next X days. Scheduling a Class Session within X days will not have an impact on the Status. The only way for the status to change to “Up To Date” is to complete the course. For example, consider these cases:

Case 1:

  • Assignment: Course required once / year.
  • Current Date (example): 4/1/2009
  • Last completed: 1/1/2008
  • Expiration Date: 1/1/2009
  • Status: This course is “Overdue” because the expiration date is in the past (1/1/2009).

If you add a “Completed” training record before the expiration date, the status will then be “Up To Date”, and the new Expiration Date will be set for 1 year after the new completion date.

Case 2:

  • Assignment: Course required once/year.
  • Current Date: 4/1/2009
  • Last Completed: 1/1/2009
  • Expiration Date: 1/1/2010
  • Status: This course is “Up To Date” because it was last completed on 1/1/2009, and it doesn’t expire until 1/1/2010.

If you have set the report filter to only show courses with an expiration date within 30 days, this record will not be included on the report (because the expiration date is more than 30 days away).

If you have set the filter to show courses with an expiration date within 365 days, this record WILL be included on the report (because the expiration date is within 365 days). However, the status remains “Up To Date” because the expiration date has not yet passed.

Software License Pricing

Lately, we have received a lot of inquiries about recurring license fees like this one:

Is this a one time payment, or are there annual license fees as well?

The cost for our software products is a 1 time fee for the current version of the software.  You are not required to pay any additional monthly or yearly licensing fee to use the software.

Details:
Your purchase provides you with a license key which will work in the current version of the software without limitation. Your purchase also provides you with free minor updates as they become available. Major upgrades may incur a 50% upgrade charge after one year; however, you are never required to upgrade, so you may continue to use the current version as long as you want with no additional charge.

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