Below are a few commonly asked questions about Infoware Services and our capabilities. If you have further questions or want to find out more you can contact us on 1300 463 692 [1300 infoware].
What is Infoware Services?
Infoware Services incorporates infoware accounting and management software including the infoware web browser interface, host server, system maintenance and backup, software updates and help desk support. Satisfaction Software Pty Ltd as your Application Service Provider (ASP) provides access to Infoware Services via a secure Internet connection to our servers.
Infoware is a proven high-end accounting management solution used by small to large sized businesses in a wide range of industries. Infoware includes advanced accounting and operational components with full integration from associated transware and constructware products. Please contact us with any specific queries or if you would prefer an information kit mailed to you.
What is an ASP?
An Application Service Provider (ASP) provides access to centrally stored software applications and data via the Internet. An ASP combines hosted software, hardware and network infrastructure of a service-based application instead of a traditional standalone solution requiring a server and associated maintenance located at a client’s premises.
The decreasing cost of broadband Internet connectivity including Virtual Private Network (VPN) security technology has made this solution a very affordable alternative to standalone systems. Most of the high upfront capital expenditure of a standalone solution is no longer required, as server hardware and software licence costs are shared across many clients. Ongoing costs for server maintenance and system administration activities such as daily backups are also greatly reduced.
How does Infoware Services work?
Infoware Services provides a separate secure data area on our servers for each client. You enter, retrieve and report on your data via your Internet connection through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnel to our servers. We recommend an ADSL Internet connection for access speed as well as cost effectiveness, though ISDN or even a modem dial up connection will work. A separate connection to your Internet email and browsing connection is normally required for performance reasons. The cost of your Internet connection and any usage charges from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) are not included in your Infoware Services subscription. Satisfaction Software only use Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who have a Service Level Agreement attaining 99% up time or better.
Clients access their VPN using equipment supplied by Satisfaction Software, which creates a VPN tunnel between the client site and Infoware Services server. This equipment will be pre-configured to ensure minimal installation and set-up time by the client, also reducing the cost and often the frustration of the installation.
For security reasons, all data entry and Infoware reporting will occur only via your VPN connection either to your office location, or to roaming PCs (laptops) configured with VPN software. A roaming laptop can connect to your system securely from anywhere in the world where you have Internet access. This gives field staff or managers who are consistently away from the office the ability to access Infoware Services from anywhere for the cost of a local call if available from your ISP.
Standard Infoware reports can only be printed to a networked printer in your office. Roaming PCs do not support the printing of standard Infoware Services reports. Browser reports however can be printed to any printer available to the PC. Any PC connected to the Internet can also access Infoware Browser Reports subject to login and password security. Browser Reports data is passed across the Internet using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption to ensure privacy and integrity of the data.
What is a VPN?
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. Private networks have been in use for many years to provide dedicated communications between remote branches and users within an organisation. The true private network is private because only that organisation has access to that communications link and so their data is not accessible by other parties. As it is a dedicated link the cost is quite high and usually out of the reach of smaller organisations.
A Virtual Private Network uses the public Internet and encryption technology to create a private channel through the Internet. This is called a “tunnel”. Because the VPN uses the existing public Internet network the cost is much lower.
Who is Satisfaction Software?
Since 1985, Satisfaction Software has been supplying quality customised information systems to the Transport, Cleaning/Labour Hire, Job Costing & Project Management industries, as well as many custom developed solutions. Satisfaction Software has developed an enviable reputation for cost effective and supported computer systems over a number of years. Our support infrastructure provides prompt help desk support during office hours with support outside office hours able to be arranged.
Traditionally Infoware solutions were based around installing the Infoware family of products on servers located in the clients’ premises. Infoware Services offers a new approach utilising vastly improved VPN technology for clients to access the full Infoware functionality at high speed via the Internet, while removing the infrastructure cost for servers and associated ongoing maintenance costs.
What is the scope of Infoware Services?
Infoware Services is totally focused on providing our Infoware (and associated transware and constructware) family of products for a low monthly subscription and minimal or zero capital equipment setup costs.
Infoware Services does not include any other desktop facilities. All other applications such as Internet Browsing, Email, Microsoft Office, Banking, Anti-virus or any other desktop application will continue to be stored or managed on your local network and is not included in Infoware Services. Satisfaction Software can provide advice and desktop support separately if required. It is the client’s responsibility to install and automatically maintain up to date computer anti-virus software for their local network. NOTE – Data can be copied from Infoware Services through our browser applications, or in specific instances such as Payroll/Creditor banking ABA files will be emailed from Infoware Services to your local network.
Infoware Services can be used for system-wide implementation of Infoware or for specific applications such as Payroll administration or transport job booking and scheduling.
Where is my data stored?
Your data is stored on servers maintained and controlled by Satisfaction Software. Servers include RAID technology with redundant hard drives to greatly minimise the chance of data loss in case of hard drive failure. Servers are backed up overnight while access to Infoware Services is temporarily suspended. All backup copies are stored off-site each day.
A completely redundant backup server and Internet connection is also maintained at a different physical location to the primary servers. Your data is regularly synchronised with the backup servers which can be accessed via your VPN connection in the event of fire at the primary location.
Should the Infoware Services servers completely fail between data synchronisations, there is a small possibility that you will need to re-enter data entered since the last backup. Remember that all Infoware Services servers are RAID servers where data is mirrored on a backup drive. Loss of data and restoring to your previous backup would only occur in the case of failure of all RAID drives at the one time (a very low probability) or in the event of fire at the primary and backup locations.
Who can access my data?
Only your authorised users and Satisfaction Software staff have access to your data. Data entry can only occur via your VPN connection either from your office or from your configured Roaming PCs. Browser reports data can be accessed by any user to which you grant access from any Internet connected PC.
Satisfaction Software will only access your data for the purposes of providing support and extracting statistical information for billing purposes. All Satisfaction Software staff have signed a Confidentiality Agreement maintaining privacy of clients’ data as part of their employment contract.
What are the prerequisites?
One or more networked Windows based PCs in a working condition. If you do not have access to PCs then Satisfaction Software can provide prices for these or talk with your local supplier. If you have a local supplier, then we are more than happy to talk with them about your required network configuration.
One or more laser printers that support PCL5 drivers or higher. Windows-only printers are not supported for Infoware standard reports. Infoware browser reports however can be printed to Windows-only printers. If you are not sure, contact Satisfaction Software and we will advise on the suitability of printers.
A supported network print server. All printers attached to Infoware Services must be connected to a network print server or have a built in network interface. Printers directly connected to the back of your PCs are not supported. Printers connected to a print server can be accessed from Infoware Services as well as your local PC network. A supported 2 port print server can be purchased for approximately $240.00. You may have to reconfigure your Windows printer spoolers for any existing printers that are moved – talk with your IT support.
An Internet connection with at least one fixed IP address. Monthly costs for your Internet connection by your ISP are not included in the Infoware Services monthly subscription.
At least one (1) staff member who has attended an Infoware training course Services.
What happens during power failures?
Infoware Services are protected by Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) equipment in case of intermittent power failure. In case of extended power failure, petrol powered generators will be used to maintain operation of the Infoware Services servers. These protections are for the Infoware Services servers only. Should you lose power or Internet connection at your own site, access to Infoware Services will be disrupted outside the control of Satisfaction Software.
What if my Internet connection fails?
The most cost effective Internet connection for clients is an ADSL connection. Some ISPs still experience downtime and loss of service with their ADSL connections. For those times when your ADSL service is not available, you may consider having a secondary dialup Internet connection and a PC which has the roaming VPN software installed. This would allow you to continue with time critical data processing such as processing pays although the connection will be slower.
You will have to login again to each application in the event your Internet connection fails as your original connection will be terminated.
How does support work?
One (1) hour per month support credit is included in your agreement. All support is provided on a per call basis in 15-minute increments. Day to day support queries are handled by our help desk between the hours of 8:30am –5:00pm (AEST) with the exception of national public holidays. During local Queensland public holidays, the Infoware Services help desk will be available.
Any additional support time to the included credits will be invoiced to the client monthly. Unused support credits will accumulate for a 3-month period, after which time they will expire.
How do Infoware browser reports work?
Infoware data entry and standard reports will only be able to be accessed via your VPN connection. The Infoware browser suite of management products including Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, Debtor and Creditor Detailed Trial Balance and i4 Query can be accessed via the Internet. Access requires a login and password. These reports are in ‘read only’ mode and do not change data. It is your responsibility to maintain the login and password security access to these functions. You take responsibility that any users to which you provide access do not forward your report data to unauthorised users.
Because Infoware browser reports can be accessed directly via the Internet, you can grant access to parties outside your organisation. For example, you may wish to have your external accountant access your Profit & Loss Report from their office.
What is i4 Query?
Infoware’s i4 Query tool allows you to extract selected data fields from the Infoware database to answer queries or be a gateway to external reporting tools such as Microsoft Excel. These queries can be saved and rerun to repeat this process as required. This is a very flexible user-friendly tool for extracting data or producing simple lists.
What Training Courses are provided?
As part of your agreement, at least one (1) staff member, who will then become your Infoware certified co-ordination person, is required to be trained on Infoware’s applications. There are Infoware training courses run on a regular basis at the Satisfaction Software office in Brisbane. Courses are provided at a discounted rate due to multiple clients being trained at the same time and are normally limited to 2-4 businesses at a time. The exception is Payroll training which, due to the sensitive nature of payroll information, will be trained separately per client. If you require specific training on your site due to geographical isolation, size of business or other reason, then training courses can be provided at your location but at a higher rate.
Training will cover:
- Setup of Master Files.
- Day to day data entry.
- Day to day management.
- End of month and statutory reporting required for the application.
Are there any predefined codes defined in Infoware?
Depending on your business, there will be some predefined codes for:
- Companies and Branches
- GL Chart of Accounts
- Payroll Awards
In specific industries (e.g. the cleaning industry), the payroll module will be set up for the BSCAA Certified Agreement at that time.
These Master File codes are to minimise the setup time for clients so they can quickly and efficiently start using Infoware without being side-tracked on set up issues.
You may of course wish to set up your own codes instead of, or in combination with the existing codes. The sample chart of accounts and awards are there for your optional use.
How does GST work within Infoware?
Infoware uses the “accounts method” for calculating and accounting for GST. GST is calculated based on the General Ledger account and the total GST applicable amount divided by the rate applicable at that time. Expenses that are both GST Applicable and GST Free (rare, but will happen for instances such as staff amenities) are handled by dissecting the GST Applicable and the GST Free amounts to each of two different General Ledger accounts or optionally 2 sub accounts on the same account as in our default Chart of Accounts standard.
Infoware by default calculates GST on an accrual basis.
Accounting for GST in Infoware on a cash basis is achieved by not integrating Infoware Debtors and Creditors modules to the General Ledger (if these modules are being used) and processing deposits and cheques on a cash basis through Infoware’s Cash Book module.
A Business Activity Statement (BAS) Calculation Sheet and Audit Report is produced by Infoware.
What if I want to terminate the service agreement?
After the initial period of the Agreement (normally 3 months) you may terminate the Infoware Services agreement providing at least one (1) month written notice. Once the Agreement is terminated, Infoware Services will no longer be accessible to your organisation.
Your data can be retrieved at any time you have a current agreement using Infoware’s i4 Query tool. Data retrieved using i4 Query can then be read directly into Microsoft Excel to use as a gateway to third party products. Other methods for providing data will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
The VPN router supplied by Satisfaction Software must be returned in working condition within 7 days of termination of your Service Agreement.