Software Release

What’s new in OmniStar 5.1?

Exciting new feature improvements

OmniStar version 5.1 brings with it a number of new features to improve existing functionality in the system, simplifying and enhancing the capabilities associated with common tasks. We have also enhanced a number of existing features with quality-of-life changes to simplify and streamline use, add new and useful information to some displays and improve performance and reliability.

For an in depth look at the changes available in this release, please click below.

Find out how OmniStar can make a difference in your workplace, talk to us today!

Smart. Simple. Secure.

Grants reimagined.

We have continued to develop the OmniStar system for clients around Australia over the last 12 months.
In version 5.0, we made significant improvements for existing features for better performance and user experience, in addition to introducing several new features to provide more flexibility and configurability for end users. In the following section, you will find detailed information about the major features that are available in this release. For an in depth look at the changes available in this release, download below.

Find out how OmniStar can make a difference in your workplace, talk to us today!

Flexible, and configurable

Grants reimagined

We have continued to develop the OmniStar system for clients around Australia over the last 12 months.

In version 4.9, we made significant improvements for existing features for better performance and user experience, in addition to introducing several new features to provide more flexibility and configurability for end users. In the following section, you will find detailed information about the major features that are available in this release.

For an in depth look at the changes available in this release, download the link below.

Find out how OmniStar can make a difference in your workplace, talk to us today!

User-centric, increased performance.

Next generation grants management.

We have continued to develop the OmniStar system for clients around Australia over the last 6 months.

In OmniStar Version 4.8, we made significant improvements for existing features for better performance and user experience, in addition to introducing several new features to provide more flexibility and configurability for end users.

For an in depth look at the changes available in this release, read the release notes below.

Find out how OmniStar can make a difference in your workplace, talk to us today!

Continuous optimisation

In our latest release (OmniStar 4.5), we have made improvements to existing features and added a range of new functions.

What’s changed
UPDATE: Reviews Management
NEW: Meetings
NEW: Generic Forms
NEW: New Start Menu and Header
UPDATE: Application Status Maintenance
UPDATE: Project Status Maintenance
NEW: Tags
UPDATE: Reporting Database Additional Tables
NEW: Classifications and Text Fields Tokens
NEW: Application and Project Timeline
UPDATE: Modernised Contact Functions
NEW: External Users – Delete Account Option
NEW: External Portal Breadcrumbs
For an in depth look at the changes available in this release, download below.

Continuous optimisation

Continuing on from a feature packed release in version 4.6, in our latest release (OmniStar 4.7), a number of important changes have been added focusing on end user configurability. This year will be even bigger with some exciting changes currently in the works for version 4.8 and 4.9.

For an in depth look at the changes available in this release, download in the link below.

Find out how OmniStar can make a difference in your workplace, talk to us today.

Continuous optimisation

We’ve been working hard in 2017 on a big release of OmniStar. In our latest release (OmniStar 4.6), we have made a huge number of improvements to existing features and added a range of new functions.

For an in-depth look at the changes available in this release, download below.

In 2013-14 the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia decided to develop a new ethics application form for use in human research. This new application form would replace the existing National Ethics Application Form (NEAF).
It had a lot to deliver on.

The new human research application form had to be intelligent and versatile. It had to meet the needs of all researchers who wish to conduct research involving humans. It also had to meet the needs of Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs).
While NEAF collected a lot of data, much of this information was redundant. The questions weren’t personalised based on the user and their type of research. This resulted in applicants filling out a lot of unnecessary questions. And because NEAF did not categorise information, reviewers received a lot of meaningless data. Both these key problems needed to be addressed in the new Human Research Ethics Application.
In 2015 NHMRC went out to tender to develop the new Human Research Ethics Application. They asked for responses to develop a forms based solution housed in a content management system. We responded to their request with a compliant solution using a straight smart forms based solution. We also offered an alternative solution based on our OmniStar product that uses an embedded smart forms engine. Our OmniStar product is the option they chose.

Introducing OmniStar

OmniStar is disrupting the research management, grants management and ethics management industries. This is thanks to OmniStar’s unique architecture. We engineered it to meet a range of general business problems with easy configuration.
And it is this — OmniStar’s advanced configurability — that is setting it apart from competitors.
The flow of information in existing solutions does not support processes in their entirety. To process missing information humans must intervene and send emails or make phone calls.
But OmniStar is different.
OmniStar is engineered to provide two-way communication. After submitting an application an applicant can log in and track its progress. It also lets applicants know if information is missing. These automated tasks minimise human intervention and free up resources. It also ensures a much smoother, intuitive application process.
OmniStar makes this possible by allowing users to control what is important to them.

Human Research Ethics Application

NHMRC’s new Human Research Ethics Application benefits from OmniStar’s advanced functionality.
It ensures a timely process with minimal disruptions. Applicants are able to see where their application is incomplete in real time.
The Human Research Ethics Application will also only ask questions relevant to an applicant’s field. This results in many benefits. It increases the quality of data. It decreases administration time. It decreases time spent submitting an application. And it creates a better user experience.
The Human Research Ethics Application can also benefit from an applicant’s profile information being used to pre-fill fields. An applicant can also export any of their information at any time.
These advanced features create more immediate access to feedback, updates and status changes, which create new opportunities.
It is a huge leap forward in capability. And it is why OmniStar is disrupting the research, grants and ethics market segments.
But this is only one of the reasons OmniStar is disruptive. It is also architecturally engineered to empower users.

 

Architecturally Engineered to Empower Users

As touched on earlier, OmniStar’s engineering makes it disruptive. It configures for almost any workflow, reporting, templates, triggers or access authorisation. All this is achieved without any code changes.
Perhaps most impressively, you manage your own configuration. Business users can make most changes independent of IT involvement. As your business needs change you can change the configuration within OmniStar. This ensures it continues to meet your needs.
It makes OmniStar the perfect solution for today, tomorrow and also years from now. And this was something that impressed NHMRC.

 

Other Benefits of OmniStar for the Human Research Ethics Application

  • Reduces user administration overheads through self-registration.
  • Better uptake of system by providing solution for anonymous users.
  • Lower data entry and greater data accuracy. This is thanks to the in-built CRM that allows users to create and maintain profiles. These profiles auto-populate fields.
  • Unprecedented reporting and data visualisation functionality using the in-built data warehouse.
  • Improves the quality of applications by facilitating collaboration. It allows several people to work on the one application.
  • Allows you to export forms in a variety of digital formats. These can be used for reports such as Board Papers, Annual Reports, websites and external stakeholder reporting.
  • Decreases administration time. Applications are submitted to a review committee in a digital format. This eliminates the need to re-key application information.
  • Provides a feedback loop to make the forms more efficient by reporting on fields’ usage.
  • Better application experience. SmartForms make the application process intuitive, low effort and low error rate.
  • Consistent with Commonwealth Government’s digital direction as it is as Software-as-a-Service.
 

OmniStar Makes Integration Easy

The Human Research Ethics Application provides HRECs with a few options for integration. HRECs are offered a choice of postal, email or electronic submissions.
It is the electronic submissions that provide the biggest benefit. It can take the entire form and import relevant data in to their systems. This maintains the existing processes and functionality in their IT systems. It is instantaneous and doesn’t need users to do extra work.
The integration approach is based on industry standards. It is compatible with a large number of systems and it is opt-in. It can be used for any type of application submission integration. If additional data is required, OmniStar’s web-services are available. It is all secured via certificate-based authentication, which NHMRC controls (the owning entity).
This results in efficiency, timeliness and accuracy of information.
HRECs are also able to see the changes made to applications over various iterations. Track changes and version metadata illustrate these changes. All the functionality available to end users is also available to HRECs, which allows them to effectively assess applications.
To find out more about our OmniStar products, view our OmniResearch, OmniGrants or OmniEthics pages.

The rise of the digital era has seen the death of many once-loved items, think CD players, basic hand-held calculators and address books. Even hand-written, posted letters are on the verge of extinction. But there is one thing that is refusing to go away despite increased IT capability – paper forms – and for good reasons.
Paper forms offer a lot of flexibility. You can skip from page to page and fill in information out of sequence. You can take a paper form with you anywhere, as you don’t need to be online to fill it out. It’s easy to keep a copy for personal records, simply photocopy the form before you submit it. You also have the opportunity to pick up a pen and put a physical signature on the page, and there is something about formally signing against the content that makes it seem more official.

But just as it has its benefits there are also many problems with using paper forms over electronic submissions, including:

  • Illegibility of handwritten responses;
  • Wasted time (and paper) where whole sections are marked as “N/A”;
  • Inconsistency in formatting of “regular” fields such as Phone Numbers and Dates;
  • Fields being filled in incorrectly or missed entirely; and
  • Delays in transportation of physical documents through the post or even hand delivered.

But now there is a new type of digital form that is finally worthy of replacing paper forms -SmartForms. SmartForms has retained the strength of paper-based forms, capitalised on the advantages of virtual forms, and also introduced a new opportunity to tailor the user experience.

There are many benefits of using SmartForms and they can be tailored to meet your needs. Among the most important is all incoming data being captured in a consistent, chosen format, which becomes available for reporting instantly.

This is far more powerful than it sounds! A good SmartForm engine allows you to combine data input into forms with the metadata about the forms to draw true insight into the effectiveness of your forms and to refine and hone the user experience. Without this capability it would be virtually impossible to see something along the lines of “People who filled in Section D abandon as many forms without submitting as they actually submit”, or “Sections B and E are almost always submitted together rather than just one or the other”. These insights allow you to easily revise the Smart Form, and through doing so, the end-user experience is better, leading to higher user adoption and ultimately a better quality of data.

Also, the use of SmartForms can be far more versatile than you might first think; a standard application form might be an obvious choice but what about a feedback form? An initiation point for a request for assistance? A submission point for questions to be answered publically? A system for rating aspects of a user’s experience? By using SmartForms for purposes other than replacements for what would otherwise be standard forms, your business stands to benefit in a plethora of ways.

This is why we have embedded SmartForm technology into our products and our client’s applications. Not only do they increase the sophistication of online forms, but they also add valuable insight, improve customer satisfaction and user experience, and obtain operational efficiencies. No wonder they gained the name SmartForms.

Zarthost Boman
Written by: Zarthost Boman February 2016

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