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14 Oct 2019

Like the trusty and flexible swiss army knife, the OmniStar COTS product suite, is a highly adaptable ‘Commercial-of-the-shelf’ (COTS) research solution from F1 Solutions. This leading-edge solution delivers end-to-end research management and includes OmniResearch, OmniGrants and OmniEthics.

1000 plus, configurable features: OmniStar is a powerful SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platform which is designed to manage every aspect of a research project. ; from planning to evaluation, and integrates every stage of the process to provide complete lifecycle transparency and accountability. This gives you unparalleled benefits. Audit reports can be generated with just a few clicks. Business intelligence lies at your fingertips. Project progression is clearly visible on screen through dashboard reporting. And information can be accessed and provided to management and auditors just minutes after it is requested. It is highly adaptable for virtually every organisation use case and includes more than 1000 configurable features and a powerful graphical workflow designer framework, comprehensive and insightful reporting all wrapped up in a modern and clean user interface. By design Omnistar empowers business users to implement functionalities and tailor processes to comply with complex regulatory requirements. It accommodates the needs of a wide range of research organisations, from universities to governments at all levels, hospitals administrators and private research firms to multinational research organisations.

OmniStar Configuration Management: In the ‘as-a-service’ world we live in everything from software to TV on demand offers users the flexibility to personalise their experience. The ability to adapt and tailor the solution for clients is of significant importance to the strategic direction and competitive advantage of OmniStar. It is common place for clients to want to tweak or fine-tune the solution to suit them better for a variety of reasons, e.g. to align more closely to their business processes, introduce further efficiencies via increased automation. We are continually looking for ways to further enhance the product and introduce additional functionality that is common across clients to reduce costs and effort.

What makes OmniStar configurable?

In OmniStar, we define configuration as any function or feature that exists in the current version that can be adjusted using configuration, pre-existing settings or scripting to suit the requirements. To provide this flexible capability, several methods exist. These include:

  • SmartForms – Even similar organisations can have substantial varying needs with regards to data capture. As a result, SmartForms are one of the areas where clients tend to express themselves. OmniStar supports this by providing tight (and largely seamless) integration with its SmartForms provider. Forms may be designed through a web-based designer available to suitably-permissioned users of the system. Forms themselves have many capabilities – they can expose look-up data to users filling them out, process calculations, collect attachments, and generate output documents. These forms can be exported and stored in source control or transferred to a separate environment.

  • Features – These are existing switches or settings that can be adjusted to change the behaviour of the solution. Typically used to enable or disable modules or functions within the solution, however they can also be used to set defaults and other behaviour, e.g. email whitelisting. These settings can be exported and stored in source control or transferred to a separate environment.

  • Configured Settings & Lookups – Configured (feature) settings and lookups fall into a couple of main categories, but typically either exist as settings associated with features (e.g. the specific emails that might be whitelisted above; or may fall into instance specific information such as credentials or connection strings used to connect to e.g. an Amazon S3 storage bucket).

  • System Settings & Lookups – Many elements within the system are lookups based on data that can be tailored to suit client needs. Examples include valid statuses for proposals or projects; lists of countries; contact organisation types; programs; through to more complex constructs like grant rounds.

  • Custom Properties – These are fields that can be added to further extend the existing fields that come with the product OOTB. These fields can be added to core entities that exist across the solution and are defined using JSON. A range of options exist when adding these fields which includes their type, validation, conditional visibility, grouping, etc.

  • Email/Letter Templates – Templates are defined for various system purposes, or for use in configured workflows. These templates operate like a mail merge, replacing tokens that are available based on the context in which they’re used in order to substitute in relevant information. This approach is implemented in a flexible way, so that we can support scenarios where a workflow needs to send an email containing some information to someone.

  • Dashboards/Reporting – The dashboards and reporting subsystem allows for the creation of ad-hoc reports and dashboards alongside in-system reports and dashboards. These are created using a dashboard and report designer available within the product using a drag and drop interface.

  • Workflows – Workflows are a flexible and extensible aspect of the system allowing for simple to highly complex interactions and functionality to exist. They extend traditional workflows approach by also providing the capability to act like a state machine which can be created or manipulated by events within the system. An in-system workflow designer allows for the creation and maintenance of how these processes operate. Workflow configuration can be exported to JSON and stored in source control or transferred to a separate environment. The same designer that is provided through the system is used by us to build workflows.

  • String Resources – The localisation subsystem supports client-specific terminology. While one organisation may call a proposal a “Proposal”, another may call it a “Grant”, another an “Application”. This allows for client-specific nomenclature to be supported. These settings can be exported and stored in source control or transferred to a separate environment.

  • External Portal Views – Where the default display of pages is not quite right, individual pages or sections of pages can be replaced or new pages dropped in. While this does not allow for the logic that sits behind them to be changed (without customisation), it does allow for scenarios like adding buttons, removing table columns or rejigging layouts.

For more information or a demonstration on how OmniStar can be deployed and configured to enhance your organisation please contact us on (02) 6245 7999 or
Arrange an OmniStar demonstration

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