UK-based Ideagen plc – a developer of enterprise governance, risk and compliance (GRC) software for organisations operating in highly regulated industries – recently launched a new and improved version of its Q-Pulse quality, safety, risk and compliance solution.
Originally launched in 1994, Q-Pulse first came into prominence as a quality management solution that was among the first to move towards paper-free control of processes related to document, audit and corrective action management. And, the recent Q-Pulse launch – the software’s seventh iteration – coincided with the its 25th anniversary.
To find out more about the evolution of Q-Pulse over the last quarter century, Energy Northern Perspective reached out to George Hall, Ideagen’s Product Manager for Q-Pulse.
ENP: The Q-Pulse software suite consists of number of grouped modular applications. Could you comment on the major divisions within the suite and how they work together/complement each other? (PM vs EHS, etc.)
George Hall: “Q-Pulse at its core caters for all quality management related activities such as document, audit and corrective action management. The software enables organisations to connect all of the processes of the QMS, thus helping to lay the foundations for compliance while providing a framework for achieving organisational improvement.”
“The software’s Analysis module is the engine that powers improvement efforts. By analysing audit findings and business incidents, Q-Pulse enhances the effectiveness of the organisational knowledgebase, and with access to complete up-to-date information, businesses can identify improvement opportunities and provide analysis at the point of need.”
“Q-Pulse’s dedicated Dashboards allow for the clear visualisation of data, providing a complete overview across all processes. By linking data sources from different modules into a single dashboard, the user can take action quickly and confidently.”
“Regardless of industry sector, organisations are under increasing pressure to demonstrate compliance with standards, regulations and legislation that customers, industry and government require.”
“From ISO standards such as 9001, 14001 and 15189, to legislation such as the Food Safety Act and the Medical Device Regulations, the time and effort required to demonstrate compliance is also increasing. With Q-Pulse, organisations can show that they are in control of processes so that they can produce consistent goods and services. Additional modules then open up the system to cover other areas such as health and safety and environmental concerns.”
ENP: How does Ideagen work with clients to help choose/tailor Q-Pulse modules to their needs?
GH: “We have an excellent Sales Development team whose primary focus is to ensure that the organisations that approach us, in the first instance, actually do require our software.”
“A lot of organisations don’t really know what they need in terms of software capability, but our team are excellent at information gathering to understand their business and where and how our software products can help.”
“Following the implementation, Ideagen offers a complete range of professional services to ensure that the Q-Pulse implementation goes as smoothly as possible, with minimum impact to the valuable resource and maximum return from the organisation’s software investment.”
“Professional Services from Ideagen include:
- Software installation and deployment,
- System consultancy and configuration, and
- ‘Champion’ training for the key implementation team.”
“Customers have unlimited access to Ideagen’s Technical Support team, which provides comprehensive support on the use of our products. Our operations in the UK, USA, Europe, UAE and SE Asia offer customers around the world a local market presence to complement our services.”
“Ideagen also offers free web-based training in the implementation of Q-Pulse to all of our customers and our training courses enable businesses and individual users to maximise their investment.”
“Online resources include a free web knowledgebase, a free web user forum and free user groups, all of which enable them to increase their Q-Pulse knowledge by networking with other users, Quality professionals and Ideagen staff.”
ENP: The latest iteration of Q-Pulse boasts a more intuitive user experience. How have you involved users as you worked towards improving the browser-based interface?
GH: “Q-Pulse 7 went through an extensive beta testing process where we involved our customer base and more specifically our Customer Council. Through their feedback, we could fine-tune the product ahead of its official launch.
“The beta programme was an exciting milestone that involved a selection of the most prominent and comprehensive users of the Q-Pulse product. They provided us with crucial, operational feedback from live working environments which was absolutely crucial in shaping the product.
“The beta programme also showed our continued commitment to making sure that Q-Pulse meets our customers’ requirements, and by involving them even more closely in the development of the product it helped us build momentum ahead of the official release.”
ENP: How does Q-Pulse work with client data – on location (at the edge) or remote (your cloud/servers)?
GH: “Q-Pulse is an on-premise or hosted software application with either option providing a simple, intuitive browser interface that helps to identify emerging risks and opportunity, comply with regulations and standards and also streamline the management and reporting of quality and safety.
“With help from our professional and technical services teams, it can be customised and integrated with other business systems and can be configured to deliver the solution that maximises operational and business needs. This includes integration with business intelligence applications that are available to provide greater insight across analytics.”
“We think of business benefits in terms of the maturity journey. Our customers often begin with Q-Pulse at a foundational level to achieve compliance, using the core modules of Document Management, Audit Management and CA/PA.”
“As they pursue tighter operational control and more efficient business processes, many implement additional capabilities such as Incidents and Occurrences and Risk. Compliance is a staging post on the maturity journey to operational excellence.”
When it comes to the energy industry, whether oil and gas, renewables or the power grid – what advantage does Q-Pulse offer over conventional monitoring/alarm systems?
GH: “Q-Pulse is, arguably, the leading software application for quality and safety management across the energy industry. It is used by organisations from petrochemical firms, E&P firms and downstream companies, enabling them to streamline business-critical processes to provide control and visibility of business risks.
“Q-Pulse helps energy organisations increase their operational intelligence, drive efficiencies and prevent undesirable events. The software helps them:
- Anticipate and prevent accidents and problems,
- Keep staff and the public safe,
- Protect their reputation, brand and ultimately the wider business,
- Demonstrate an accountable culture,
- Demonstrate control of risk,
- And avoid consequences of non-compliance.”
“And with Q-Pulse 7, the latest version of the software, energy firms can now configure their own dashboards so that they can visualise their data in a way that makes sense to them – thus bringing the important data to the forefront which in turn helps them make business and operationally critical decisions.”
Twenty-five years is an eternity in the software business. If you were to point to one aspect of Q-Pulse that has undergone the greatest transformation over the years, what would that be?
GH: “The people behind the software have changed but the love for it has remained.
“Those that work with the software usually take it with them to new pastures. The interface has changed from an aesthetics point-of-view, but the core message and benefits have not changed, other than those driven by regulatory shifts.
“For any software product to remain at the top of the market for 25 years is an extraordinary achievement. To have one of our own reach that milestone is very special indeed and we are incredibly proud of the software and this latest iteration.
“With Q-Pulse 7, we believe we have produced a modern, slick and visually rich software product that has really taken the application to the next level. We have focussed on bringing data from all across the business to life through visually appealing and quickly consumable dashboards to ensure that users can access information that is important to them quickly and easily.
“Also, thanks to its web-based interface, the system can be accessed anytime, anywhere – significantly extending its overall reach.”
Thinking about the future, how do you foresee Q-Pulse evolving to meet your clients’ needs?
GH: “Moving into the Cloud space, SaaS, ensuring we cover all QHSE requirements and not just QMS.”
“Q-Pulse 7 marks an exciting next step in the future of the product and in Ideagen itself. We believe this release provides a solid foundation for the software to continue to lead the way in the quality, safety, risk and compliance space for at least another quarter of a century.”