Notes Tone Unturned
(formerly Asia/Pacific Computer Services, company closed down at the end of 2013).
This is now the PERSONAL website of Tony Austin, not a business site.
Do not contact me offering to provide business-related services, such as
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NotesTracker TM
Measure the Usage and Success of your Lotus Notes and Domino Applications
For ALL organization types, ANY Notes/Domino environment, and ALL sorts of database applications
Everything you wanted to find out about Notes database document usage.

NOTICE - This page is now archived, in read-only state

The company that originally established this website (Asia/Pacific Computer Services) has been closed, is shut down and no longer conducting business, has ceased operating!

As a result, starting mid-September 2014 most of the site's original pages have been taken offline. These web pages ar no longer being maintained.

However, if you are seeking to view the old content of these web pages, you should be able to find a copy of  the original web pages at
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Note: These archived pages are in read-only form. The pages were saved by the Internet Archive organization during one of its regular web crawls, and I have absolutely no control over the archived pages. Therefore it is pointless contacting me to ask for any amendments to the archived pages, such as adding or deleting links yo your own web sites.

Click here to go to what is probably the most recent Wayback Machine snapshot of this page (archived early March 2015, but you can try navigating the Wayback Machine to other dates).


------------------------------------------------------- IMPORTANT NEWS ---------------------------------------------------------
NotesTracker is now found at AGECOM Computer Consultancy
NotesTracker is now sold and supported by AGE Computer Consultancy (click here)
and click here to access the NotesTracker documentation / user guides




Heritage product overview of NotesTracker ...

WHAT IT IS

NotesTracker is a universal application enabler for IBM Lotus Notes database usage tracking, compliance and effectiveness monitoring.

 

It is universal because it works on local computer databases accessed offline (in disconnected mode) via a Lotus Notes client, as well as on remote databases on your Lotus Domino servers (whether the latter are accessed by Notes clients or over the Internet by Web browsers).

 

NotesTracker records generic usage tracking data in an easily-understood universal fashion, for any platform that supports IBM Lotus Notes and Domino -- Windows. Macintosh, UNIX/Linux, i5/OS (OS/400), z/OS.

 

It is an application enabler because it is a developer toolkit (SDK) carefully crafted for readily adapting your applications to meet your specific usage tracking and monitoring needs. NotesTracker operates in a completely standard Lotus Notes/Domino environment, there's no need to install plug-ins or learn special new skills.

 

NotesTracker's focus is to profile the application usage of your IBM Lotus Notes databases, in a unique and consistent way across both Notes and Web environments, providing a common reporting mechanism via up-to-the-minute Lotus Notes views.

WHO SHOULD USE IT

NotesTracker can benefit virtually anyone in your organization who has an interest in some sort of user activity tracking and reporting of Lotus Notes and Domino applications.

 

Examples include: 

  • Executive sponsors who are keen to ensure that their organization's Notes applications are being used effectively.

  • IT management who are concerned with the best deployment and efficient operation of the applications.

  • Security consultants or auditors who need to carry out in-depth investigations of database activity. Detect and prove eavesdropping, data tampering or outright deletion.

  • Notes/Domino developers and administrators, seeking technical database usage information otherwise hard or impossible to obtain (such as view usage).

  • Compliance analysts who need to know when and how a particular database's content was generated, viewed, modified and deleted ... forensics at both a broad and a very detailed level.

  • Help Desk staff, who can use NotesTracker reports to determine where users are having any difficulties with your applications (such as when a particular document was deleted, and by whom).

Smart Business Leaders Support Log Management -- to quote Realtime Publishers series "IT Compliance in Realtime" (April 2008, Volume 1, Number 2): "To comply with a multitude of current laws, regulations, and standards, virtually all organizations must generate logs of some type, consistently follow documented procedures to review and analyze the logs, react to anomalies, and retain the logs appropriately.

The log data should be regularly reviewed and analyzed not only to meet compliance requirements but also to enhance overall information security, privacy, and availability for the business. Consistent, regular log review and analysis will reveal many types of activities that could be negatively impacting business, such as policy violations, errors in application processing, operational problems, fraud, and security incidents, just to name a few." ...

NotesTracker can provide such detailed logging of the application usage of your Lotus Notes databases.


Watch for the latest news at the NotesTracker News & Tips weblog


Click on the following image for a snapshot of NotesTracker running happily under IBM Lotus Notes Domino 8 ...

(Click to view a larger image)



 Click here to register for an evaluation of NotesTracker



 CLICK HERE to download the NotesTracker Guide 
This contains a general introduction to NotesTracker for everybody, as well as full details for administrators and developers.

 

Click this button to see original NotesTracker pricing ...

Click here to view current prices and licencing information for NotesTracker.

 

Previously...

Asia/Pacific Computer Services is an IBM Business Partner program.

ABOUT VARIOUS TYPES OF NOTES AND DOMINO METRICS:
Just as there are "Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics" there are different types of "usage statistics" or "usage metrics" for a platform such as IBM Lotus Notes/Domino. There are native Domino server statistics that give you a overall picture of database usage parameters: total uses, total reads and total writes for the previous day, week and month. However these basic statistics have a distinctly technical emphasis, aimed mainly at assessing Domino server performance (disk, CPU, memory, etc) and network traffic loads (for document replication, e-mail transmission, etc). See also: Do Metrics Matter?
 

And on the Internet side of Domino, there's the Domino HTTP Web Server log (the DomLog.NSF database) which gives you extremely detailed information about Web events such as page "hits" on your Domino databases. However this Web server log stores vast masses of information that are of little interest to most people (such as the names of each and every  graphics file sent out to Web browsers).

 

This Domino log database can be very daunting to sift through to work out general application usage patterns. Useful as they are, the above metrics are of very little use for giving you a deep understanding what's happening in your Notes/Domino databases at the application level -- individual documents, fields and views. Furthermore, all the other tools report on web browser accesses but DO NOT REPORT ON NOTES CLIENT ACCESSES. (The Lotus Notes Client is still widely used, and offers the most feature-rich way to interact with your database applications.)

 

NotesTracker was specifically designed to track usage via BOTH web browser and Notes Client, and to report on usage for both environments in a consistent, easily understandable way (no incomprehensible technical data), via a common set of up-to-the-minute Notes views.
 



NotesTracker is aimed specifically at the APPLICATION LEVEL -- the tracking of document accesses and optionally the tracking of view usage (by tracking view switching in the Notes Client interface). It's the Notes documents that hold the database content, and it's the usefulness and popularity of the DOCUMENT CONTENT that is at the very heart of successful applications. it's the content that is most meaningful in terms of tracking application usage. As the saying goes: Content is King!

So, because it's the content that is a measure of the business value of each of your databases, NotesTracker is squarely focused on measuring DATABASE CONTENT USAGE
-- rather than on technical metrics like network traffic load, or server CPU and disk utilization (which, while being important, are of interest primarily to IT specialists).

"NOTESTRACKER" ... WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Design elements in Lotus Notes databases are sometimes referred to as "notes" or "design notes" and it is certain of these types of design notes (documents, the fields in documents, and views) that are tracked -- hence the concept of "notes tracker" or "Notes document usage tracker"-- leading to the product name "NotesTracker".



THE
NEW
WAY
NotesTracker is a developer toolkit, carefully constructed so that you need only make a relatively few simple changes to a database's design for the database to be fully trackable. Your Notes developer can make the changes in a standardized, easily repeatable way that typically requires only minutes (not hours) per database. These changes enable tracking of individual Notes document usage -- including universal or "generic" tracking of changes to database fields -- as well as other important application events such as document deletions, pasting or mail-in of documents, and even the tracking of view opens (for the Notes Client environment).

You can examine the simple, clear NotesTracker usage views at any time and easily see what's going on inside your databases, for such things as:

You can examine NotesTracker's simple and clear Usage Log views at any time and discover what's going on inside your databases:

  • Comprehensive document history trails (sometimes referred to as "breadcrumbs") - See who Creates, Reads, Updates, and Deletes individual Notes documents, as well as document pastes and mail-ins. ... Great for troubleshooting, and for finding the guilty ones who entered bad data or deleted key documents!

  • All the active users of your Notes databases, arranged to show the significant users or "the makers" -- those who contribute to your databases by adding/updating content, versus "the takers" who consume content but don't develop and maintain it. At least one user of NotesTracker has used this to reward their knowledge contributors.

  • Field audit trails - Determine who made what changes to individual field values in each document. (One user purchased NotesTracker for this unique capability alone, to gain insights into and control over changes in just one critical database.)

  • What sort of document content is most popular, or "hottest". (You will see the percentage usage of each document in a database.)

  • Which documents have low usage rates, and thus are good candidates to archive or purge.

  • Notes view opens - determine the frequently used views that may be worth streamlining, or the infrequently used views that are candidates for removal, potentially reducing much server load (CPU, memory and disk). One user purchased NotesTracker for this alone!

  • Mail Tracking - NotesTracker can be applied to any sort of database, but one popular application is the tracking of activities occurring in users' Notes Mail databases -- typically  for compliance and/or privacy reasons, such as when a user's mail has been delegated to other persons. Read about the importance of doing this in: US Government Agencies Face Challenges in Managing E-Mail (GAO report, April 2008).

  • When and where it happened - the date, time and server for each "hit." Identify usage patterns and trends -- over a period of hours, days, weeks, months or years.

  • Detailed navigation patterns - How and when each user shifts from document to document, and database to database.

  • Which specific document actions are contributing most to Domino server loading.

  • Breaking News -- a filtered view (for just one database, or a composite view spanning a set of databases) that displays the latest documents, great for generating RSS newsfeeds..

  • Track "special" documents -- certain documents in a database that you designate as being particularly interesting and/or important for some reason.

  • Activity Alerts -- get notified via e-mail as soon as documents are updated, deleted, and so on (even when certain fields that you select are updated), or as soon as a "special" document is used.

  • Track "generic" events - button clicks and other application actions that are of interest.

  • Track only individual users of a particular database (or omit individuals), if so desired.

 

Click the button to view

Click here to see some snapshots of usage metrics as reported by NotesTracker.

You'll get a much better understaning of NotesTracker's power by trying the evaluation, or by downloading the free SDMS database (see SDMS Download link at bottom).


NOTESTRACKER OFFERS INFORMATION SUPERIORITY
There's no need to wait for batch reports to be scheduled and run. NotesTracker presents usage information as soon as it is logged, in the form of regular Notes views, and without the need for special reporting tools. The normal replication cycle between NotesTracker Log databases on your servers will provide -- without the need for any complicated collation procedures -- a timely global or composite picture of database usage around your entire network, The provided NotesTracker views "slice and dice" the usage metrics in many interesting and useful ways (and it's a simple matter for you to modify and fine-tune these views, or add extra views, to meet your exact usage reporting needs).

Regarding
KNOWLEDGE
MANAGEMENT
and
CONTENT
MANAGEMENT

 
Read the article by Shaku Atre: Why are Operational Business Intelligence Applications so Important? To quote: "Essentially, business intelligence is business success realized through rapid and easy access to actionable information." -- NotesTracker is an OBI enabler, since it provides you with up-to-the-minute details about the the usage of your Notes/Domino database applications.

 

THE
VALUE
TO
YOU

With NotesTracker you can at last start measuring and analyzing the BUSINESS VALUE of your databases, in as much detail as you like. And NotesTracker can provide significant TECHNICAL VALUE too.

Your IT department can get what are otherwise unobtainable document usage metrics and thus have a firm basis to analyse the effectiveness of database design, to plan more informed design enhancements, and to better monitor database operation. Not only that, NotesTracker also can track your Mail or other database usage for security and privacy compliance.

 

DO IT YOURSELF, OR INVEST IN NOTESTRACKER?
NotesTracker was initially developed to meet several of our clients' rather specific knowledge management requirements, and then was improved and broadened in scope over more than six years of research, testing and customer feedback. If you are prepared to allocate funds and divert precious man-months of development time to the task, you might develop something similar to NotesTracker.

Certainly, there are some "free" tools and coding techniques around on web sites here and there that give you some bits and pieces of what NotesTracker delivers. But with these other techniques you're on your own and have to do all the work required to put together (hopefully) a practical solution -- so are they really free, and is it worth the risk?. Why "reinvent the wheel"? And anyhow, your home-built solution is highly unlikely to be as robust, comprehensive and adaptable as NotesTracker, unless you are prepared to spend all those man-months on design, development, testing, refining and careful documentation that we have spent in order to come up with our "tried and tested" commercial-grade product!

Register


Register here
for an evaluation of NotesTracker

Try clicking the safe link >  < to send us a request via e-mail.
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Note: it is quite possible that the above e-mail link will fail for various reasons (including delivery problems arising from spam filtering, or your Notes Mail client not responding properly to the above JavaScript-based link). We make a practice of replying to all incoming NotesTracker-related mail usually within 24 hours.

 If you do not get a response from us after a day or two,
then please send us an e-mail requesting evaluation registration assistance:

evaluation @ asiapac . com . au
(without the intervening spaces)

Otherwise, contact our office by telephone:  +61 3 9888 7772
or mobile phone: +61 414 88 7771
and we will call you back as soon as possible.
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We'll send you a personalized e-mail reply with full evaluation details.

Please allow for any time zone difference (we're in Melbourne, Australia, UTC/GMT +10).
Expect a response within 24 hours in most cases, often far less!

Our privacy policy can be found here.
 


Click the button to see NotesTracker pricing ...

Click here to view current prices and licencing information for NotesTracker.

 

NOTE: you should click here to view in advance the NotesTracker Terms & Conditions since it is assumed that you understand and accept them prior to evaluating or using NotesTracker.


  If you have already registered, the NotesTracker download page is here

 CLICK HERE to download the NotesTracker Guide 
This contains a general introduction to NotesTracker for everybody, as well as full details for administrators and developers.


Click here to see some snapshots of usage metrics as reported by NotesTracker.

You'll get a much better understaning of NotesTracker's power by trying the evaluation, or by downloading the free SDMS database (see SDMS Download link at bottom).

 
NotesTracker is featured on the Notes App Store


 If you don't have time to carry out a live evaluation, why not instead watch some ...

 NotesTracker screencam demonstrations


Click here to read about NotesTracker in the IBM Global Solutions Directory
Click here to read about NotesTracker in the IBM Workplace Solutions Catalog

Put NotesTracker to use, for free! Here's an alternative to the above evaluation:
We offer some FREE NotesTracker-enabled applications.
SDMS - a Simple Document Management System
CAPTURE - Customer And Project Tracking + Usage Reporting Extensions (CRM)

Simple Signer - easily Sign all design elements in a Lotus Notes database
Presenter for IBM Lotus Notes

Asia/Pacific Computer Services is an IBM Business Partner program.


Chat with us via Skype, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger or ICQ to discuss NotesTracker. Our user name for all of these services is: notestracker  (It is advisable to send us an e-mail in advance to arrange a suitable date and time for such Instant Messaging.)

WHERE TO USE NOTESTRACKER
 

The only limit to where you might apply NotesTracker is your ingenuity and imagination ...

NotesTracker can be applied to virtually ANY sort of Notes document tracking, monitoring or auditing situation, and can meet diverse needs. NotesTracker will be of interest to IT staff and application users or sponsors alike.

NotesTracker deliberately uses native LotusScript and @Formula languages only, which work on any operating system platform supporting Notes/Domino without requiring any tricky plug-in installation on either server or client sides. This means that you do have to make some design changes to your database designs, but they have been carefully crafted to be as easy as possible to incorporate.


Some will see the need to modify database designs as a drawback, and honestly we do understand that. On the other hand, our approach offers tracking capabilities that other methodologies cannot provide.

Importantly, NotesTracker Version 5.0 introduced tools that automate many of the steps involved in the design change process

Anyhow, the 80/20 rule (the Pareto Principle) applies. You almost certainly do not have to implement NotesTracker in every single one of your databases. You will easily identify a small number of your databases that offer most payback, and  use NotesTracker just for them. And it's not a case of "all or nothing" -- for many of your databases, usage tracking will make little sense and have no value.

And you can roll out NotesTracker in stages -- one database or set of databases at a time -- starting with those applications that have critical tracking needs and/or the greatest payback.

 

If you don't have the skills (or the available people) to adapt and enhance NotesTracker to meet your needs, just ask us. We could do the job for you, quickly and cost effectively.

 

Examples of Ways People can use NotesTracker

NotesTracker is valuable to anybody involved with any sort of Lotus Notes application: executive sponsors, marketing managers, knowledge and content managers, Domino administrators, Notes developers, Help Desk managers/staff, consultants, auditors, end users, and more.

Here are just a few ways that you might use and benefit from NotesTracker:

  • Content Management  and Content Popularity tracking - find out who has accessed a specific Notes document (such as a new product announcement letter, or a new HR Policy, or which posts in the company's weblog database are most popular).

  • Knowledge Management - determine, and maybe reward, the key knowledge contributors (document creators/updaters).

  • Developer support - "Which forms/views are heavily used, and so worth streamlining?" or "Which views are rarely used, and so safe to remove?"

  • Domino administrator support - "Who updated that Server document, and what field changes did they make critical to security or performance? Who deleted that Group document? Who changed that person's Internet username?"

  • Help Desk application support issues - "Who deleted my travel request?" or "Who changed my customer's billing address?" or "Who reduced my expense claim amount?"

  • Workflow tracking and problem solving - investigate a user's usage trail within a given database application.

  • Learn how your people work - which databases they use and the order in which they perform their activities.

  • Boost your applications - new capabilities introduced with NotesTracker version 5 enable your applications to be enhanced with generic capabilities, such as reacting to a certain button being clicked (like the Mail Send button). See the NotesTracker guide for details.


 CLICK HERE to see how NotesTracker provides an easy, generic way to get dynamically refreshed BREAKING NEWS or WHAT'S NEW views for your intranet or Internet Portal Pages  (Find out more about such newsfeed-style views from the NotesTracker Guide.)


"CONTENT IS KING" ... Find out whether your databases (and the individual documents within them) contain sought-after content, and are being used effectively or in the way that you anticipated. Follow the usage of "hot" documents to see how they're being accessed, from the time of creation until usage eventually declines. Discover what sort of database content your users like, and perhaps what they don't like! This enables you to remove the guesswork and to plan changes to database content or design in a scientific manner. Only by identifying the best knowledge in documents and databases can you make informed decisions -- about whether and how you should improve database content, structure, function, usability, deployment, distribution, support, documentation, user training. NotesTracker can give you a firm scientific basis to determine the sort of information that is most useful to your various target audiences, when individual documents are "stale" and need to be freshened up, and much more.

Use our proven methodology to rapidly deliver a low-risk metrics solution. Successful implementations by a number of prestigious international corporate organizations have highlighted interesting document usage patterns, and also some quite unexpected ones. Knowledge managers, content creators and general management get great value out of the range of dynamic reports (which come in the form of Notes views). End users are delighted with the "What's New" or "Breaking News" portal page capability that it enables.

The only way to get an all-encompassing picture of Notes/Domino performance ... Use NotesTracker in conjunction with our partners' tools such as ProActive Tools to get the FULL story on your server and application performance --- database usage tracking, database design analysis, performance simulation and modelling, performance testing and monitoring. This way, you can determine and fix all aspects of poor performance and not fall into the trap of fixing just part of the problem.



NotesTracker Works on ANY Notes/Domino platform ...  NotesTracker was deliberately coded entirely in regular Formula Language and LotusScript. This was done to ensure that there are no operating system dependencies and no need whatsoever to install/administer any add-ons, plug-ins or Java components on your Domino servers, Notes Clients and web browsers.

Both the Notes Client and the Web Browser functions of NotesTracker were designed to run without trouble in any Notes/Domino Release 4.5 or later environment, local or server-based, connected or disconnected, on any supported operating system. The current environment -- CPU, memory, hard-disk, operating system -- required for standard IBM Lotus Notes and Domino is all that is necessary to install and run NotesTracker. (Technical consideration: It must be realized that NotesTracker makes use of the WebQueryOpen and WebQuerySave events running on a Lotus Domino server to track document activities.

 

If your database uses Browser-only techniques to affect what appears on the Browser without any interaction between Browser and Domino server, then NotesTracker will not track them while they are taking place. An example of such a technique is described in the IBM developerWorks article: Using AJAX to manipulate Lotus Notes documents. Nevertheless, once the document changes are sent back to the Domino server, the WebQuerySave event will detect them and the changes will be recorded by NotesTracker. This is equivalent to the way that NotesTracker only records changes made to a document via a Notes Client once the document is finally closed, not every single time that the document is saved before closure.)

 

NotesTracker is Easy to Implement ... To set up NotesTracker on one of your databases, you only need designer access to the database (and its design must not be hidden). Simple LotusScript skills would enable you to tailor the code, but generally are NOT needed. The "Fast Design Propagation" tool added in NotesTracker Version 5.0 eases the Notes developer's workload by copying the required forms, views, subforms, agents and scripts in a matter of a minute or less (where prior to V5.0 this might take some tens of minutes).

 

Once implemented by the designer, usage tracking can be turned on or off at will without any further developer involvement -- for each individual database and each individual event type: Create, Update, Field Change, Read, Delete, Paste, Mail-in, View Open, Database Open, etc. Thus you can track usage precisely when and how you want merely by changing NotesTracker configuration settings in each tracked database.

 

Source code and other design elements are provided to purchasers of NotesTracker  (in effect a form of escrow) so that you can freely incorporate NotesTracker design into your databases. You can implement the design as supplied or after adapting it to meet your own tracking requirements. For more information, read the Developer Topics section of the NotesTracker Guide.


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FREE applications with built-in NotesTracker ... SDMS - a Simple Document Management System
CAPTURE - Customer And Project Tracking + Usage Reporting Extensions - FREE CRM Application