Do we need to buy a particular kind of computer to run SOPA?
Answer: No. The components of SOPA all reside on our secure servers. It is delivered as a "web app" over the internet. There is nothing to install on your side.
All you need are the office PCs, Macs, or laptop/notebooks. (We are working on a data-entry option for tablets).
How much work will my IT department have to do to install SOPA?
Answer: Practically none at all. They only need to give you access to the internet and ensure that you have an up-to-date browser.
Our IT department has an Information Security group, and they might be concerned that SOPA is a security risk. Will SOPA compromise our internal networks?
Answer: Absolutely not. Since it runs on our secure servers, and is delivered through the Web, there is no way that anyone could use information found on our servers to break into your network and servers.
What about identity theft or hackers stealing our credit card numbers?
Answer: The data that SOPA stores are invaluable to you, but we do not store sensitive personal data or anything that could be used to siphon funds from your company. Only safety data.
Who owns the data?
Answer: YOU DO! We're just caretakers, making sure that you get full value of the data you carefully collect. But like any owner, you have certain responsibilities, like paying reasonable charges to extract the data if you want to take it elsewhere.
Is there a charge to get started with SOPA?
Answer: Yes, we charge two kinds of fees: setup and annual. There is a one-time fee to set up a structure in the database to model your company, create data entry forms, and import a roster of employees. If you are bringing along a data extract from another system, there is also a fee for that to cover our costs. And if you ever leave us (no one ever has) and want a data extract to take with you, there's a fee that covers our costs on that.
Is SOPA simply a database?
Answer: No, it's more than that. Our database makes use of the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 platform, a very powerful relational database. But it can be intimidating to a non-technical person. You need an easy way to interact with your data to:
We provide that component of SOPA in the form of a large library of scripts written in ColdFusion Markup Language and supported by ColdFusion 9 on our server.
What's the difference between Observing Department and Department Observed?
Answer: The same question is sometimes asked about other SOPA objects, like Shift, Location, Team, or any of the objects that these can stand for. In the case of Observing Department, we probably already know the Department affiliation of the observer, so you don't need to add this to your checklist. But if you are interested in the Department Observed, that information needs to be collected at the time of the observation, so please do include those on the checklist. Almost all of our charts can be filtered to give reports of either Observing Department or Department Observed.
What kind of data can SOPA collect and store?
Answer: We collect all the Safety Observation Context information that is in the header section of your observation form. We also collect safe or concern data about the behaviors that are on the checklist. Sometimes we store whether feedback was given or not after an observation, and we keep any comments or concerns that were noted by the observer. We also store the information you give us about your employee roster so that we know the business unit where someone is assigned, and their job title. We store and monitor action items that your safety steering committee creates on the basis of observer comments.
I know you support many sites with a data entry form of checkboxes that either are or are not checked. But we observe large groups and take frequency measures of behaviors on a time-samplling basis. Can you handle frequency data as well as qualitative all-or-none data?
Answer: Yes we can, and do at some sites! The data entry person simply enters a number instead of a checkmark for safes and concerns.
We have a complex organization that doesn't fit into the structure that we saw on the demo site. Do you have enough flexibility to model the way my organization is structured.
Answer: Very likely we do, by repurposing some SOPA objects to represent other things. We call that "aliasing". We can customize standard terms to match the terms you use! We change the graphics buttons as well to reflect the alias.
We have several sites, and we want observers from one site to be able to do observations at another site. How do you keep track of the data and how can I make sure my intra-site observers get credit against their monthly quota for observations at another site?
Answer: We have an option to set up a checklist to support "Guest Observers." Whoever enters the data for an observer from another site has an easy way to find that person in their home site. So tell us if you're going to use the system that way, and we'll make sure your data entry forms are ready to go!
Who has access to SOPA and what can they see?
Answer: The decision of who has access to SOPA is up to you. Some organizations allow all employees to login to SOPA, but only allow most of them to view the charts and reports but not enter data. Some organizations only want key personnel to see the safety data. We lean toward the more inclusive style of sharing BBS data, but SOPA will follow your policies.
Who enters the data?
Answer: That varies between organizations, but it is the client's responsibility to enter their own data. Some companies hand off the completed observation forms to an administrative assistant to enter into SOPA. Some companies want the observers to enter their own data without. We can provide either type of "SOPA role" to match the way you want your employees to process data entry.
What about customer support?
Answer: We provide EXCELLENT customer support, and can provide several references on request.
What about Upgrade Fees?
Answer: There are none. We engage in continuous improvement of SOPA, and enhancements are frequently installed behind the scenes. There is no charge for these enhancements. Or even when there is a more significant upgrade, like our ongoing upgrade of sites to version 1.5 of SOPA, there is no charge.
Who supports SOPA and provides the customer support?
Answer: We are Behavioral Safety Services, and we provide the support services described in the license. We are constantly improving both the scripts and the stored procedures in the database. When you have an issue and Report An Error, we try to implement a fix within a few hours.