Technology with a Purpose

All posts in Company Blog

TargetSolutions Selects Winner of Social Media Contest

Congratulations to Evan Scott of Polk County Fire Rescue! Evan won TargetSolutions’ social media contest prize of a $100 Amazon gift card after “liking” our Facebook page. Evan’s name was randomly selected from a list of individuals who participated in the sweepstakes by liking us during the promotion.

If you haven’t liked us yet on Facebook, please do so today by clicking the Like button on our Facebook page. Connecting with TargetSolutions through social media is a great way to learn about future promotions, company news and platform tips and tricks.

You can also follow us on twitter to stay up to date on information about TargetSolutions and its industry-leading online training and records management system.

Burnsville Fire Department Improves Hands-On Training by Using TargetSolutions for Pre-Training

Burnsville Fire Department has found TargetSolutions to be a tremendous tool for delivering pre-training prior to hands-on training exercises.

Since 1981, the Burnsville Fire Department in Minnesota has strived for efficiency in all areas of emergency response. The goal has always been to carry out its commitment to the preservation of life, safety and the protection of property.

Assistant Chief Brian Carlson plays an important role in helping the department meet that mission by administering training to personnel through the use of TargetSolutions’ industry’s leading web-based training and records management system.

Going through the hassle of manually tracking departmental data is a challenge many departments struggle overcoming. Before Burnsville found TargetSolutions in 2011, it faced the same difficulties.

“Previously, all the data we used would be something that would have to be manually inputted, or manually tracked,” said Carlson, whose department was slowed down by these outdated recordkeeping practices.

With the implementation of TargetSolutions, the department had the tool it needed to simplify and improve training management practices. But Carlson was pleasantly surprised with how TargetSolutions helped the department train more effectively through pre-training coursework.

“We use TargetSolutions to allow our crews to review didactic course information before we do hands-on training,” said Carlson. “When they arrive at training, they know all of the background information and we can jump right into the hands-on training.”

At the end of the day, however, it’s the recordkeeping capabilities that have had the largest impact on Carlson’s department.

“TargetSolutions has really allowed us to use their reporting to rapidly be able to find and extract information and be able to report it for ISO compliance, as well as reports for other elected officials,” he said. “Through reporting we can also see who’s late on assignments. Firefighters are able to receive e-mail notifications for when they’re due; and as the admin of the program I receive e-mails when the firefighters are late on an assignment.”

The implementation of TargetSolutions for online training and records management has resulted in cost savings, Carlson said.

“TargetSolutions has allowed us to keep units at their stations, which helps with response times and fuel costs. For OSHA training, rather than having to call everyone in and pay them off-duty, we can assign those courses through TargetSolutions and have them complete them on-duty.”

Brian Carlson, Assistant Chief

Overall, Carlson said he has been extremely pleased with the platform and the customer support he has received from TargetSolutions.

“I have nothing but good things to say about TargetSolutions, said Carlson. The content is good. The ability to upload our own content is fantastic. What I’ve enjoyed most is the customer service. Whenever I’ve had a question, the e-mails or phone calls have been returned promptly. All in all, it’s been a great product.”

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

TargetSolutions Helps Clients Add Custom Certificates to Activities

Did you know you can add custom certificates to activities? If your organization would like to create official training documentation for completed activities, TargetSolutions is here to help.

“Some organizations like to be able to show proof of training by creating custom certificates,” said TargetSolutions Client Services Manager Jennifer Antinone. “In some cases this helps them achieve easier recertification and continuing education credit by being able to document this completed training. We are happy to assist with it.”

Upon request, TargetSolutions will create a custom certificate for your organization. In order to produce this certificate, TargetSolutions will need the following information:

>> A copy of your existing certificate, if available

>> Your department’s logo

>> Electronic copy of the signature needed on the document

>> This same person’s full name and title

>> CE provider name and number, if applicable

Once you have gathered these requirements, please contact your account manager with TargetSolutions for more information. The process for adding custom certificates to activities typically requires 3-5 business days.

TargetSolutions’ Courses Are Timed to Meet Regulatory Standards

The timer is one of the features in our online training management system we often hear about. The timer policy was instituted when TargetSolutions started providing continuing education credits to ensure users were spending an adequate amount of time in the courses for which they were receiving credit(s).
Many of the state approval agencies we work with require some mechanism to ensure users of online training are not just clicking through the course content. Because a certain course has been approved for continuing education credit, you must spend at least a minimum amount of time in the course content to obtain a valid certificate of completion.
“We take our accreditation with regulatory agencies very seriously, but at the same time we do not want to alienate users for the sake of compliance,” said Content Architect Jeremy Lynch. “Because of this, we walk a fine line of delivering the appropriate amount of accredited content that meets the minimum time required to get credit for the course.”
The system only records a certain amount of time per page and will stop recording time spent in the course if you stop actively navigating through the course. For example, if you get up and walk away from the computer, the system will not record time for that period. If you need to walk away from the course for any reason, you can click the “Quit” button at the bottom of the sidebar and the system will save your time and bookmark your page.
The completion timer will only log five minutes per slide before assuming the user is idle. If a user opens a course and then walks away, the time they left the course open will not be recorded. If a user quits a course, the system will remember how much time has been spent and start calculating from that amount the next time they log in. If the required amount of time is not reached, the system will prompt the user to spend additional time in the course.
Administrators also have the option to add a time requirement to a course, regardless of whether the course is approved for continuing education credit. If your administrator has chosen to require a certain amount of time for completion, you will be required to fulfill that requirement.

TargetSolutions Promotes Jennifer Antinone to Client Services Manager

TargetSolutions is pleased to announce the promotion of one of its very best Account Managers, Jennifer Antinone, to Client Services Manager. The position was recently made available and Jennifer was the perfect candidate, said Director of Client Services Jenny Fergason.

“Jennifer has been with TargetSolutions for two years and before her promotion, she was working with clients in the Southeast territory,” Fergason said. “Jennifer has made a tremendous impact because of her dedication, positive attitude and knack for helping clients make the most of the TargetSolutions platform.”

Antinone said she loves being a part of TargetSolutions tight-knit team where everyone is 100 percent committed to helping clients be successful.

“We support one another and each others clients,” Antinone said. “I enjoy speaking with the site administrators and demonstrating the site’s capabilities to them. It really feels like we work together to get the system to work in the way that they want it to.”

Antinone, who is originally from New York, has been married for 10 years and has two children, Luke, 6, and Emma, 4. She is a huge New York Giants fan and enjoys wine tasting and spending time with her family.

TargetSolutions Works Hard to Deliver Exceptional Platform Reliability to Clients

TargetSolutions is determined to deliver clients the very best experience possible. Creating a platform that is not only powerful, innovative and user-friendly, but fast and dependable, is more than just a goal – it’s a promise.

With that in mind, TargetSolutions has invested in the very best technology possible to ensure its systems are reliable and accessible. The company expects 99.9 percent system uptime, which is an internal benchmark that only the most sound technology platforms maintain, and is proud of the fact it consistently exceeds that impressive mark.

“We operate under the software as a service (SaaS) delivery model, and serve clients who need access around the clock,” said Systems Architect Anthony Miranda. “We need to be available 24/7 for our customers to utilize our system, we take that very seriously.”

Achieving such incredible system uptime is a result of having the appropriate technology in place – TargetSolutions utilizes best in class equipment and software to ensure its delivery infrastructure is reliable – as well as a dedicated and highly competent staff available at all hours to closely monitor servers.

“We have designed our systems with redundancy, so that if one fails, another will take over,” said Miranda. “We also have various layers of fault tolerance built into the systems along with a disaster recovery site strategically placed away from our main hosting location. If a natural disaster strikes this region, our customers won’t experience a prolonged outage.”

TargetSolutions’ dedication to reliability should leave clients with no doubt their records will be available when they need them. They can also rest confidently knowing a great deal of planning has gone into the platforms development. TargetSolutions works diligently to create innovative applications that make training management easier and more efficient.

“The best way to ensure our platforms success is to continually make improvements,” said Software Engineer Manager Dustyn Borghi. “We’re always looking for ways to further optimize the platform and make the user-experience that much better.”

For example, TargetSolutions recently made significant alterations to the User Selector tool, which has made it easier for administrators to navigate the platform and select the users they would like for various assignments. Large organizations with hundreds of users will certainly recognize this upgrade.

“Almost everything our platform has to do with user selection – so having the ability to find users and find them quickly is paramount to daily operations,” said Borghi.

The ongoing effort to optimize different aspects of the platform has made navigation throughout the site smoother and more efficient than ever before.

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of web-based technology solutions for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.

Manage Credentials’ Start and Expiration Dates Easily with TargetSolutions

The Manage Credentials application inside the TargetSolutions platform is an exceptional way for departments to maintain standards and track training. Without question, it is a powerful, user-friendly tool built to make your life easier, and less complicated.

To that end, TargetSolutions has made mass modifying start dates and expiration dates as simple and easy-to-use as possible. Once you have selected your credential of choice, click on the gear wheel in the Users box. Then select Modify Users.

From that point, select all visible users and hit Continue. You are now at the point where you can put in a new start date and a new expiration date. Once that data is populated, simply click on the Finish button and you will be brought back to the Edit Users page.

TargetSolutions is focused on making the credentials application as easy to use as possible.

TargetSolutions Users Reach Significant Milestone of Completing More Than 14 Million Assignments

TargetSolutions recently reached a landmark achievement related to platform utilization and we want to thank our clients for making it possible. Earlier this month, clients surpassed more than 10 million total custom activities completed on our system since we released the powerful Activities Builder application in 2008. Combined with completed courses, users have now surpassed 14 million total assignments.

“We are averaging around 300,000 course completions per month and we are anticipating the number to continue to grow, reaching 5 million more completions in the upcoming year in 2013,” said Vice President of Operations Alex Day.

With TargetSolutions flexible Activities Builder application, organizations can create any type of training documentation they desire and attach it to an activity or course. Custom activities include everything from custom courses, inspection sheets, policy reviews, surveys, etc. These activities are seamlessly delivered from within the platform to users. In addition, administrators can ensure accountability by attaching e-signatures and tracking capabilities.

Surpassing 14 million assignments shows clients are continuing to increase utilization and integrating the platform into their everyday training regimens, Day said.

“Our clients know better than we do what is going to help their industry thrive,” Day said. “Activities Builder is a powerful application that helps administrators tailor certain training assignments and documents to their organizations specific needs. By working closely with clients and taking their feedback into consideration, we have been able to change the way the fire industry manages training.”

TargetSolutions’ Sexual Harassment Awareness for Supervisors Course Undergoes Major Enhancements

TargetSolutions is constantly working to upgrade its courses and make the user experience as enriching as possible. Recently, we completed enhancements to the Sexual Harassment Awareness for Supervisors course that have made it more engaging than ever. We have included content utilizing audio and video to boost the courses educational value and appeal.

In the updated Sexual Harassment Awareness for Supervisors course, we have created interactive lessons that include six benchmark Supreme Court cases that have helped shape the definition of sexual harassment in the United States (see image below).

“We’ve implemented scenarios that include dialogue between co-workers where the user can click through the conversation and judge its appropriateness,” said Content Architect Jeremy Lynch. “Once they’ve consumed the information and correctly answered any questions, they can move forward at their own pace.”

TargetSolutions is currently working on improving the basic Sexual Harassment Awareness course in a similar manner in order for more users to benefit from the enhancements. In fact, we are focused on upgrading the experience for our entire library, which now includes more than 1,000 titles. Some of the changes include a more consistent style, engaging multimedia, and shorter, quick-hitting bundles of information.

Avondales Training and Recordkeeping Goes to Next Level with TargetSolutions

With such a rapidly growing population, Avondale not only wants, but needs the most efficient and powerful technology available – so it only makes sense the department has been a client of TargetSolutions since August of 2005.

“It was a little bit of a growing pain at first, because it was something new,” said Avondale’s Training Captain Aaron Glass. “I think if we were to take TargetSolutions away now it would cause heartache because were using it to track continuing education for paramedic certifications with the platforms Credentials Manager. TargetSolutions has really become an essential part of our training regimen.”

Within the past year Avondale has doubled its platform utilization, helping the department improve its overall efficiency and ensure compliance. Here are a few applications the department is currently benefitting from:

Manage Credentials: This powerful tool helps Avondale stay on top of important expirations. The application allows platform administrators to keep track of employees’ progress as they work to maintain certifications, licenses and much more.

ISO Tracking: With TargetSolutions’ ISO tracking tools, Avondale is able to receive credit for its required continuing education hours so it will be in compliance with ISOs mandates. The ability to report monthly training spreadsheets enables the department to get a better snapshot of their training needs, Glass said.

Client Services: Avondale’s utilization wouldn’t have jumped 100 percent over the last year if not for TargetSolutions outstanding customer support. “TargetSolutions’ customer service is second to none,” Glass said. “The staff is very, very responsive whenever I have a problem or question. Everyone is very helpful.”

TargetSolutions is 100 percent focused on helping clients like Avondale improve their training efficiencies. The results for Avondale are in the department’s eye-popping utilization statistics. In fact, each Avondale user on the system is averaging more than five logins, 12.85 completed activities and nearly two online training courses per month.

With utilization like that, it’s no surprise Avondale is consistently able to meet all of its training requirements.

“I really like TargetSolutions!” said Glass. “Since becoming Training Captain we have begun to utilize more functions within the platform like tracking credentials, creating our own activities, and using alerts, which has made TargetSolutions a vital part of our training management.”

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions is the leading provider of training management tools for fire and EMS departments. These solutions enable departments to maintain compliance, reduce losses, deliver curriculum, and track all station-level tasks, certifications and training activities.