Winter 2020 Newsletter

Issue 3, October 2020

Welcome to the winter edition of the NDL Community Newsletter.

As we become more accustomed with our new ‘normal’ and continue to weather the COVID-19 storm, we bring this issue to you with plenty of news about the NDL product suite, a very exciting announcement about the NDL Community Awards 2020, more from our new winter webinars, freshly released case studies and much more. 

Issue 3 headlines



NDL's Head of Product Development spills the very latest new features from the NDL product suite

In our efforts to bring the best our technology can offer to you and our mission to roll-out the best in new releases, NDL’s Head of Product Development and the development team have been busier than ever. We are delighted to inform you that from now until Christmas, each of our core products will receive an update, so plenty of new updates for anyone with a SX, MX or FX product license. 

Without further ado, below is what you can expect.




SX Summer Update 6.2 just released! Contact to find out more or arrange your assisted update.
  • Updated, modern, UI, improving usability and matching the look-and-feel of MX and FX
  • Enhanced Profile Variable encryption, improving the security of sensitive data within profiles
  • Better support for tree controls with many items, increasing automation performance
  • All the latest bug fixes and patches from 6.1.1+
For more details, join us at our upcoming SX Winter Update on 12th November - click here to register for the webinar. 

MX 2020 Vision Edition 10.7 due for release November
  • Record and playback high resolution video within an MX application, allowing richer apps
  • Manually control advanced camera features on iOS, such as focus, exposure, lens selection, etc.
  • Automatically retry synchronise operations on unreliable networks, ensuring data integrity
  • Conditionally change the style of an MX control, supporting dynamic, data-driven applications
  • Support for push notifications for Android and iOS, removing the need for app-based polling
  • The latest Android UI controls, providing a more native look-and-feel for all Android MX apps
  • Provisioning profile and certificate expiry notifications, ensuring your apps remain available
  • Up-to-date support for the latest Operating Systems, Devices, and App Store guidelines
For more details, join us at our upcoming MX Winter Update on 26th November - click here to register for the webinar. 

FX 2020 Autumn Update 1.5 due for release November
  • Display database data within elements in the header/footer, simplifying the display of repeated information
  • Store projects on network locations, encouraging sharing and collaboration
  • Automatically create a project backup when publishing, creating an audit trail of publish activity
  • Edit custom JavaScript using any external editor, allowing you to choose the best tool for you
  • Specify custom names for generated PDFs, supporting follow-up processes using these PDFs
  • Support for ‘unique identifier’ fields, reducing the need to change existing database structures
  • Display database data within link element, allowing for dynamic hyperlinks
For more details, join us at our upcoming FX Winter Update on 10th December - click here to register for the webinar. 

Gareth, NDL's Head of Product Development and the technical team at NDL are on hand to help with your product updates. Contact our Technical Team on 0800 454 035 or email with any questions or queries you might have. 

FIRST LOOK at the NDL Community Awards 2020 shortlist and your virtual awards invitation

This year, our awards programme returns with five categories which are is centred around the core values of the NDL Community Group, and ultimately serve to celebrate your success. Since launching NDL Community Awards 2020 back in August, we are thrilled to have received nominations from across our customer community before we closed the door for entries on 15th October.  


Drum roll please… announcing the 2020 Shortlist 


Changing Lives Award 
  • Free School Meals - Swindon Borough Council
  • eObservations - Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • COVID-19 Portal - Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • Care and Support Programme – Home Group
Caring and Sharing Award
  • eObservations - Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust   
  • e-RS Automation - East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • CareFirst Project - Newcastle City Council  
  • COVID-19 Antibody Testing - University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
Driving Value Award 
  • Digital Transformation Strategy - South Norfolk Council 
  • Revenues and Benefits Data Migration - Medway Council
  • Digital Service Mobilisation Journey - Warwickshire County Council
  • CareFirst Project - Newcastle City Council

Overall Digital Project of the Year- Mobile Apps & eForms     

  • Care and Support Programme - Home Group 
  • COVID-19 Portal - Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust    
  • Clinical Photography App - West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
  • eObservations - Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Overall Digital Project of the Year – Automation  
  • Free School Meals - Swindon Borough Council
  • Revenues and Benefits Data Migration - Medway Council
  • PARIS User Form Extraction - North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • e-RS Automation - East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

There it is, the NDL Community Awards 2020 category shortlist. All that's left to do is to RSVP and join us as we run through the categories, projects, outcomes and crown our winning organisations at 12 noon, Thursday 5th November. To secure your ticket, and join your peers from healthcare, local government and housing who have already registered, please RSVP here to celebrate the project achievements of our community or contact for details.  


Dates for the diary, your brand-new winter webinar series 

Over the past few months, we have been delivering webinars as part of our new NDL Community Online initiative, our new way to safely connect with you, our customers. As we move into winter, we have decided to make some changes to our community webinars as we understand you are busier than ever. 

Throughout the season, we will deliver a series of 60-minute product-focused webinars. By tuning into one product-focused webinar, you will receive the latest product insights, practical know-how, case studies and helpful resources to get the most of your product license in only one session! So, if you have a license for SX, MX or FX, we have a webinar for you. 


Community Winter Webinar Calendar:

12 noon, 10th December - FX Winter Update                                                                                                                                    


Click on your chosen webinar (or several) to secure your virtual place today. To find out what’s next on the NDL Community agenda, please contact me via


Did you see our recent customer case studies?

At the heart of our core values is community; a shared spirit amongst us at NDL, our user community and the wider society to do good. We enjoy nothing more than sharing the success stories of our customers, from automation projects, new mobile apps and eForms, we like to truly understand the impact of your project and promote this to the rest of the community and beyond. We also encourage you, as peers, to share your applications and experiences with each other to minimise the effort and maximise the savings that you can make. 

Find out how one council is streamlining its support to families who rely on Free School Meals with RPA


Read the case study to find out how Swindon Borough Council is using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to improve processing efficiency, enhance the safeguarding of citizen data and managing high application volumes as part of its Free School Meals programme.The need to support its local community during a time of real need has been paramount, and with the support of SX,  and our Professional Services Team, the council has transformed a lengthy eligibility process with RPA. 

To learn more about how Swindon Borough Council have achieved 98% admin efficiency gains by using NDL’s RPA toolkit, SX, click here for the full case study. 



We are delighted with the success of this project and the positive impact it has made in such a socially valuable area. The past few months have been incredibly difficult for many families and through embracing new technology we have been able to make a genuine difference to real lives and outcomes.’ 

Read more from Sarah Talbot, Emerging Technologies lead at Swindon Borough Council.

Article featured in both UK Authority and Digital Health. Which do you prefer? 
Read more on LACA
Read more on Caterlyst


Learn more about a digital-first response to COVID-19 information management in healthcare 



We would also like to re-share a recent customer story that really hit the industry headlines. If you missed the summer release, find out more about Birmingham Community NHS Foundation Trust (BCHC) and how the Trust is using eForms to bolster its COVID-19 response, whilst saving countless hours with FX, our quick and easy eForm builder. 

Read the full story here


NDL selected for G-Cloud 12 and Crown Commercial Services (CCS) Framework

We are delighted to announce that NDL are appointed as an accredited public sector supplier and listed on the governments Digital Marketplace, G-Cloud 12 and the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) Dynamic Purchasing FrameworkWhat does this mean? Our products are searchable for any organisation across the public sector for digital and automation projects, and we can be licensed formally through this channel should this be part of your internal procurement process. The platform also lists downloadable service documents such as pricing, service definition and our T&C’s for ease. 


To access the Digital Marketplaceclick here. If you would like more information about our involvement with this service, please email 


Meet the team: Interview with Delivery Team Consultant, Ralph McFadyen

To mark his 25th year with NDL, we decided to have a (virtual) coffee and chat with Ralph to get his views on technology, his career and more about what he does as part of the Service Delivery Team.   


Q: Tell us about your career in technology and development… 

A: Let’s start with computers at school. To give you an insight into software before we know it today, my school had a time share arrangement with the local council and at certain times could access their mainframe. I used a Teletype terminal with a Paper tape punch and had 30 minutes to input code using paper tape, correct any code and then run tests on the program. All before printing off test results, the latest copy of my code and punch a new paper tape. I used to look at the test results and work out what I wanted to change in the code before my next online session. 
From school I went on to study Electronics, specifically analogue computing, and machine code, before taking a post as part of the network team for a corporate data centre. Initially, work started with a couple of ICL 2900 mainframes and ME29’s with around 600 users. This grew to upgraded mainframes, front-end processors, PC networks, Xerox workstations and serverscreating what turned out to be the largest OSNET network in the country at the time. 
I ended up with three desks, one to work on and two for the different terminals to access the systems I was looking after. After some work I managed to get this down to a PC running several different emulation packages, which led me to starting my journey at NDL as part of the support team, looking after our ICL emulation products. I worked with early automation, driving mainframe menus and extracting the information users’ needed, which started the development of SX, which in turn led to DX, QX, MX and now FX. 

Q: Wow, over 25 years as part of the NDL team, what is your most memorable moment or project? 

A: Yes, how time flies! In my 25-year career (so far) at NDL, the largest project I worked on was ATLAS for the MOD, unfortunately with details I cannot share. NDL was chosen as the preferred supplier of terminal emulation software to all the MOD systems at the time, which involved a lot of late nights and weekends for our developers and me, modifying the products to the MOD’s guidelines and testing to run with large numbers and automated resilience.

Q: Could you explain to the customer community exactly what it is you do daily as part of the Services Delivery team?

A: As part of the Services Delivery team, we are the technical face of NDL and simply provide the best support to our customers that we can. The team monitor the service desk to ensure we are quick to respond to any incoming questions about our software. We are also at the end of the phone for advice and technical help with our products. As a team, we are individual experts for the NDL product, so together we can just about answer anything about our software. I also write and deliver product training courses, and in-between that, carry out high-level testing on new version product releases. Tinkering with products before general release allows me to understand the ins-and-outs for everyday support and help with consultancy projects.

Also, being the ‘Service Desk Lead’, I keep up to date with technical call enquires and ensure we resolve any questions as soon as the team can.

Q: We hear you are a product expert, which of the NDL technologies can a customer gain expert advice about when chatting with you?

As I mentioned earlier, the Services Delivery team are made up of product experts. So, if for example, a customer was to call in about MX, our mobile app platform, I am the person to help. As part of my responsibilities, I also look for ways to continually improve my product and work closely with the development team here. 

I should also say that the team are all cross trained in the full range of NDL products, we just enjoy getting under-the-hood of one particular product each, so we can support in the best way possible, and if it’s not me, then I can pass an enquiry onto a colleague who understands the ins-and-outs of a given product.

Q: Could you leave us with your view on digital transformation…

In the 25 years with NDL I have seen a lot of changes in the way software is used, from corporate internal use by large organisations to aiding specialist services, easing the delivery of patient care and citizen services with the help of software. I have been involved with countless digital transformation projects across healthcare, local government and housing, all at heart, seem to have the simple aim of improving lives to those around us.

We have come a long way since I first used a mechanical calculator in school to what we can achieve today, and it is great to be a part of the journey. Who knows where automation and digital platforms can take us next? I look forward to learning more about upcoming customer project ideas and supporting them to realise change.


We're here to help

As this is rapidly changing situation, we will be continuing to adapt our interactions accordingly and seek to minimise risk to the general population and disruption to you, our customer. Please contact for information or if you wish to discuss any development, training or support needs.

Our technical support service remains open and manned by the same team of friendly experts who are providing virtual technical support via Teams and GoToMeeting. If you need technical assistance in regard to incidents, product upgrades or a technical issue, please contact us.

We will share another Newsletter in spring 2021, with update from our new year and more to come in the rest of the year. Wishing our customers all the very best into the winter months, with a big thank you from the team at NDL for everything you are doing for us and the rest of the public.

Stay safe, 

The Customer Success Team