Working with accurate and detailed product specifications saves time andreduces the possibility of errors throughout a project They’re coming from every angle. Things that zap your company’s profitability: lower hardware margins, escalating labour costs, simply the cost of doing business. So systems integrators have been looking — and finding — new ways to increase revenues. New sources of revenue are emerging from services and even the administration side of the business. When you are more efficient in the office and in the field and can spec, quote and deliver projects faster and with more accuracy, everyone wins, especially the bottom line. Accurate design and documentation is a critical element of a successful and profitable project, says Tim Bigoness, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, D-Tools Inc., Concord, California. Need for easy to use, interoperable software systems “Today’s integrated systems often contain a myriad of products, and accessories, and maintaining consistency and accuracy of this product information can be a critical success factor and often mean the difference between profit or loss,” Bigoness says. He adds that working with accurate and detailed product specifications saves time and reduces the possibility of errors throughout a project, from the proposal and design to installation. “Spreadsheets and Word documents can help, but manual processes always increase the potential for errors and omissions. A system that helps integrators accurately estimate the amount of labour involved for the installation as well as prompting for recommended accessories can help ensure that the project is accurate, priced right, and delivered on time and to budget,” Bigoness adds. When looking at ways to increase efficiencies in project management, planning and design, Bigoness says it’s important to consider factors such as ease of use, accessibility, and integration with other systems, such as accounting and contact management. “Ideally, a solution should fit the way the contractor likes to work, and not force a single process – the ideal solution will be flexible, work well with other applications, and not require multiple efforts or duplicate data entry.” How D-Tools improved Access Technologies’ process efficiency “A system that helps integrators accurately estimate the amount of labour involved for the installation helps ensure that the project is accurate, priced right, and delivered on time and to budget” Access Technologies, Albuquerque, New Mexico, has simplified and accelerated its proposal process efficiency by 30 percent and as a result, increased its ROI, says RJ Spurr, Sales Engineer and Project Manager. Access Technologies is an integration company focusing on physical security, IT networking, wireless, WiFi, video conferencing, digital signage and voice control. It serves a variety of vertical markets, including corporate, government, education, healthcare and utilities. Access Technologies first began using the D-Tools System Integrator (SI) software platform in 2012 as a means to better streamline their security and IT networking project proposal and estimate process. Previously, the company relied on another CRM and quoting tool, but needed a better way to create as-built documents since each project proposal was separately created after the previous project phases using Microsoft Word. “We needed a solution that would integrate and simplify the process of adding products to proposals. We can now quickly and easily build needed documents as we create proposals,” says Spurr. Reducing time and error for higher ROI Spurr adds that software platforms need to provide complete project scheduling, resource management and reporting capabilities to ensure the job is delivered on time and within scope. “Because we are able to define users and assign roles to personnel, processes have improved, and we’ve become more efficient because everyone can access the information they require during any stage of the project. We can enter vast amounts of information in data fields that build continuity and accessibility throughout the team, further streamlining processes for our company.” Bigoness says creating a repeatable process delivers a tangible return on investment. “Integrators can respond to a request for bid quickly with accurate, professional documentation, delivering detailed engineering drawings with an organised resource plan and schedule to save time and reduce errors on the back-end – saving money and increasing profitability on every project. Without a system to easily track and extract this information, many companies are flying blind and find it hard to improve efficiency. And efficiency equals greater profitability.”
Intensive hands-on training teaches D-Tools users how to harness the power of SI 2015 system integrator software D-Tools Inc., the worldwide leader in system integration software, will hold a multi-day System Integrator Training in Austin, TX September 16–18, 2015. During the three-day comprehensive, hands-on training event instructor and D-Tools training partner Ryan Brown of Media Environment Design will walk attendees through the D-Tools project lifecycle, offering best practices, extensive tips, tricks, and proven techniques to help maximise the use of D-Tools System Integrator 2015 (SI 2015). “While we offer web-based trainings and have lots of tutorial videos, these multi-day courses provide a much deeper dive and attendees leave with a far greater understanding of the many ways D-Tools can be utilised,” says Tim Bigoness, VP of Sales and Marketing at D-Tools. “We are thrilled to be training in Austin and appreciate our MVP Partner, Screen Innovations, for graciously hosting the event.” The schedule for the intensive multi-day training session is as follows: Day one (September 16th) will serve as an introduction to SI 2015. Tips and best practice recommendations are a major part of this course and users will learn how to custom-configure the D-Tools software package to the specific needs of their company; how to build and manage their product database; manage revisions and change orders; better understand how to exploit the D-Tools reporting engine; and gain hands-on experience creating winning proposals. Day two (September 17th) is a deep dive into product documentation in Microsoft Visio. Trainees will get valuable hands-on experience creating comprehensive D-Tools documentation, including Line Diagrams, Floor Plans, Elevations, Schematics, and Installation and Wiring Reports. Day three (September 18th) will take users through management processes and advanced skills, such as customising reports and an introduction to the new Mobile Install feature, which gives users the power to publish Install Tasks and Service Orders to a portal powered by the D-Tools Cloud that can be accessed by those in the field as well as to send and receive device-level notifications. The training will wrap with a walk-through that details how to integrate D-Tools with QuickBooks to streamline accounting processes tied to D-Tools projects. The multi-day D-Tools System Integrator Training will be held at Manufacturer Vantage Point (MVP) partner Screen Innovations’ Austin headquarters. Registration is now open but space is limited. Interested parties are encouraged to register: http://d-tools.com/austin-training-2015/.