The Christmas holiday and the New Year provide us a break from our routine and time to take the opportunity assess what we’ve been doing. All too soon, business demands control our hours and days, and we find ourselves trying to keep up with the ever-increasing speed of our industry’s squirrel cage . With that in mind, I took a look back to see that I’ve been writing this blog post for over five years now, the first one back in October of 2008.
Times have changed. We used to be almost exclusively a Timberline shop, with Primavera SureTrak our other offering. Our company was a one man shop, as I did all the consulting, while traveling incessantly across the country. Now we’ve got Rob Mazoros, our full-time senior consultant and software engineer, adding a whole new dimension to our services. Dominick Rose has joined us as a senior consultant and database wizard after many years of database administration at Camp, Dresser, McKee, and at Black & Veatch before that. Kait Cassell has joined us to run our marketing, and in an associate consultant role. We’re in our second year on Main Street in downtown Vancouver, with four offices to serve you. Our server farm includes three physical servers that Rob has sliced into a dozen or so virtual servers.
Some things haven’t changed. We’re still offering professional services, making technology work for our construction industry clientele. The main difference in these last five years is the versatility of the tools that we can offer our clients. Here’s the updated list:
- CRM: Solve 360 is a powerful and flexible tool for managing pre-sales activities and customer relationships. Rob and I are working on setting up a template for small to mid-size contractors to provide more control over this important and often under-served company need.
- BIM: We haven’t seen a better tool to produce a 3-D building model, on your client’s property, with a real-time budget within single-digit percent of final cost, in about an hour. If you’ve got a couple hours, you can throw in HVAC life cycle costs and an energy consumption model to boot. Got three? Add a time-lapse scheduling model. We are resolved however to add to our toolkit in this fast-growing arena. Innovaya and Assemble are among the strong players we’re working with.
- Estimating: Where we once felt Timberline owned this market, Sage’s stagnating management decisions made us look to companies more responsive to the pace of innovation, and the evolving needs of our clients. We haven’t found a better one than ProEst, a small company out of San Diego. We now represent ProEst for product sales, support, and training. ProEst includes a complete database library, with built-in digital takeoff, a report writer, bid day tool, plus job cost interfaces to all major accounting systems. We feel ProEst represents the all-around best value in the marketplace, and with its subscription-based pricing is the least costly implement. Other contenders we still like are RIB’s US Cost Success Estimator, Trimble’s WinEst, and yes, Sage Timberline still holds its own. We consult and train on all four.
- Digital Takeoff: In our opinion, eTakeoff is hands down the best out there. It’s the most powerful, feature-rich takeoff tool on the market today, and is developing interfaces to the major estimating products for release in the near future. Its unique ability to write simple custom formulas that build into powerful extensions (assemblies) is unmatched by any other tool. A true client-server version is available for larger estimating departments.
- Project Management: Procore’s cloud-based Project Management solution combines power and ease-of-use in a remarkable web-based platform. Like ProEst, it offers subscription-based pricing, with the added benefit of unlimited licenses, a rare value. On the other side of the balance, Viewpoint’s Project Management links seamlessly to its accounting database, while offering first rate projections and integrated reporting.
- Construction Accounting: Viewpoint Construction Accounting software combines depth and power for contractors between $20 million to over $1 billion dollars annual revenue. It’s a complete suite of solutions from with basic accounting, to HR, Project Management, Equipment management, to high-tech mobile field management tools. We’re Business Development Partners and Consultants for all Viewpoint modules.
Looking back, our experience helped us reach our current diversity, and we’re excited to be able to offer our current products and services. Looking ahead we eagerly anticipate helping excellent companies continue to push the envelope and to lead the industry.