Do you provide support for SMB construction company?

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by Lukenet, May 21, 2011.

  1. Lukenet

    Lukenet Member

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    Guys,

    I am looking to see if anyone has any tips or experience with any solutions for construction project management.

    This is for an SMB or Small to medium sized company.

    They are happy to look at solutions that provide Integrated accounting and/or integrated CRM. The company is very open minded as long as the solution works.

    Just to help narrow it down a little, things on the shopping list include Australian based support or Good OS support experience.. Preference is given to onsite install rather than cloud. That said, they are happy to find a hosted/web solution that we run via our server at a DC.

    Google is returning a mixed bag. Industry contacts don't have much good to say about the systems they currently use.

    I prefer to know/evaluate a product(s) before I call a vendor.. To be honest, I would rather chat with you guys than talk to venders in the initial stages of evaluating and seeing what is out there..

    Any solutions that even may even remotely fit the bill are welcome.. I just need some links to chase down and start to evaluate.

    thanks in advance for any help or input you can provide..
     
  2. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    Yeah.

    This is a tricky one.

    I have clients who rely on either Databuild or Buildsoft (way old) for the estimating process. They then use something like SAGE ACT! for CRM.

    But in terms of integrated accounting and/or integrated CRM, there is very little in the way of solutions under the $100k implemented mark (this is about what you need to begin to look at a MS DynamixGP solution mildly tailored), then to get something that *really* does what you want, you're looking at a MS DynamixNAV platform, coming in at around the $160-200k mark.

    One of our clients (25 users) has been looking for an "off the shelf" package, around the $100k mark, and has been pretty disappointed so far - yes they do the job, however they aren't customisable enough to suit their processes at that price point.
     
  3. Lukenet

    Lukenet Member

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    I am kind of glad someone else is finding this hard..

    We have looked at sage timberline.. It looks to have CRM type of functions and integrated accounting, but looks to be quite out of date in terms of UI and business functions..

    I will have a look the to two you suggested.. The step up to the 100K imark s a very hard sell, especially when it looks like the bills for business mods would never end..
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  4. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    Timberline is the product they looked at heavily and decided wasn't suitable enough, given the price tag.
     
  5. Lukenet

    Lukenet Member

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    We came to the same conclusion about Timberline.

    The biggest problems we are finding is most of the packages are basically built off very, very old code base. This is not inherently bad thing as some of the core functions have not really changed. But they really haven't keep up the UI enhancements of the last 10 to 15 years. In come cases +30 years.

    The main problem is, the industry has moved on. These packages have not! Some of the packages out there are based on Windows 3.11 GUI. you can argue that these systems still work, but the users really need "modern" functions such as spell check..

    The other major problem is, most if not all packages have no OH&S and Environmental management functions that have become a core requirement of commercial construction project management over the last 10 to 15 years.

    I am struggling to find a system that can manage and perform the functions required in modern building. I find you end up running mix of manual, quoting, takeoff, and some legacy systems and good old office based systems just to get job under control..

    Hey, I did find this one called Jobpac. Does anyone have any experience with Jobpac? It looks like it may be a little too high end for us.. Their website does not have any screenshots or indication of pricing..
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2011
  6. ShatterStorm

    ShatterStorm Member

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    Hey Lukenet, how is the search going. Have you found a candidate yet ?
     
  7. Crusher

    Crusher Member

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  8. Pepito

    Pepito Member

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    Have you looked at CHEOPS ?

    cheers,
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2011
  9. Lukenet

    Lukenet Member

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    Hey guys,

    thanks for the links.. I will check them out.. No.. I am still looking..

    I have also uncovered a few others.. SoloAssist was one.. I am going to evaluate this one but there is not much info on their website.. A bit of a common theme which is a PITA.. Would it kill these guys to put screenshots on their websites of their apps.

    I will post the others when I am at work..
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2011
  10. Squeezer

    Squeezer Member

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    In a "previous life" I worked in IT with one of the big Construction companies.

    We used CHEOPS for ERP and Buildsoft for Estimating, QMDS and Qtrak for Document Management. We also had heavy use of Aconex as a web based portal for Construction ( documents/transmittals etc ) and to a lesser extent Project Centre and a bit of Buzzsaw.

    There was another Defect management system being used in our Interstate offices which ran through an Ipod touch ( cant remember the name right now ) that was picking up momentum

    Things we were looking at : CostX for Estimating ( Much newer and lots more features but BIG on hardware required which would have meant High end Notebooks / High end Servers at each site ( doesnt want to play nicely in thin client environments )

    CHEOPS - We had been running for 10 year + - There is a new version in the pipeline but CSSP were looking at selling the business to Coynes late last year but that fell through. Any ERP system is going to require a lot of setup/Ongoing support - It's the nature of the beast
     
  11. Lukenet

    Lukenet Member

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    This is what I am finding.. I may have to work across a few apps.. Not want I wanted, but looking more likely...
     
  12. PodgeSSS

    PodgeSSS Member

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    I hear you guys, i might look into a few of those mentioned, but a lot of the software out there looks really outdated, currently running these :

    Buildsoft - Estimating
    Cheops - Accounting
    Tenderlink - Tender Portal
    Lotus Domino - Document Management / Email
     
  13. Grizbear

    Grizbear Member

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    Businesscraft?

    One of our clients deals with this software. Seem happy enough with it from what I can tell.

    Not sure how it fits in but take a look.

    http://www.businesscraft.com/
     
  14. shift

    shift Member

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    Company I work for is working with SoloAssist to add some new functionality - so whatever it does now, it will do more soon.
     
  15. Lukenet

    Lukenet Member

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    I spoke with someone from there, they seem to be in a very early stage, (lets call it planning) to add iOS app.

    The person I spoke with indicated that they were looking around the $500 mark for a single app.. Hmmm.... Will be interesting to see if an iOS app will sell for a price that is the same as the hardware it runs on.

    It turned me off to be honest. Maybe it will be that good? Maybe it won't? either way, it going to be expensive to see if it is going to work for us, when its finally developed.
     
  16. The_Shadow

    The_Shadow Member

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    Would JD Edwards be use-able? I cant stand Timberline, one of my clients has had countless issues with it over the years and has consequently begun rolling out JDE over the last 2 months with the full roll out looking to be completed by the end of July across all their Australia sites. The NZ ones were switched over to JDE a while ago.
     
  17. iceazn

    iceazn Member

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    We're currently using Dynamics GP for accounting, job costing uses an excel spreadsheet with a bunch of macros and estimating uses our own internally developed software. Document management is non-existent at the moment. Whether our problems with GP is the software itself, or that we just haven't had a support company configure it correctly I'm not sure on.

    Given the above, I guess our options come down to something that can work with GP so job costing and finance is integrated, or a complete solution that replaces GP all together. Our estimators seem quite happy with our own software so I can't see that changing. Would be nice for document/project management to be included but if not I can overcome that with Novell vibe.

    So far I've had a look at the following
    - Dynamics SL: More construction oriented than GP but have spoken with one company using SL who spent an additional 100K in customisation, also doesn't quite cut it in the GL part for our finance team
    - Workbench which integrates with GP, looks good but I'm not sure if it will see us through the next 5 years
    - Timberline which doesn't look like it is being developed much so will probably give that the flick
    - Jobpac looks like it ticks all of the boxes, however for 25 concurrent licenses and installation we are looking at $300K
    - Pronto have heard mixed reviews regarding Pronto, I might have another look though

    Will be checking out CHEOPS, businesscraft and JD Edwards.

    PS - Sorry to bring up an old thread, but we're in a similar situation and was also wondering how Lukenet got on, and if anyone else out there had more suggestions?

    Cheers!
     
  18. Tekin

    Tekin Member

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    At what point do things like JD edwards, Ellipse, Pronto become practical?

    I've been in mining forever, so I'm generally more used to the bigger ERP/GL centric packages - but I wonder what the costings would be like when you've got to look at 4-5 products anyways?

    I have to agree with an earlier comment by Lukenet though - every single ERP package I've used seems to have been built in the 90's, with a UI to boot.

    Even the very big players (SAP, Ellipse, Pronto) have atrocious front ends that are very non user friendly if you've grown up in the world of Windows XP, IOS, and basically any online / cloud system in the past 3 years.
     
  19. Lukenet

    Lukenet Member

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    We did not yet find a single package for our needs. :(

    We have had to break it down into much smaller packages / tasks..

    We are looking at things like, wikis for Documentation management, QA systems, OH&S policies.. Custom iOS apps or web based development for answers.

    We are still using good old MS excel/project for many tasks..

    Accounting software is still a nightmare with not fix in site yet..

    Really, still looking..
     
  20. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    Honestly, you should really be looking at a DynamicsGP or entry level SAP solution (the ones they bought with BusinessObjects).

    No, you wont get change out of $100k, but you'll get what you want.

    Basically the second you feel like spending money on software/services as opposed to employing more people to deal with your cumbersome mess. If you have an Army of Accounts people to keep track of all this manual work, then well you're doing it wrong.
     

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