It’s interesting to witness Sage Estimating prospects and clients mature their thinking from each individual “doing their own thing” to a team working with consistent tools, processes, and standards.
When a company or department begins, it’s usually with one person or a few individuals. That’s a manageable environment where you don’t have too many rules and everyone is working on their own laptops. Estimate files are stored on each laptop and each user is master of his or her domain.
The team starts to grow and projects get bigger. Various team members start to share more data. Passing files via USB memory sticks or email is inefficient. So management decides they should centralize the storage of the files. IT stands up a server and now the team can store their collective knowledge in a single location. This is the sandbox.
All of a sudden, individuals are no longer master of their own domain. There need to be rules for folder names, subfolder levels, filenames, etc. We need to control who can make changes in which folders and how file versions are handled. We need to ensure that certain fields are filled out when we create an estimate so we can know something about it in the future.
The sandbox needs rules so everyone can play nice; otherwise, you get madness. While Sage Estimating is a great estimating tool, it doesn’t do a good job of managing the data that it creates. So you have to manage it.
That’s why Eos Group builds estimate management systems: Eos Explorer for the Sage Estimating Pervasive product and Eos Navigator for the Sage Estimating MS SQL product (a topic for a future post).
Create rules by which others will play nice. Control the creation process. Make sure users fill in the necessary fields. Find any estimate based on estimator, client, or project type. Create a master list of all the approved estimates, or those currently in progress. Generate estimate volumes by project type or status. You can’t easily deliver any of this without some means to organize and normalize your data. And if your core application doesn’t provide the control you need, well, you need to help it. Otherwise, no one plays nice in the sandbox.
How’s your sandbox?