They’re coming from every angle. Things that zap your company’s profitability: lower hardware margins, escalating labor 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 labor 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 labor 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 organized 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.”

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Author Profile

Deborah O'Mara Contributing Editor, SourceSecurity.com US Edition

Deborah L. O’Mara, SourceSecurity.com's dealer/integrator correspondent, is a veteran of the security marketplace, having extensive experience in security, fire alarm technology and integrated systems.

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