5 on 5

by Kevin Mikelonis

Here comes SI5!  We have seen a ton of great new features in SI5 coming to us from D-Tools and our staff has been working with all of the SI5 BETA versions so we can be your D-Tools experts!   We want to highlight our Top 5 favorites in SI5 for you here.

SI5 Favorite Feature 1 – The Setup Phase ‘Calculator’

Project Phases not only provide a way to charge for the installation of products in your database, but they also enable you to dynamically include the other costs involved with installation, including setup, project management, and design.  Veteran SI users have mastered this useful way to charge for all of their services.  With SI5, the Phases within a project provides total visibility to the full impact of adding an hour of labor to a project, in any phase.  For the project below, we can see that 1 hour of labor sells for $80.  When the factored costs of Misc Labor, Management, and Design are applied to the phase, we see that a total of $135 will be added to a project when one hour of rough-in labor is added.  Seeing this clearly within a project is a great new feature in SI5 that we LOVE!

SI5 Favorite Feature 2 – The Product Explorer
With SI5, you have amazing visibility into your database with the Product Explorer.  We LOVE a High Performance Database made up of pre-engineered solutions built with accessories and packages.  We build them that way!  We think about the relationships between the products you sell as solutions by Category and Type, not just by Manufacturer and Model.  The product explorer lets you sort your products in any order of Category, Type, Manufacturer, Model, and open more than one product at a time!  You can also open a Package on the very same screen.  Accessory and package creation is more accessible in SI5 by dragging items from the product explorer right into parent products and packages.  Managing your collection of pre-engineered solutions in your database will be much easier with this great new tool!

SI5 Favorite Feature 3 The Product Grid
The product grid allows you to see more detail – on more of your data – all at the same time.  Greater consistency can be maintained throughout your product database by serving up types, keywords, labor hours, pricing and every other field pertaining to your product data.  See a field that needs to be changed while looking over your products in a selected category?  Select that field for one or more items and enter the change in the grid – done!

SI5 Favorite Feature 4 – The Project Summary
OK, it is late in the day and your project proposal needs to go out first thing tomorrow!  With the datamatrix open you are building your project by selecting packages and accessorized products from your High Performance Database – YEA!  The project allowance is $50,000 and you need to make 45% gross profit.  SI5 now lets you keep tabs on the project’s total installed price and profit margin while you build!  The Project Summary is a worksheet that rides along with the datamatrix and contains all the information you need to make good decisions about the financials of your project design.

Reporting Center
A very powerful feature of D-Tools SI is the ability to report on all aspects of your project using the data that comes from the products selected for a project.  SI5 includes a new Reporting Center where any available D-Tools report can be run and left open for analysis and review on the same screen!  Plus, personalized or departmental ‘Report Groups’ can be named.  Do you have 5 standard reports that make up a Project’s Field Folder?  Easy – in the new SI5 Reporting Center, go to Report Groups and name a new report called ‘Field Folder’ and drag in the standard reports you want just one time.  Select the new report group named Field Folder and for the current and all future projects the collection of reports titled Field Folder appears on the same screen ready for you to print, publish to PDF, or export to RTF (Rich Text Format).  More tools to build consistency and efficiency into your operation with D-Tools SI5!

We have only just begun working with the new Visio and AutoCAD features in SI5 this month while developing a great new sample project that represents all of the systems that can be designed and managed in D-Tools SI5 by Commercial and Residential Systems Integrators, as well as Security and IT Professionals.  We are excited!  And we will have another SI5 – Favorite 5 for you soon!

About Process Dealer Services Group:
Our mission is to increase our clients’ profitability by building efficiency into the sales design process – the very root of success in our industry.  We work with electronic systems contractors internationally on business process development, software implementation, online training, and design-documentation. We deliver first class software tools and proven best practices to enable electronic systems contractors to deliver repeatable products and predictable results.  For more information, call: (805) 275-2308; email: info@processdsg.com; or visit our website: www.processdsg.com