Ryan Brown, of Certified Partner Media Environment Design Reviews SP3

I saw the list of features for SP3 the other day and noticed some very cool new feature additions. At face value these features may not have a lot of flash or flare and may not seem to be a big deal (to some of you); but to others I’m guessing you’re doing the Jersey Shore fist pump right about now 🙂 .  Many of the new features are efficiency builders; things that as users will make our lives easier and more efficient. That’s exciting to me, after all that’s what my business is all about; making integrators more efficient and profitable.

My Top 3 New Features

Project revisions have ‘description’ and ‘date created’ fields

This is a wonderful feature addition! When using a proper revision management process in D-Tools, this new feature allows you to add descriptions to each revision as a reminder of what that particular revision contains. No more work around methods of tracking revision notes! Hooray! Not only does it allow for descriptions, but it tracks the date created for the revision. SWEET.

If you aren’t yet using revision management in D-Tools to track your accepted/ rejected change orders as well as internal revisions to the project, you are missing out on one of the best features Si5 provides! Successfully tracking (and getting paid for) change orders is one way you can increase your company’s profits in 2011 with Si5.

Replace Product in projects has option to “Maintain Shape” and “Keep Accessories”

I am a big proponent of using the Find and Replace feature in D-Tools projects. It is a quick and easy way to make sweeping product changes like swapping out the ceiling speaker lineup throughout a job, or changing out all the keypads to a new model/color, etc… It can also be used quickly in the Product Data Matrix to swap a single specific item for another (as opposed to deleting and adding a new product replcement).

The problem we’ve always had is when replacing items, sometimes you want to keep the original items accessories!

  1. Example #1: Prior to SP3, if I swap a DVD player using ‘Replace Product’, the original DVD player AND all of its accessories would be removed from the job, requiring me to make sure I add back in all of the original & appropriate accessories with the new DVD player.
  2. Example #2: Documentation – Let’s say my original DVD had interconnects as accessories that were used on schematic wiring documentation pages. Prior to SP3, when it was replaced, its interconnects would be removed from the job AND the schematic drawings! I’d have to go back in and re-connect the new wires.

This new feature closes the loop on using find and replace and makes this process SO MUCH more effective!

Tie for 3rd

OK I could not choose between these two and ‘Top 4 features’ just doesn’t sound as cool as Top 3!

Duplicate product/package has option to duplicate to same location/zone or multiple location(s)/zone(s)

This is a big efficiency feature, helping to speed up the process of creating a bill of materials/proposal. Duplicate has always been a great feature – allows you to quickly select an item in my Data Matrix and add additional copies of that item to the project without searching & adding. Closest thing to copy and paste we’ve got in D-Tools.

The drawback I’ve always had is that when I’m duplicating items to go into several different location of a project, I have to edit the locations of my duplicated items (they would always get duplicated right into the original location/zone). Based on that, and if I was duplicating more than one or two items, I usually found it faster to just add those items in using the standard process, rather than use duplicate.

HOWEVER, NOW – with this cool new feature I can duplicate items and during the process assign which location and zone they ought to be assigned to!

Text has option to show or hide Product Explorer

SWEET! This is something that’s been on my personal wish list for a long time! When creating a proposal in the Text interface, I always teach my clients to use the Add Products/Packages dialog boxes to add items to their projects. The Add dialogs gives you the ability to quickly add and assign items/packages to multiple locations/ zones at the same time…rather than having to drag, drop and then assign all in different steps.  Some of you might disagree, but if comparing both methods side by side I will be faster than you –  haha!  Don’t get me wrong the Product Explorer is useful; I just don’t need it 100% of the time.

So getting to my point… When using the ‘Add Dialog’ process you don’t really need to see the Product Explorer on the left side of the text interface, but it was locked in place. NOW – We can hide it away and have all that screen real estate to view more proposal data fields without scrolling left & right!

Here are some other quick comments I have regarding a few additional features that caught my eye:

  • Created Date and Modified Date added to Projects Grid: This is very cool. I can quickly sort projects by created or by modified date to bring up the most recently edited jobs. Many others uses too I’m sure!
  • Change Order Reports show added, modified and deleted items separately with appropriate quantities: This is a great feature and allows for a clear presentation of a change orders’ details. It’s always been possible through minor customization; however it’s nice to have it included out of the box.

D-Tools Team: Keep up the good work!

Ryan Brown is a D-Tools Certified Partner with Media Environment Design (MED).  MED provides business optimization services including D-Tools training, implementation support, and report/shape customization. MED also offers design and engineering services, private theater design as well as sales and support of Zoho CRM. Ryan can be reached by email sales@medesign.tv or by phone 760-434-9040. More information can be found at www.medesign.tv