Software Spotlight - D-Tools Systems Integrator
By Ron Goldberg
As anyone in the custom CE business can tell you, big problems are often traceable to small details. A single digit off in a measurement, a last-minute part substitution, an extra run of cabling not originally spec'd—all of these seemingly minor changes can often result in disproportionate problems. The solution, of course, would be an accurate flow of updated information, available to everyone that needs it. But with so many details and individuals involved over time on the typical job, it's often difficult for everyone to stay on the same page for very long.
D-Tools of Concord, California, is a software and services company that has built a business on tools that help manage the controlled chaos that characterizes the C-tailer's business life. Over the course of four years, the company's System Integrator (Si) software package has evolved into the leading digital solution for custom installation retailers and professionals. The software encompasses tools to design, price and manage a job, as well as import, export and monitor all variables as the job progresses, and synchronize the information for everyone involved, including the bookkeepers.
Si is available in several versions, which are tailored to the varying needs of different sized custom businesses. The basic versions are text-only products, though both the Basic Text and Standard Text versions are upgradeable to the Visio (graphical)-based versions. The Basic Text system, which costs $999, is an estimating tool for sales personnel and integrators, while the Standard Text system for $1,499 adds management report capabilities and is designed for managers who have to monitor the bottom line, but don't need to get into the actual drawings of a specific job.
Next in the line is Si Lite ($1,499), which adds drawing capabilities for the system designer, including rack, cabinet and wall elevations, system schematics, flow charts and plan views. Upgrading from the Lite version brings you to Si Basic ($2,499), which includes all the capabilities of Lite, plus the ability to create instant client reports. The Si Standard version ($2,999) adds management reports and change orders, and is QuickLinks and LinkTools ready. QuickLinks, which is sold separately ($1,299), is an export tool that lets Si integrate with the QuickBooks accounting package. Finally, the full-blown version, called Si Professional ($3,999), features all the previously mentioned functionalities, plus the ability to share data within the Microsoft Office suite of products.