This article was written by Casey Wilt, Implementation Specialist at Beck Technology, and posted to his LinkedIn Pulse May 2017.
When my faithful old pickup truck began to show signs of “impending doom” at the end of college, I immediately began perusing car lots to find a suitable replacement. The salesmen, without fail, had excellent canned comments about each model. I was able to go on a carefully pre-determined test drive loop of less than 10 minutes in each one, after which they believed I would have the information I needed to sign my bank account away. Only one shopping experience sticks out in my mind from that day. The salesman at the Jeep dealership looked out the window at my truck, looked back at me, and tossed me the keys to a beautiful 2-door Jeep with only 5 miles on the odometer.
“Take it home for the weekend, take it camping, and let me know if you still want it when you bring it back on Monday.”
The extended test drive was the opportunity to use a potential purchase in my world, in my way, without constant oversight, and see if it was a good fit for me. That concept is CRUCIAL to the process of making informed purchase decisions, and our adaptation of it, the pilot project, is a very important part of the buying process here at Beck Technology.
Pilot Project and the Estimator Exploration
Our exploration process, where future partners evaluate DESTINI Estimator, has two major goals. First and foremost, educate the client to know what the product can do and how it fits with or improves their current workflows. Beck Technology spends two days on-site with the client walking through the various modules within Estimator – topics can range from high level demos to deep-dive discussions on areas of particular importance to our future partner.
The second goal is more hands-on: the client takes Estimator home and puts the software through its paces. The pilot project is an excellent tool for ensuring the client team stays active inside Estimator following the exploration. At the exploration stage, the pilot project can either be a project provided by the client (an older completed project or an active account to be worked in parallel with the official estimate for comparative purposes) or can be a “simulation” project provided by the Beck Technology services team. Typically begun on the second afternoon of the exploration, the client team can take their progress home and continue working in the software for the two week pilot period. We have learned the only way to truly evaluate a software suite is to test it in a real world environment, and by jumping right into a pilot we avoid the inevitable attrition of the client team’s product knowledge as more time passes between training and product use. This enables our client to make a much more informed decision, and the feedback and notes gained from this effort are invaluable to our development team.
Pilot Project as part of DESTINI Suite Implementation
The services team at Beck Technology works closely with each new partner to develop a custom implementation plan. While the scopes of work may vary, every plan includes training and support hours for each product. Training days give the users the knowledge base required to start using the products on a daily basis. A portion of the support hours are dedicated to the execution of a pilot project at the conclusion of the training course.
The DESTINI Profiler class is a structured course that covers the modeling and costing components of the program. The two day course only scratches the surface of the capabilities of the program. The pilot project requires that trainees stay active in the software, which reinforces recent training efforts and establishes good workflow habits that will make working in Profiler much easier. The pilot project also exposes the trainees to complex real world modeling situations when their training is fresh and daily (or bi-weekly) check-in calls give them a great opportunity to immediately pick the brain of their dedicated Implementation Specialist at Beck Technology. If the services team developed a cost database for the client, the pilot project serves as an amazing QA/QC opportunity to begin to take ownership of their database.
The DESTINI Estimator course is also two days and covers items from background data construction to assemblies to 2D/3D takeoff. Just like the Profiler training course, Estimator offers far more functionality than can be covered in two days. The pilot project takes the baton from there. It gives trainees a chance to overcome real world issues using new-to-them functionality. Some of the functionality (comparisons and dashboards) are prime candidates to become differentiators in the client’s preconstruction process. The pilot is the perfect opportunity to explore the different modules of Estimator.
A lasting partnership is built upon solid trust, and what greater trust is there than tossing someone the keys and telling them to have fun? I never did end up buying that Jeep – a decision I still debate every time I pass a copper-colored one on the road – but the lesson I learned from that friendly Arkansas salesman will stick with me throughout my career. I am excited to continue using the pilot project as a sales and training tool with our partners here at Beck Technology.