Since the release of EngineerOffice 2013, I've been asked by a number of industry magazines to explain what makes EngineerOffice unique, so I've decided to share my answers from a recent interview with you.
What sets EngineerOffice apart from other project management solutions?
We designed EngineerOffice to address the specific pain points frequently encountered while working as A/E professionals ourselves. We saw there was a need for software that would minimize the unique challenges of staying on top of information and documents, organizing contacts, invoicing for percentages of work completed, creating proposals—all those common issues—while also centralizing information logically and making managing an office easier. EngineerOffice helps Principals, Office Managers, Bookkeepers and Accountants all understand their key performance indicators while aiding Project Managers and Staff in handling the day-to-day activities associated with performing their services.
What types of firms most benefit from this product?
Firms that want a straightforward solution to managing staff, projects and documents, while helping them to create the unique types of invoices they need—fixed fee, stipulated sum, percent of construction, etc.—will appreciate EngineerOffice’s specialized design. EngineerOffice is highly scalable. It can handle the simple needs of small firms with projects that have quick turn-around time but also meet the demands of firms with multiple offices with long-term and complex projects.
What are some of the most exciting features?
EngineerOffice brings information to life. We gave it an attractive graphical user interface so information jumps out at the users and makes sense to them immediately. The Project Performance screen filters out extraneous information to display real-time information regarding the project’s profitability in both currency and percentage, as well as graphical cues regarding budget vs. actual for each of the project phases. It is easy for managers to instantly identify problem projects and where things are not going well. Because EngineerOffice is a web-based application, it’s accessible from any device--anywhere, anytime. Employees accessing EngineerOffice don’t need to install additional software on their computers or mobile devices.
Time Card: It's fast and intelligent and allows staff to only select from projects that they are actively working on. Furthermore, it only displays the active phases and job codes for those projects. The Task Management system is quite robust, and when it’s being used by the project managers, the staff also has the added benefit of selecting from a menu of tasks that are still pending when entering time slips. All of this means time cards are completed quickly and accurately so mangers don’t have to chase after employees to complete them each week. The smart time card also makes analysis of how long it truly takes your firm to complete tasks and phases easy and helpful.
Document Management: It enforces a consistent system across projects. Firms register their document template in the database and whenever an employee creates a document from the template, it populates with the data from EngineerOffice and automatically saves itself in the relevant project folder and sub folder for the specified template. Thus, documents are never misfiled in the wrong project folder or lost due to the behavior of an individual employee.
Contacts: It is the cockpit to access any and all information related to your contacts. You can instantly see any documents, notes, emails, calendar events, invoices or payments associated with any contact or client.
Projects: It makes it easy to instantly find anything to do with a project, its team and finances.
QuickBooks Integration: Data integration between EngineerOffice and QuickBooks reduces the redundancy and errors associated with data entry.
Microsoft Outlook Sync: Because EngineerOffice can sync with Microsoft Outlook, it’s an ideal way to archive all project-related emails and attachments in MS Outlook.
Is it easy to implement and train people to use this software?
EngineerOffice is a web-based application, so installation may require the help of an IT professional. BQE’s Technical Support can install the server software quickly for a nominal fee. BQE also provides services to migrate customer data from other applications into EngineerOffice so new firms don’t have to manually enter historical information but are up and running without having to revisit old legacy systems. BQE provides a variety of training programs to help both new and experienced users utilize the software optimally. Every screen in the software has a Help link that provides useful information about the data being presented. While some users dive into the software without any training and rely only on our support documentation, BQE recommends private, online training sessions to make sure firms develop the proper working habits to take advantage of the software as quickly as possible. BQE also provides on-site training if you prefer. Click here to learn more about EngineerOffice.
About the Author: Steven Burns, FAIA, spent 14 years managing his firm Burns + Beyerl Architects. After creating ArchiOffice®, the intelligent office, project management and time tracking solution for architectural firms, Steve brought his management expertise to BQE Software, where he is perfecting the business strategy and product development.