While there are innumerable project management tools available in the market, there’s none that creates an information loop, streamlining the various phases of a project, eliminating chances of error, and delivering the job on time and budget. D-Tools achieves this much needed cohesion and today, under the leadership of Randy Stearns, CEO, the company has grown to become paramount to the success of Residential and Commercial AV, Security and IT integration firms, and those who cater to the design and integration communities around the world.
"D-Tools has pioneered the category of data-driven design and documentation with its award-winning SI product"
“Operational efficiency is at the core of D-Tools’ DNA,” says Stearns. D-Tools streamlines the often manual, labor-intensive process of estimating, designing, and project management, allowing customers to realize substantial cost savings and return on investment. The company has pioneered the category of data-driven design and documentation with its award-winning System Integrator (SI) platform, used by more than 5,000 companies around the world. D-Tools SI is one of the most comprehensive and widely used estimation, design, and project management software platforms available for the systems integration industry.
SI: The Data Driven Platform
SI’s project management capabilities include project scheduling, resource management, and reporting capabilities that help clients to deliver the job on-time and on-budget. D-Tools help clients realize significant efficiency and profitability gains by providing a singular software solution that encompass detailed product information like product specifications, estimated labor and pricing. This valuable data is carried from the estimation phase through to system design, project documentation, purchase, installation and service, significantly reducing data entry time and eliminating errors associated with inconsistent information/ data. A robust cloud infrastructure drives D-Tools’ product data library, purchasing portal, and mobile functionality. The customers of D-Tools can access this comprehensive data library of product information that dynamically connects throughout the projects lifecycle and create fast, accurate, detailed and professional-looking project proposals that ensure proper accounting of their design and labor.
Operational efficiency is at the core of D-Tools’ DNA
SI’s collaborative task and service order management abilities, along with the Calendar functionality, and the Mobile Install feature, makes it easy to track tasks and check the availability of resources to eliminate over-scheduling. The very innovative Mobile Install app gives users the power to publish installation and service orders to a web portal powered by the D-Tools Cloud which can then be accessed by technicians in the field from any mobile device. Technicians can track installation time and completion status, attach notes and photos from the field, and sync this information back into the SI platform for accurate time and project information tracking. “Mobile Install is an indispensable part of the SI platform as it empowers integrators to arm their field operations team with the project information required for successful delivery of projects,” states Stearns.
Further, D-Tools’ native integration with Microsoft Visio and AutoCAD, allows the product information which is used to generate the proposal to be leveraged in building engineered drawings (line diagrams, elevations, plan views, and schematics) based on the actual product specifications (dimensions, inputs/outputs, images). Users can simply drag and drop products from the catalog or project file to the drawing surface to create the desired drawings.
In an instance, Karcher Group (KGI), a company that designs and installs audio-visual systems, eagerly responded to a bid request for the complete audio/ visual design and installation for two new buildings at the Marine Corps University (MCU) campus in Quantico, VA. The scope of the MCU project was massive requiring the formation of 38 classrooms, centralized help desk for management/ support in every room, over 200,000 feet of cabling, and 55 equipment racks. For a project of this dimension, KGI turned to D-Tools for their SI platform that makes it easy to quickly create accurate and professional proposals based on a comprehensive list of manufacturer product specifications made available by D-Tools’ massive cloud-based product library. With the help of SI platform, the data-driven software, KGI was able to win the bid and hired additional technicians dedicated to the MCU project to ensure its timely completion. KGI sought the help of D-Tools SI for managing the technicians and maximize workflow efficiencies as it allows working on several projects at one time.
Well Integrated Drawing Capabilities
D-Tools’ fully integrated drawing capabilities enables the consistent flow of project information throughout the lifecycle, from estimating through engineering and project management, and acts as a key differentiator for the company.
One of the clients utilizing D-Tools’ unique drawing capability is Excel AV Group which is into design and installation of sound, video lighting systems for commercial clients and specializes in church sound, video and lighting systems. Kevin Crow, President at Excel AV Group, has been working with Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Maple Grove, Minnesota, for many years. At one point, Crow decided to explore the potential of integrating a video wall into the space since the technology has become very affordable. The team was then tasked with designing and integrating a massive 9- by 16-foot PVPX3 Professional LED Video Wall into the existing space, along with a back wall confidence monitor, video sources, and a control system. To achieve this task Crow harnessed the power of D-Tools SI to design the system and add materials to the estimate. D-Tools software also took care of the budgeting as it has the ability to streamline accurate up-front designs and estimates against the back end job costing. “SI not only allowed Excel AV Group to meet its budgets, but the company is actually able to improve its margins,” expresses Crow.
Broadening the Reach
Having created a strong foothold in the U.S., D-Tools is now concentrating to better accommodate the needs of customers in other regions. The company has partnered with Westhill Europe, based in the Netherlands, and has started serving the EMEA region. The partnership has provided a physical presence in the region driving localized sales, training, and support services from an industry and regionally experienced team.
As D-Tools is moving toward a fully cloud-based solution, the company expects its API integrations strategy to play an integral part in fulfilling the core vision— to provide integrators of every type and size with a flexible software platform that allows them to select and adopt the tools that best suit their business needs. “We enable our customers to exploit the power of a full-featured solution like D-Tools, by employing a Professional Services group that equips our customers with on-site and online support and training,” says Stearns. D-Tools acknowledge that no single software solution regardless of how robust it is, can fully serve the needs of every business. The company’s API therefore enables 3rd party integrations to fill in the gaps and deliver a complete end-to-end solution. Further, the D-Tools cloud solution will have features to facilitate communications with internal and external stakeholders, incorporate work flow templates and tools to help maintain consistency and controls within project process flow, and provide advanced business intelligence and analytics. The future goal for D-Tools is to be the center of the business process ensuring success, from the initial client contact, to final install, through the ongoing service relationships.