General Inquiries

Software help desired!

  • 1.  Software help desired!

    Posted 06-13-2019 14:42

    Good Afternoon,

    I was hoping to avoid adding another software post, but I could really use some input…

    So far, I have combed through old discussion posts, compiled lists of pros and cons, spoke with reps, researched functions and product offerings, read reviews, and narrowed my list down to Spectrum and Sage 300.

    I would love some insight from anyone with experience USING either of these… the good, the bad, the ugly…anything helps! What are the things you hate about them, things you love about them, things you won't find in a sales pitch or on a brochure? Any specific modules that are lacking?

    If you also have experience with ComputerEase and can offer any input on how it compares to either of these, I would love to hear that as well!

    In case it helps, we are a specialty contractor with contracts ranging from small remodels to large new construction projects, but we are also very heavy on both service and inspections. We currently use ComputerEase.

    I truly appreciate any feedback you can offer!

    ------------------------------
    Kelsie Schoener
    Controller
    BMF Solutions LLP
    CypressTX
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Software help desired!

    Posted 06-14-2019 10:22
    Hi Kelsie - We use Spectrum; we implemented in 2008. We are a specialty contractor with a similar setup (small to large projects, heavy service with service contracts). I would be happy to chat with you and pass on what I know. If interested email me and we can set up a time to talk.


    ------------------------------
    Dori Seegar
    Controller
    Yale Mechanical
    Bloomington MN
    dseegar@yalemech.com

    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Software help desired!

    Posted 06-14-2019 10:28
    I have experience with computerease but not in comparison to spectrum or Sage, I would be happy to answer questions.  I really liked working with computerease.​

    ------------------------------
    Kellie Rowe
    Controller
    ABC Roofing Company
    Portland OR
    (503) 786-0616
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Software help desired!

    Posted 06-14-2019 10:55

    Hi Kelsie,

    If you are heavy on service,  Spectrum may be the better move but both platforms are robust in features and functionality.

    Whichever direction you choose, adoption of the software will be paramount.  You can lower the risk of the adoption significantly by including terms similar to the terms below in your agreement.

    Hope these help Kelsie.

    Sincerely


    1.  Vendor shall defer licensing fees and/or subscription fees until client is LIVE on related software.   LIVE on ERP software is defined as the moment when all the following milestones are achieved:

               1.a:  AP payments are paid out successfully through the software;

               1.b:  Payroll checks, or POE integration is successful in the software;

               1.c:  Material items database is completed with all item codes, descriptions, all applicable item UOMs and conversions between                                  UOMs,  Dimensions, expenses types and relational item properties;

                1.d:  If mobile subscription(s) are applicable, at least one mobile subscriber successfully authors and executes subscribed transaction(s)                        and the related data successfully flows through the complete workflow in the ERP.

                1.e:  Successful completion of 3rd party integrations included in contract to the level promised and/or presented in sales process.

                 1.f:  Complete entry of full historical AIA/progress billings transaction details to enable accurate retention billing.

    [protects client from cloud cuffing/handcuffing, which is when software vendors charge license/subscription fees before the client is LIVE]

     

    1. Lifetime user licenses granted in this agreement shall be grandfathered into all future agreements or end user license agreements accepted by client.

    [protects client from having lifetime user license(s) removed when accepting future agreements during change events or  software updates]

     

    1. Functions or products purchased in this agreement that get deprecated and replaced by similar functions or products shall be made available to client at no extra charge. 

    [protects client from double dipping which is when software vendors replace functions and/or products that have been purchased by client, with new similar functions or products that have additional cost]

     

    1. Annual support fees shall be aligned with the demonstrated value delivered to specialty contractors over previous 3 years as it compares to value delivered to general contractors and/or other industries.

    [protects client from the redirection of their annual fees to R&D investment and enhancements for other industries]

     

     



    ------------------------------
    #BuildTruth | Chad Pearson - Plexxis Patriot
    Dealer of Truth, Happiness and RBD
    Plexxis Software
    (416) 574-1677
    chad@plexxis.com

    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Software help desired!

    Posted 06-14-2019 11:05

    I'd be very interested in these as well. We have spent quite a while narrowing down this same search and we are a $30m general contractor.

    Frank

     

      1494259952684_unnamed.jpg

    Frank Carpenter

    Controller

    Morris, Inc.

    p: 949.333.7007

    c: 949.812.1145

    a: 4100 Birch Street, Suite # 500, Newport Beach, CA 92660

    w: www.morris-usa.com  e: frankc@morris-usa.com

     






  • 6.  RE: Software help desired!

    Posted 30 days ago
    Spectrum is a great software. In my experience, to fully utilize the software you will need a high caliber team, and the commitment of all levels of management to "force" everyone to quit doing things outside of the system. Keep in mind, they were recently purchased by private equity, and private equity is doing what it does. The support used to be top notch, and they would spend however long it took to resolve an issue on the phone with you. Now, they have a limited time frame and scope, and everything else is pushed to professional services. The professional services team is backed up months, so don't expect to get a quick answer. In addition, the historical Spectrum staff is mostly gone. They are pushing a product they can't support as is, and expect to be frustrated.

    ------------------------------
    Clark Taylor CPA
    Chief Financial Officer
    Watson Civil Construction, Inc.
    St. Augustine FL
    (601) 317-4066
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  • 7.  RE: Software help desired!

    Posted 29 days ago
    We're a General Contractor, building mostly schools. We've used Sage since 1997 and it has grown right along with us. We use it primarily for  accounting and job cost. We underuse the Project Management module. The support system is ok at the present time. The program was Timberline when we bought it and it has been bought and sold several times, each time with an up and down on the service end. It is a good program and should accommodate your varied needs.

    ------------------------------
    Timothy Mickunas CPA, CCIFP
    Chief Financial Officer
    D. Wilson Construction Company
    McAllen TX
    (956) 686-9573
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Software help desired!

    Posted 28 days ago
    First, full disclosure, I am a Viewpoint employee.   From 1999 to 2010 I worked directly for the founders of Dexter Chaney, the makers of Spectrum who Viewpoint acquired in 2017.   I sell both Viewpoint's Spectrum and Vista, and routinely compete with Sage.  Both Sage 300 and Spectrum have good fits for their markets, have large installed bases and loyal customers.

    My only advice would be to ask both the Viewpoint and Sage 300 reps you are working with to provide 3 to 5 references of contractors who've switched from one to the other within the last 24 months.  Then have conversations with those references, asking those that switched from Sage 300 to Spectrum how life is different after the switch and then asking any that switched from Spectrum to Sage 300 the same questions.

    If either rep is incapable of providing 3 to 5 positive references that made the change within the last 24 months, that will speak volumes.

    If the fit is right, the ERP software you choose is a 15 to 20 plus year play, so now is the time to dig in and do the due diligence.   Software Salespeople will always do their best to spin the message in their favor so what they may say about their competition has to be taken with a large grain of salt.   The most credible source of information are your peers who've recently made the switch, have used both products and can relate specific examples of how life changed after the switch.   I'm happy to talk further on this at the number below.

    Dan Conway
    603-502-6657

    ------------------------------
    Dan Conway
    Enterprise Sales
    Viewpoint Construction Software
    Rye NH
    603-502-6657
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  • 9.  RE: Software help desired!

    Posted 29 days ago
    Hello Kelsie,

    Did Jonas Software catch your eye at all?  We migrated in Jonas in 2015 after our current software was being shuttered (Maxwell Construction Suite).

    We are a multi-state electrical contractor with a service department that makes up 35% of our revenue with the remainder commercial & residential construction.

    I was wary of all the 3rd party software applications that are needed with some other software programs.  Other than our estimating software and unique spreadsheets we just can't seem to say goodbye to, Jonas handles all our needs.  In the past our Project Managers wouldn't touch Maxwell...ever.  Currently they are in there daily where they can check on their projects on the summary page, or drill down for more detailed information.  It's my go-to page as well as I can check billings, costs and A/R balances.

    Feel free to reach out to me directly if you would like more details.  Good luck!

    ------------------------------
    Jackie Peterson
    Controller
    Red River Electric, Inc.
    Moorhead MN
    (218) 236-0502
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  • 10.  RE: Software help desired!

    Posted 29 days ago
    Hi Kelsie,

    I don't have anything to offer on the ERPs you have whittled down to - Sage & Spectrum, but do understand why Spectrum is in consideration.

    Was curious what is taking you away from ComputerEase though? Our Company is currently shopping a new ERP and the front runners for us are Spectrum & ComputerEase. Spectrum is the stronger system for sure, but I'm struggling to get past the fact that CE offers 90% of the functionality of Spectrum for <50% the cost.

    I'd love for you to share what limitations you have encountered with CE to make the move to Sage/Spectrum.

    Thanks in advance,

    ------------------------------
    Adam O'Donnell
    Controller
    Fontenoy Engineering, Inc.
    San Francisco CA
    (415) 740-0268
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Software help desired!

    Posted 29 days ago
    I am going to reach out to a few of you privately.

    Thank you all so much for your responses!!


    ------------------------------
    Kelsie Schoener
    Controller
    BMF Solutions LLP
    CypressTX
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Software help desired!

    Posted 22 days ago
    Kelsie,

    We are in a similar situation trying to decide between Vista and Sage 300. Sounds like you are further along in the process. Would you be willing to share your Pros/Cons list? It will probably help us greatly in our decision.

    I would be glad to follow up with you in a few weeks with our Pros/Cons list.

    Thanks,

    ------------------------------
    Michael Soileau CPA, MBA
    CFO
    Hernandez Consulting and Construction
    NEW ORLEANS LA
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Software help desired!

    Posted 23 days ago
    The major items that I would drill down on are as follows:

    Spectrum:  Investigate the payroll processing.  If you have multi-state, union, heavy Davis-Bacon, or wish to run multiple pay cycles concurrently this can be a pain point.  Spectrum does not have a tax update feature so you will be updating the tables manually.

    Sage 300:  Be wary of modules getting out of sync.  You can post payroll, but that does not auto post to all other modules.  If there is an out of balance entry it will not post in the GL and if users have access and are savvy they can rename the file where that un-posted data is stored and it disappears from the ERP in the GL module.  Depending on the size of your staff, you may or may not have the ability for someone to become an in-house report writer using crystal.  Cross module reports are very difficult using the provided report writing module.  I was an end use of Sage 300 as a Controller, and I have found the PM Module unfriendly and most PM's would not use it.  Trying to teach them how to condition a report every time it is run in Sage is a bear.

    If you run a tight ship and people are trained well, it is a good software.  It get's you what you need, I just feel there are better packages out there.  Sage 300 is on Pervasive SQL and it is a dying platform.  They are announcing a new ERP product soon, so drill down on your sales rep with that.

    ------------------------------
    Jessica Alcott
    Sr. Business Consultant
    Palmer Consulting Group
    Chester MD
    jessica.alcott@palmercg.com
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Software help desired!

    Posted 23 days ago
    I generally agree with Jessica's comments regarding Sage. We've used it for over 20 years, with good results. Many of the quirks / problems that she mentions, we've encountered. Since the program was sold once and then again, and perhaps again, the support has been up and down. I agree with her comments regarding Project Managment. It's the most complex, detailed, underused piece of software we have. The PM side has switched to ProCore for that function.

    The database is an issue for me -- I bought the program in 1997 because it was cutting edge, and they just have not bothered to maintain it that way. I've looked at Viewpoint seriously, but just can't bring myself to go to the Board and recommend we purchase new software, re-write every report we have, just to be able to produce the same end results we have now. The end users won't know the difference.

    The moral of our story is that whatever you buy, you're probably going to live with it for a long time.

    ------------------------------
    Timothy Mickunas CPA, CCIFP
    Chief Financial Officer
    D. Wilson Construction Company
    McAllen TX
    (956) 686-9573
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Software help desired!

    Posted 28 days ago
    Kelsie,
    I have used Sage 300 (Timberline) since 2000 when we converted from Bidtek and just last year came to a company that had just converted to Vista by Viewpoint.  In my experience both software had issues with the implementation.  Neither was easy, and the time frames are 18 years apart.  But out of these 2 I would choose Sage 300.  Here are my reasoning's:
    1. Sage 300 has built in financial reporting.  With Vista they have outside financial reports.  We use Spreadsheet server and it wasn't until I came on board and waded through the mess of what the consultants had recommended did we realize that we couldn't run any balance sheets reports of income statements  So they you get the additional software loaded and programmed and it is the most basic of reports.  You have to buy the upgraded version to get any dynamic reports.  And my understanding now is that they are going to go to a different platform for reporting so that means a change from spreadsheet server and it means another learning curve.
    2. Fixing anything that is wrong in the system is way easier in Sage 300.  Not that Sage 300 is easy but it is more intuitive or makes more sense to me than Vista.  Example: If I want to print a zero check to get a negative and a positive invoice off my aging I can do it in Sage 300 where as in Vista I have to do to zillion step process that takes 5 minutes to do one transaction,  Time is money and Vista wastes a lot of my time.
    3. Reports are not easy to find for Vista and you can't get all the info you want on one report.  Once again if you want custom reports you can hire someone to make them for you.  Sage 300 allows you to condition your reports to allow for multiple ways to see your information. Now learning how to condition the reports in Sage takes some time but at least you can get the info with the software they sell you.
    4. Sage 300 has the TUG users group which is a wealth of information.  Someone somewhere has had that issue and you can find the info to help with your problem. Vista's knowledge is NOT user friendly.  The search function is useless almost.  It is hard to find what you need.  If you go onto chat for help, they will just send you the link to what you are looking for but I should just be able to type in a logical sentence and it should find it.  But we just got an email the other day saying that they are working on making the knowledge base more user friendly so we will see.  Obviously we are not the only ones that have been complaining.

    I never thought I would hear myself say I missed Sage 300 but from my perspective having worked at multiple companies of different types, from subcontractors to GC's, I would choose Sage 300.  That is just my personal preference from my experiences with the software.  If you do decide to implement the Viewpoint software then make sure your consultants have a through knowledge of how construction accounting works.  Ours didn't obviously because they told my current company that we didn't need the historical data of the current active jobs, only the current outstanding AP, so when I was hired in order to get a WIP that was correct I had to load all beginning balances for the jobs.  This was 4 months after they went live.  It has been a struggle for the last year but I finally got it working correctly.

    Cindy Dean
    Finance Manager
    Nevada General Construction
    Las Vegas, NV


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    Cynthia Dean
    Finance Manager
    Nevada General Construction
    Las Vegas NV
    (702) 254-0262
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  • 16.  RE: Software help desired!

    Posted 28 days ago
    Edited by Kellie Rowe 28 days ago
    ​Cynthia Dean,
    Great information, thanks!

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    Kellie Rowe
    Controller
    ABC Roofing Company
    Portland OR
    (503) 786-0616
    ------------------------------