Constructor Version 3 – Coming Attractions
2016 is the 21st year the Constructor (or formerly TechBuild) product has been on the market.
When we set out to build Constructor Version 3 the goals were clear. We had to build something that positioned our product to continue to deliver value for another 21 years. A product that was technologically relevant and a platform on which it could remain so.
However with a user base of hundreds of companies around Australia, New Zealand and even Papua New Guinea, we had to honour the investment of time and money, thousands of small business owners had made in the existing product. Our challenge was to produce a new version of our product that expert users would find immediately familiar, in an environment that is changing user’s expectation of software, almost monthly.
Software products will always be “fluid” – with new features arriving all the time, capabilities changing regularly and expectations being always, very high.
Constructor Version 3 retains most of the look and feel, the workflows and terminology and structures that users are used to while at the same time giving us a platform on which to launch into areas users and now coming to expect. There are some new ways of doing things but some old favourites remain.
Over the coming weeks and months we’ll dive deeply into some of the new functionality. During that time though, you will see that the familiar concepts and simple approach remains.
In a nutshell, some of the new feature highlights of Constructor Version 3 are….
- New customisable “workspaces” (like menus) for all users. Set your main screen up however you like, with links to only the features you use.
- Notifications – a built in basic messaging system allowing users to communicate quickly with one another, and allowing the system to bring required actions to the attention of the appropriate person.
- A restructure of the Client / Supplier and Person functionality to provide far more flexibility and a greater understanding of your company’s exposure to any one person.
- Sales Lead monitoring functionality gives a builder’s slant of managing your sales funnel. Automated workflow allows you to control and monitor sales leads through your entire sales process and when integrated with Notifications, Email and Document management will provide many builders with a whole new reason to love Constructor.
- Scheduling – in house scheduling is here, with Gantt charts, automatic notifications, and integration with projects, estimating and the job costing. Build schedules at a high level, or an incredibly granular level – based on a basic template, or the specifics of the very estimate you’re working on. (It’s fair to say, there is plenty more to come in this space too.)
- File storage – potentially a reason to upgrade to Version 3 all on it’s own this one. No more hunting though network file shares that are years old and disorganised, or worrying about everyone in your company storing files in their “My Documents” folder and losing them forever. Drag and drop files straight into Constructor, categorise them and link them to a Client / Supplier and/or Project in one action.
- Drag / Drop the contents of completely customisable lists (of any kind, Components, Formulas, Clients, Projects, Invoices…whatever) to other applications (Excel, Word etc.)
- Work In Progress reporting – powerful features like our accountant backed, WIP report, which can run at any date and in V3 runs dramatically faster than ever before, sets Constructor apart from other “beautiful but less functional” software. (Of course the power of the Project Budget by Cost Centre feature remains.)
- Saving and Resetting custom searches and filters. Make and summary screen (list) show you the information you want, in the order you want, laid out how you want…everytime. If you deal with outstanding invoices, in date order, make the invoice screen show you that, without information you are not interest in, every time. The same goes for all screens, projects, clients, sales leads…whatever.
- Email – is now fully integrated, allowing full email history to be stored alongside clients / suppliers / project and sales leads.
- Image editing – load and edit important project images (graphical take off plans) right inside Constructor. Crop, rotate and resize and prepare the image as you load it – and yes. PDF too!
- Product Slide Show – create slide shows for a display room, based on your standard BOQs and the images you have available for them.
- Workflow Management – the linear workflow of a sales lead and a project are completely customisable, enabling you to control all types of actions such as generation of documents, creating of diary notes, notifications to users, escalation of issues/delays.
- The purpose of Constructor Server Manager (CSM) has been extended beyond scheduled backups, to include completely automated updates (no more downloading and running updates for new version), registration of your product and extra licences, and automation of many processes within your defined workflows for projects, scheduling and sales. (Updates work like the Windows update process and the level of automation is completely up to you – from fully hands off, to completely manual and anywhere in between.)
- The User dashboard – the central place to find your To Do List (based on actions created for you, by scheduling, or the sales process) and all your Notifications as well as many recently used items from across all aspects of the system
So please watch this space over the weeks to come, for deeper drill downs into all of these new features and more.