2017 was quite a year for the Prime Ecosystem.
While in the midst of the day to day development grind, writing code, reviewing work, and enhancing our system, it’s easy to forgot about everything that gets completed. Preparing and writing this article, it was quite something to look back on all the new features we added into Prime, as well as the existing features we improved over the last 12 months. Stepping back, I didn’t realise how much we achieved this year!
It’s actually great as we pride ourselves on giving our clients the best system possible as well as keeping our product with the times, and improving and updating as our clients needs change.
So here are some of the main things that were added to or improved in Prime in 2017:
Location and Maps
There is nothing like seeing all of the jobs, work orders and contacts on a map to give you a true grasp of the lay of the land. This was a fun one to do, very visual and interactive. When adding a job we automatically get the location based on the site address (or business address etc) and this can then be shown on a map. Great for being able to get a proper understanding of where your business is, geographical areas where your business could expand to, or where you might be under-resourced. It also helps with scheduling appointments during a catastrophe.
Being able to get a grasp on performance is critical. We added the ability to set KPI’s and easily report on them. This really helps our clients see how they are performing.
We completed our AR invoicing way back in Jan 2017 with AP and expenses following soon after, and integration with Xero and MYOB following soon after that. Anything preventing double handling is a win, and this is just that – our clients add one invoice in Prime, and it is automatically added in the external accounting systems. As with everything in Prime it is permission based so only those allowed can manage financials.
(On a side note integration with Reckon is coming in Jan 2018).
Being such a core feature for our clients, being able to create work orders based on the estimates feature makes the whole process that much faster and streamlined. It’s easy to create an estimate, have it approved, and then create work orders and send them straight out to the subcontractors.
Another fun visual one, but powerful as well. Create blanks sketches. Photos are good, but being able to make a sketch on a photo is even better. Our clients can easily take a photo on their phone, upload it, then make a sketch on that photo to highlight a problem area. We’ve had plenty of good feedback about this one.
Prime Messenger (Instant Messaging)
Communicating with others in your company got even easier when we added our version of instant messaging (think Facebook Messenger) called Prime Messenger (we’re original!). We all know how useful that can be to send a quick secure message, especially if you don’t have time to call or write out an email. This is a feature that I can see replacing those hard to follow email chains.
With phones being such as they are, we made it easy to send a text message to customers or others (e.g. other Prime users, supervisors etc). These get logged against the job too so a record is always kept (as with anything done in Prime!).
Notifications and Todo dashboard
Tying in with Prime Messaging we added the ability to instantly notify Prime users. So an example might be a reminder to call the customer at 10am, or that an appointment is due to start in 15mins, or job specific notifications like a work order being created, job start date changed, or an invoice being created. All of these reminders, appointments, and tasks get shown in one ‘todo’ type dashboard, where they can be filtered and ticked off with ease. So this makes it easy for our users to see what tasks they have ahead of them.
Scheduling and gantt chart
If you can’t tell, I like the visual stuff! Our scheduling feature integrates with the Work Orders so a Gantt Chart can be created including each item of the work order, with the ability to add start and completion dates, and set dependancies (e.g. Can’t start the painting until the plastering is completed). Pretty handy for (again) getting an easy visual view of what a job involves. Of course new custom items can be added as well.
Global job and contact search
This one is cool too, think of it like a Google search – there’s one text box, and you just have to type in a search e.g. the customer name, site address, job number etc and get results – no need to fill in 5-10 filters to find what your after. What’s even better is even if you aren’t sure of spelling of the customer name, or can’t remember a house number, our search can give you results for similar matches. Pretty handy!
Add jobs while you sleep (if you want!). Yes you read right. Our users can send an email to Prime with photos and attachments and we do the rest – create a job, customer contact, and attachment any photos etc to the job.
Prime Email Handler
This feature is one of my favourties of the last 12 months. Email is great, but emails can also easily get lost, things forgotten, and hard to track. I bet all of us that had to read through an email chain 10 emails long searching for the one with that bit of info in it etc. Plus, we saw that our clients were copying and pasting these emails into their jobs. It’s hard to manage. So we made it easy and automatic with the Prime Email Handler. So any email that gets received or sent automatically gets added to the job and full history tracked. No more double handling, manually copying any pasting emails into that job! Time saved. (And saving time is saving money right?)
Estimate recipes and templates
The last one I’ll write about is our Estimate Recipes and Templates. Estimating is core to our clients and we wanted to help make estimating easy. This feature is all about adding an estimate ‘recipe’ into Prime that can be used and then modified. An example might be a recipe for something as small as repainting a bedroom, or as large as building a whole house.
A few other things we did this year:
Calendar Dashboards, Workflow engine generator (visual!), Timesheet’s (these link with expenses as well), External Form integration with signatures, simplified permission management, more reports, PDF creation enhancements, Estimate Quoting, plus continued UI/UX resign and improvement.
If 2017 is anything to go by, 2018 is going to be huge as well!