CMMS in a Hosted Environment Webinar
Do you have questions about which environment is best for your CMMS: hosted or local installation? Marty De Los Santos provides information to help you make an informed decision. The webinar was recorded and is available for you to view below. Can’t view YouTube? You can also view the webinar here.
We’re going to be talking about maintenance management solutions and why a SaaS (software as a service) – cloud-based solutions may be the best option. Here at MicroMain, we do offer both options where you can either go to the hosted route or even do a one-time purchase, but specifically today what we’re going to be talking about is why certain organizations may choose a SaaS or cloud-based solution.
Currently, I’m just curious how many folks are utilizing CMMS, if you don’t mind submitting your answers here. It looks like majority of the folks are using something or considering, and actually about half of the folks on the line are not utilizing a CMMS system now, which is fine. We do have a lot of folks who are still utilizing either manual processes that do migrate over to MicroMain but do understand that it may be difficult to really go back and see what’s been done to certain pieces of equipment from a maintenance standpoint.
The CMMS software on the cloud, it seems that within the past several years that more and more organizations are moving away from local on-premise installations of not just CMMS but even many other software applications that your organizations may utilize in their business, be it CMMS, time and attendance, accounting, numerous other software applications, and why is that? Why has SaaS become so popular here as of late? Probably the biggest side on what you see on the bullet point is that it does remove the IT burden. IT folks for organizations are taking care of so many other items related to the network within the organization – making sure e-mail is up and running, making sure other things that are very business-critical are up and running and available to the employees.
When adding additional applications, we’re seeing now that more and more of those IT folks are saying, “You know what? We really don’t want to take those on. Let’s keep this in the cloud. That way it’s available whenever you need it.” Again, it is cloud-based access from any device that can access the Internet, advanced data security, the data center where your information is stored. There is not only security from a physical standpoint, but we have all the technical security items in place, backups are done routinely. Another key thing that your IT folks don’t have to do is backing up that information. That is now handled in this case by MicroMain as far as having your systems backed up so if anything does occur, we can always refer back to previous data. Again, it is very cost-effective. It can often lead to a low introductory cost versus having a large cost of a one-time purchase.
How do you know if it’s right for your company? There are several things to consider when thinking about whether going cloud-based or a one-time local install is the better option. Let’s explore some of those items here. We’re going to kind of touch on something briefly – placing the IT burden on the cloud. Again, you’re removing the need for your internal IT folks to manage your maintenance application. They don’t have to install it, they don’t have to back it up. Whenever there are updates that do occur, with a cloud-based solution, we handle installing those updates and there’s always notification that updates are coming. Using enhancements are done at a time where it’s going to affect the least amount of the users.
For example, when we’re doing system maintenance or updates, we’ll choose something like 3:00 A.M. on a Sunday morning when most of our customers are not on the system itself versus your IT folks having to get a CD or disk with a new enhancement and having to go around and make sure those installations are occurring on your side and something that is related to IT as well as far as companies making sure which is a better option. We do deal with customers who do not have their own IT department; maybe they have to outsource their IT or maybe outsourced IT is just on a one-off basis when they need it.
For those kinds of organizations, going the cloud route may make more sense than maintaining an in-house. Routine backup of data – with being in the cloud, again, it’s backed up routinely, every hour from 6 A.M. to 6 P.M. while folks are utilizing the system. That’s automatically done on its own. You don’t have to physically schedule that on your end. We do have disaster recovery procedures and the data is physically stored in a location that you can just log-in to where the servers are located.
Something else that’s done with MicroMain customers is the data is actually mirrored so your data is actually mirrored on more than one server. We do that to allow for any kind of fail over; if one server fails, this other server is available to run and not create any kind of disruption in your usage. Get network-based access. Again, accessing the application pretty much anywhere, anytime; you forget to do something at work, you can be at home, log in to your application, take care of your business what you need to get done.
You don’t have to rely on your organization’s network or your computer at the office to be able to accomplish an item. Unique log-in credentials, manage log-in credentials – you’re able to define user rights as well. That can be done from an admin basis, from an in-house administrator where you can determine, “Okay, when I log in, I have access to all these features. When my colleague logs in, we’re going to limit what kind of rights and what he or she can see when they log in.” Maybe there are certain administrative areas where you’re actually controlling and have the ability to make certain changes; other users may not necessarily need that access. You can hide that from them as well. Again, something to look at when you’re looking into different maintenance CMMS cloud-based solutions is, are you given that kind of functionality where you can create those limited rights for certain users. How many users will need access to manage the system? It looks like majority of the folks are 0-10 or 11-25. That seems to be about what we find as well.
There may be a lot of additional folks who need access from a requesting standpoint but not so much to manage the application itself. Advanced security, security procedures, network security procedures – things to consider. Oftentimes, when you’re talking with a software vendor, you can ask for this information, so please send me something that talks about what are the advanced security procedures. What does your organization do whenever you’re maintaining a solution?
One thing with MicroMain is that we do follow what used to be called Fast70 but we do SSAE 16, we do meet that criteria from a hosting center with regards to your data. Cost of SaaS Another item here to look at is why the SaaS makes sense is typically there could be a lower cost entry to get into a SaaS or cloud-based solution. Fees are typically either collected monthly or annually and there could be even some differences. I know with MicroMain, if you’re paying annually, there are some discounts that are associated with certain cost elements. If you’re paying annually at a time, what kind of setup fees are there, is database storage capacity included in the space available, any other upgrades? Upgrades cost, at least with our solution, your technical support and your upgrades are all included with your monthly or annual cost to the solution.
Something else related to the cost as well, I’ve dealt with customers in the past where we’re trying to consider which option makes more sense and have heard on more than one occasion that we’re able to go the SaaS route because it’s not looked at as a capital expenditure from the company standpoint whereas if they were to have purchased it outright because it’s a one-time purchase, it fell into capital expenditures. Again, over the past few years based on the economy, certain companies were actually holding off on capital expenditures. It’s something to consider. You could be very creative with how to get something accomplished if you’re paying monthly and the organization may say it really is not a capital expenditure so we can move forward with this if it’s going to help you out in your maintenance environment. Other cost concerns – what kind of contracts are involved, discounts, price breaks, who owns the data?
With MicroMain the data is yours. The software is the MicroMain application but all the data is your data. Should you ever leave, that is your data, we provide your data to you. It’s not our data, we’re just hosting it for you. As mentioned before, there are price breaks especially if you’re paying annually versus monthly. A lot of organizations will also look at any kind of discounts or price breaks if you’re going to sign longer term commitments as well. What is your primary concern related to CMMS? That’s about right. I guess work order and preventive maintenance are typically the drivers when looking into CMMS. Other things do come into play as well – response to correction maintenance or reporting on maintenance activities, but really the drivers are the on-demand corrective kind of work orders, scheduling and your preventive maintenance; making sure those things are being accomplished when they’re on schedule and should be accomplished.
CMMS SaaS solution – again, the same power as a locally installed software to manage your maintenance processes. With MicroMain, the UI is identical for both so you’re not losing out on any functionality regardless of whether you want to install it locally or utilize our SaaS solution. You’re getting your on-demand work order, preventive maintenance, being able to manage labor cost, parts cost and really get your full asset history in everything that you’re doing. With MicroMain solution, we have our work request feature and mobile device capabilities which does allow for technicians to manage work orders from their mobile device.
Let’s take a look at the application itself. What we should be seeing here is the maintenance application. I talked about a couple of additional modules, web request and the mobile. We do have a work request feature. This is designed for the non-maintenance employees where you can give other employees and depending on your business, maybe even outside users. We’ve had some governmental entities that are utilizing our solution that maybe they put a link to this page on this website which allows for their constituencies or citizens to be able to come in and submit that something is amiss.
Basically, if it’s an employee within your organization, they can have their own username and password and you can have a user profile set up for them where they can come in and submit a request, put in a description, whatever they want to have fixed. They’d submit and this can go automatically into the application, they can see the status of their request. You can even have it set up to where all requests go into a holding area and an admin reviews all the requests to determine whether or not it truly is a work-order-related item. When they click View, they can see what is on their request.
There’s a place for notes. Although they can not edit the request, they can add notes if they forgot to mention something as well. This is directly into the application. Right now I’m under the Actions tab, work orders, which allows me to see all my work orders. I do have some filters that are available across the top, status filters, filters related to property, building, asset and so on. I did refresh it so here is the work request we just submitted. I just double clicked on that number, the description, “Please fix” whatever I want to include here. When issuing a work order, you can make your edits as necessary prior to issuing. In this case, maybe this user was defaulted to an area asset; maybe they’re located in room 300.
If I click on that, I can see the Child Assets that I’ve associated with that area asset and maybe it’s hot in their area so they wanted us to fix their air handler. I can even change the service and this is a user-defined list here, what services are we going to create and you can create all your own services. Pretty much anywhere where there is a dropdown option here, you can create something on the fly and either edit or add to that list that’s on your dropdown menu. There’s a lot of functionality built right in here where I don’t have to leave the work order to do anything. Depending on your business model, maybe you are going to pre-assign labor to a work order so that you know who it’s assigned to when you issue this work order. I’m just going to click Add Labor. I can see all my technicians, any third party contractors that we may utilize depending on what we’re doing. I can select a single person or multiple folks by just holding the CTRL button down for each work order.
Let’s say I wanted to assign it to Paul. Now Paul is added to this work order. If Paul is somebody who has mobile capability, he can retrieve this work order on his mobile device. I can also print this; I can preview it before I print this. Let’s say I’m going to go and issue this work order; it’s ready for Paul. If I print it, again, it’s at the printer waiting to be picked up. I can do a preview. I can e-mail this. Maybe I need to e-mail it to a third party contractor so they have the work order already in hand prior to even coming on premise. Let’s see what Paul would have available to him. I’m going to log in as Paul. This is actually a tablet emulator. Our mobile is available both on tablets or smartphones and it’s not device-specific.
It’s not just for iPhones and iPads; it can be Androids, iPhones, other mobile capability devices that are web-enabled. For just an example, Paul has access to see all work orders. When they’re assigned to him, he gets a little man with his hand up. Here is the one that we just started here. If I click on this, I can now manage this work order. I can see the details where it’s located. If I manage any failures, what failures; maybe there is a defective part associated with that work order. If I look at labor, again, I’m assigned to this; I need to update my time. How long did it take me to do this work whether I’m putting in in and out times or total hours. Maybe it took me three hours to do this. If I needed to add an additional technician; if somebody else was working with me, I can add another technician. Parts – what kind of parts are we going to add? Paul said, based on what we’re doing, it took me a couple of widgets to get this job done or maybe it took me more than that many parts so I can save this now.
Again, I’m adding to this work order. If I’m also managing inspection points, I can manage those here. If it’s a metered asset, I can update the meter or any other costs that are associated with this work order that don’t necessarily fall under Parts or Labor, I can also update those items here. If I go back to the work order itself, as you can see here, right now it’s open status. I can mark this as Completed. I can add comments, look at the description, even add to the description if necessary but if I go back to my work order, hit Complete. Once I’ve completed, although I still have access to it, I can no longer edit that work order. If I close this and I wanted to see my completed status work orders as well, Summary is going to keep track of all my cost information, my dates. Defective part was one of the failure items. Paul said it took him three hours; here is his time and I’ve got it set up where it’s going to auto-cost us based on Paul’s profile.
If I double click on his name, I have access to see maybe a picture of Paul but I can also store financials. You don’t have to. We have many companies that do manage their financials; it does that auto-costing for them, the same thing with parts. I added a couple of widgets to this. It’s going to auto-cost as well based on the part profile. You may have multiple inventory locations you can store from; you can transfer between locations. I can issue parts, receive parts, order parts, do my part count, keep track of my suppliers, my orders, my order units, unit costs, cost data or utilizing LIFO or FIFO, average cost methodology within your organization. You can predetermine that here but also predetermine a minimum inventory level. If you’re far below that level, let the system remind you the parts that have fallen below your levels that need to be re-ordered.
You can keep track of which assets or if this part can be utilized. You can create those asset-to-part associations within the application. You can have a place for inspection points. You can attach documents to a work order, place for notes, comments and so on. This work order is being completed. If you want to allow for it, you can have admins allow to reopen this work order if any additional edits needed to made as well. That was an on-demand corrective work order. A lot of folks are concerned about their preventive maintenance so Task is where we manage those items.
It’s just really a matter of defining a task – what do we want done? The first step in MicroMain is to give the task a name and give it a frequency. There is a place for assignment if you need to assign it to a shop or supervisor. Here is a monthly task that we’re doing the 5th of every month. Of course, if it was quarterly, maybe doing it instead of every month, every three months, for example. Down below you’ve got a place for scheduling dates. Is this a year-round PM or is this something that’s only done during summer months or in winter months, for example? You can define that here. Description – what do we want done? This will print on every work order based on the frequency. Summaries – keeping track of your cost. Assets – you can assign a single asset or multiple assets to the same task especially if you’re going to be performing the same kind of activities on each of these assets. If need be, you can even predefine who the labor is or who’s going to work on this.
On these PMs, you can predefine your parts, any other costs, what tools are needed for the job, what inspections you want this technician to manage while they’re working on that equipment and within the application, if any of those inspections fail, you can create a corrective work order off of those failed inspections. Activities – this can be utilized either in addition to or in lieu of what you define in the description. In this case, I’m utilizing activities for this monthly PM to say, I’ve got certain things that don’t need to be done monthly but I want done to the same assets but I want to include them on this task.
Every two months, we’re going to change filters so the system knows every two months to include this activity to this PM and then every three months include this item, every six months this one and every 12 months here. The system knows when to add these items to these PM work orders. I can add these items to these PM work orders. I can add documents and comments. All I’ve done so far with these several items I have listed here, it’s just really given definition to things that I want done. I’m going to put them all on my schedule utilizing my task scheduler. Here, I’m going to generate the schedule to how far in advance do I want to generate the schedule. I can pick that date whether it be a month out, the end of the year, end of next year or the year 2020.
Again, it’s really your choice so you can go out as far as necessary. Pick your date, hit Generate Schedule To and basically all you’re saying is I want to get everything that I’ve defined on my task list on my schedule through this date based on the trigger elements that are associated with those tasks. For example, if you have a monthly task for your air handlers, now it’s going to be on there every month showing on here. For example, we have these items right in the middle here. We’ll have them there as well on April based on the trigger events and so on. The next step is something that actually we’re updating here with our next release next month, is the automating of the work orders. Now I have all these items on my schedule. I want these work orders to be created based on those trigger elements. Currently our customers will have to utilize these work orders, too, but again we’re changing this. Based on those trigger events, the system will know when to take these items on the schedule and create work orders out of them. Basically, what will happen is when they come off the schedule, they will now appear on my Work Orders page as in requested status with whatever type you’ve called them.
As you see I have some different types listed here – Inspection Only, Preventive, I think I even have something that is called Calibration as well. You can call them whatever you want to call them. Once they exist here, you have some options whether or not you want to individually issue these work orders and assign them or we do have what’s called a Batch Work Order Status where I can say I want to see all of my Preventive Maintenance items, I don’t have a whole lot. Maybe just change this. I’ve got a few here. From here, I can select several of these items. Say I want to take these. I want to go ahead and I haven’t already done so, assign them to somebody. If you’re not utilizing mobile, you can even say I want to also send these all to the printer, hit OK. It’s now changed these from requested status to open status. If you have technicians that are capturing these items on mobile device, they’ll now be there on their mobile device; they can pick up as well.
What that does is it allows you to assign multiple work orders and issue multiple work orders in one step versus individually going through this. We talked about your corrective work orders, your preventive maintenance work orders and being able to batch a sign and even change status from requested to issued status in a single step. Other things that are available that we’ve done. There is a purchase order system that’s built within the applications. If I’m looking at my parts list, either from here I can create a new order or from the Actions tab, I can create a new purchase order and even manage existing purchase orders. Also, under Resources I can manage my staff, my contractors, my suppliers.
Are these folks active in the application? You can upload documents in the system that you want to attach to work orders or associate with certain assets. Under Facilities, this is where the hierarchy of your organization is initially defined – your site, your properties, your buildings and then you get into your assets. We have a separate tab for fleet assets as well for our customers who are not only managing fleet and managing mileage or hours but maybe they’re also managing fuel and fluids and tires that are being utilized on their fleet. Let’s just take a look at equipment, for example. Every piece of equipment has its own profile.
You’ve got a lot of different options. Right now we’re on the equipment page and what kind of information you can store about your equipment, you know, upload a picture. The details page is where a little bit of capital planning comes into play as well, whether you’re purchasing or leasing this equipment, when you bought it, when you installed it, how much you paid for it, what its useful life is, when we should replace this piece of equipment. There are reports you can generate out of the application; both depreciation reports and replacement projection reports that are pulled directly from this information here.
If there are certain specifications or conditions that you want to associate with the equipment, you can identify those here. These items can be utilized as inspection points whenever you’re doing work on this piece of equipment as well, a place for meters. Is it under warranty? It’s going to look at this expiry date to know whether or not this item is under warranty still. Task, does it have any Child Assets associated with it? Are you tracking movements of it?
Another item here as well, without having to go to my reporting tool, something that I hear pretty often actually that we want to be able to keep history of everything that we’ve done on each piece of equipment. Well, there is a history tab here at the very top. If I click on this, it initially defaults to the last 12 months but I can see everything that we’ve done; all the work order regardless of type listed here. If you’re tracking cost as well, what kinds of cost have been associated with this one particular asset for this date range? Of course, you can always update your date range and this is something you can preview. You can even e-mail it. Maybe somebody in the finance office is asking for some information related to this piece of equipment; pull in the appropriate dates and just e-mail this directly to them.
We’re going to talk about Fleet, as well, what you can keep managed with Fleet. All the assets are really identical but the reporting that’s built into the application; we do have over 600 reports that do come standard with the MicroMain system. We break them out into different groups; these groups are mutually exclusive. I talked about, earlier, having reports that are specific to the asset depreciation report, replacement projection report so there are quite a few reports that are asset-specific just within this group. If I look at completed work orders and I wanted to get some cost information and maybe I want to get a cost summary or maybe I’m looking at a single asset or a group of assets, if you have multiple assets that are similar, put them in a group. This helps from a reporting standpoint or maybe everything that you’ve done on a certain building, for example. Everything that I’ve done in building CS for whatever my date range is and the actions you can take once you’ve put in your filters, I can either send this straight to the printer, I can do a preview of it or I can export it to Excel. If I do a preview, I can see here I’ve got my filter, my dates, and I’m looking at everything I have within building CS.
I was looking at all the assets that I have, had work orders associated with them within this time frame and here are my labor parts and other costs. I get totals as well. Again, this is something I could have exported to Excel. I’ve got 29 pages here. If I go to the very end, I even get my grand totals as well. I can get my total cost information associated with this just as a reminder. Again, I can filter this on anything. We have both standard and advanced filtering. Standard filtering, if I add to these, maybe I’m looking at assets as well and everything I’ve done on Air Handler 01 and building CS, this is going to utilize an “and” statement if I continue to grow the string here. If I go to my advanced filtering, I can create my “and/or” statements. If there are certain filters that you’re going to use regularly, once you create them you can even save them so now they appear on your dropdown list down below that you can utilize for future reporting capabilities. Some reports are even available on graphical representation; labels for our customers who are utilizing barcoding won’t need to print their own barcodes for their assets or parts.
Batch reporting – maybe there are certain reports you run daily, weekly, monthly and you want to be able to put all those in a batch so then you don’t have to go out and individually grab those items. Create as many batches as you need, grab the reports that are associated with that batch, add your filters and then you can select the action that you want to take. I’m going to hit Print Preview and when you select that action, it’s going to automatically generate all those reports in your batch. The things that we’ve covered so far is IT burden; really taking that away from your IT, access from any device, advanced data security. There are security details not only from security rights of logging in but even what kind of security is going to be on the backend within the hosting environment. Backups of your data, that’s something that’s going to be managed by the hosting environment.
Again, it’s very cost effective, flexible pricing, allows for that low cost entry. As mentioned, as well, it can help to eliminate or get around the idea of “Hey, we can’t have any capital expenditures but since we’re paying for this monthly that may not be viewed as a capital expenditure item.” Would mobile capabilities help improve your performance and manage your workflow? It looks like for a lot of the folks online that would be the case. We fully understand even with a SaaS cloud-based solution, maybe going handheld may not make the most sense or maybe it’s really not feasible for various reasons. Of course, you can still print those work orders and still reconcile them and still have all your data in that central location so it’s easy to get access for future reference. We know it’s an Internet age and 3G, 4G, WiFi – it’s really all over the place so a lot of our customers are looking at mobile functionality to take the paperwork out of the technician’s hands and get with the means so that they have the ability to maintain what they’re doing from a mobile capability.
Maybe I’m walking around the facility and I see something broken, without having to go back to the office, I can create my own work order from my mobile device, make my edits, add my labor time, add parts if I need to and close that work order out without having to leave the scene of what I’m doing. Again, I don’t have to go back and start a new work order from scratch and then come all the way back to where the problem is. With my mobile, I can do everything right here. I know we talked about, again, the benefits of looking at a SaaS cloud-based solution. It’s really something from a business standpoint to consider. There are obviously several elements to think about – IT, cost, data security, maintaining your data and if there are any additional questions related to that, we’re happy to fill those for you or anything else that’s specific to MicroMain and our solution, please let us know.
TREVORIS MORGAN: Marty, we had a couple of questions come in. One participant wanted to know how you’re accessing the Access application.
MARTY DELOSSANTOS: Great question. It is in a Citrix environment. It does require a Citrix plug-in which is a free download to get the Access application. You’ll have the URL that’ll be specific to your database once you have that plug-in already installed. Once you log in, either take it to where you can access both the main application as well as even your reporting tool. That’s only for desktop. We’ve even tested accessing the main application even on iPads as well and because of the size, you get a pretty good real estate on an iPad or a tablet to get the main application.
SPEAKER 2: Thanks, Marty. Is there a graph or timeline that shows scheduling?
MARTY: Yes. Scheduling is actually something that we’re also working on as well. There is a schedule in it as well that does show it. I didn’t show that today but they were actually updating that functionality that shows schedule. It’s going to be very interactive with some drag-and-drop functionality where you can see all your technicians laid out, how many work orders do they have assigned to them that day, how many hours they have assigned to them that day. It helps from a scheduling standpoint to know am I going to give this to Steve, yes or no, he already has eight hours on this book for today or do I need to give it to somebody else to manage or maybe even move it to another day if necessary. You’ll be able to see day-view, week-view, month-view, related to your schedule. TREVORIS: We have a follow-up on the Citrix client. We have someone who would like to know if there would be any conflict with an existing Citrix Xenapp client.
MARTY: I’d have to take that one offline just to confirm with our technical folks. Short answer probably is no but let me confirm that, if you don’t mind, and get an answer back relating to that one.
TREVORIS: Great. We’ll follow up afterwards with that person. Here’s another question. If you delete a piece of equipment, can you run a report to show what the projected labor savings would be?
MARTY: Great question. One thing that we always recommend – and it’s even available related to the application – is if you have a piece of equipment that’s no longer going to be part of production for whatever reason. It’s been replaced or it’s become obsolete but it’s been a piece of equipment that you have been maintaining for the past several years both on a routine basis as well as even on an on-demand basis. Within the application, we actually recommend that you just inactivate that piece of equipment rather than delete the equipment. By inactivating it, it no longer becomes a piece of equipment for which you can create any work order. It’s not available—somebody who’s requesting work as far as saying we need to fix this piece of equipment. You’re still able to maintain the full history of everything that you’ve done on that piece of equipment. The data still lives in your application but it’s no longer a piece of equipment that it can be accessed for future work orders while it is inactivated.
TREVORIS: Here’s another one. Can two people be assigned to the same task? How would that look in a productivity report?
MARTY: Yes, two people can be assigned to the same task. Maybe more than one person can be assigned to any work order. From a productivity standpoint, it’s going to be based on the time that those technicians are specifying that it took to complete the task. For example, if they’re working together and both doing the exact same task, how much time did it take? Did it take each of them two hours of their time to complete it? Maybe there’s a case where we’re both assigned to the same item but we’re doing something different and there you can utilize activities in MicroMain. For example, vehicle maintenance – maybe I have one technician that’s changing the oil and the other technician is rotating the tires. Each of those technicians can specify how long it took for them to do their unique activity that all fell in this one work order. When looking at history from a standpoint, if you’re just looking at the work orders in general, their total time will be part of that work order. If you want to get very granular and specific, I just want to see what Marty did on the work orders that he’s associated with. It’s only going to look at my time.
TREVORIS: Here’s a new question. Can you prioritize work request in a three-tier priority one, two and three model?
MARTY: Absolutely. There’s more than one way to accomplish that. With those work requests, one thing that we often hear and one of our clients today do is they really want to make that work request page very user-friendly and really make it easy for those requestors to get in, specify a problem and get out. If it’s taking those users too long to submit a work request, that could make them not want to use that tool and revert back to e-mails, phone calls, which is what you don’t want. We have some customers that have actually identified certain services that are unique for that work request page. Maybe it could be based on tier one, two or three, or high, medium, low or emergency, not-so-important – whatever you want to call them. If you allow those requestors to see every service item that you and the maintenance department are utilizing, when you’re defining each of your services, you can specify what priority level is this service typically. Is it a level one, level two or level three? You may have 10 different priority levels for your environment but you can definitely define those and even make those visible to the work requestors.
TREVORIS: Can you talk about the customer service hours and other support-related issues troubleshooting the program?
MARTY: Sure. Customer service, I believe, is from 8:00 to 5:30 p.m. Central Standard Time; that includes support. From a support standpoint, there are different means to get in contact with us. You can call us, you can e-mail. There is a support portal that’s for our customers only. Within there, you can submit issues and tickets that go directly to the support team. There’s also a chat that is unique for support. Some of you that have been on our website, you see that we have chat available just on the front page but within the support portal, there’s chat that’s unique for our customers as well.
TREVORIS: Can you talk a little about the new user learning curve?
MARTY: That’s pretty open-ended because we’re thinking about what kind of technical experiences the users have in their background. The MicroMain is a very easy to use system; it does flow very well. As with all things, there is a learning curve. For somebody who’s new to computers and application altogether, it may take longer but somebody who’s pretty proficient utilizes other software applications, is very familiar with Microsoft products because it is an Access front end, SQL back end solution. The flow of it is very similar to other Microsoft-related products. Those folks may pick it up a little more quickly. The time frame, I really can’t say but it may take two weeks for somebody to get familiar with it. Maybe it takes you only one day or two days but maybe it takes your counterpart who’s not as computer-savvy several weeks to really become proficient enough in this system. Again, it’s kind of open-ended. It really depends on each user and their background with utilizing applications.
TREVORIS: Marty, can you talk a little bit about a typical time period to perform data entry or perhaps even assistance to do that?
MARTY: With new customers coming on-board into the MicroMain system, we always understand how a data initially gets into the application. We do have several customers that when they get started, they want to manually key in that data for different reasons. Maybe the data does not exist in any kind of format where it can imported or maybe the data on their Excel spreadsheets or even in their other solution altogether, maybe they feel it’s not clean and there’s a concern about duplications. It can be entered that way. We also have data import services where we can say, “Let’s take your existing data and import that data.” Whether it’s just the naming of your assets and parts or maybe there’s even history you want to include there, we can do that service.
If you’re going to be keying it in yourself, how much information are you bringing across? Are you in one location and you have 100 pieces of equipment or are you in 10 different locations and have thousands of pieces of equipment? Of course, that can determine how long it takes to get the data into the system and if you are going to be manually keying in that data for both parts and assets, we do have a cloning feature. For example, air handler is a good one. We have some customers saying, “I’ve got 50 air handlers on our roof.” Well, okay. Let’s create one if you’re creating it manually. Create one, put in all the necessary key information that you want and then clone from there. When you clone it, you’re really just renaming that asset to be able to tell this is air handler one, two, three or four. There may be some other minor edits that you need to make as well but the bulk of what you entered is already stored each time you clone that asset.
TREVORIS: Bilingual support is typically Spanish?
MARTY: Again, the application is in English only as far as how it’s written, how it’s delivered. It is English only. We may have a couple of folks here that are bilingual but primarily our support is in English.
TREVORIS: An additional question about the ability to interface with building automation systems.
MARTY: Out of the box, the application doesn’t interface automatically with any other application. That being said, you can export any report to Excel. If you’re looking for interfacing or integrating with another application, those are taken on a one-by-one basis. We have created integrations with other solutions. It’s really done on a one-on-one basis depending on what kind of data needs to be shared, whether it’s one directional going from MicroMain to that other application or from another application into MicroMain or if it’s going to be a two-directional type of integration. Again, is this something where we just need to be able to do an export-import or do we want it to be more of an instantaneous web service where whenever a change is made in MicroMain, that change whether it’d be on a scheduled interval or it’s automatically updated in another application, those can be done. We have done those but again those are scoped on a one-by-one basis.