Our friends at the Estimating Edge know software and they know roofing companies. They recently developed an e-book that helps roofing contractors ask the right questions when it is time to choose software for their businesses. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be answering one of the questions from their e-book that should help you when deciding. With all the options that are on the market, not every product is going to be the right fit for your roofing business. The second question to ask is “does it have an open, scalable platform?” Read on for why this is an important question.
This question relates to what is being referred to as a “Software Stack”. This question looks at how well the companies software will play together or not. Many companies have experienced software that does not talk to each other resulting in duplicate entries and data errors.
Software stacks are simply all the company’s software and how they work together. Asking how software works together is important. A good question is to ask if the software has an open or private API.
You may be asking now, what is an API? It is an Application Programming Interface (API) and it offers the ability for software to connect at different levels and share information. For example, when the company’s estimator is working in their estimating software does it have the ability to download the estimates, materials and numbers into the accounting software. If it is an open platform then yes.
The benefit of an open platform is that it allows different software to interact with each other and share data. It is often an implementation of REST which stands for Representational State Transfer and is an architecture style for designing networked applications that allows specific services or software functionality to work with other software while protecting the overall application.
In contrast, a private system only opens parts of the backend data and application functionality and is usually designed by the organization and authorized partners. The problem with this type of programming is that it does not usually connect well to other types of software, leading to the need for entry redundancy.
Having software share data two ways is a huge time saver and helps eliminate entry mistakes. How often have numbers been entered in wrong and caused mass problems at the end of the job. Having an open system that plays well with others is key to saving time and money.
If you’re curious about the other questions you should be asking and don’t want to wait for the next article, download the full e-book here.
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