Accessibility and speed issues in the middle of a deadline or during an intense estimate can mean the difference between winning a gigantic contract and losing out on the bidding process altogether.
HCSS introduced Cloud Services to help with this problem by hosting your HCSS software so that you can access it anywhere without worrying about slow servers, time-consuming updates, or inconvenient maintenance downtime.
But while approximately 400 individual customers were using HCSS Cloud to host desktop-based applications, we decided our Cloud platform just wasn’t good enough.
So we upgraded.
“We’ve changed the platform by which we deliver our applications, HCSS Cloud Services Manager Ketul Parekh said. “It’s much more efficient and much, much faster.”
For HCSS HeavyBid, HeavyJob, and Equipment360 user A.L. Helmcamp, the change made all the difference in the company’s user experience.
“It’s more stable, and it’s 100 times faster,” said Project Manager Brad Starnes. “We’re able to do our jobs more efficiently because we’re not waiting on HeavyJob to process information. It’s a night-and-day difference for HeavyBid too.”
A.L. Helmcamp was one of the first HCSS Cloud customers, having grown from a one-shop company into multiple locations across Texas. They did not have the IT technology or desire to manage a central server to host HCSS products, preferring for HCSS to host those products instead.
“We liked the idea that we could host files on a cloud environment and people across the organization could have access to them,” Starnes said. “When you work remotely, you can share information in that cloud environment. We don’t have to share four keys. You just have to have one of the four logins to access HeavyBid.”
But going to the cloud – especially in the new environment – has also produced an added, if unanticipated benefit in the field.
When using HeavyJob standalone licenses, the office had to push data to the field, and vice versa, meaning not everyone was always working on the same revision of a job.
Creating field accounts that are accessed through the cloud eliminated this issue. “There’s no pushing and pulling of data – it’s all live,” Starnes said. “The managers see it all in real time. Our HeavyJob Manager users have instant access to the field users’ information without having to retrieve it.”
For example, say the foreman submits time cards, and the project manager notices there’s a piece of equipment missing. He would add it, making that time card Revision 1.0. However, the foreman might realize he forgot to include an employee to the time card, adding him and resending it to the office without knowing other revisions have been made. In a standalone system, the manager would then have two completely different versions of the same time card, causing a lot of confusion.
“With the cloud, everyone is working on the same revision,” Starnes said. “There’s no synchronizing a local database.”
The new HCSS Cloud platform started out as a pilot program between HCSS and cloud host nGenx, who was dedicated to helping HCSS grow its cloud services.
The change means faster access to HeavyBid, HeavyJob, Equipment360, and The Dispatcher for current customers, as well as faster set-up and deployment of the cloud environment for new customers.
“Typically you would use a desktop utility to access the cloud, but with this new iteration you can access it using a web browser as well,” Parekh said. “You don’t need a dedicated PC. You can be on any device that has a web browser to log in and get your full HeavyBid or HeavyJob desktop.”
The responses have been more than positive as HCSS has moved all customers to the new platform.
“The common feedback I get is, ‘What used to take me 15 minutes now takes me 30 seconds,’” he said. “I can safely say I don’t think any of our customers would be able to do that in their own [server] environment. We’ve fine-tuned it to an optimum.”
The new HCSS Cloud is also extremely reliable. It is hosted on a Tier 4 data center, which has a 99.999 percent availability guarantee. And if it does happen to go down, HCSS promises to have any outages fixed within an hour.
“We do that because we understand what these applications mean to our customers,” Parekh said. “An hour out of HeavyBid could mean a bid lost. Our customers are choosing HCSS because they want that availability.”
A.L. HELMCAMP OVERVIEW:
• Original HCSS Cloud user
• Hosts HeavyBid, HeavyJob, Equipment360
• 4 HeavyJob Manager licenses
• HeavyJob Mobile on iPads in field
• 2 months of migration to 2 new cloud
HOW HCSS CLOUD PLATFORM HELPED:
• Increased speed and processing capabilities
• Great functionabiliity of iPad app
• Website portal for use when not on company computers
• No backing up or retrieving data from field
• Processing that is “100 times faster”
• No synchronizing data
“Our HeavyJob Manager users have instant access to the field users’ information without having to retrieve it.”