Last week I traveled to New York to visit with 5 firms that have been using ArchiOffice for a while. One of my more interesting days was traveling to New Jersey to spend the day with the Gruskin Group. I took the train from Penn Station to Millburn, NJ, a place I haven’t been since 1975, when we lived in Short Hills. After 22 years, all that seems to have changed is they now have a Starbucks!
The Gruskin Group is a fabulous Architectural Firm. They have over 20 licenses of ArchiOffice and have been using it since 2005. The firm produces about 400 invoices/month using ArchiOffice but never got around to figuring out how to link ArchiOffice to their accounting software. For the life of me, I can’t understand why they didn’t bother our tech support group to help solve their problem, but in minutes, I was able to show them how to set it up – and off they went.
Lesson – if you want to be able to do something in ArchiOffice – it’s probably already possible. Not always. But if you don’t ask, you won’t find out.
I also visited Garrett Singer Architects who has been using ArchiOffice since 2005 as well. He’s one of the ArchiOffice evangelists who seems to love showing ArchiOffice off to anyone who comes to his office. I love people like Garrett who really spend time digging deeply into ArchiOffice to find out not just how it works, but why. One of the things Garrett was having problems with was synching his emails, contacts and calendar with ArchiOffice. In a few minutes I was able to help him understand how ArchiOffice handled synching. We also spent time talking about some of the “back of house” feature of ArchiOffice so that they can really tweak the software to work and think the way they do. ArchiOffice isn’t about making you adapt to the software – but about allowing you to modify it to suit your needs.
I spent more than a full day in the office of Robert Siegel Architects. They do some really beautiful work and have an office administrator, Heather Pfister, who has spent considerable time working to understand all she can about ArchiOffice. I’ve never been so impressed with how quickly she’s picked up the software and able to figure out ways to make it work for her. Their office brought up a problem with ArchiOffice that we’ve been hearing a lot lately. People need a better way to manage consultants fees. Robert’s ideas led to the concept of having ArchiOffice allow us to “drill-down” into phases. This way, we can assign multiple items to a phase. For example, you can have inside of Schematic Design, a sub phase called Architectural Fees, another called Structural Engineering, and as many more as you need. This would allow us to track our outside consultants fees (whether direct or indirect expenses), apart from our own services. There’s too much to elaborate on here – but suffice it to say that we’re hard at work right now trying to get this feature implemented in a future update of ArchiOffice.
In two weeks, I’m headed to San Francisco where I’ll be spending 2 weeks visiting 11 firms working with ArchiOffice.I’ll keep you posted on what I learn there.