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Version 9 of Dexter + Chaney’s “Forefront® Construction Management Software” is “Internet enabled,” according to the company.
The software’s “Remote-Link” module, which is accessible from the Internet, connects locations to each other and allows access to all 26 of the Forefront modules, including Purchase Order and Service Contracts.
“Hvacr contractors appreciate that ability to have access to the same information at the jobsite as at the main office,” said John Chaney, president of the software company. “That increases productivity and, ultimately, profitability for the contractor.”
Forefront incorporates the software necessary to make connections between locations. Users at remote locations connect to the module in one of three ways:
1. A direct connection over the Internet via a local phone call to an Internet service provider (ISP);
2. A wide area network (WAN); or
3. A dial-up connection via modem directly to the Windows NT® server over a standard phone line.
Field updates from the officeAccording to the company, contractors can review the latest job-related information on-screen at the jobsite. They can also print reports, update job projections on-line, and enter purchase orders, time cards, and equipment hours directly from the field.
This new technology follows a trend that has taken web users away from the “mystique” of the Internet. Businesses are now asking for ways the Internet can improve their business, according to Dexter + Chaney’s Brad Matthews.
“We are past the period of trying to understand the Internet,” he said. “We’ve moved beyond how it works; now we want to know how we can use it.”
The bottom line is that old ways of doing business will not work in a competitive environment. Matthews added that the ease of using the Internet goes hand-in-hand with the needs of today’s contractors.
“We need day-in, day-out business solutions to working outside of the office,” he said. “We used to rely on fax machines and overnight mail. Now the only requirement we need is access to the Internet.”
Remote-Link also uses new technology called “thin client,” whereby information processing occurs entirely on the network server and not on individual workstations. This reduces traffic on the contractor’s computer network by more than 95%, enhancing the software’s speed and performance, the company says.
Contractors who purchase Forefront receive support and training from Dexter + Chaney’s staff, either in person or via a toll-free number.