Pi Software Advantages
Three words: access, security, performance. Access from anywhere that has an Internet connection. Security at a level much higher than you’d be capable of implementing locally. Performance that you’ll never outgrow. It was the foundation of our software – it was never designed for anything else. Other companies are talking about “porting” their software to the web. Beware – it’s not at all the same thing.
Our financial system is integrated directly with our project management and scheduling system. When a task is marked completed, payments are generated (and readied for your approval) and journal entries are made automatically. Other vendors boast of having “full QuickBooks integration”, but having your financial system separate from your project management, scheduling, and customer management systems can lead to more problems and ultimately more work for you.
Pi Software Requirements
The browser is the thing. We currently support Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Chrome. The kind of computer and operating system doesn’t matter. Windows XP running Internet Explorer? No problem. Macbook running Firefox? Check. PC running Ubuntu Linux? Sure. This guarantees that you’ll be able to access YOUR data from anywhere – be it a friend’s house after dinner, a coffee bar while on the road, or a copy center out of town.
Our system was designed to be used by the small business owner. Our assumption from the very beginning was that you would rather spend time growing your business than learning software. We designed the system to be obvious, intuitive and flexible – but including ALL of the functionality you need in one place. We don’t sell to large companies – and don’t plan to. Look for it to stay easy to use.
Nothing. That’s right – all you need is a supported browser and an Internet connection to get access to the full set of features in the system including Project Management, Financials, Scheduling, Bidding, Document Management, Reporting and all the rest. That just seems easier to us than you having to install a bunch of CDs, and updates, and patches.
Negative. We take care of all of that for you, and in a big way. Our high speed, fault tolerant, secured network provides all the power you need to run the system – and at no cost to you. This saves you the hassle of buying (not to mention upgrading) server machines and operating systems, cabling, routers, firewalls, etc. We’ve got really good folks who can handle that for you.
Absolutely. Any machine with a supported browser, and any Internet connection will work. We’re even working on some functionality for iPhones and other mobile devices – things that really make sense to use in the field, like scheduling changes, punchlists and change order approvals. All of those features can obviously be used in the field with a laptop and wireless card as well.
How about all of it? Everything in the Pi system works perfectly on an iPad and iPad mini. We’ve also tested it with a few Android tablets, and while it does seem to work well, due to the differences between hardware, opertaing systems and versions, we can’t guarantee everything will be perfect on those devices. But please – if you find any issues, please let us know and we’ll get right on it.
Getting Help When You Need It
We see customer support as a way to continually improve our product – so we take it very seriously. The cornerstone of our support system is our online support. To find a commonly asked question, you can use our online knowledgebase to look for answers. For the not so urgent questions/problems that don’t appear there, you can fill out a form right there in the application (we’ll already know who you are and what you are doing, so you’ll just have to tell us what is wrong) and someone will get back to you within 24 hours. For more urgent issues, you can use live online help – again – right there in the system. Or of course email us anytime.
We gave this a lot of thought, and settled on zero as a good number. We feel that if you have a question about our software that doesn’t have an obvious answer, that is OUR problem. Why should you have to pay to have things made easier – or even FIXED for that matter? No support fees.
It turns out that not being able to connect to the Internet is a pretty rare occurrence – but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t cause you some headaches anyway. But remember – the system is available from any Internet connected machine – so maybe your neighbor will help you out. Or a quick trip to Starbucks would do it.
Protecting Your Valuable Information
Your data (and it is absolutely YOURS), is secured two ways. First, by strong network/firewall security that is tested routinely by professional hackers to insure safety. Secondly, within the database with dual encryption passwords. We can also set up security that only allows logins to your account from specific computers or locations.
Does forever work for you? We think that you should have access to your data whenever you need it. Everything – project data, financial data, schedules, reports – are all kept forever and accessible to you from anywhere. We’ll buy the hard drives – you upload the files.
Data is backed up in REAL TIME to a stand by machine. What this means is that in the very unlikely event that the server hosting your data crashed, the stand by server would take over immediately. Data is also backed up nightly to tape and stored offsite. Most people who do backups themselves only do it every so often, and then keep the disc or tape right next to their computer. So if a fire, flood, or other disaster strikes the main computer, the backup is destroyed as well. Our way is safer, easier, and more affordable.
The servers are stored at separate data center facilities in Portland and Atlanta. Data is replicated across one or more data centers, so in the REALLY unlikely event of something catastrophic like a fire (all of the data centers have fire suppression systems and environmental controls) another data center would take over. Plus it gives us an excuse to travel to Portland and Atlanta every now and then.
Costs and Fees
Well that wouldn’t be very fair, now would it? A free trial is just that – free. You try the software, and if you like it after that (we really think you will), you can start paying us to use it. If you don’t like it, we’d LOVE to know why – so we can change it and earn your business. A lot of other companies won’t even let you try the software on your own until you pay them. That kills us. You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it, would you?
It’s $99 a month. That’s for everything. Every single thing you see there, is all covered. We want to be clear about this, because a lot of companies – MOST, in fact – START you at some monthly rate, and then start adding on other features for more. They have to do that, because it’s the only way they can get more money out of you. We don’t need to do that. We expect that if we keep the cost really reasonable, you’ll tell all of your friends, and they will sign up too. So it’s $99 a month. For the whole thing.
We hate long term contracts. If a product is good, why do I need to sign a contract? Wouldn’t you just keep using it? We think the responsibility for providing a quality product should be on the guys getting paid – us. So we don’t make you sign any contracts at all.
One monthly fee. That’s all we charge. If we add more functionality, you keep paying the same. If we add a whole new module, you keep paying the same. If we improve performance by 10% across the board with some new super-fast servers, you pay the same. If you want us to come wash your car – well, that’ll cost you.
When you release new versions of the software, will I be able to use them? Will there be any additional cost?
The web is wonderful in that it allows us to do one thing that other companies (who sell software that you install from a CD) can’t do – easily roll out changes to the system to everyone at once. If there is a bug that needs to be fixed (yes – even WE find bugs), we can roll it out instantly to everyone. Same thing goes for upgrades, patches, and new versions. It’s so easy, in fact, that we don’t charge you for it. One price. Much easier that way.
Absolutely not. If we aren’t meeting your expectations and you want to go elsewhere, why should you be penalized? If you cancel (just give us 24 hours before your next payment is due, please) you’ll never be charged a dime again. Period. But please – before it gets to that, tell us what you don’t like and we promise to try and fix it.