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A leading Scottish building company needed a replacement for their ageing, standalone Estimating System.

Overview

Business Problem

An ageing, standalone estimating system running on obsolete equipment and software

Exmos Solution

Develop a new, multi-user estimating system

Tools used

  • Microsoft Access
  • VBA
  • VB 6
  • Windows NT 3.5

Benefits

Modern, supported solution. Multiple users, higher estimate throughput

Abstract

With a dependency on an ageing estimating system, running on old, obsolete hardware and software, a leading Scottish building company required a replacement solution.

Developed using Microsoft Access/Visual Basic and hosted on a Windows NT network, a replacement solution that would run for the next twelve years provided the company with a significant uplift in functionality. At the same time, the multi-user element of the application provided a significant business advantage in allowing the company to process many estimates simultaneously.

Business Problem

This building company had a standalone Estimating System running on an original IBM PC. This PC was ten years old and they were concerned that should it fail, they would lose a key line-of-business application. Written in BASIC running under the CP/M operating system, the skills to maintain this system were literally non-existent.

They also issued a remit that the replacement system screens/functionality should operate exactly as the existing system. The process involved a considerable amount of data entry and the system operator was proficient in working in a certain manner. It was important not to impact the speed of the existing process through change or a re-training requirement.

The system also operated on floppy disks, meaning each estimate had to be loaded when it was being worked on and then saved away before another could be used.

Exmos Solution

A new Estimating System was created utilising Microsoft Access as the primary development tool. The existing system and source code had to be analysed to ascertain all the functionality it provided, some of which did not surface during the various discussions.

Some advanced coding was required to handle the special screen navigation (which was non-standard to a Windows application) that the emulation of the prior application demanded.

By hosting the complete system within the database environment, the company now had a true multi-user solution. Any user could open and work on any estimate without the load/save from disk routine. When required, multiple users could now work on the same estimate. This allowed the company to push through urgent estimates where previously only a single person could work on it.

An archiving option was also developed to remove completed estimates from the main system to a separate archive database.

A small network was provided and managed as part of the solution.

Business Benefits

The customer removed their dependency on some very old, obsolete equipment and software. At the same time, their employees were able to adapt to the system very quickly due to the similarity with the previous system.

Tools Used

  • Microsoft Access 1.1 / VBA
  • Windows NT 3.5/Windows WG 3.11
  • Visual Basic 6.0