SSP’s latest edition of Workflow Management — WFM 2.0 — is here. With SSP’s WFM 2.0 comes many enhancements and improvements, including an enhancement of one of the core components of the service request: estimates. Here is what changed with SSP’s WFM estimate panels.
First, a Smoother Experience with Estimate Panels
Many of the newer web technologies focus on smoother user experiences, which give more of a desktop application computing experience. The new estimate panel takes full advantage of these technologies. The benefits you may experience include better transitions between requests to the server for more information — without having to refresh the page or panel completely. In addition, the same hierarchical tree view of the work locations, construction standards, and resources is used with seamless transitions between the display of details from one item to the next.
Additionally, the use of these technologies allows for partial loading of estimate items. This partial loading allows very large estimates to display more responsively. In this mode, expanding a tree item allows the page to stay active while indicating a “loading” icon next to that node before displaying the sub-items. In the same manner, saving any adjustments to the estimate happens smoothly and notifies the user upon completion without needing to reload the page.
Macro Units (MUs) In SSP’s WFM 2.0 Estimate Panels
A new feature in the mechanics of the estimate is the concept of a macro unit (MU). The MU allows for creating a template of construction standards that may be used many times with certain quantities and work functions — much the same way that construction standards represent resource collections.
In the estimate panel, these MUs show up as another level in the tree view under work locations. They can be expanded to show the included construction standards beneath. When the quantity of the MU is updated, the total number of resources reflect the cascading quantities of the MU number times the construction standard quantities.
Extension Attributes in the New Estimate Panel
Another enhancement to the estimate panel relates to the concept of extension attributes on work locations, MUs, and construction standards. These extension attributes describe details about construction standards beyond their immediate descriptive attributes. They can be used to describe things that affect the cost of interacting with the resources.
For example, if an electric overhead conductor is hot, it requires different processes and precautions that affect the amount of time and cost to install or remove. This state information can be indicated by using these extended attributes. Similarly, when it comes time to capture as-built information, custom attributes may be needed to capture utility account numbers or vintage year.
From 1.0 to 2.0 and Beyond
It is good to note that all the same great features of SSP’s WFM 1.0 are still available and working smoother than ever in the newest version. This includes allowing for custom areas and fields in the estimate panel, editing capabilities, and the same general look and feel.
In addition, the underlying architecture maintains the same focus to provide relatively straightforward customizability — allowing any custom to create the most useful and efficient work flow for their organization.
Also remaining is the ability to add construction standards and resources to the estimate, though there is a new more focused section of the application related to editing in general called the Estimate Worksheet.
WFM 2.0 takes a great product and adds some useful features, but it is much more than that. Version 2.0 brings a massive overhaul to the UI and most of the underlying software to bring more responsiveness, more extensibility, and more administrative control. All these changes take a powerful and flexible tool to the next level in managing workflows and costing, integrating with other systems, and facilitating day to day operational tasks. The estimate panel enhancement is only one example in a long list of efforts made to facilitate and simplify workflows.
Want to learn more?
Check out SSP’s Workforce Management (WFM) here.