I have CCC pathways and have been notified that they are going to web based estimating. This means I won't get the monthly updates, right? But they want to RAISE the monthly fee. This just seems wrong. Any thoughts??
I Think it costs more now than its worth I could buy a House with what they charge a month! it does'nt need to be more expensive. All of the information providers are expensive. Our monthly charge should be a yearly charge, and even at that I would still think it was expensive.
In general, web based systems are an extension of the computer networking idea. Aside from some potential security and information privacy issues (w/ regards to privacy of customer data and the eventual ownership of it), the maintainability of such systems is easier than the old way of mailing compact discs to end users. Depending on how the data is stored and where (your computers or CCC's) you may be better off concerning data loss due to disaster. Generally you will not have to change/upgrade your computers as fast, since much or all of the "processing" might be done on the information service providers hardware.
It should be said that I represent ComputerLogic in a software product called PMCLogic, which empowers the efficent management of paint and materials costs and use. It is said that knowledge is power, and the software does allow better visibility into a cost item that is apparently problematic across the industry. It is available in two formats, one the traditional "install on your machines" that are updated by compact discs and the other accessed through the web. From a technical point of view, the costs of mailing update discs is offset by the expense of maintaining and operating the servers behind the second format.
As I am too new to the industry to have any idea of the pricing of the CCC information systems, I suppose its value depends how it is used, or rather how thoroughly it is used to provide value to your organization. It does seem to be a common trend for prices to rise.
I think Ben hit one of the major issues, which is information and its use. Web processing is maturing more and more each day. As I see it, the shop information in the system is problematic.
If the estimating system is not in the shop but hosted by an information provider, the IP will see everything written, committed or not, for all shops it works with. That is a tremendous amount of information, they will know more about a shop's business than a shop potentially will. What if they sell that information to consolidators, insurers or a network provider? It is possible shops will provide shop specific information that can be mined and sold to third parties to their detriment.
Since the estimating system will be hosted, the door rates and any DRP rates will be fully viewable by the estimating system company (or third parities they sell it to) for all shops and insurers using the product. Even if an insurer uses a system like NuGen IT, Performance Claims or for that matter they just FAX a printed estimate, if a hosted estimating system is used, the IP will be fully aware of all the rates and all the processes of everybody that use it.
A further concern is the estimate creation process. An estimate may be written and tweeked prior to committing it, it is the finished product. By hosting the system it will be possible to see the tweaking process used by individual shops and estimators, what was added, then subtracted to create the final estimate. It's analogous to doing your taxes on an IRS computer, how much teeeking would you do if all the changes were viewable by the government. It seems that the first order of business is to spell out what is collected, what will be collected and how it will be used, define what is the exclusive private/proprietary shop information/processes, even if that information resides in an on-line system.
Since shops are already paying a fee to use the product, it seems reasonible for CCC to explicitly say how their customer's information will be protected in this new environment. Or if it is not protected to explicitly say that, so the market can decide if that is a good thing or not.
Steven - you hit the nail on the head! I'm so concerned about privacy, not only my customer's but my shop's!!! I'm sure CCC will tell us that they are not collecting data, etc, but I just worry that all the info is on THEIR servers, not mine. Also, good point about the 'tweaking' that goes on with estimates. I'm currently looking into other estimating systems.
I have a news flash for all of you. Your information is already being accessed and shared. I had an insurance company I had no relationship with whatsoever start spitting out figures about my business that they had no way of knowing unless they had access to the information in MY computer.
There is no pont in naming the insurance company or the information provider because I have the greatest confidence this will be denied by both.
You are right. The subgrogation system that insurance companies use "share" the information on collisions their insured are involved in. I wonder what the legal ramifications are, for example if your customer comes in for walk-in non-insurance work.
Theoretically, with a hosted system the IP will now know the customer, vehicle VIN, and other information you put in your system that they didn't know before. Can they share the information? What liability is there for the shop if the info gets out and the owner is damaged. Lets say you have check or credit card information and identity theft takes place. Who gets sued, and who violated state and federal credit laws?
If I were an insurance company I might be a bit nervous as well. What parts if any of the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act apply? I think there is a very interesting can of worms opened here.
I am still writing with Pathways on a windows 2000 machine and only have dial up internet at work. That is by choice, I am not naive of the computer age as one would see by my 3 home machines that can play any PC based video game on the market (ie world of warcraft, everquest, halo).
What I don't NEED at work for writing an estimate is the high end system I use for gaming and media. Actually I don't want that at work either.
Have you all read the new specs they sent out for CCC. it's insane, they want to be the host and then also want me to have a 250gb hard drive.
I currently have a 40gb hard drive in a computer that is 10 years old that has ran pathways for years. I see nothing that special about pathways that I need to continue using it if I need to build a better than gaming PC for the system to work for another ten years. Sure an operating system would be no big thing to upgrade but the rest? for what?
Now I can understand updating the operating system as far as Microsoft no longer supports 2000 but the rest of it is not logical. They are saying with their spec sheet that i need a system that will walk all over my gaming systems which just gets me angry. There is no way I can see that any estimating program can be as big or memory heavy as the real time video games.
I spoke with a CCC rep and ended up with no clear answers either. I do believe I was told those of us on version 4.5 won't have to upgrade to cccone, at least not yet. If that time comes I'll jump ship.
I need to write an estimate, that is it. If I want more I will find it but I don't want it shoved down my throat.
I bailed on CCC after a year of miserable customer service. I also started to distrust the information I was paying dearly for after them getting caught under the sheets with Nationwide in the bumper prompt debacle and a number of other discrepancies, to which I could never manage to get an answer that even a child would accept. For those of you using CCC now, scan one of your own estimates looking for the clearcoat operation on door jambs and some other inner surfaces. If you haven't caught it already, you will be horrified when you find that oftentimes, "edge" time is there but the clearcoat is suspiciously missing. The B.S. answer when I ambushed them over this was, "We do that to offer our customers more choices." How much money did I give away before I found this little oversight?
I look at it this way: I cannot reconcile myself to pay any more than I am absolutely forced to in order to get information I cannot trust or deal with people who routinely insult my intelligence by blowing smoke up my tailpipe. I pay ADP half what I paid CCC for the same unreliable information, so I figure I'm ahead.
After a review of this discussion, I would like to put on my tinfoil cap and climb inside my Faraday cage- (I worked in information security for a long time before I came to work where I am now, so please pardon the paranoid geek references). I presume that the lawyer class will eventually hammer out the intellectual property rights issues, so for now I'd consider hosted solutions with a touch of wariness in spite of various company statements to the effect that "your information will never be shared, etc. etc." I personally would keep my estimating systems and all other systems containing cost, material, and customer data onsite- where they are only exposed to burglary, fire, and the normal dangers:). Updates to the programs, bug fixes, and security updates can be done by cd or online, both of which are very different from having a hosted solution. I suspect that from the volume of data available to insurance companies, most of the damage that can be done will be done with info already available. Note that this is not ComputerLogic's official position- I speak for me only on this point.