Early last week we tracked down longtime D3M user Matt Greenwood from Baycom, Inc. to see what he has to say about D3M. Using the tool at all 4 of their locations, check out how Matt & Baycom uses D3M.
What do your daily activities entail?
I assist our sales team by designing two-way radio systems and technicians by staging those systems. I also do remote support for customers and our technicians that are in the field. I occasionally still get to go out in the field and work with equipment as well.
You mentioned that you assist the sales team. Do they use D3M?
We do! More and more with the newer sales members. Some of the older guys that aren’t as comfortable with computers and are still growing and getting used to it. We’re seeing it more and more. The young guys love it! It’s a really good way for them to understand a project, and have a better feel for what is needed to make the system work then present it to a customer.
Who do you interact with on a daily basis?
I work with customers and the Sales Department in pre-sales system design. As well IT departments to be sure the networking aspects have been addressed, and are ready for the Field Technicians before they are on site.
Prior to D3M, what tools were you using to design and document your two-way radio networks?
Primarily Visio for larger systems and for smaller systems, unfortunately, a lot of times it just did not get done like it should have been. We ran into issues with Visio being quite a bit costlier and we didn’t have licenses for all of our users. D3M is much more affordable to provided licenses to every user that needs it.
How does D3M compare to Visio?
I would say it’s similar. D3M definitely gives us everything we need. There are a few things that aren’t there, but it’s a lot better on the presentation sales-side to present a proposal, as well as the fleet mapping and the ability to attach documents. These are things we did not have with Visio and they have been very helpful.
You mentioned that there are some things that Visio did that D3M doesn’t do. What are those features?
Some of the graphical stuff. Multiple layers until more recently. It may sound like an insufficient complaint, but not being able to modify the connecting lines was very frustrating. One of the best things about D3M is that fact that they listen to our input. It seemed like such a minor thing that we couldn’t modify the lines that auto-snapped in place. We really didn’t like that, and D3M changed it. The biggest advantage of D3M is that we can talk directly with the developers and provide input. It is taken into consideration and we often changes directly related to our suggestions.
That is really phenomenal for a two-way radio shop to be able to have that kind of input because honestly, Microsoft probably doesn’t care what I have to say. We’re likely asking for features that will benefit other users as well, but it’s great that they have been so responsive to the end users input. They say hey, “this will make it better,” and often have taken them into consideration and made that changes.
How often are you using D3M?
It really does go in streaks. When we’re quoting out a new system we use it multiple times, all day long. Other times when we’re not deploying new systems, we’re not in there as often. I can definitely say we use it multiple times per a week.
On average, how much time does D3M save you?
It’s hard to say, but it definitely does. The ability to collaborate and work together saves us a lot of time. We have shops that are geographically diverse, one that is about 2 hours away if we were to drive there. D3M gives us the ability to work with others remotely rather than meeting in person and reducing our productivity. We can work in the same project together simultaneously. While talking on the phone, D3M gives us the visual aspect of the discussion. It’s much more efficient way to collaborate. It has saved us a lot of time on the front and back end with good documentation, fleetmaps, and keeping track of things. It has been very beneficial.
How has your Baycom implemented D3M into the process of managing your radio network projects?
Our sales team starts the project with basic information, then a technician or system engineer would look it over before it’s actually quoted to make sure we’re not missing anything. At that time, if it is approved by the customer, we would use the D3M project for staging where a technician will add documentation such as serial numbers, firmware versions, and IP addresses. Once the system is deployed, the field technician adds additional notes, pictures, or change orders. During the staging phase, we save codeplugs to the documents section. Once the deployment is completed, we can use the system diagram and fleetmap as a deliverable to the customer.
At what stage has D3M helped you & your dealership the most during the sales cycle?
D3M has helped us with pre-sales because it gives us a chance to put everything in front of us and connect the dots, and see what we forgot. We are less likely to be committed to a price and a solution, then find out we missed a piece of hardware. It’s very helpful and keeps us more profitable.
For the documentation stage, when we get something deployed and it goes really well, sometimes we don’t see or touch it for a years. If we need to go back to that customer to do an upgrade or addition. It is very beneficial to be able to look back at the documentation, and know what is needed.
Have there been any WOW moments, where you said... that is really cool. I didn't know D3M can do that!
The addition of the multiple layers in the diagram. Being able to turn on the grid, as well as adjusting the connecting lines were all a really nice surprise. Being able to create custom objects and adding our own images, is also very helpful! I was a bit hesitant when we first saw D3M a couple of years ago in Vegas based on the fact that it was web-based. I wasn’t keen on that, but I love how versatile it is. I can work on a system design on my iPad or on my phone when I’m stuck at a location and I have some time. You can be sitting at the airport and easily work on a system design from a mobile device. You can’t do that with Visio.
What is the most significant benefit of using D3M?
The amount of time that we save and the improved accuracy whether it be in quoting or documentation. Being able to accurately quote something is very important.
Is there anything that you find frustrating about D3M?
I’d love to see the rack view… I look forward to seeing it and I completely understand why it’s not available yet. Another thing I’d would like, is if it was easier to move the text that is attached to the objects, the properties such as model and serial number. I would put that above the items or off to the side.
Do you have comments, suggestions or additional features that would help us improve D3M?
The only thing that I can think of is for dealers that aren’t already using D3M, is that they know that Motorola Dollars can be used to pay for D3M. It was a big deciding factor for us. When we were up in the air about deciding whether or not we were going to sign up, we were demoing it, we liked it and when we found out we could pay for it that way, it solidified it right there – that we could pay for it that way. That pushed us over right there. Now that we’re using it, maybe it wasn’t such a deciding factor, but at the time it was.
If you were to review D3M what score would you give it out of 10?
“D3M has been beneficial to XXX because…”
It has improved our productivity and accuracy.