Test Driving the New CCC One Estimating System
If you haven’t heard yet, Pathways is going bye-bye. The boring estimating system most of us use is being replaced by CCC One. Why not just update Pathways? Control is the keyword here. CCC wants control of every bit of information of every vehicle you work on. CCC One keeps no estimate or claim information on the user’s computer. Instead, you must have a working Internet connection, and your estimates are stored on CCC’s servers. That information will then be farmed and mined for every nugget of data.
To prove to you just how important the data is that you will be generating for CCC, they could have very easily stored your estimates on your computer and then at night downloaded that information to their servers. But they know you are smarter than that. They know that most repairers won’t want their data being used by CCC to help insurers see what you are doing. They know that many of you would disable CCC’s ability to access your data by closing your Internet connection. The only way CCC could guarantee to their insurance partners that your data would be accessible was to store all your information on CCC’s computers.
That may sound like some crazy conspiracy theorist’s ramblings, but when you give it the slightest thought, there can be no other reason for storing your information on their servers. This scheme slows down estimate writing considerably. Every time you save something, you are saving it online somewhere. This is inherently slow. As soon as the Internet goes down for any reason (and I have had this happen twice already) you can’t get at your estimates or save the one you are working on. Again, their is no other logical reason for saving your information on their servers.
Strangely enough, all the estimating data from Motor is downloaded and stored on your computer, so the actual writing of the estimate is as quick as it was. But the aftermarket database is stored somewhere else, so choosing an aftermarket part takes forever.
Aside from CCC stealing all of your data there are some good and bad features of CCC One. Here’s a run down so you can make your own decision whether to switch to CCC One or start shopping for another estimating system. Forget about keeping Pathways. CCC has made it very clear that Pathways is dead. Either switch to CCC One or hit the road.
CCC One’s new interface is refreshing. Pathways hadn’t changed in so long, any change would be welcome. Entering administrative data is more intuitive–first name first, last name last–and you can now enter more than one contact for each file, and multiple addresses. But CCC’s programmers still insist on using the ambiguous “Evening” as a designation for a phone number instead of the more descriptive “Home.” You can finally include an email address. Welcome to the 21st century CCC! Unfortunately, CCC’s programmers found it too challenging a task to include a button next to the email field that automatically opens the default email client, so you can actually use the email address to email your customer. Maybe they will learn how to do that next semester.
A big improvement, one I have been asking for for years, is automating the VIN decoder. Now when you use an existing customer and vehicle to write an estimate, you don’t have go to the vehicle page and click the “decode VIN” button. It does it automatically. And when entering a new vehicle, as soon as you type the 17th digit, decoding begins. A nice touch.
I am sorry to see that CCC still can’t figure out how to give you any more than the first four letters of the vehicle make. They still insist on using CAPS for everything too. It’s little things like this that reveals the small amount of work that went into rewriting this software. They’ve basically cut and pasted code and used existing modules, given it a new look and passed it off as new software.
My biggest beef with the new software is that it can’t automatically generate RO numbers. You have to manually give each estimate an RO number, which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but here’s where that can be a problem. You write an estimate, give it an RO number, finish the repair and close the estimate. It disappears from your list of open estimates. It will be very easy to use that same number if you are not careful. I’ve done it a couple times already. Makes for a big mess in Quickbooks when you import the invoices. Quickbooks doesn’t allow for duplicate invoice numbers.
I complained about this missing feature immediately, as did many other users. They came out with an update that promised to add a method for auto generated RO numbers. It was listed in the “list of new features” file that came with the update. I guess they figure we are stupid enough to believe they added the feature if they just say they did. It was no where to be found, and when I called CCC to ask why they listed it as a new feature but the feature didn’t exist, I pretty much caused a meltdown. Tech support had to contact development yet no one could answer what happened.
It would be so easy to fix this problem, taking literally just minutes for one of their programmers, why are they stumped?
Stock up on paper if you decide to switch to CCC One. It took years of complaining to get CCC to add a feature to Pathways to allow you to print only the pages you wanted to print. This feature is gone. And to make it worse, no estimate lines print on the first page. Expect to print at least two extra pages per estimate. They still haven’t added an option to print just the supplement without the summary. Like Pathways, you have a choice of printing the supplement with the summary, or just the summary.
It’s little things like this that illustrate the huge disconnect between CCC’s programmers and the end users. All successful software companies have some sort of liaison between the user and the programmers. With specialized software like auto damage estimating, programmers are not going to get a chance to really use the software. They will put it through tests debugging it, but they will never use it in a day to day situation.
If you want to cut down on paper use, download and install some free software called CutePDF. It adds a printer driver to your computer that converts anything you can print into a .pdf file. Then you can open the file in Adobe Reader and print only the pages you want from there. I use it exclusively to print from the paper hog, CCC One.
One feature I like a lot in CCC One is the ability to send feedback to CCC right from the program. Unfortunately, it takes at least a month to get a response from them. And by then I had figured out a work around. Actually, I sent in 19 suggestions and only heard from them on one. So I am going to take this opportunity to list some suggestions here in hope that someone who cares at CCC will get to read them. Because I have no idea where my feedback went and who read it. So here goes:
- First and foremost, add the ability to auto generate a repair order or job number. If your programmers can’t figure out how to do it, give me a call, I’d love to help.
- Give me a way to print only the pages I want right from inside CCC One. And print some estimate lines on the first page. Instead of using Crystal Reports try something else for print preview that allows selective printing. Again, ask if you need suggestions.
- You’ve installed Motor’s database on the user’s computer, why not store the aftermarket database there to so we don’t have to wait 30 seconds for the window to pop up.
- Figure out a way to allow us to export to ems without having to open the estimate.
- How about adding the latest ems standard. XML is so much easier to work with than the antique dbase IV.
- Get rid of the “Evening” option in the phone list and replace with “Home.”
- Figure out how to use the entire model name instead of just the first four letters. I’ll even donate the code to you free of charge.
- Stop using all CAPS. It’s so eighties.
- Why oh why oh why don’t you allow us to change the tax status once the estimate is locked? We are always getting estimates written in other states, or with software improperly set up, that use the wrong tax status or tax rates. We copy the insurance estimate exactly so we can generate a proper supplement. But we can not resolve tax differences. You’ve done this on purpose because you’ve included a message box that tells the user they can’t change the tax status on a locked estimate. This makes no sense to those of us who actually use your software every day. Again, if your programmers are stumped, ask for help.
- Stick a button next to the email field and code it to open the default email client.
- VIN, claim number and license plate should be the only text in upper case.
- Please change the form letter control to a rich text box with a tool bar to format the text and allow Crystal Reports to print the rich text.
- Reconsider your pilfering of OUR data. If the person responsible for this idea were sitting at a table, and someone was holding a gun to his head, that person could not come up with a convincing, logical explanation of why OUR data is on YOUR servers. Gives us back our data. If you want a copy of it that bad, download it at night, but we shouldn’t have to rely on the Internet to access what is OURS.
So should you switch? That depends on how you feel about CCC taking your data. We haven’t decided what to do yet. We got an early start on trying out so we could have some time to evaluate it. Personally, I think that this data scheme is doomed. But if it isn’t–if enough of us continue to allow CCC to control what is OURS, then our problems are much bigger than this.
Today, February 8th, CCC released an update to CCC One that included the ability to automatically generate a job or repair order number. Giving credit where credit is due, THANK YOU CCC for this important upgrade. I eagerly await future improvements.
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