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Sales proposals can determine whether a deal is booked or lost. In most organizations the process of creating and delivering a proposal is manual and one-off, with many potential places for mistakes. This lack of rigor and efficiency impairs many organizations’ ability to leverage their resources. Proposal Software helps sales organizations with an application called PMAPS that addresses sales management and operations. 

PMAPS enables you to search and generate proposals and also to manage the overall process, from days to respond and time taken along with all the details related to communication and follow-up. Sales operations staff will find this Microsoft Windows-based application easy to use for reporting on the state of proposals. But as technologies change and with today’s focus on the Web and mobile applications, Proposal Software is migrating to a new platform for its applications, leaving the Windows application in a final stage of development. 

The Web version of PMAPS adds flexibility in the management and creation of proposals. The software’s SalesDocBuilder and a wizard help managers and front-line sales professionals  use templates to assemble pitch books of presentations and documents for sales prospects. Users can also create pitch books through a mobile Web version. This helps address the problem of information scattered through an organization; our sales benchmark research found this problem to be the top impediment to sales performance in 51 percent of organizations. If your organization has to respond consistently to requests for information, proposals or quotes (RFI, RFP or RFQ), the PMAPS Assembly Center helps gather the right information for a thorough and professional response. No programming is required; everything is done through a user-driven application. 

I like the way this small application that floats on the desktop lets you access sales information or jump into starting a pitch book or proposal. The software uses a role-based approach for proposal writers, sales, preview or review staff and administrators. Just as important is that the application is accessible via smartphone and tablets through PMAPS WebPro Mobile, which makes it easy to get to information and create documents for proposals while on the go. If you believe in building a sales knowledge base to improve the potential of your sales organization, the company’s Q&A Database can help significantly, and reduce the load on sales and presales operations. The latest release PMAPS WebPro 7.0 also facilitates making assignments and shredding outdated documents so they are not used again. 

If you are not sure why you should tackle having a dedicated application for sales proposals, look at the detailed functionality provided. While many providers of sales force automation (SFA) have the ability to securely store and access content, they do not give you the ability to generate proposals. I noted in my analysis of Salesforce.com’s latest advancements to help sales that this is a gap in its product offerings. Proposal Software has used the Salesforce API to integrate with the company’s SFA, and it has done the same for other partners, too. 

Proposal Software makes its application available for rent as secure software as a service (SaaS), operating 24-by-7 and eliminating the need to worry about internal resources to manage the applications and content. The company still offers an on-premises version also. 

In this challenging economic environment every sales organization needs to be timely and thorough in response to sales opportunities. If your sales organization still manually copies and pastes content and selects stand-alone files to send to sales prospects, you risk falling behind. Proposal Software’s PMAPS WebPro is a robust package of all the functionality for managing proposals, pitches and the process of providing high-quality information to your prospects to close deals. Our benchmark research into sales analytics found that the average time to close is a key sales metrics, and Proposal Software can help address it. Building pitches and proposals in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint or Adobe Acrobat should not be difficult, and it is simple with Proposal Software. If you are in sales at any level and have not checked out Proposal’s offering, take a look at PMAPS as part of the way to fulfill the promise of sales force automation. 

Regards,

Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer

A key component of workforce management software is to aid in scheduling and tracking time and attendance, streamlining interactions between managers and employees regarding these aspects of the job and promoting compliance with corporate and regulatory policies. WorkForce Software has been growing rapidly over the last decade while meeting these needs with an application suite that covers issues from leave management to case management. Its product helps businesses deal with overlapping regulations from federal and state governments, union contracts and corporate-level policies, and is being deployed in industries such as education, utilities, banking, the public sector, entertainment and transportation, especially in midsize organizations looking for workforce efficiency. The company is expanding its global reach through its partners and distribution channel.  

The WorkForce Software application suite is built around EmpCenter and is available in several deployment modes: in the cloud through software as a service, licensed and installed on-premises or run in a hosted environment. The suite covers time and attendance, absence compliance, advanced scheduling, employee fatigue management and analytics. The Web-based application suite has a user-friendly interface. It includes a variety of data collection options for gaining time and attendance information from a range of existing technologies. It supports interactive voice response (IVR) as another means to get information from employees. WorkForce Software also provides a product for midsize organizations called EmpCenter Express that was announced earlier in 2011.

WorkForce Software now provides access to its software via mobile technology on smartphone platforms including RIM Blackberry, Apple iPhone and Android-based devices through EmpCenter ToGo. The software makes it easy for managers to see work-related information, updates from employees and required approvals. I expect to see further advances in mobility as the variety of tablets and smartphones continues to expand, forcing organizations to support a broader set of choices in employees’ personal devices. I tried to access the applications from my iPhone and its App Store, but it’s not easy to find; it is part of what is called Vortex Connect, which houses the application and access to EmpCenter. I found no freely accessible demonstration available to try, but the screenshots and reviews make the software look simple, with the ability to perform a range of employee and manager tasks. 

Our workforce analytics benchmark research found that people in organizations spend two-thirds of their time on data-related activities that require automation. Toward this end WorkForce Software provides a packaged library of reports in EmpCenter Analytics and offers the ability to build reports using SAP Crystal Reports technology. It also supports a common data store into which users can import other business-related data about employees and supporting accounting and operational data. The analytics software can show customized views that highlight critical exceptions. I advise the company to make these analytics and metrics available via mobile devices in future releases.  

WorkForce Software also addresses an issue sometimes overlooked: worker fatigue that can come from not enough time off between shifts or other causes managers notice. Handling this is critical in every industry but especially in ones where workers can impact other people through direct action, such as healthcare, transportation or energy, or indirectly through guidance, as in the airline industry and emergency response. WorkForce Software has blended into EmpCenter FM a means to ensure that employees designated fatigued cannot be scheduled, along with auditing and compliance features. 

WorkForce Software is meeting the needs of global customers by supporting localization of applications in other languages, including those that use double-byte characters in Asia Pacific and ones that require right-to-left reading. The current version 8.1 is expected to be supplanted by a new version before the end of the year with new capabilities but a continued focus on usability and functionality. 

WorkForce Software offers a solid foundation of customer- and team-focused applications for workforce management. We will look at it again in upcoming benchmark research on the next generation of workforce management processes and applications, with a focus on collaboration and mobility among managers and employees. The company competes in workforce management with suppliers such as DayForce, Infor and Kronos. WorkForce Software’s ability to manage worker fatigue and policy compliance are distinguishing points of its applications, as is easy mobile access to the application suite across multiple devices. If you are considering adopting workforce management applications, we advise you to put WorkForce Software on your list of providers. 

Regards,

Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer

Mark Smith – Twitter

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