by Ed Merriman
| September 26, 2014
Parametric estimates provide reliable, reproducible, and flexible views into cost and effort so it’s only natural to want to include this data in a bid and proposal workflow. With TruePlanning 2014 big steps have been taken to make such integration seamless and easily reproducible. New tools in the TruePlanning suite of products, as well as, integrations with some of the major bid and proposal software applications are at the heart of this new feature set. You can learn more about TruePlanning 2014 and the PRICE cost estimation models at our website, but let's take a look at a typical bid & proposal problem here.
Parametric estimation is typically based on specialized CERs that represent the world according to their own specialized mathematical needs, and while the results of parametric analysis are high quality estimates, the estimates do not always flow easily into an organization’s representation of the project as it is reflected in the bid and proposal process. The organization’s representation of the project may be based on internal custom or can be based on external mandate by customers or governments, but the representation is generally different than what is found in the parametric model. The result of the discrepancy is a need to move the data from the parametric world to the bid/proposal world. It is the need for this moving or ‘mapping’ that prevents organizations from fully utilizing the benefits of parametric modeling in their bid and proposal process.
To resolve the ‘mapping’ issue users frequently resort to “hand jamming” Excel files with data exported from the parametric source into cryptic formats required by the bid/proposal software. This often requires many hours for each parametric estimate which negates one of the primary reasons users like parametric estimates in the first place: the speed of producing estimates. Now imagine there are many parametric estimates, each requiring manual data manipulation, and it’s clear why the parametric data isn’t being used in bids and proposals, even though the data could provide great benefit.
One of the major themes of the TruePlanning 2014 release is “localization” and a major component in supporting this theme is providing TruePlanning users with a way to “localize” their parametric data in order to sync it with their organization’s view of the entity being modeled. Such synchronization allows the results from the parametric estimate to flow into the bid/proposal process with minimal effort and maximum effect.
New from PRICE is TrueMapper. TrueMapper is a tool that works with TruePlanning projects and allows users to ‘map’ the results from TruePlanning projects into WBS trees, or any other tree structure that follows a WBS numbering convention. By using TrueMapper users ‘localize’ TruePlanning estimates into their organization’s view of the entity being modeled.
The following screen shot shows a TruePlanning project loaded into the TrueMapper “Mapping Assignment Window” and paired with the 881C WBS for Aircraft.
This TruePlanning estimate is modeling a fictitious unmanned air vehicle and is made up TruePlanning Cost Objects in a “Product Breakdown Structure” or PBS as seen in the left pane in the image above. The PBS is structured to provide a high quality estimate and is quite clearly made up of entities specific to TruePlanning. The WBS found in the right pane is typical of a WBS used by the US military and could be a typical representation used by the bid/proposal process.
In order to make the process as simple and effortless as possible TrueMapper has the ability pull the target structure of the bid/proposal software directly from several applications. Current integrations include ProPricer, QDV (a product popular in Europe), Aceit, and of course, Excel. The WBS shown above was pulled directly from ProPricer. TrueMapper works directly with the ProPricer’s API. Users select the ProPricer project they would like to map their TruePlanning estimate with and the structure of the ProPricer project is automatically pulled into TrueMapper with only a few clicks of the mouse.
Once the bid/proposal structure has been loaded users can then map the cost and hours of the TruePlanning estimate to the bid/proposal structure. Mappings that are common to the bid/proposal structure can be easily saved and applied to multiple TruePlanning estimates in a few steps.
Below are two views of the results of a mapping between a TruePlanning estimate and a structure pulled from ProPricer. The first shows total cost, and the second show hours.
When the mapping has been completed the results of the mapping needs to be made available to the bid/proposal software. Currently TrueMapper can “push” data directly into Aceit and QDV. In the image below, the data provided for the “Top Down” columns was provided by TrueMapper without any manual intervention. This feature is currently in use by customers and is saving them considerable time.
TrueMapper’s integration is most complete with QDV, but PRICE is looking to significantly expand the relationship between TrueMapper and ProPricer and Aceit. Currently PRICE is looking for customers who are interested in working with us to develop a more complete understanding how data needs to flow between the TruePlanning suite of products and the bid/proposal tools they are using.
With the release of TruePlanning 2014 and its theme of localization the ability to have seamless integration between parametric estimates and bid/proposal workflows is here. Customers are starting to have the ability to produce bids and proposals based on current parametric estimates quickly and conveniently. Should cost estimating, ghosting the competition, price-to-win, software cost estimation, total cost of ownership modeling, bid validation, and overall cost realism are now easier than ever. New models in TruePlanning 2014 make bidding electronics more credible. As PRICE expands its integrations with other products, this ability will become easier and provide great benefit to the bid and proposal workflow.