For example, a hospital with hundreds of rooms may request a bid from Ascom for communications equipment in each room. To provide the hospital with an accurate cost estimate took Ascom hours, and sometimes days, using traditional spreadsheet technology. The issue is that spreadsheets require users to manually key in each component and associated costs and then integrate and tally the various spreadsheet totals. In addition to being time consuming, it is typically prone to inaccuracies through human error and a lack of consistency in pricing and case estimation costs.
These were the factors which led Ascom to Sigma Estimates in search of a more effective alternative.
Ascom’s top three requirements were:
- Accuracy: To mitigate the common risks that comes with human errors and spreadsheets.
- Integration: With the company’s existing investments in a Microsoft Dynamics AX enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
- Flexibility: To support customizations by different countries throughout the company.
The Sigma Solution
For Ascom, Sigma was ideal because of its ability to address those key requirements as well as the product’s ease of use. Using Sigma, Ascom is able to quickly determine which components are required for a specific case and the associated costs. The flexibility of the software also supports adjustments and allows for the creation of templates and what-if scenarios.
Since Sigma features an intuitive, familiar spreadsheet- like interface, Ascom was up and running with the software within hours enabling both estimators and engineers to dive in with minimal training. It’s worth noting that Sigma Estimates finds users familiar with traditional spreadsheets can further reduce the Sigma learning curve.
“While the architectural scripts behind the scenes are very complex, Sigma is highly intuitive and powerful, yet very easy to use,” said Johan Hansen, one of Ascom’s ERP case managers in the company’s Wireless Solutions division, responsible for implementing Sigma as well as the division’s ERP at their subsidiaries.
Hansen says it was a straightforward and collaborative process. Since Sigma is built on standards-based software, Ascom was able to easily customize features specific to its business needs.
“We considered alternative offerings and found our options were limited to generic spreadsheets or highly customized solutions that were locked down. With Sigma, we realized a better alternative to provide accurate estimates, create our own customized templates, and enable users across our local companies to save time and money using cost estimation software”, says Johan Hansen, ERP Projecct Manager, Ascom.
Ascom first started using Sigma in 2005 in its Danish office. Today there are more than 100 users throughout Ascom’s many offices.
About Ascom Wireless Solutions
Ascom is an international provider of telecommunications products and services. The company has established itself as a leader in mission-critical communications and its offerings span three primary areas: wireless solutions, mobile network testing and optimization, and security communication.
Ascom’s Wireless Solutions division sells its products in the business-to-business market and its customers include: security facilities, hospitals, national and local safety providers, elderly care and assisted living facilities, hotels, manufacturing plants, retailers, and highway and railway safety providers.
Based in Switzerland, Ascom’s presence spans 20 countries with more than 2,300 employees. Ascom registered shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange in Zurich (ASCN).