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Alamode software wish list

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terr

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Wisconsin
I did not realize alamode software was monitoring this forum so I want to take this opportunity to have everyone provide any and all wish list feature items improvements you would like to see in appraisal software especially for alamode software including pocket total.

Alamode has the largest market share and has many good features but I know I have numerous things I would like to see alamode improve on:

This is for: Mike Unser
Product Line Manager
a la mode, inc.

I am a one appraiser shop and many features are geared mainly for multiple appraiser shops. Also some features seem to be only profit motivated or keeping up with the competition, rather than trying to help us appraisers be as efficient as possible.

I believe there are many features that still need improvement in Athena and Pocket Total. I think continuous quality improvement is a good goal for any company.

Please let them know and I will as well in a later post after I have compiled everything I would like to see in alamode software. I can't believe I am the only one that thinks improvement is needed.

Thanks in advance I think this will help anyone who uses appraisal software especially alamode software.
 

larryhaskell

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Nevada
One thing they can work on is their PR. I'm a platinum member and was planning to attend my second software workshop. I can attend free. One of their reps called to see if I was interested in attending the workshop in the San Francisco. I made what I believe was a simple and reasonable request. I asked if my wife (not an appraiser) could sit in on the workshop (assuming there was adequate room) on the part dealing with bookkeeping because she does a lot of it by hand now. The reps reply was absolutely not, we have a strict policy against it. He was willing to reduce the fee for a second person attending from $245 to $145. I reiterated my request that she would only attend a one hour workshop on bookkeeping. Again he said no because it wouldn't be fair to the other participants. He was dumbfounded that I would't pay $145 for my wife to attend a one hour class. Huh, and I pay you how much a year and seldom call for assistance. If this is indeed an Alamode policy I think it stinks.
 

Mike Unser

Freshman Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2002
Professional Status
IT Professional-Appraisal Related
State
Texas
Terr, I’m betting any other appraisal software provider would cringe at your e-mail thinking: “holy crap, we’re going to take a pounding.” <grin>

But, a la mode is different. It’s true that our market share is the largest by far. I strongly believe the major reason is that we LISTEN and proactively SEEK feedback from our customers. We respond to what they tell us. Then we take our experience and resources to add innovative new approaches to the appraisal process. This year alone, in addition to enhancing our current software and services, we released:

- A completely new version of our field software, Pocket TOTAL (our first field software was released way back in 1993)
- Our InterFlood mapping technology service (http://www.interflood.com). Thousands of maps are downloaded through it every day.
- An a la mode custom version of Apex IV Windows
- SnapShot additions to WinTOTAL’s Appraisal Desktop that provides daily appraisal news, appraiser profiles, tips and tricks, and other dynamic information.

This quarter we’ll have:

- Version 2.0 of Mercury released. We’re two weeks away from going beta with new plug-ins that are hooked up to major MLS’s across the country. You can push MLS data right into WinTOTAL’s Comparables Database.
- New, large partners who are standardizing on our appraisal ordering, management, and delivery platform
- A complete revamp of our annual service agreements (if you’re an a la mode customer, you may have seen our questionnaire asking you what we should add or change)
- New web services that let you build on the fly smart, rich, content-driven web sites. Including appraisal ordering options.

I’ll briefly talk about the software side and what we’re working on now.

For Pocket TOTAL, we’re taking our Pocket Genie to beta later this week or very early the next. It lets you build your own field inspection forms. The data you place within your custom form gets placed into WinTOTAL’s workfile and, naturally, into whatever major form you select or have in your appraisal.

On WinTOTAL, we’re always busy adding and improving it. But here’s a SHORT breakdown:

- More forms of course. We average nearly 3 new ones each week.
- Location mapping enhancements with new, richer looking maps. (More than 32,000 maps are now downloaded through WinTOTAL each business day.)
- An overhaul to the way our contacts database works
- Improvements to transfers, like those you see in invoicing, major form to major form options, and scalability with minor form transfers
- Full focus on Comparables Database enhancements and comp management features, like side-by-side comps viewing and pre-defined sales grid adjustments
- Added converter support across all our competitors that converts the most used major forms, comps database, canned comments database, and addenda

You’ll find the larger list soon on the WinTOTAL Users Group, which is perhaps better for this type information since that forum is filled with WinTOTAL users only. Well, there are some competitor spies trying to learn what they should do differently. <grin>

I remember last time I sent the group the big list I was specking out and designing Athena, our latest version of WinTOTAL. I gave them a list of the 50 top customer suggestions we’ve ever received. We got all but three of them into Athena. We truly do listen. The group is at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Total2000UsersGroup/

Mike Unser
Product Line Manager
a la mode, inc.
 

dbiggers

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Professional Status
IT Professional-Appraisal Related
State
Florida
Larry, that's not a PR issue. I'm glad to see that our staff stuck to their guns on this one. I wish you could see what we pay the hotels per person for these seminars. Let me give you a great example: $100 per gallon of coffee is rather typical. No, that's not a typo. Couple that with the fact that many sessions have tight seating where we have to turn people away, and the fact that, as the staffer explained, it would be unfair to let anyone in for any period without paying. It's like someone saying at a football game, "I only want to see the last 5 minutes of the first quarter -- can I get in for free?". They can't because once they're in and given a ticket, there's no way to control whether they stay for the whole seminar or just one hour.

If a client says they just want the final number of an appraisal report, not the whole thing, do they get it for free? Same thing.

Dave Biggers
CEO
a la mode, inc.
 

larryhaskell

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Nevada
No it isn't Dave. If seating was an issue I would understand. I've been to your workshop before Dave and none of the sessions were standing room only. That didn't come up in the conversation. I typically stay in the hotel where the workshop is held so trust me, my wife can go an hour without drinking your $100 per gallon coffee. I was willing to do whatever was necessary to be upfront about the whole issue. In case you haven't attended your workshops Dave, people go in and out of the rooms so often it would be impossible for your staff to know who belonged and who didn't. I probably could have snuck her in and no one would have been the wiser. In this case, I tried to do it the right way. So yes Dave, it is a PR issue but by all means stick to your guns. And by the way Dave, doesn't $145 for a one hour session when someone else can attend all of the sessions for $245 seem just a little out of wack based on your logic. I wasn't offered a fee for just one session. I would have seriously considered that option. Based on the number of available sessions (maybe 20 sessions) divided into $245 I would have gladly paid $12.25 or more for my wife to attend. Remember Dave, we are attending the workshop to learn how to use your software more effectively. The more we know about the software the more productive we become. We can buy even more of your producets. When someone asks us how is Alamode Software to work with, our response may influence someone to buy your product or not to buy it. I'm sure you've read some of the posts in this forum, not everyone loves Alamode.
 

larryhaskell

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Nevada
Dave:

One final point. No I don't just give a value free because I have to do an appraisal to determine a value to avoid violating USPAP. However, from time to time I do provide certain services to good clients for no charge providing I can do so without breaking the law or violating USPAP. Its called PUBLIC RELATIONS Dave.
 

Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
One suggest is lower the price. As a one man appraiser in a small rural are WinTotal was just to pricey for me. I used the DOS version for years and when I went to Windows I had to buy something else because I simply could not afford Total. Recently I updated my software and stayed with my current brand even though I had some big issues with it. (new one solved those I might add).

If as someone else says it offers things aimed a multiple users maybe a "Lite" version could be offered for us one man shops? I know a few other Appraisers like me that wont buy Ala Mode because of the price of the software and upgrades. many of use were DOS users and like it. I am sure it is good software but I just couldn't justify the extra. It's easy to say it will pay for itself in the long run and that may be so. But I was never convinced and couldn't spare the extra (nearly double) to find out.
 

EDWARD BERRY

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
Dave,

Our NW Arkansas appraisal chapter offered your company free coffee, free donuts, ETc to conduct a class in Springdale. And would pay a slightly reduced fee.

The answer was no($1,200) as I recall.

There are over 90 lic appraisers in these 2 counties.
I am the only one not using Total, so if you got um hooked reel um in.
caustic ed in arkansas
 

BarbaraNJ

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
New Jersey
I have many issues, and am 50/50 on changing software. As you all know, the CHANGEOVER and the time it takes is the biggest impediment to changing software and what, I believe, many companies (including Alamode) counts on.

Two concerns that come to mind include the issue most small shops seem to agree on; many of the new developments seem geared to larger companies. One of the things that Alamode brags about is that your membership includes updates, including "NEW FORMS" added All The Time, and how other software firms charge for that upgrade. SO WHAT???
I don't need Canadian, and DO NOT USE 80% of the forms. So I wouldn't be paying the extra, now would I????

Second, the seminars. Seems that the seminars are held at the company's convenience. Alamode couldn't be bothered with the "free coffee" offer by one of the previous posts who were actually Eager to listen to them. Also, I cannot remeber there EVER being ONE seminar held in NJ. Also, very few in NY, not that I care to cross the Bridge.

If the seminars help an appraiser use the software more efficiently and more easily, wouldn't it make sense to offer TONS of seminars FREE to "Hook" everyone on the software??? More new customers and more repeat customers and more satisfied customers praising the software should cover the cost of that $100. gallon of coffee.

BarbaraNJ
________________________________

The Harder I Work, The Luckier I Get
 

Em Tee

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Personally, I don't want to use software that I have to keep attending training to learn how to run - much less PAY to learn, then PAY to call tech support when it doesn't work. In the past 2 years, I've had to call my software provider's tech support only one time!

KISS
(keep it simple, stupid)
 
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