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5 crucial steps to successfully use cost estimating software

Cleopatra, cost estimating software

At Cost Engineering Consultancy we have helped many organizations in their search for the right cost estimating and cost management software. Over the years we have identified some critical areas that determine the successful use of dedicated cost estimating tools. These are five of the most important factors.


1. Find the right software for your needs

Once you have concluded that Excel is no longer capable to support the size and quantity of your cost estimating projects (and there could be many reasons for that), it comes down to finding the right software tool.

This is of course a very important step, as the software of your choice should be capable to support all of your requirements, even the requirements you are not yet aware of. In other words, the software should be ‘future proof’.

Looking at the market of cost estimating software, there are various tools that are targeting a limited range of industries (e.g. offshore or civil construction), as well as tools that target a broader industry (e.g. general process industry).


2. Make proper use of techniques that modern software has to offer

The whole idea of using a dedicated cost estimating solution, is to leverage the capabilities these tools offer. However, too often estimating teams use only a fraction of the functions in their software just because they are not aware of all the functions.

It is therefore worth investing in a proper training. For our own tool – Cleopatra Enterprise – we offer both classroom and e-learning training to ensure users learn to make full use of the tool’s potential.


3. Build and maintain your cost knowledgebase

One of the main benefits of proper cost estimating software is the central database architecture, offering a central knowledgebase for cost data and historical projects. Although there are many rich datasets available on the market, such as the CESK Cost Engineering Standard Database, it is worth investing time in growing and updating your own knowledgebase. That way you can easily re-use valuable information when needed.


4. Properly organize your executed projects for future learning

Especially during conceptual and feasibility stages of your project it is important that your cost estimating software provides easy access to historical projects. Being able to logically organize and label your projects is therefore essential. This helps to quickly pull projects with similar characteristics from your project database.


5. Invest in experienced and qualified cost estimators

Having the right cost estimating software in place and knowing how to use it properly is important, but not the only ingredient for a successful result. Cost estimating software makes your life much easier and provides tools to increase the confidence, reliability and accuracy of your estimates. But cost estimating is and will be a true profession.

Therefore, it remains important to invest in well qualified and skilled cost estimators. Various training and education (certification) programs are available that teach people the important aspects of today’s cost estimating challenges.

Something to add to this story? Contact us.

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