One of the biggest headaches for our life safety customers is this: keeping inventory costs CURRENT in their alarm business software. Especially with the inflation of the last few years, part prices are changing constantly.
Well, Cornerstone Billing Solutions has solved the problem with our newest alarm business software integration. The payoff for our customers is that they can update their inventory prices with just a few clicks. We’re now integrated with Portal IO, a leading proposal-writing software company. Portal.io maintains one of the most complete product databases for technical industries, with over a million parts, including images and descriptions.
The Key is Connecting your Alarm Business Software to Parts Suppliers
Cornerstone’s software already has a robust quoting module, which ties seamlessly to our service tickets, calendar, and inventory. So why did we choose to integrate with Portal IO? Simple—Portal has invested in building direct connections to parts suppliers across the country. Those connections are the key—they allow our customers to instantly update their part prices in Cornerstone.
We have a training video HERE that goes into detail on the integration.
Manual Inventory Updating in Alarm Business Software – PAINFUL!
For most companies, the current method of updating part prices looks something like this:
- Log into supplier’s website, download current part price list.
- Open CRM or quoting software, open inventory list.
- Sort list (ideally) in same order as part price download list.
- Review / compare prices one by one.
- If needed, update part price in CRM/quoting software.
Most companies have 2-4 primary parts suppliers and maintain an inventory list of 1,000 – 5,000 parts. Needless to say, to update even 1,000 parts across 2 supplier lists is extremely time consuming. It can take one person several days to update prices. Worst of all, once the update is complete, suppliers again change prices, and your list is out of date.
As a result, many life safety companies decide to leave their lists alone and live with outdated prices. It’s just not worth it for them to update their inventory in their alarm business software, even once a month. That means that they don’t know exactly what their margins are jobs and service. The other option is to try to update prices “on the fly” for larger job quotes. But that slows down the quoting process and can result in less timely bids and possibly lost business.
Automated Alarm Business Software – EASY!
Portal IO’s innovation lets our customers use the power of integration to make things EASY. Here’s a testimonial from one of our customers who has also been using Portal:
“It’s great to have Cornerstone integrate with Portal. It has saved us so much time and headache! I love how with only a few clicks our quotes are moved over to Cornerstone with ALL the information. I look forward to seeing what’s next! Keep up the great work. I am so happy we found you guys!”
-Jason, Intec Security
Quote your Jobs in Either Alarm Business Software
If you’re using Cornerstone’s quotes module, you can still add the integration to Portal IO to keep your inventory costs up to date. We’ll train you on the process to do that, but it’s quick and easy. Portal IO also has excellent proposal software that creates beautiful and flexible proposals; several of our customers already use it. If that’s the case, here’s how it would work:
- Generate proposals in Portal IO.
- When proposals are accepted, Cornerstone can pull in the accepted quote(s).
- The imported proposal will include all part details that were in the Portal quote.
- Using “Accept” in Cornerstone, the quote is pushed into the workflow, and a ticket can be instantly created.
- That ticket can then be scheduled on the calendar and managed in the workflow as usual.
So we built this to be flexible for our dealers—they can generate quotes in either alarm business software. Our integration allows our dealers to maintain smooth workflow—keep part prices current, generate great-looking proposals, instantly move the accepted quotes into the normal job management workflow in Cornerstone.
Build Some, Partner for Others
Cornerstone prides itself on playing well with others. That means time-saving integrations with allies like central stations, or with popular GL software like QuickBooks. With this integration, we’re now allies with Portal IO, which could be viewed as a competitor since its proposal software does compete with Cornerstone’s own quoting module.
Why Integrate with Portal.io?
Why this integration? No software company can do everything. On the contrary, niche software companies succeed because they tackle a specific problem or pain point and build a robust solution to save their customers time and money. Cornerstone built that solution many years ago by automating the recurring billing process. We continue to tackle problems that amount to streamlining job management and workflow with a user-friendly ticketing system, calendar, inventory module, and mobile app.
Portal solved the problem of keeping inventory costs up to date, easily. In listening to our dealers, that is a major pain point and a time sinkhole for most of them. Why not partner with the company that built a great solution?
Integrations are complex to both build and maintain. Our customers request integrations frequently—some make sense, others, not so much. There’s a tradeoff in value versus cost to build and maintain. We’ll continue to listen to our dealers, and very selectively build integrations that keep Cornerstone cost-effective, but help solve the biggest issues.
As always, thanks for your support, and contact us if inventory cost management is a headache for you!