Most cost estimating systems connect to one or more content data sources, even those based in Microsoft Excel. Without them, the estimating system is just a spreadsheet. Content data is hard to develop and maintain. Without standards for development and maintenance, consumers lose trust in the data and you are back to spreadsheet estimating.
What makes a database or knowledgebase effective? Is it finding a vendor that you trust for content, pricing, and automation capabilities, or building your own? There is no single, easy answer to these questions. Here are some key concepts that define your database or knowledgebase strategy:
- Database development and maintenance committee
- Build vs. buy
- Coding and nomenclature standards
- Multiple content and pricing sources
- Branding: Your database has a pedigree that can match up against any other database