Why do we need dedicated cost estimation software? Why is Excel simply not good enough?

Why is Excel use so widespread?

Well to be fair, Excel is an excellent piece of software
•    Hardwired in all company structures
•    Commonly available for all working within a company environment
•    In general it does exactly what you tell it to do
•    It has some sweet gadgets built-in that are easily accessible
•    It is versatile

Why is dedicated cost estimation software better than Excel?

•    Because we need more versatility!
•    Because  all the other engineers have dedicated software, so we want it too (admittedly not the strongest reason)
•    We need software  that does more than we tell it do, because in the field of cost control and cost estimation, everything changes all the time
•    Cost estimation software built-in gadgets are designed exactly for what we need and not for sort of what we need
•    Making technical drawings was revolutionized by the introduction of software like AutoCad, making process designs is made easy by tools like HoneyWell Unisim (link: to dunno), cost estimation could reap the same benefits

If all industries and disciplines profit from dedicated software it only makes sense the same would be true for cost estimation software and cost control software. Why not request a demo (link: request a demo) and judge for yourselves?

What are those benefits I’m talking about

If you try and build an estimate in Excel, you can have all your data in one sheet. Depending on columns you can also create dependencies using intricate formulas and get all the right numbers. Only what are you doing afterwards when you have similar estimates? Will you go in, and change all quantities and prices manually? Would you like it if your colleagues changed your formulas? Would you protect them so they can’t? How many hoops would you be willing to jump through to prepare your data for pivot tables or creating a graph?

It is true that Excel could be made to do all these things, but certainly not at the press of a button. You’re making it do something it can do, but it had not been designed with those parameters in mind
The main advantages of having dedicated cost estimation software:
•    Store your cost components in dedicated knowledgebase and re-use them
•    Create visuals and totals with the press of a button (all your ranges are dynamic)
•    State of the art analysis tools
•    Easily adaptable
•    Create cross section views of the estimate on-the fly
•    Use Excel for input sheets
•    Automate all your processes
•    Store recommended practices in templates
•    Use benchmarking and analysis tools
•    Perform cost control and cost estimation from within the same tool

In short

We owe it to ourselves to at least be aware of the options available on the market. In our rapidly changing environment we can’t be spending time on simple data entry. The right tool earns itself back in time savings and in increased quality. Being able to look at a project from different angles at the press of a button is what the market desires.  Make sure you have the right tools for the trade.

Related articles

What are project controls and what are the benefits?

The key role of cost estimating in project management

5 reasons why you can’t do a project without cost estimating

Project estimation needs accurate forecasting, but how to realize this?

Embracing the digital revolution