Tag: <span>AccuLynx</span>

Get your employees on board with roofing technology

By Meghan Breem for AccuLynx.

No one likes change. It takes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to basically re-learn everything you already knew. But in the world of technology, change is inevitable. Everyday there’s some app or newfangled gadget designed to make like a little simpler. And the roofing industry is no exception.

While these changes for roofers are helpful (and necessary), some team members aren’t always the most excited when it comes to updating their processes. This kind of resistance can make it hard to fully implement new changes as well as affecting morale across the office. Here are some ways you can help implement these changes without scaring off employees.

Explain the Benefits
Before anyone can shoot down the idea of new technology, it’s important to be able to explain why you are making these changes. Employees may not see the need for any upgrades if they are unaware of current performance and overall business goals.

Take some time to prepare an outline of where the company currently is and what you would like to see in the future. That could mean anything from adding more locations to increasing revenue.
When you are able to provide your employees with these kinds of details, they are able to have a better understanding of just how important implementing roofing technology is for the business. You can also explain that the more the company succeeds, the more money that goes into their pockets.

Provide Education
Making sure your team understands how your new roofing software works is the first step to being successful. This can range from providing one on one training with team leaders for department specific functionality to educating the entire company on each feature.

Start off by addressing the updates to all of the employees who will be using the new software. Plan to give them a high-level demonstration so they are aware of how each part affects each team. You should then meet with each team separately to give them a more detailed description, go over functionality and explain how it will affect their day to day activities.

Promote Consistency
The hardest part of implementing new roofing technology is making sure everyone is using it. Some team members can easily fall into old habits, leaving more room for missing or duplicate information.
Maybe you have an office staff member who prefers tracking project statuses with Excel spreadsheets and isn’t comfortable with any type of tools that use automation. Remind them of the benefits by letting them know that while the process is changing, they no longer have to stress about errors, working late to meet deadlines, or waiting for someone to submit missing paperwork. All of these things are added in the system instantly.

Stay up to date on the latest roofing technology news when you sign up for Smart Brief.

Source: AccuLynx.

How to Use Mobile Technology for Your Business in 2019

By Kate Foster, AccuLynx.

Your smartphone can be used for almost anything these days. From ordering food to getting a lift to the airport, there’s an app for it. So why shouldn’t you be able to run your roofing business from your phone or tablet? Here are some ways roofers can make the most out of mobile technology for their businesses.

Marketing with Social Media

Everyone is on social media nowadays, making it one of your most valuable marketing tools. Social media apps can be accessed from anywhere, making them incredibly convenient.

Say one of the jobs you just completed is top-notch work and you want to share it. Snap a quick picture and post it to your Facebook or Instagram page for all your followers (and potential customers) to see. You can also spread the word for events, special promos or new services using social media.

The bonus to these mobile marketing opportunities is the amount of people who will see them. No longer do you have to send out individual emails or snail mail. Instead you can reach thousands with a single post.

Mobile-Friendly Website

Mobile technology is not just for the company end of your business; it can help make your company more accessible to your customers as well. Have you ever clicked on a website on your phone and only part of it pops up on your screen? In that moment it seems like there is no greater annoyance. Help your customers avoid this nuisance by making your website mobile-friendly.

This will potential customers to see your information in the correct scale, so they will not have to scroll and zoom to find what they were looking for. Making your website compatible with mobile devices means you can make the most of technology because it allows for easier usage and accessibility for your customers.

Access Business Information Instantly

One of the largest benefits of mobile technology is that you can use it from anywhere. You can navigate your company’s website, respond to emails and update social media at any time.

Mobile devices also have access to the cloud, allowing you to carry all of your important documents and information with you wherever you go. You’ll never forget a document back at the office or have to lug around heavy paper work again. Having access from anywhere also helps you answer clients’ questions or show them plans on the jobsite, improving your customer service and leading to a happier, well-informed client.

Having the flexibility to work from anywhere and access your information no matter where you are is a huge benefit to your business.

Mobile technology’s ability to simplify the use of your services, connect directly to social media, and provide access to your documents from anywhere make it a must-have tool for your company.

Source: AccuLynx.

4 Ways Software Can Give Roofers a Better Work Life Balance

By Molly Stein, AccuLynx.

For roofers, it can be challenging to balance your busy work life and personal home life. When you’re busy at the job site all day or on the road, your evenings can be dominated by playing catch-up with your office work or reporting, instead of with your family at home.

Mental Health America encourages workers to develop a healthy balance between work and downtime, stating,

“While we all need a certain amount of stress to spur us on and help us perform at our best, the key to managing stress lies in that one magic word: balance. Not only is achieving a healthy work/life balance an attainable goal but workers and businesses alike see the rewards. When workers are balanced and happy, they are more productive, take fewer sick days, and are more likely to stay in their jobs.”

Luckily, advancements in cloud-based technology like those in AccuLynx roofing software can help contractors re-establish that balance by giving them access to the information they need, while providing time savings that they can invest back into their personal life.

Emails, Texts, Phone Calls – All in One Place

Maintaining communication with your office is a crucial part of running a roofing business. But when that communication is spread out over emails from your accounting department, texts from your foreman, and phone calls from your project manager it can all get a little distracting.

Activity feeds and production dashboards can bring together all of the correspondence and data that you need to run your business and collate it into one simplified location with everything you need to know and see in one place.

Eliminate Extra Trips to the Office

When you’re in the field all day, it can be difficult to find the time to stop and check on the status of your other projects, file your paperwork and catch up on your emails – which often means a trip back to the office after an already long day.

When your office is cloud-based, software platforms give roofers comprehensive access to their important files, including estimates, signed contracts, warranties, and more. When roofers can access, edit, and submit their paperwork digitally, they can avoid that extra trip to the office.

Something on Your Mind?

Have you ever felt completely monopolized by work even at the oddest hours of the night or even on vacation? As a business owner or manager, it’s probably hard to focus when you’ve got a nagging question or just want to check one more thing…

Mobile apps let you check in on your job progress or stay up to date with your communication. Skim the Activity Feed, do a quick review of your job statuses and get the peace of mind you need quickly without letting it stop your day.

Get Things Done Right the First Time

Roofers often need to fill out a lot of paperwork on the job site. When you’re collecting contact information, insurance details, measurements and photos of the damages over and over, it can be easy to miss a form field, misspell a name, or even submit the wrong material order for a job.

Smart templates can pre-populate job information for you so that you save time creating estimates and contracts. When you create all of your paperwork within a job file, paperwork isn’t misfiled or misplaced, and all of your information is the same across your documentation, ensuring you won’t have mistakes that need correcting later.

Having a healthy balance between a home life and work is a crucial part of your business. Remember,

“Your work-life balance will determine your career and life successes, so make sure you take the time to focus on each role and balance them accordingly.”

Source: AccuLynx

Keeping Up with Roofing Technology in 2019: Mobile Applications & Software Integrations

A Q&A session with Lynn Foster, RT3 Member and Director of Operations for AccuLynx.

By Kate Foster.

New technology is continuing to shape the roofing industry, but it can be difficult for contractors to evaluate and implement the right solutions for their business.

There are many options to consider, but specifically for small to medium roofing companies, AccuLynx Director of Operations, Lynn Foster, believes growth can be achieved by focusing on mobile applications and software integrations.

Mobile Applications:

From cell phones, to tablets, to e-readers, there really is an app for everything.

Of course, the next place they are taking over is the business world, and that includes the roofing industry. The ability to work out of the office or while on a job-site saves companies time and money as well as providing flexibility for both employees and customers.

What are some apps that roofers should be using the field?

Roofers should be using the apps that help them do their job more efficiently. CRM mobile apps (like AccuLynx), aerial measurements, tracking expenses, time clocks, PDF scanners, notes, call recording – all of these individually can make contractors more productive.

How do CRM’s with mobile applications like AccuLynx help roofing businesses?

Roofers no longer need to rely on their paper files to get access the information they need. They don’t even need to carry around a laptop. Having shared access to all of your estimates, aerial measurements, material orders, contracts, warranties – all in one place – means you’re never digging for the information you need.

When your business information can be transferred instantaneously from device to device, person to person, you eliminate down-time and ensure that you’re never working off of outdated information.

What is a real-life example?

Let’s say you’re on the job, and a homeowner has a question about a change order they placed. But, you don’t have the paper copy with you. While this may have once caused a problem, necessitating someone to go to the office and pick up a copy, it is no problem when you have mobile access to your office. Being able to access all of the documentation associated with a job right from your phone gives roofers the ability to answer homeowner questions, check material delivery schedules, find insurance information – everything, right at your fingertips.

Software Integrations:

The other upcoming technology trend for the roofing industry is software integration. Now that many roofing technology companies, such as AccuLynx, SkyMeasure, EagleView, and SalesRabbit have emerged and found their footing, they have begun to partner to create platforms that fulfill all your roofing needs. Just like a toolbox, these partnerships combine countless uses, from organizing your information and directly ordering supplies to taking aerial measurements and improving your sales techniques, into to one easy to use kit.

Aside from having all of your tools in one spot, the biggest benefit of integration is the efficiency it creates. When all of the companies you use are integrated, you can electronically share information between them, eliminating the need to re-enter information into each different platform. Automated processes also help you cut down on errors because information gets directly transferred from one application to another. Not only does this improve your accuracy, but it also saves you the time you would have wasted locating and fixing the mistakes.

What are the challenges roofers are facing when it comes to technology?

One of the greatest challenges regarding technology in the roofing industry is getting people to convert. Many people, especially those in the older generation, are wary of making the switch. They claim that the pen and paper methods they have used for years work fine. However, these are the people who will start to get passed by as the competition adopts new technology that makes them more efficient, and ultimately, more profitable.

How can roofers start to adopt technology?

If you are still concerned about the transition to technology, it can help to start out small. Decide what you want the technology to do for you, whether it be organize your files, enable you to make direct orders from suppliers, or manage your business more efficiently, and start with that. Once you get used to that part, you can start adding in more and more. This way, it will not seem as overwhelming as it would if you did it all at once.

Any more advice?

It is important to make sure you are committed – only embracing limits the potential that technology can give you. Partially committing won’t result in the benefits you are hoping for and can only do so much in helping you stay ahead of the competition. Fully committing is sure to skyrocket you to success and profit.

Staying ahead the competition is a priority for any roofing business. Who doesn’t want to be the best at what they do and reap the profits from it? Right now, that means taking advantage of technology. With the flexibility, savings in time and money, and the boost in efficiency that technology provides, it would be difficult to not rise above everyone else.

Source: AccuLynx

The ROI of Roofing Reports: How Understanding Your Data Can Impact Your Bottom Line

By Michelle Mittelman, Acculynx.

CRM platforms have evolved into a critical tool for roofers and exterior contractors when it comes to managing and organizing the processes associated with owning and running a service-based contracting business. Expanded features have given roofers the ability to create estimates and contracts, manage production calendars, order measurements and materials, and communicate more effectively across teams.

All of this functionality yields an overwhelming amount of job data that is collected and stored within a CRM. However, most roofing CRM’s offer little to no customization of reporting features, making it difficult to garner insight, visualize and disseminate this information to their teams. As a result, in an effort to combat this lack of data accessibility, roofers often run multiple reports across several platforms in order to see the information they need.

The ability to structure, customize and analyze data within a CRM is the most important tool that a roofer can leverage to make actionable decisions, strategize future production and gain a competitive edge.

Every company is different; roofers service different markets, use different materials and offer various additional exterior trades. The data that is important to one business may not have as great an impact on another when it comes to making decisions that affect the bottom line.

The ideal format of data output and the way that information is analyzed and applied to overall business strategy is so varied, that roofers cannot always rely on static reports to see viable results.

Reporting solutions for roofers need to be flexible.

The ability to create detailed reports, as well as the ability to manipulate the way that the data is grouped, calculated, displayed and shared needs to be customizable.

For example, a company may need to create a sales report for different material lines, or even get as granular as shingles sold by color. Other companies may need to report on the ROI of shingle recycling programs, or rebate offers year over year in order to better understand their overall performance.

Roofers need to be able to see their data to understand it.

The ability for roofers to easily visualize their data is another critical function of reporting. Dashboards can help roofers quickly see and understand high level key performance indicators. The ability to customize dashboards for specific teams or set permissions allows everyone to understand and measure their own success in correlation to the company.

Data should not live in a silo.

The data compiled in your CRM is only useful if it’s being shared with the people who need to see and understand the information. The ability to automatically share detailed reports, dashboards and analytics with your project managers, team leads and sales are critical when it comes to providing transparency and aligning department goals with those of your business. When key employees have access to these reports, they are better able to make adjustments to their strategies, analyze employee performance metrics, and identify existing issues and opportunities.

Successful roofers see the value that comes from understanding business performance. The ongoing ability to monitor reports drives meaningful changes, and ultimately contributes to revenue growth.

Using roofing software to create more accurate estimates and material orders

CRM software with real-time supplier pricing reduces ordering mistakes and homeowner distrust.

By Michelle Mittelman, AccuLynx.

When roofers are in the field assessing storm damage, talking to homeowners, and providing work estimates, one of the most important factors that they rely on is knowing the price of their materials. Every roofer has a preference of who he orders from; and knowing what materials he needs, and how much they cost are a huge part of generating an estimate.

When time is of the essence, a roofer may choose to rely on a template to provide a quote to a homeowner – but what if, unbeknownst to the sales rep, there has been a change in material availability or pricing? That estimate price may change significantly when it is processed as an order, prompting adjustments that could potentially anger the homeowner, and make the roofer appear untrustworthy.

Roofers who order material supplies through a CRM platform like AccuLynx, with a direct integration to a trusted material supplier see more accurate pricing, less mistakes in material ordering, and eliminate the need to handwrite the same information over and over across different documentation.

Using Real-Time Pricing in Your Estimates:

At the start of any job, roofers build estimates based on several factors, including the materials they use, and the costs assigned to those products.

A roofer that has digital access to real-time pricing within his estimates saves valuable time searching for the current price and availability of each individual line item. Templates in AccuLynx that pull from your local branch, with your negotiated rates give roofers an instant, accurate material cost that they can apply to their estimates, eliminating the guesswork, and potential surprises down the line.

CRM platforms with material supplier integrations allow you to complete jobs faster, meaning your company can take on more projects and make more profit.

Order Your Roofing Materials Directly from Your Estimate

Having accurate estimates translates into placing accurate orders. By converting your estimate to a material order through an integration, roofers eliminate human error, provide a digital record from one document to the next, and save time transferring the data from one platform to another. There is no time wasted between steps.

Roofers can feel confident that there will be no surprises in either availability or price when they order materials through their connected CRM platform. This proficiency improves a company’s reputation, leading to more business, and higher customer satisfaction.

Note: This article was first published on AccuLynx’s blog and can be viewed here.

Improve your sales speed: 5 ways to sell more jobs with fewer site visits

By Kate Foster, AccuLynx.

Software for aerial measurements, templates, automation. E-signatures and CRM produces more profits.

During the busy storm season, everyone in the field is looking for ways to improve their sales speed. Faster sales means you have time for more jobs, and having more jobs leads to more profits, and more profits benefit your company as a whole. However, increasing your sales speed can result in sloppy paperwork, lack of attention to critical details, and a lower quality experience for the homeowner – all of which can hurt your business reputation.

In an ideal environment, your sales staff would be able to make fewer site visits for a job, reduce the amount of time and resources spent on each project, and effectively speed up your sales.

But how do you sell more jobs while at the same time reducing the amount of site visits you take?

Use Aerial Measurements to Save Time During Estimation

One way you can improve your sales speed while making fewer job site visits is to use aerial measurements rather than manual ones.

By pre-ordering aerial measurement reports for areas with storm damage, your sales teams will already have access to accurate measurements that they can apply directly to their estimates, saving time up on the roof, and creating paperwork. CRM systems like AccuLynx work with trusted providers like EagleView and SkyMeasure to directly input data into your job file, so your teams come to their appointments prepared.

Accurate measurements helps sales teams avoid lost information or incorrectly entered data so your staff won’t have to make any trips back to the site to remeasure.

Use Templates to Save Time Filling Out the Details

Every roofing business has their own standard set of paperwork, and oftentimes that means your sales teams are working off of a template. Templates are a great way to make sure nothing is forgotten – but what if they skip a section in haste, or accidentally overwrite a previous document?

Using digital templates like the AccuLynx SmartDocs feature allows roofers to create custom, digital templates from the documents they use most on any project. Admins can set mandatory fields, like phone number or Insurance Company, so your field reps can’t submit the file without first filling out the important details.

Using templates means no information gets forgotten and no follow-up phone calls or excess trips to the field are needed.

Avoid Data Re-Entry with Automation

Using digital templates also means once you’ve entered the information once – you’re done! These templates also have the ability to be auto-populate. When you convert your estimate to a contract, you’re not wasting time filling out the same information over and over – they will automatically fill in the assigned data from your CRM for any job you use that template on. The ability to complete your projects faster means you can focus on the next sale.

eSign Your Legal Documents

Homeowners want to know they’re getting a good deal, so you can expect they’ll be getting several quotes for a job. You can take the stress off your sales teams schedules by implementing a legal eSignature component to your paperwork so once a decision is made, they don’t have to drive across town to get a simple scribble.

Sending your Estimate Packet to a customer via email is faster – customers know where to sign and initial, and once they’re done, it’s returned to your job file so your office team can start scheduling the material drop-off and crews.

And, if your sales staff is so great that the homeowner wants to sign on the spot? eSignatures signed on tablets or mobile devices are equally as effective and legally binding.

Have a Process in Place to Streamline Your Sales Pipeline

Having a sales process in place can also help you speed up your sales. A step by step system ensures your sales team knows exactly what to do after each milestone during a job, minimizing time spent figuring out what to do next and allowing them to work more efficiently.

A pre-set process also makes sure everyone is on the same page, facilitating communication and eliminating potential confusion. This allows your sales to proceed faster because everyone is clear on what needs to be done and you do not need to spend time clearing up miscommunications. CRMs can provide your company with a sales process through pipeline features, which guides a job through the various steps of a project from the time it is a lead to the time the job is closed and paid for.

There are many ways to cut out inefficiencies in your sales process without letting your quality and professionalism suffer. Finding the right balance for your company can help shave hours of redundancy off your sales team days, allowing them to visit more homes, make more sales and deliver more profit to your roofing business.

Note: This article was first published on AccuLynx’s blog and can be viewed here.

5 Features to Look for When Evaluating Roofing Contractor Software

By Kate Foster, AccuLynx.

When your company is ready to make the switch from pen and paper to a business management software, you can spend a lot of time evaluating and researching all the options on the market.

While roofing contractor software can help save your company time and money, increasing work efficiency and decreasing project costs, it can be difficult to determine which option has the best features and functionality compared to others.

Looking for these 5 features will ensure you find the best roofing software for your company’s needs.

  1. Flexibility

Flexibility is an essential characteristic when evaluating roofing contractor software. While no software except one custom-designed to your business will ever fulfil every single need or function you can imagine, the best software should be able to solve as many paint points within your business as possible.

What to Look For:

This may mean having many features you can mix and match, such as options in scheduling, assigning leads, and managing your workflow. A wide array of features provides your company with endless possibilities and combinations that it needs to perform its unique job.

A flexible software should also help you develop better processes, allowing for growth and improvement, rather than being a hassle or not saving you any time. Check to see if the roofing software you are considering will grow with your company, providing useful features and options even as your needs change.

  1. Accessibility

The ability to easily access your information is another feature to consider when evaluating roofing contractor software. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to access the content you need when you need it or spending forever trying to download a document.

What to Look For:

Choosing a software that is easily and reliably available can eliminate these frustrations, increasing productivity and efficiency. A software compatible with multiple devices or with an app version are valuable assets in today’s technology-centered world. These features provide 24/7 access to your job information as well as allowing you to take your office with you to any location.

  1. Integrations

Part of having roofing software that is available wherever and whenever you need it depends on how well it is integrated with the vendors and programs you use every day.

What to Look For:

Integration with material suppliers such as ABC Supply, Allied Building Products, as well as programs like QuickBooks, means everything you need is right at your fingertips in one convenient software. When integrated with technology companies such as SkyMeasure or EagleView, software can provide aerial measurements to your company, increasing safety and letting your field staff do their jobs more quickly and accurately.

Not only can an integrated software decrease your overall cost, but it also means you are directly connected to suppliers and accounting, reducing human error, maximizing accuracy, and removing the hassle of logging in to multiple accounts.

  1. Ease of Use

Some software can be confusing and hard to navigate. When updates roll around you must relearn old features as well as new ones, wasting valuable time. The best roofing software simplifies day to day tasks making your job easier, not more complicated.

What to Look For:

In order to find the best program possible, make sure to look for a software with a layout that is easy to navigate and features that are user friendly. Quality customer support can help guide you through any remaining questions, resolving potential problems and making your job as easy as possible. Updates should add to the software in a way that improves the overall functionality rather than simply reworking old features.

  1. Collaboration

A company does not operate with only one person, so your software should not work for only one person either. A good roofing software is applicable for all the different jobs within your business, from sales representatives to project managers to office personnel. More than that, it should connect those people together, facilitating the communication that allows a company to function.

What to Look For:

Features that allow for shared information, such as calendars, tasks, and documents, add clarity to projects and reduce potential miscommunication. A software that allows for collaboration between your staff will help your company work as a cohesive unit, getting jobs done quickly and with precision.

As a business, your main goal is to complete a job efficiently and accurately. The best roofing software provides the organization, tools, and communication that makes such a task possible.

Note: This article first appeared on the AccuLynx blog and can be viewed here.

3 Ways Roofing Software Creates a Seamless Experience for Your Sales Teams

By: Nate Stein, AccuLynx

As industry technology continues to advance, so does the ability of your sales teams to integrate their selling process with software platforms specifically designed to improve their efficiency.


As a roofing company, you rely on the expertise and organization of your teams in the field to generate, track and close new business every season. These teams are constantly on the move, handling massive amounts of paperwork, phone calls and tracking progress through the pipeline. Some roofing businesses may struggle to keep all of these moving parts organized and accessible for accounting and management back in the office. However, as industry technology continues to advance, so does the ability of your sales teams to integrate their selling process with software platforms specifically designed to improve their efficiency.

Unlike in the past, roofing sales teams no longer need to flood filing cabinets with seemingly never-ending loose-leaf paper and copies. Instead, emerging roofing business software platforms can completely change how your salespeople handle the documentation for customers and jobs in progress. By implementing a CRM into your roofing business, you can streamline the selling experience for your roofing sales teams and create urgency for the buyer.

Create Familiarity with Your Customer (and Never Lose Their Information Again)

Everyone remembers the not-so-good ol’ days when you went diving through seas of filing cabinets in order to locate that one phone number belonging to the prospect who you spoke with last week. After taking forever to locate the paper, you give the customer a call back, only to mess their name up during the call because you cannot read the handwriting of the salesperson who jotted down notes during the initial conversation. Now, not only did you waste time locating files, but you also lost a customer by not referring to them by the correct name, making them feel less than valued.

With roofing business software, you can combine the benefits of an ERP and a CRM platform to simplify your roofing sales management. Ditch that messy filing cabinet and replace it with software that allows you to electronically input all customer information and track them from prospect to invoice. Instead of wasting time sifting through physical files, soar through electronic files at lightning speed to locate customer information. Easily search in your CRM by client name, date, salesperson, address, etc.

With your data securely stored in the cloud, you will never lose a customer’s information. In addition, you no longer need to worry about offending your prospect by mispronouncing their name. When you originally speak with customer “Stephen,” you can jot down in your notes that his name is pronounced as “Steven,” and not “Stefan.” Now, when you call Stephen back, you

Leverage an Existing Relationship and Build Trust

Suppose your customer wants to see references or previously completed work. Roofing business software can give you the ability to search in your system for addresses near your customer, or similar style roofs you have completed. You can then send the prospect before and after photos of similar projects to show them that you put pride and effort into your roofing projects.

A CRM can ensure that you consistently give your customer up-to-date, correct information. Say you called a prospect a few weeks back and offered them a special deal on a roof repair. When you get back to them now, you want to make sure that you don’t forget what your original offer was, so that you do not frustrate your customer with incorrect, misleading information.

Track All Correspondence

With a CRM roofing software, your sales team can track all contact with your clients. Whether it is negotiating a deal, offering a discount, or just making a cold call, your sales team can take note of anything they wish, and won’t have to worry about it getting lost. Sales managers can oversee all projects, including which salesperson is dealing with which customer, and wherein the process the project is. With a bird’s eye view of the entire customer pipeline, from prospect to invoice, your teams can take complete control of the entire roofing business workflow.

By giving your sales teams the assets they need to produce more comprehensive, and organized processes, your business has the ability to increase sales, build trust, and make the customer acquisition process more intimate. Modernize your roofing job management with easy to use software that allows you to grow, while at the same time making the lives of you and your sales teams a whole lot easier.

Note: This article first appeared on the AccuLynx blog and can be viewed here.