Setting the record straight on Apex and WinTOTAL

Setting the record straight on Apex and WinTOTAL

Document 9002  ¦  Last updated:  05/13/2016 JH9

To:
All WinTOTAL and XSite users
Re:
Setting the record straight on Apex and WinTOTAL
From:
Dave Biggers, Chairman, a la mode technologies, llc.

A number of you have called us recently concerned about contacts which you’ve received from Apex Software’s salespeople.  Given that sketching is an absolutely required component of your appraisal reports, we don’t take it lightly when there’s any level of confusion or misinformation about sketching in WinTOTAL.

Before we get into the details, here’s a quick summary of what we need to make clear:

  • We have not granted Apex permission to use the names from our XSites Network list, or use any other list in any other form or fashion, to solicit users to buy an Apex upgrade.
  • All previously supported versions of Apex continue to work as they always have in WinTOTAL.
  • There is nothing changed in WinTOTAL which requires you to upgrade to a new version of Apex.

While these statements may seem to be common sense, the phone calls and e‑mails we’ve been receiving lately about statements by Apex’s staff have raised one or more of these issues pretty consistently.

I know it’s easy for technical things to seem threatening and stressful when linked to a sales pressure situation ‑ especially since you’re not in the technology business and you just want your stuff to work properly.  Like most appraisers, I doubt you want to be caught in the middle of conflicts, only to find that you spent money you didn’t need to out of fear of losing access to sketching in WinTOTAL.

The bottom line is that you don’t have to do anything at all.  If your sketching works fine, regardless of the brand, you’re under no pressure to change anything.  If you do consider an upgrade, just evaluate it as you would any other purchase (on the basis of new features and enhanced productivity, or whatever you desire), not on the basis of an assumption that we’re endorsing an outside sales call or that we’re causing it to be necessary.

Above all, don’t feel like there’s any pressure to pay anything to anyone for sketching ‑ whether to us or to a third party.  Remember that every copy of WinTOTAL already includes our TOTAL Sketch sketching program, pre-installed on all of your PCs and absolutely free.  Just like photos or comps or street mapping, WinTOTAL includes all the core report writing functions at no charge.  Sketching is no different in our mind.  We’re not going to have a “hole” in a mandatory part of the report writing process and then charge extra for a tool which should be treated as a commodity.  (We learned that lesson when we originally tied Aurora to an Apex upgrade.)

There are lots of corollary benefits to TOTAL Sketch being included free, even if you choose to primarily use a third party add-on sketcher.  For example, if you’re ever in a technical bind using a different sketching program (like on a weekend or late at night when your sketch vendor doesn’t provide support), you can do an emergency floorplan in TOTAL Sketch.  It costs nothing for extra seats, either ‑ so if you add a WinTOTAL PC to your operation, TOTAL Sketch is instantly available on it without having to register anything.

It’s probably best to think of TOTAL Sketch as both a sketcher and as an insurance policy against future headaches and expenses.  That “insurance” aspect of TOTAL Sketch will become even more valuable when we release our upcoming file converter, allowing you to seamlessly re‑use the sketches from old appraisals done with Apex Version 2, Version 3, or Version 4.  It’s in testing with our “a la mode labs” group right now, and a preliminary version will be available as a free mass download soon.  To learn more about the converter, just hit our labs website at http://www.alamode.com/labs.

If you have any questions regarding TOTAL Sketch, you can contact our technical support staff at 1‑800‑211‑4514, or you can visit http://www.alamode.com/TOTALSketch.  From there, you can sign up for online webinars, view instant video tutorials, and more.

I hope this helps clear up some of the confusion on the calls and e‑mails being made by Apex, and the sketching front in general.  If you’ve received calls or e‑mails like we described above, or you believe Apex may have solicited you by using your name, phone, email, and other information from our XSites Network directory, don’t hesitate to contact us at legal@alamode.com.

As always, thank you for your continued business and support, and let us know if there’s ever anything we can do for you.

  • Dave Biggers
  • Chairman
  • a la mode technologies, llc.

The following is an excerpt from doc 5076, which discusses in greater detail the options available when you're having trouble with Apex.

On November 1st, 2006 Apex took over the sales and support of their sketching software.  As a result, a la mode is no longer able to provide technical support for any Apex issues not directly related to integration with our products.  Please contact Apex at 888‑308‑2722 for assistance with all other issues.

Keep in mind that Legacy Apex (APex IV v2 and Apex IV v3) was not designed to run on 64-bit OS's or Windows 7, Apex v4 Medina or newer will be needed.  If you plan to purchase a new version of Apex, and you haven't purchased a sketch license or VIP integration in the past, you must purchase a TOTAL Sketch Pro License from TOTAL Store to integrate it with your formfilling software.  Click here for more information about TOTAL Sketch Pro Licenses.

Alternatively, you can use TOTAL Sketch, our free, full-featured sketching application that comes with WinTOTAL and TOTAL.  Click here for the TOTAL Sketch user manual.

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