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Meridian Systems Prolog

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Since their founding in 1993, Meridian Systems has launched a range of applications to support both builders and clients in the construction management industry. Their first product for contractors was Meridian Systems Prolog Manager, a desktop application that utilizes a Microsoft SQL database to provide full-service project management support. As the demand for web-based applications increased in the early 2000s, they introduced Prolog Web, which eventually evolved into Prolog Converge. Since being acquired by Trimble Systems (NASDAQ: TRMB) in 2006, Meridian has been able to round out their plan-build-operate portfolio with applications such as Winest, Modelogix, Sketchup, and Tekla. When compared to a full-fledged Enterprise Resource Plan (ERP), Meridian’s project portfolio does not include coverage in the areas of Client Relationship Management (CRM) and company financials; however, there are third-party applications that can fill many of these needs, such as Microsoft Dynamics and Sage Timberline, both of which will require coordinated integration to avoid islands of information.

Prolog Manager
As Meridian’s core product line, the Prolog Manager system has been very popular with general contractors. It provides a comprehensive set of essential functions, including:

  • Purchasing – Preparation of bid packages and analysis, buyout of items, contract awards
  • Cost Control – Projections of budgets/costs, contracts/attachments, invoices, and payments
  • Document Control – Streamlining of Requests For Information (RFI’s), submittals, meeting minutes, and other vital documents
  • Field Administration – Organization of daily journals, punch lists, notices to comply, safety notices, and closeout logs
  • Prolog Manager runs on a Microsoft SQL platform with all projects stored in one integrated database. The user interface is a Windows application installed on each user’s machine, with a built-in security manager that supports role-based security and controls user access to projects. Each user account can be configured to provide access to Prolog Manager, Converge, or both. Role-based security is quite effective, but can be somewhat complex to set up; as such, it is important to think through your security design before the system is implemented rather than attempting to retrofit new guidelines to an existing system. In this case, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

    Prolog comes with a customization manager that allows administrators to add columns to tables and grids, as well as change the labels on columns, tabs and menu items. This makes it easy to have the system look the way you want and be easily understood by your users; you can even include hover text that instructs users as to what data should go into a particular field. Fields can also be made mandatory, or assigned default values for convenient entry however, program logic changes cannot be made on-screen.

    Licensing is available at a cost of $3500 for a concurrent user, or $1500 for a named user license. Most organizations opt for mostly concurrent licenses with a few named user licenses for full-time users that need their own dedicated license. Prolog is relatively easy to deploy, and the cost for a small company to implement the system would be in the range of $10,000 for three concurrent licenses and another $10,000-15,000 for implementation and basic configuration. Prolog comes out-of-box with over 400 standard reports; custom reports and data migration can be added for an extra cost if required.

    Prolog Converge

    Prolog Converge is a web-based companion program for Prolog Manager that replaces Prolog Web, which has been retired. All user interaction through Converge is done via a web server that can be outfitted with stronger security measures; this is in contrast to Prolog manager, which requires access to multiple internal network resources to fully function. The added security makes Converge a useful tool for collaboration with outside parties. Converge requires Prolog Manager to work and provides visibility to most of the same information (except for administrative functions such as Employee Setup and budget information.) If information not accessible by Converge needs to be shared, it can be delivered via customized reports.

    Meridian is continuing to add greater functionality to their suite of applications – as of early 2014, Version 9.8 has been announced for both Prolog Manager and Converge, and the latest update to Proliance, Version 5.5, was released in 2012. One of their more recent additions is the availability of several applications as on-demand offerings. Many programs are now available in self-hosted, Meridian-hosted, or on-demand (SaaS) versions. The hosted versions offer the greatest amount of customization, while on-demand offers the least. Through these and other upgrades, Meridian has maintained and enhanced the core functionality of their products, acquired new applications to round out their portfolio, and provided new ways to deploy their applications.

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    Review by | Construction Software