We often obtain testimonials from our users to help other investigators that may be looking for a case management system. It also gives us valuable information on how to improve our service. With that said, we recently receive a testimonial from one of our users in New York that was simply above and beyond anything we had received before. See for yourself the amount of time and thought Andrew White of Trident Recovery and Investigations Group put into this review and we will let him take it from here. This is his unedited testimonial. Andrew, we thank you!
I came across PI DirectLink about 3 months ago. I had been looking for a case management software that had the ability to be multifunctional yet user friendly, with an intuitive user interface. I am technically proficient and computer savvy but I wanted those clients or employees who weren’t as computer literate have the ability log in and review the status of their cases so it had to be simple for the average user as well.
Scalability was also important because right now my firm is small but, we are experiencing modest growth and foresee the need for additional investigators and other resources in the future and the flexibility of a software platform to easily incorporate new users is preferable to adopting an entirely new system.
The invoicing of clients is a necessity but can also be one of the more tedious parts of the job, having to switch from database program to accounting software and importing this or that billing item, or worse yet, having to key all the information in from scratch if the two programs do not talk to one another or accommodate the accounting platform you use.
I am happy to say that PI DirectLink is the answer to all the above. PI DirectLink case management software is a web based software platform, easily accessible from any desktop, laptop, mobile device, or tablet that has access to the internet.
I know what some of you are thinking, “what if I don’t have access to the internet?” My friends, if you do not have access to the internet, I literally do not know how you are making your living as a private investigator and/or process server. It is simply a necessity to have access to the internet and you have so many options, even if you live remotely (cable/DSL/satellite/4G-LTE network).
Certainly, you are impeding your ability to provide your clients with valuable information that can be obtained from any number of proprietary database/public records providers; state motor vehicle, criminal, and civil records; and Open Source Intelligence (OSI) like Google, Facebook, and Twitter et al. simply put: the internet is a crucial, mandatory tool for your tool box. Sticking your head in the sand and saying, “Who needs the internet? I’ll keep doing it the old fashion way!!” is like saying you prefer horseback riding everywhere you go instead of using a car. Preferable? Maybe. Practical? Not unless you live in the mountains. But, I digress. Back to the story!
As I was saying, PI DirectLink is web based and can accessed by initially going to http://www.pidirectlink.com . Once there, you can then download and try the software FREE (No credit card required or asked for) for 30 days. If you do not like it, you do not have to continue and no one has your information on file to “accidentally” charge your account on a recurring basis. Once you have downloaded the software, it will walk you through setup and provide you with your own unique URL (that’s internet talk for website address) where your clients and employees can access your particular database using individual user names and passwords you assign to them.
Now some of you may be saying, “I’m ok with my employees/vendors having access to the system but I don’t want my clients to have access.” No problem. PI DirectLink gives you the ability to choose who has access to the database and even to who views certain types of information. Maybe you are ok with one client having access but maybe not a different client. PI DirectLink gives you the keys to the car to decide who to let in and who to keep out. It’s completely up to you and easy to do.
As far as interface goes, this one is very straightforward and easy to use, but still has a slick feel to it. This means it’s not overly confusing to the novice but also doesn’t look like it was created on your old Commodore 64. There is a dashboard that quickly summarizes your cases and case status; allows you to quickly see paid and unpaid invoices; and a calendar view that allows you to see what investigative action or activity is scheduled to be taken by the investigator assigned.
It is also where you initially create and enter your cases. When doing this, the system allows you to assign it to an investigator who can be notified by email (automatically generated at your direction) that they have been assigned a case. The system will also generate a notification to your client if you so choose, so that they know the case has been assigned and is being worked on. This allows the investigative manager to assign, notify, and track the progress of the case all in one step.
When going to the Case window, there are a number of options and functions available to you. Incorporating your filing/number/tracking system is easy. PI DirectLink allows you to create your own filing format broken down any number ways you prefer (YY-Case #) (Investigation Type-YY-Case# etc.) and allows you to set the starting point so that you do not have to restart your case numbering system.
The Case window has the standard pedigree case information at the top which continues to flow down to a Case Data section that is inclusive of just about any category or piece of data you could think of that might be relevant to investigations. It has a tab for Vehicles; Images (where you can upload images/photos), Audio/Video (upload interviews you may have recorded or surveillance video for a claimant; a must for those that do workers comp/AOE-COE work), Documents (where you can upload the accident report or other relevant documents you’ve received or obtained in the course of the investigation; Reports (Where you can upload your report); Information about the Insured, Doctors, and Attorneys and tabs for individual billing items and invoices.
A side note about the Billing and Invoice tabs. You (or your employee) can input the budget set by your client and then, as you go along, enter individual billable items into the system. At the conclusion of the case, when it comes time to get paid, you can go to the Invoice tab and it will automatically pull the information you input into the Billing Section and create an invoice that is customizable with your information and company logo. This feature is very helpful when trying to remotely track the expenditures on the case and allows for transparency with your client’s money which should ease their mind about how the money is being spent. You can then print the invoice or email it to your client. The invoices are viewable in the dashboard for quick reference to see who has outstanding invoices and who is paid.
After the Case Data, there is a section for Case Notes where the Investigator can input daily updates that can be used later for preparing the report and also allows for greater oversight by investigative managers. The notes need to be approved before becoming a permanent part of the business record so a manager who sees something that maybe doesn’t make sense or is better off being reworded can follow up with the investigator who authored the note and allow them to revise/edit the note. The note also has an option to be emailed to the client once it has been approved so that they can be kept up to date on the case status without being interrupted with phone calls.
You also have the ability to input case reminders in the event you are so busy you don’t remember which investigative action or meeting you have scheduled for a particular case. This will also show up in the dashboard for a quick view.
Finally, although I haven’t used it yet, the system has the functionality to allow you to create individualized report formats using a report generator. This allows you to create reports that can be used as templates on a recurring basis.
Behind the scenes, there are a variety of functions that let you customize the look and feel of the software (to include placing your company logo on everything) so that anyone looking at the system and byproducts would believe that it was created just for you with your direct input. It lends credibility, professionalism, and transparency to your investigative firm.
Pricing is reasonable and is based upon the number of users/licenses needed. All information is stored to the cloud with storage space based on the number of users. I have spoken with the people at PI DirectLink and they advised that there is redundancy built into the system in the event there is a failure with one of the cloud storage devices. Security is also paramount as there is obviously legally protected information being saved and people’s personally identifying information (PII). I always advocate saving your information to multiple, secure locations for redundancy. You should save everything to cloud storage, on your computer, and on removable media such CD-R/DVD or USB Drive. This will ensure your data and forms are safe in the event of a catastrophic failure of one of your formats.
This brings me to support. The folks at PI DirectLink are very responsive to your needs. First, in the form of training, PI DirectLink created a series of training videos on YouTube that can be accessed and reviewed at your leisure. These are not 2 minute videos that leave you scratching your head saying, “That wasn’t helpful in any meaningful way” but rather in depth and easy to follow along (think Denzel Washington in the movie “Philadelphia”: “Explain this to me like I’m a two year old”). There is a training video that is comprehensive and a little over an hour long. Don’t have that kind of time? The video is also broken down into shorter vignettes based on subject. Additionally, the folks at PI DirectLink want and need your input. They strongly encourage users to submit ideas and issues for improvement that can be incorporated in future updates/builds.
If you are looking for a multifunctional, cross-platform, easy to use, comprehensive PI case management software at an affordable price, I strongly encourage you to try PI DirectLink. As I stated before, it’s free for 30 days and you do not have to provide any payment information until your trial is up and you decide to continue using it. I’m certain you will.
**Contact Kyle Propes at PI DirectLink with any questions at: 678-620-8555 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
***Full disclosure: I wrote this testimonial voluntarily however, I will likely get $5 off my next bill. They only asked if I was willing to provide 4 lines of testimonial. I’ve gone and written 6 pages because I like it so much! It took me an hour or so to write and review it and I can assure you my hourly rate is way higher than $5 an hour, so I wouldn’t call it compensation!