The Steno Life
CAT Comparison

ProCAT - Winner Interview

1 - Cost concerns are always at the top of the question list for students. Why does CAT software cost what it costs, which many students/reporters say is too much?

(Deby Owens Sebastian, National Sales Manager) Just as in building a car, developing computers, Microsoft Word, etc., there are development/production costs.  The difference with the examples given is that these products are in demand by literally millions of users.  This means the production cost is shared between those millions of users, thus lowering the cost per unit to the end user.  The reason for the vast difference in pricing structure is that the reporting market is a small, specialized market with about 40,000 reporters/students nationwide.  The development costs are still the same, only with a smaller market.

As a note, when I started into this field 20 years ago, the average cost for a reporter to get started was around $25,000 or more.  Today, the average cost for a reporter/student to purchase new software and a steno machine is under $10,000.  ProCAT offers a software/writer package at only $6,780.  That is a fraction of what the cost used to be!

2 - Often there is a difference between student versions of your CAT software and reporter versions.  Can you tell us the student software limitations, if any.

ProCAT realizes the needs of students, and the limitations of the funds available.  We offer student software for $99.  That is the total cost for the entire time the student is in school.  This allows the student to build their dictionary, produce small transcripts, and write realtime.  The limitations in our software are as follows:

3 - Compatibility is a big issue as well.  Are there any steno machines that your CAT software IS NOT compatible with?  How about operating systems?

ProCAT has done extensive testing with other machines, and all Windows operating systems.  With Winner software you have compatibility to any operating system: Xp, 2000, Vista, and even Mac that has the Xp option.  Likewise, the software is compatible with all current writers on the market; Smartwriter, Stentura, Flash, Fusion, Mira, etc.

ProCAT has been developing steno machines for many years.  Our current writer is the Stylus.  It is a remarkable writer with more unique features than any writer on the market.  It is compatible with all major software on the market, as well as with Winner.

4 - Sticking with compatibility - is there any chance that different CAT systems will be compatible at some point - or at least allow you to convert work from one software into another?

This capability already exists.  A number of years ago ProCAT took the initiative to get all of the CAT companies to introduce RTF/CRE in their software.  RTF/CRE stands for Rich Text Forma/Court Reporters Extension.  This means that you can export a transcript in RTF format, import it through RTF into another CAT software, and be able to work back and forth, such as with a scopist who is on a different product.  This is the reason I tell students that it does not matter whose software you are on.  Look at all the software out there and make a choice for what YOU think is the best, not what your friend bought or what the school is pushing you to purchase, or even what the majority of the users in a specific firm are on.  With RTF, it gives you the freedom of choice and lets you spend your money on what you deem to be the best!

5 - What kind of support do you offer for those with student versions of your software?  Reporter versions?  Prices?  24/7 support? 

For students, we have business hour support, updates free of charge, CD tutorial training, and manual.  Reporters/Students purchasing the professional version receive one year of support, one year of updates, one day of training, dictionary conversion, CD tutorial training, and on line manual with printing capabilities.  After the first year, continued support and updates are $545 per year.  ProCAT does not obsolete software, so there will never be a need to purchase new software and pay full price again.

6 - Is there a charge for upgrades?  About how often are upgrades done?

Upgrades are based on the last version a client was on before their support ran out.  It is also based on how many features have been added to the software.  If a client has been off of support for 25 years, their upgrade is currently $2,195 versus a client who has been off of support for only a year whose cost would be only a couple hundred dollars.  If clients remain on support with ProCAT, they will never pay for any upgrade or rewrite of our software.  We also do not charge for unused back support.

7 - If a student or reporter wants to try your software for 30 days, would they have to pay for that? 

We occasionally have done a 30-day trial.  The problem with this is that without proper training, dictionary conversion, etc., the user does not get an adequate feel for all of the awesome intelligence features that make Winner so spectacular.  Short of basic training, a very small number of users are capable of learning the intricacies of a CAT product on their own.  Our user training is a comprehensive setup of the software and the user’s dictionary, as well as basic functionality.

8 - What kind of training do you offer for your software, and at what cost?

Training is included with the purchase of the professional software.  We also provide an excellent CD tutorial for follow-up after the initial training.  Students receive the CD tutorial free of charge.  In addition to this, ProCAT offers Advanced Training seminars across the United States each year.  This enables our clients to come, earn continuing education points, and learn how to use their software more efficiently.

9 - What sets your CAT software apart?  Why should a student/reporter consider your software over others?

The thing that sets Winner apart from the others is the vast number of intelligence features that enable the reporter to produce more pages in a shorter amount of time, and have a cleaner translation in realtime.  All CAT companies present mostly the same features.  The difference is in how much work you have to do to enable the software to perform the advanced features.  ProCAT has gone a step further in our programming.  We have done the work for you, so you can focus on getting the most from your software from the day you receive it!  We do offer more features than any other program.  Included with each purchase of the professional Winner software are the following:

eScript – document viewing for the attorney/judge
AudioScript – integrate the audio and transcript for condensed versions out to the attorney/judge
PDF export
Digital Signature
Billing Software
Suggest Translation for resolving untranslates automatically
And more!

If a reporter/student would like a demonstration CD of the Winner software or the Stylus writer, please feel free to call us at 800-966-1221 and we will provide you with an information packet.