Getting started with an Abacus 'customer account'

NB: A 'customer account' is an account with the software developers, OPEUS, that allows you to then create 'user' (or 'contributor') accounts for your staff and services. The customer pays for the customer account; and that then pays for all 'user' accounts.


1: Browse

The first course of action for anyone interested in the PIE Abacus is to take a step back, and browse a little through the pages here. If much of this is new to you, a grounding in the ideas behind the PIE is the best possible place to start.

(You may also want to talk over some of the ideas and examples with others in your services, whether Senior Management Team or frontline staff, as to whether this is something for you at all, at this point in time.)

That said, the other thing you will surely want to know at an early stage is what it costs; and for an outline, you should read 'Weighing the costs and 'value added of the PIE Abacus' : HERE)


2: Arrange a conversation

Your next move will probably be to contact the PIE Abacus team, and arrange for a phone call, to talk over what it is you are likely to want, for your particular agency and needs, and the state of readiness of your services.

NB:  We are gradually bringing together a small group of trainers and consultants with a good understanding of PIE and the Pizazz. They will be able to offer still more in-depth and on-going support and training.

The PIE Abacus aims to cater for un-even roll-out though a large agency or network, and we’d need to discuss with you – in full confidence, of course - how best to suit the software to your situation.


3: Read/listen to the briefings

Based on what you need, and what you might want to do in the linger term, we can then suggest one of more of the briefing videos that we have prepared, on the 'text and video briefings for PIE lead' pages, (HERE).

These describe how the Abacus can be used in a range of different scenarios:

  • in creating a PIE Abacus structure for a medium- to large agency;
  • supporting frontline services, whether they be struggling or innovating;
  • in a strengths and needs audit of local pathways, gaps and barriers;
  • forming consortia for smaller agencies or networks;
  • in the quite new possibilities that this software opens for research;
  • and finally, in the plans to re-invest Abacus income in the sector.

Plus we now have an ‘essential briefing’ specifically on the PIE Abacus, for PIE leads (HERE).  This is a condensed version, with a single linear narrative that takes you through all the key points to consider - on how to get an account, and what you can do with it.

This briefing can be printed out, for convenience; and it will also be available to download in audio form (expected by mid-May 2021) , so that you can listen whilst travelling, or doing other things away from your desk.


4: Sign up for a free trial

You might even prefer to skip these first steps, and go straight to the website of the software company, Opeus / TDK  (HERE). There you can sign up for a free trial, for a period *.

It’s not what we generally recommend; but all the feedback from the pilots (HERE) is that so much of it is really very intuitive, you will certainly get a lot from just trying it.


5: Repeat

Still, as and when it is the more ‘advanced’ uses of the software that you want to understand, you will probably want to come back to the 'essential briefing' : HERE




  • PLEASE NOTE: Independent trainers or consultants - those external to the purchasing agency who are brought in to advise and facilitate use of the PIE Abacus - need not and should not themselves apply for an agency account, as this would give them access to the agency's own data, which is a breach of GDPR. For an explanation, and an alternative, see Becoming an 'Associate" : HERE

Further background reading/listening/viewing

The simplest, most effective way to evaluate and improve your PIE from Daniel O'Brien on Vimeo.

Library items

'The PIE Abacus - essential briefing for PIE leads' (and any others in comparable roles) : HERE.

Weighing the costs and ‘value added’ of the PIE Abacus : HERE

PIElink pages

The Pizazz on paper or on screen : HERE

Getting started with an Abacus 'customer account' : HERE

FAQ - PIE Abacus licence costs summary' : HERE

PIE Abacus uses and terms of use: HERE.

Costs and sustainability : HERE

Costs as income : HERE


For applications in particular settings, see:

The PIE Abacus – in medium to large agencies HERE

The PIE Abacus – in local practice networks : HERE

The PIE Abacus – in smaller 'stand alone' services HERE

The PIE Abacus – as a research tool : HERE

The PIE Abacus – in communities of practice : HERE

The PIE Abacus – in service user-led assessments : HERE

The PIE Abacus – with services using PIEs1 : HER


All PIE Abacus FAQs HERE

Piloting of the PIE Abacus

Gareth Williams of POBL, on using PIEs 2, and piloting the PIE Abacus.

Pizazz and the PIE Abacus; the work we now have to do for ourselves: HERE

Key aims of the pilot : HERE

Timescales and time commitment HERE

The story so far : HERE

The Pizazz approach

For the overall introduction to the Pizazz, see Introducing the Pizazz: HERE

For a note on current and future costs of using the Pizazz, see Pizazz costs and sustainability: HERE

The pen-and-paper version

The basic Pizazz assessment summary sheets are  HERE

The Pizazz Handbook, 'Useful questions',  is HERE

Pizazz assessment levels guidance is HERE

Advice for Pizazz assessment facilitators is HERE

Creative Commons licence terms are HERE