Low-cost, three-week proof of concept delivers benefits fast for construction company
Construction firm ADCO wanted to make bidding for contracts a more seamless process — but without embarking on a high-risk, high-cost IT project. ECLEVA created a rapid, proof of concept tool in just three weeks that clearly demonstrated all the core capabilities that ADCO needed. By taking the proof of concept approach, ADCO adopted a low-risk, step-by-step approach that sees business benefits emerge quickly.
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Established in 1972, construction company ADCO, is rated one of Australia’s top 50 private companies and has now completed projects worth over $10 billion. With 580 direct employees, the company has a reputation in numerous fields of construction, including aged care, commercial, education, health, retail and student accommodation. Innovation and continuous improvement are hallmarks of ADCO’s approach to business. ADCO’s strategy of being a ‘fast follower’ sees it implement proven solutions that enable everyone to operate more efficiently. This strategy includes staying abreast of emerging technologies that enhance collaboration between employees, clients and subcontractors. One area that required better collaboration was the complex process of managing new business. To maintain its forward pipeline of work, ADCO simultaneously manages scores of individual tenders.
While ADCO’s processes for managing these bids was sound, its data management was not. The result was double handling of information and a lack of visibility for the stakeholders involved. “We wanted to manage the ADCO tender process more efficiently,” says Doug Zuzic, Chief Information Officer at ADCO. “This meant increasing transparency, collaboration and efficiency over the whole of our tendering process, including the ability to monitor bid progress towards completion. Stakeholders wanted visibility on tender due dates and the value of tenders involved.” The challenge, however, was that a complex new system could be costly. What’s more, Zuzic faced the clear risk that the people who had to use a new system would be reluctant to change the way they worked.
We are delivering numerous digital projects over the next 12 months. To gain traction within the business, it’s vital that everyone sees results quickly. The proof of concept allowed us to do just that.
The proof of concept approach
So, before commencing, Zuzic wanted to build a proof of concept. On a tactical level, this would provide the chance to demonstrate the capabilities of a new bid-management tool before committing to large-scale development.
“The people who need visibility on tendering had built an adhoc system gradually over time, and got used to working in a particular way,” says Zuzic. “We wanted to import our tender pipeline into a working proof of concept to show them what a new style of working would look like.” For Zuzic, a proof of concept also held a strategic advantage. It would create a foundation on which to build a bidmanagement tool that could become steadily more sophisticated over time. But because it would be operational right from the start, it would enable ADCO to see results quickly from a low initial investment — both in terms of dollars and human resourcing.
Delivery in just three weeks
To build the tool, ADCO turned to CRM specialist, ECLEVA. “I had worked with ECLEVA before and I had confidence in their ability to deliver,” says Zuzic. “They know our industry because they have worked with multiple building companies on similar projects. I knew that ECLEVA would understand exactly what we wanted to achieve.” ECLEVA completed the proof of concept in just three weeks. Working remotely, consultants used Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customer Engagement to create a tender process-management tool that aligns directly with ADCO’s existing business processes. The proof of concept includes all key tendering entities: ‘contacts,’ ‘companies,’ ‘opportunities’ and ‘projects.
“The proof of concept allowed our key internal stakeholders to clearly see what the bid management tool would look like, and ECLEVA delivered it on time and to budget,” says Zuzic. “With this initial, low-cost, bid management tool now in operation, we can quickly implement the full solution, and mitigate project risk in terms of time and cost over-runs.”
“The proof of concept approach allowed us to structure our implementation,” says Zuzic. “Microsoft Dynamics has vast capabilities but as a mid-sized company we need to scope and phase implementation in small steps. With ECLEVA’s proof of concept approach, we prioritised development in terms of the specific benefits it delivers to our business.”
The proof of concept solution demonstrated how to de-risk a project, eliminate over-scoping and ensure that IT investment focusses primarily on improving existing processes.
“We are delivering numerous digital projects over the next 12 months,” says Zuzic. “To gain traction within the business, it’s vital that everyone sees results quickly. The proof of concept allowed us to do just that.”
Inspiration for the future
The proof of concept has also got stakeholders excited for the future. Using Dynamics day to day, ADCO executives and managers sense they are only leveraging a small portion of its functionality. Meanwhile, the proof of concept is also opening eyes to the raw power of data analytics.
“Analytics will be the next big phase for us in terms of capability,” says Zuzic. The business can start to make informed decisions much earlier in the tender process and concentrate resources where we have the greatest chance of success. This will spur growth and future-proof our business.”