Recently we blogged about how construction, architecture and engineering companies increased ROI with Microsoft Dynamics CRM (now Dynamics 365); and how these companies have achieved process automation with SharePoint. This post focuses on how the construction, architecture and engineering companies can achieve increased operational efficiencies. Before we start, let’s understand the meaning of operational efficiency.
One definition of operational efficiency; is stated as the ratio between the input (related costs to run the business operations) and the output gained from the business (profits). In simpler terms this is an organisation’s ability to offer quality products/services in the most cost-effective manner; which is achieved by minimising time and resource wastage. The last decade has witnessed tremendous growth in the construction and related industries with; each organisation handling an increasing number of projects. Albeit the increased number of projects has caused operational discrepancies; and businesses are struggling to stay updated on the status of each of their projects; either missing deadlines or increasing project costs.
How architecture, engineering and construction businesses can increase operational efficiency
As productivity increase is directly proportional to the effectiveness of collaboration between cross-functional teams; the communication between the organisation and external agencies such as suppliers and/or professional services organisations; is important in determining the business’s overall productivity gains.
Businesses that prioritise establishing effective communication channels and a collaborative environment for internal and external teams; are one step closer to achieving operational efficiency. These companies often embrace the technology to create, allot, schedule, manage and monitor projects and workforce on a timely basis. The right type of technology provides staff the flexibility to easily log their time-sheets and project statuses; providing project managers real-time visibility into the status of the project. Regular and timely project monitoring also allows project leads to allocate or divert resources to match project demands; thereby minimising deadline slip-ups and optimising resource utilisation.
Dynamics 365 helps achieve operational efficiency
Dynamics 365 – the latest Microsoft product unifies CRM and ERP solution capabilities into intelligent business applications. It provides organisations with the flexibility to start with the modules most relevant to their business; and add applications as the business grows. Once such module that is most relevant to architecture, construction and engineering companies is the Project Service Automation module; that allows businesses to successfully create and manage project and resources.
The Project Service Automation module offers businesses the ability to; log time, tasks, expenses, talent and resource allocation on a project-to-project basis; thereby eliminating the need to have multiple systems for time keeping, tracking project milestones, pursuing opportunities and managing cash flow. With the help of Project Service Automation module; businesses will be able to avoid the errors caused due to sourcing and/or consolidating information from multiple applications. Additionally, this module assists businesses to pursue new projects and opportunities with relative ease. This module also offers the business intelligence required to make informed decisions; that increases company’s profit margins and can be accessed from desktop and mobile devices. Finally, businesses can build branded client portals; for sharing project-specific information with their clients. This saves staff valuable time; that would otherwise be spent in email or telephonic communications with clients.
Dynamics 365-Office 365 integration provides added benefits
In addition to allowing organisations to take advantage of the intelligent tools; Dynamics 365 offers easy integration with Office 365. This integration provides staff with the capability of closing project’ related tasks from within Microsoft Outlook. Office 365 comes with SharePoint Online; allowing users to take advantage of the features offered by the leading document management platform. In addition to creating, reviewing and managing company data; SharePoint Online can also be used to collaboratively work on a project as well as share ideas and project best practices. Project managers can create SharePoint team sites exclusively to review individual project objectives, tasks and progress. Overall, by combining the Dynamics 365 and Office 365 technologies; architecture, engineering and construction companies can securely manage client files, automate key business operations; freeing up staff time to focus on project activities.
An added benefit of using Microsoft products is its easy integration with the leading business intelligence tool – Power BI; which offers management the ability to make better data-driven decisions; by viewing and consolidating the data across finance, operations, and quality and procurement teams into interactive and powerful dashboards. Also, the basic version of Microsoft Power BI is free for eligible Office 365 customers.
If you are associated with architecture, engineering, manufacturing or construction companies; and would like to experience the benefits of increased efficiencies and return on investment; then it’s time to explore Dynamics 365. Contact the Empower IT team to discuss your company set up; and/or request for a proof of concept to take your first step towards achieving operational efficiency for your business processes.