On multi-million-dollar construction projects, even short delays can drive costs. How could VCC enable on-site engineers to collaborate quickly and efficiently with decision-makers at its head office?
VCC worked with IBM Business Partner Prominic.NET to develop a mobile app for its IBM® Notes® and Domino® business systems—enabling managers and remote workers to collaborate seamlessly.
Up to 40%improvement in employee productivity by offering mobile access to information
Up to 30%more efficient project management helps keep construction projects on track
HelpsVCC reduce the risk of costly project delays and deliver high-quality services
Business challenge story
Small delays, big costs
On multi-million-dollar construction projects, timely communication is crucial, as even small delays can potentially cost thousands. For US construction company VCC, ensuring employees can communicate effectively is paramount to keeping work on time and on budget.
“Collaboration is at the heart what we do,” says Jerry Horani, Chief Technology Officer at VCC. “Our business depends on people having the right information at the right time to make informed decisions. The more closely we can connect our people working on site to decision-makers working in our offices, the better we can avoid costly delays to our projects.”
In the past, VCC employees used laptops to connect remotely to the company’s construction management system, developed on the IBM Notes and Domino platform. As the popularity of mobile devices exploded, the company recognized an opportunity to empower its people to collaborate even more effectively with their peers across the country.
“Most of our workforce is mobile,” continues Horani. “They’re travelling around the country, visiting construction sites and often working in locations that don’t have well-equipped office facilities. For that reason, we were keen to find a way to make our construction management platform available on mobile devices.”
Fast decisions cut risk
To achieve its collaboration goals, VCC decided to develop a mobile app for its IBM Domino business systems.
“We have relied on IBM Domino applications to drive our business for many years, and we’ve always been extremely satisfied with the solution and support,” says Horani. “Because so many of our mission-critical applications depend on IBM Domino, we were keen to avoid the need to re-architect our back-end systems. By building on our existing platform, we realized we could deliver the functionalities we needed without reinventing the wheel—helping us reap the benefits of mobile collaboration quickly.”
Working together with IBM and IBM Business Partner Prominic.NET, VCC launched its mobile solution in the cloud—enabling managers and on-site employees to collaborate seamlessly and access information faster.
“Throughout our deployment process, we were backed by expert guidance from IBM—whenever we had a question, the answers we needed were only a phone call or an email away,” recalls Horani. “From the outset, we were clear that we wanted the scalability and cost-efficiency of the cloud, and we chose Prominic.NET for their extensive experience hosting IBM solutions. We knew we could count on the company’s reliable, highly available and security-rich cloud platform to help ensure our mobile collaboration solution is accessible 24/7. Better still, Prominic.NET offers us robust backup and disaster recovery capabilities, ensuring that our data is protected.”
To streamline key processes such as change order management, VCC has integrated its new mobile app with its Box Enterprise content management platform and DocuSign electronic signature solution.
“On a construction site, things can happen quickly—and unforeseen circumstances often make it necessary to add, remove or change the original scope of work of a contract,” Horani explains. “In the past, signing a change order required access to a laptop or desktop, which is often a challenge on an active site.
“To cut the risk of delays to our projects, we shaped a mobile workflow for change orders. Our on-site personnel can now sign the documents at the touch of button in DocuSign on their mobile devices. By using Java APIs [application programming interfaces] to integrate DocuSign with IBM Notes, our people can complete the entire workflow without ever having to leave the Notes client—delivering a streamlined experience.”
He adds: “Once signed, our DocuSign forms are archived automatically in Box. Using Box is also enabling us to minimize our dependence on email to share files, which contributes to less traffic on our network and lower storage requirements. Sharing links to files stored on Box also makes it easier to maintain robust version control on collaborative projects, and helps ensure a single version of truth for information across the enterprise.”
Keeping projects running smoothly
Today, more than 300 employees across VCC use the mobile app to drive their day-to-day activities. By bringing everyone in the business together, the company is equipping them with the timely insights they need to make informed decisions faster than ever.
“In the past, our remote workers had hunt for a suitable place to set up a laptop if they needed information from our back-office systems—but today, that’s all changed,” says Horani. “Because our employees can access to up-to-date information on the move from their mobile devices, we estimate that we’ve improved productivity by up to 40 percent.”
He continues: “Stronger collaboration between our people on site and decision-makers in our head office also helps us to get in front of issues that have the potential to cause downstream construction delays. In fact, we are confident that we have enhanced our project management efficiency by as much as 30 percent, and reduced the risk of project delays by up to 35 percent.”
By adopting a mobile solution to coordinate its nationwide operations, VCC is strengthening its culture of digital working.
“Our people have been quick to embrace our mobile app, and it’s already driving significant changes to the way our people engage with their peers,” Horani comments. “We see that our people are increasingly preferring to set up virtual meetings rather than drive all the way to a site and back—helping them save time, and reducing our spend on travel by as much as 10 percent per year.”
Inspired by the popularity of its mobile app, VCC is already planning for the future. The company recently deployed IBM Connections™ to act as a new corporate intranet, and is currently working with IBM to integrate video conferencing from Cisco WebEx into its collaboration environment.
“Our business needs are constantly evolving, and our IBM solutions help us adapt to those new requirements quickly and effectively,” says Horani. “We have digital workflows for everything from procurement and operations to accounting and change management—and today, our people have all that information in the palm of their hand.”
He concludes: “Without a doubt, making our business systems available on mobile is a potent source of competitive advantage. We’re confident that our IBM solutions will enable even greater efficiency and control over our processes—helping us to keep high-value work on track.”
Founded in 1987 and headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, VCC is a construction management firm licensed in all 50 US states. Specializing in new-build and renovation projects, VCC aims to deliver industry-leading services that cultivate lasting relationships with its clients, vendors and partners.
- Connections Cloud (SaaS)
- ICS: Domino
- ICS: Notes
- ICS: Sametime
- Box Enterprise
Take the next step
Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Champaign, Illinois, Prominic.NET is a leading provider of hosting services. An IBM Registered Business Partner, Prominic.NET has a global presence and provides solutions for private cloud hosting, application hosting, cloud backup and more. To learn more about solutions and services from Prominic.NET, please visit: prominic.net