While the Middle East is home to some of the most extravagant and ambitious developments in the world, the processes behind the projects haven’t quite been so sophisticated. Reporting a reliance on paper and disorganised data logging, regional director and general manager for Redsky IT, Monique Campbell, says that accurate project management can only be […]
While the Middle East is home to some of the most extravagant and ambitious developments in the world, the processes behind the projects haven’t quite been so sophisticated.
Reporting a reliance on paper and disorganised data logging, regional director and general manager for Redsky IT, Monique Campbell, says that accurate project management can only be based on accurate data.
“When I met one of my fist clients here, the managing director told me that he didn’t even know what the costs on a project were until six months later; so in August they would look at the costs as they were in February,” she recalls saying that basic accounting systems were in place, but that everything else was managed on spreadsheets and paper.
“He actually said to me that once they had implemented our Summit software, he calculated that the efficiency it gave on decisions saved 10% on the value of their contracts,” she continues.
Reporting that such attitudes are widespread across the region, Campbell associates such a mindset with the lack of tangibility surrounding IT systems.
“Construction as an industry has lagged behind in terms of technology. Companies will invest in a digger because they can see it out there earning them money, but IT is not a tangible product that they can see is earning, or saving money.”
Continuing to explain that the current economic climate is the ideal time to adopt a more joined-up approach to project management, she says that the savings made by clients are not found in overheads such as staff costs, but from enhanced financial efficiency.
“Typically and historically, people who do not have system will not know about such problems until the end of the contract and it’s all a bit too late then.”
The Redsky standard
As a specialist solution provider, Redsky IT doesn’t just know about computers they also know about construction.
Employing skilled staff with backgrounds in both industries, Campbell says combining staff skills has helped the company serve its growing client database in ways its competitors cannot, while also enhancing the after sales support provided as standard.
Part of the Canadian Explorer group of companies Redsky has been trading since 1975, entering the Middle East via a reseller in 1998 before establishing a dedicated subsidiary of its UK office for the region in Dubai in 2005 and relocating staff to better serve a growing client base.
It’s a touch Campbell says makes a difference in light of how business relationships are formed in the region and it’s proven in the exponential growth Redsky has experienced since taking the hands on approach; with a client base that now spans across the region, via Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Cairo.
Redsky’s systems provide clients with the tools to manage, control and monitor the project lifecycle from inception, through to completion and even maintenance when needed.
With an estimation and tendering system, planning and budgeting tools, procurement management systems, HR and maintenance ledgers, Campbell describes the applications as an integrated database with a single point of data entry, adding that the overview provided is vital to executing efficient, financially viable projects.
Unlike other programs, which rely on third party applications for elements such as estimating, document management and HR, Redksy systems are fully integrated.
Furthermore, within the system are modules designed to benefit companies incorporating two or more disciplines; can use one central island of data for all areas of the business.
“In this part of the world one of the main benefits is full visibility; anybody in the project can go to the system at any point in time and see where it is in regards to budgeted and actual costs, knowing about problems in good time so management can make decisions on what needs to be done,” Campbell explains.
“Because a lot of other companies are putting one thing in a spread sheet over here and one thing in a spread sheet over there nothing is joined up. With Redsky you have one point of data entry which is immediately more efficient, as it means everything is in one central database.”
Despite facing the same technophobia as many other IT companies, Campbell says the market is more receptive than when she arrived in 2006, with many professionals having a greater understanding of the benefits of integrated
Witnessing a demand from the C-suite for remote connectivity, Campbell says the market factors currently driving the development of construction software are linked to the increased sophistication of non-construction technology, such as the Blackberry and I pad.
Reporting the company has done a lot of work to research and meet such demands she says further advancement lies ahead. Additionally, over the coming year tracking systems will allowing the industry to monitor both assets and employees in a manner “far more advanced” than currently.
While the Far East, and to an extent the west, continue to lead technological innovations, Campbell maintains tendering and execution of projects will go from strength to strength. “Clearly we are coming out of the recession, things are improving and people are looking to prepare themselves for that,” she concludes.