Nordic architecture firms have a reputation for being at the forefront of their profession. So why do many of them still do their resource planning on spreadsheets?
The daily workings of an architect firm are not dissimilar to that of a beehive, with project managers, interns and various architects buzzing along or meticulously working in front of a screen. But as projects grow in numbers, scale and complexity, the tools used for planning and staffing remain more or less the same.
– A lot of architects are still using spreadsheets like Excel for their resource planning. Others again are stuck with various ERP systems that are not really designed for this kind of work. They are simply not made for juggling resources between a number of current and future architect projects. The data you need to make vital decisions is not at your fingers, says Reija Stenroos, marketing manager at the Finnish technology company Silverbucket.
An increasing number of project-based organizations are now using Silverbucket to manage their resources.
Silverbucket is also the name of the company’s main product – a resource planning program for architect firms and other project-based businesses.
Finds the right people for the right job
– Projects have busy and quiet periods, so your organization needs to be transparent and flexible in order to make best use of its resources. While you obviously do not want people sitting around waiting for the next stage of a project to start, you certainly don’t want to overtax your employees either. With Silverbucket this is much easier to manage, says Stenroos.
One of the things you can do with the Silverbucket software is to combine timetables and skill maps. This not only lets you find available people, but makes it easier to put the best suited people on the job.
– It is about getting the right people on the right project at the right time. There is no sense in letting your most experienced architect do routine work that an intern could manage. Likewise, if your client is, say, French, or your most important sub-contractor is German, then it could be a good idea to staff that project with people who can speak those languages, says Stenroos.
It is easy to start using Silverbucket, and after a few projects few organizations want to make the transition back to spreadsheets.
Putting the data in front of you
A lot of project-oriented businesses in Finland and Sweden have started to use Silverbucket over the past decade, among them Sitowise, Sweco, Rambøll and CGI. Silverbucket is now looking to expand into the Danish and Norwegian markets.
Reija Stenroos and her colleagues are looking to position Silverbucket in the Norwegian and Danish markets.
– Clients typically start off with a free trial, and it kicks on from there. It takes very little time or effort to get started: A little bit of implementation, some configuration and maybe a small workshop. Silverbucket does not require you to make a whole lot of adaptations. It just makes life a lot easier by putting all the data you need right in front of you, says Stenroos.
Written by Henning Prytz Poulsen / Pressenytt
Copyright for all the pictures and illustrations: © Silverbucket