“Greentree’s Total Cost Of Ownership Over A 10-Year Period Was A Lot Lower Than Its Competitors.”
Financial Manager – Boffa Miskell
Specialised project costing and the need for improved access to information drove Boffa Miskell, a leading New Zealand environmental planning and design consultancy company to search for an integrated ERP system. They also feared that their existing decade-old system might fall over one day.
When you’re dealing with a wide-ranging client base that makes a highly diverse range of demands about complex projects, the fear that your business system might fall over one day is more than just a distraction. It was the need to get its business technology up to date that sent planning, ecology and design consultancy Boffa Miskell hunting for a new ERP system. Their search ended with Greentree and its partner, Endeavour Solutions. Boffa Miskell’s name is on many major planning and design projects, and it was project leader of the consortium, ‘Blueprint100’, that designed the spatial plan for rebuilding central Christchurch in the wake of the devastating earthquakes. It has offices in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and in China’s business stronghold, Shanghai. Its staff of more than 140 includes landscape architects, urban designers, planners, ecologists, visualisation and cultural heritage specialists.
“Our business is all about responding to client requirements and meeting their different needs. What goes out to the client in terms of invoicing and what goes to management in reporting/accounting functions is critical.” says Finance Manager, Blair Walker.
However, Boffa Miskell’s decade-old system, consisting of separate time & cost and financial systems, was showing its age. It was restricting development and the lack of integrated functionality was a growing frustration. “We were afraid that our technology would fall over because it hadn’t kept pace with the development of our business,” Blair says. “We needed better access to information on such things as similarities with past projects, but searching was difficult and too much of that information was only in people’s heads.”
Real-time project management was another must have, as was the ability to measure productivity. “The top line is our bottom line,” says Blair, referring to revenue. “The fixed costs of this business are high and there’s virtually no cost that reduces if business is slow. Equally, if you’re very busy, you need to be sure that you’re doing chargeable work that’s going to flow through to the bottom line. That’s why we have a lot of focus on weekly and monthly reporting.” Boffa Miskell assessed half a dozen software packages, before settling on Greentree. “We were satisfied that it could do the job and besides, the total cost of ownership over 10 years was a lot lower than its competitors,” Blair says.
Boffa Miskell also wanted a seamless transition from its old system with minimal disruption, which is where Endeavour demonstrated both its skill and experience with the implementation. “They understood what we wanted to achieve and were focused on delivering that,” says Blair. “We couldn’t fault their commitment or the effort they made to grasp how we worked and what we needed. That kind of attitude was critical and while the project was more complex than we expected, they did a fantastic job.”
Life is easier now for the staff of Boffa Miskell, and they’re expecting only better things as they discover more of Greentree’s capabilities. Invoicing is not only faster; Greentree simplifies the handling of the various sections and sub-sections of projects, whether it’s splitting time, moving time or even multiple clients for a single project – all common requirements.
QlikView delivers a broad scope of regular weekly and monthly reports of varying complexity to both management and staff. There’s also project specific reporting that enables comprehensive cost breakdowns, ensuring that all the chargeable work is accounted for and that the project is on budget. Greentree WebView gives project managers insights into details that they couldn’t see in the legacy system, while management is able to monitor individual managers’ productivity. “We now all have so much base information at our fingertips,” says Blair.
Another enthusiastic supporter of Greentree is Boffa Miskell’s CEO, Kerry Gupwell. “I had only been CEO for six months when I was asked to sign off the purchase of Greentree,” he recalls. “One of the reasons CEOs are fired is failed IT projects. You can imagine how nervous this made me, but I was delighted with how successful this deployment has been and the great value the solution is providing us.”
“Our goal is to be a leader in our field in New Zealand and in parts of the Asia-Pacific region,” Blair concludes. “To help achieve that, we want better knowledge management, and Greentree is a key part of it.”
Boffa Miskell’s name is on many major planning projects, and it was project leader of the consortium, ‘Blueprint100’, that designed the spatial plan for rebuilding central Christchurch in the wake of the devastating earthquakes. It employs over 130 professional staff, including landscape architects, urban designers, planners, ecologists and cultural heritage advisors.
“Our goal is to be a leader in our field in New Zealand and in parts of the Asia-Pacific region,” says Blair. “To help achieve that, we want better knowledge management, and having access to project and client information is an important part of that.”
Boffa Miskell is a leading New Zealand environmental planning and design consultancy providing landscape architecture, planning, urban design, ecology and cultural heritage services to a wide range of private and public sector clients.