Historically, each property had its own dedicated spreadsheet containing its details, such as the workstream, programme and any contracted works. However, with such a large portfolio of properties, it is easy for spreadsheets to get corrupted, lost, or have duplicate copies made; all of which are headaches for the team. It is also difficult to generate reporting, as some of the spreadsheets have a slightly different format, making it difficult to quickly consolidate data. Another major challenge is that every year the team has to go into each individual spreadsheet and apply an uplift for inflation; a process that can take up to 6 weeks.
The Desired Outcome
Originally the client wanted a re-built Excel workbook that would be more resilient, easy-to-use and allow for easier reporting. However after some discussion it was clear that the platform itself was not as important as the robustness of the data, and the ideal system should consolidate data, allow multiple users to use it concurrently without issues, allow for regular backups and ideally provide an audit trail.
Based on the above requirements, we identified that a database solution would be more appropriate. Due to restrictions in installing software, a web application was recommended as the front-end as all it needed was a browser and internet connection to function, and allowed L&Q team members to work remotely if needed, from any suitable device such as an iPad, laptop or even smartphone.
By upgrading L&Q to a web application and consolidating their spreadsheets into a database, the team has realised the following benefits:
- Improved workflow - the team is now able to work on multiple properties simultaneously, without worrying about overwriting each other's changes.
- Improved data quality - the quality of the data has improved significantly, as the web application applies validation upon data entry
- Audit trail - it is easy to capture an audit log of what actions were performed by whom by mandatory log in to use the system
- Significantly faster process (from weeks to minutes) - the uplift process that originally took 6 weeks and multiple team members can now be done at the click of a button within 5 minutes
Overall, the team has seen a boost in productivity (equivalent to hiring several extra team members) but at a fraction of the cost, resulting in a significant return on investment.
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