Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec (WGA) aren’t mucking around with their engineering and project management. They’re winning awards. They’re running offices in Adelaide, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Whyalla and New Zealand. They’re over 360 staff strong. And WGA’s consulting services including structural, civil, maritime, mechanical, geotechnical, heavy lifting, temporary works, project management, electrical, pressure vessels, hydrogeology and demolition.
Yuh. It’s a lot. It’s impressive. It was exhausting just writing that list. So, when we were lucky enough to steal a few minutes with WGA director Cameron Jackson, we were all over it, like they are on engineering.
“We’ve had a fairly linear growth over time, but the last two and a half years has seen a spurt. In the Melbourne office we’ve branched out into more infrastructure-style work and industrial work, mimicking what we do in Adelaide.
“Adelaide’s business is substantially bigger than Melbourne’s, it’s about 180 people. And it’s made up of three distinct areas — buildings, infrastructure, and what we call our industrial section.”
For Cameron, a great day at work is still when he actually gets to do some engineering. However, Cameron says that’s become more of rarity due to the numbers. “Managing an office of 65 people, it becomes more and more problematic over time. We’ve grown in Melbourne, from about 35 to 65 in just over two and a half years.”
There’s no calculator around here, but you don’t need one to know those numbers are niiiiiiiiice. We cheered Cameron on to tell us about WGA’s experience migrating from Synergy desktop practice management software to Synergy cloud.
“We migrated simply because we’ve become more of an integrated business and we needed Synergy cloud to do that” says Cameron. “We’d been planning the migration for 12 months before we actually did it.
“Probably the biggest benefits we saw in the cloud version of Synergy against the legacy software was the interface from a resourcing, budgeting, and forecasting point of view. We found Synergy cloud was a lot more user friendly in those areas, and being a business now of more than 350 nationally, the forecasting side of things became a lot more prominent in our requirements.”
As it became a more complete, more unified built environment business, WGA needed a business and project management software that enabled that evolution.
While they historically used the on-premises version of Synergy to predominantly raise invoices and manage time, Cameron says Synergy cloud is proving to be exactly what they needed — a cloud platform software that brings everything, and everyone, from anywhere, at any level of seniority, together. Them and the other software they use. Ultimate integration. Jackpot.
Asked about whether Synergy cloud fits the needs of an organization with WGA’s size and complexity, Cameron says, “Synergy cloud does everything we need it to do — the key thing that we’re starting to find now is the ability to utilize the Power BI and the API output — being able to disseminate, not just the information from Synergy, but from our HR product, our accounting product, so that we can give and create dashboards that will enable our project leaders to run even more efficiently.
“We’ve also been using Mail Manager for almost as long as we’ve used Synergy, so the integration between the two is perfect.”
WGA used their upgrade to Synergy cloud to update a lot of their office procedures at the same time.
“Things like generating invoices, management of project leaders’ time, management of the projects themselves from a time point of view — was all previously done as an interface with our accounts team, whereas Synergy cloud allows the project leaders to actually go in and do a lot of that functionality themselves without a great impact on their productivity.”
More project management autonomy with less admin hours? Sounds like a 10 to us.
From a resourcing perspective, Cameron says that WGA’s biggest challenge as a national organization, is developing systems that enable utilization of the downtime of people in different offices. For Synergy, developing a resourcing and planning module to meet the specific needs of built environment businesses means continuous consultation with industry.
“There’s not really a program out there that does the entire job, but Synergy is going that way — and being part of its development will enable us to utilize it to the betterment of our organization in distributing workload across the nation.”
To that end, Synergy’s upcoming Kanban interface has WGA excited.
“The final piece in the jigsaw puzzle that I see, from a resourcing point of view, is the Kanban interface which is headed in exactly the right direction for our purposes. But you know, one of the things I enjoy about being a Total Synergy customer is that while they’re developing these things, they actually run it past us, consulting with real architecture, engineering, and construction design firms, to see what we think. What we see with each new release is functionality that’s actually important and useful to us.”