Each month, Skanska Utilities’ produces a management report, so that key stakeholders directors and project managers can keep track of the performance information.
Traditionally, these reports have been compiled manually and produced in paper format. To maximise efficiency, Skanska Utilities wanted to introduce a software-based reporting system that would reduce the manual work involved in generating the reports and circulate the content.
“The aim was to automate the processes involved in collating the reports, reduce the associated paperwork, and produce something that looked better,” says Tomasz Marcinkowski, Performance Management Engineer at Skanska UK.
Skanska Utilities needed a lot of flexibility from the new solution – both in the way reports could be generated, and in the way the information could be accessed.
“We wanted to be able to create reports ourselves, with our own IT guys, instead of having to rely on external help each time we wanted to produce something new,” Marcinkowski explains. “We also wanted the reports to look good, and to be available and easily viewable on iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices. It was essential that the reports could be accessed at anytime and anywhere.”
A bespoke dashboard reporting system which utilises SQL server reporting services throughout for use by Skanska worldwide.
DCSL GuideSmiths, proposed using the latest development technologies to create a powerful browser-based web application.
DCSL GuideSmiths recommended building the reporting platform using ASP.Net MVC5 – an open source application framework that allows both maximum flexibility and robust testing. DCSL GuideSmiths also applied its standard agile development methodology, involving iterative, collaborative design, development and testing with close involvement of the customer, to ensure that the resulting system would be fit for purpose and well accepted by the intended users.
DCSL GuideSmiths also recommended SQL Server Reporting Services as part of the bespoke software specification. This would enable Skanska Utilities to build and edit any reports of their choosing, drawing on any combination of source data (irrespective of format or location), which could then be presented in the dashboard format of choice, on any mobile device.
To ensure speed of performance when users generate reports, DCSL GuideSmiths built a caching mechanism to capture – and recalculate nightly – all possible configurations of project information, dashboards and graphs. The large cache of resulting data means that any user can call up the particular report they need immediately, without having to wait for all of the contributing source data to be pulled together.
Skanska Utilities also wanted the flexibility to be able to use interactive maps to visually represent and track projects by location, which DCSL GuideSmiths has delivered by linking the software with Google Maps.
DCSL GuideSmiths built the software as a web app which supports any device, from a desktop PC to tablets and mobile phones. The responsive user interface chosen means the information displayed will adapt intuitively to the given screen, so that it is easy to read and interpret no matter how the user is accessing the information.
Discrete security controls have also been incorporated, allowing Skanska Utilities to set user permissions according to an individual’s role and access rights.
Thanks to the high level of flexibility and speed of response enabled by the DCSL GuideSmiths system, Skanska Utilities has the option to produce a greater range of reports in future. These might include more discrete reports looking at particular aspects of selected projects in more detail, or more frequent, ad-hoc reports.