Established in 1974, today Atkins, Walters & Webster (AWW) employs more than 60 people across the UK and are recognised within the architecture profession and construction industry for their creative thinking and their engagement with professional organisations such as RIBA and RTPI. With their existing resource management approach disjointed and unwieldy, it was decided that a new practice management system was needed to help drive efficiency.
“One of our key issues was around resourcing” explains Kate Brown, Financial Controller. “We needed a way to clearly and easily link our resourcing to the fee side of projects. Many of the tasks we needed to do were in different locations, for example holiday booking was managed separately to timesheets, so nothing really tied together and we had to do a lot of manual checks to make sure things were consistent.”
It was decided that a project management system that could handle all aspects of resourcing and project costing was needed; one that would integrate timesheets with leave booking and that would match time and absence back to project costing and resourcing.
- Company: AWW
- Sector: Architecture
- Location: London, Bristol & Plymouth
- Website: www.aww-uk.com
Value for money, simple to use
One of the key considerations in selecting a new practice management system was cost effectiveness. The team wanted a system that offered everything they needed at a cost they were happy with. In comparing a number of different systems available to them, they found that Rapport3 was the best option.
“For the package we were taking on board, Rapport3 was good value for money” says Kate. “It was slightly cheaper than competitors, but still did everything they did and the system delivered what we needed it to.”
The second major consideration was ease of use. It was important that staff would be able to learn the system and begin using it quickly, without the need for excessive training and hand-holding. Again, it was agreed that Rapport3 was the right choice.
“We found it pretty simple to use. We were given a demonstration version to try and it seemed quite intuitive. We felt that people wouldn’t need too much training and that people would actually be able to start using it without too much support, something that is important when encouraging people to use the system as much as possible” explains Kate.
Improved project and resource management
Rapport3 has only been in place for a short while and benefits are already being seen, in particular around project visibility. Staff are now able to review and understand how their projects are performing and this in turn means some are taking an increased interest in the profitability of their jobs – and more importantly, thinking about ways this can be improved.
Time is also already being saved when it comes to invoicing and accounting, as invoices no longer need to be entered into their systems twice. Previously, invoices needed to be added to both the management system and then into Sage, their accounting package, but Rapport now simply exports the invoice data directly into Sage through Rapport3’s Sage integration module.
Finally, the issues around resourcing are being addressed, as staff now book leave and complete timesheets through the same system which then links the two to the relevant projects, providing clarity around resourcing that wasn’t there before.
Since deciding to implement Rapport3, Kate has found the support she has received from Cubic Interactive to be very valuable.
“The support has been very good” she says. “They’re very responsive. If something is urgent they get back to you as quickly as possible, and even when something isn’t as pressing, their response times are very reasonable. I’ve been very pleased with the team at Cubic.” So, would she recommend Rapport3 to others? Her answer is short, but simple. “Yes. I would”.
For the package we were taking on board, Rapport3 was good value for money - It was slightly cheaper than competitors, but still did everything they did and the system delivered what we needed it to
Kate Brown, Financial Controller