Asta Vision, a web-based portal for managing construction plans, has now been proven in use for well over a year. What a year it has been.
During the pandemic, Asta Vision has proved how it can enable flexibility, support continuity, enable collaboration and transform business visibility for contractors when the times are at their most demanding. Asta Powerproject software is the sector’s most popular choice for construction planning, used extensively by businesses of all sizes including 85 of the UK’s top 100 contractors.* It has continuously evolved to meet the changing requirements of contractors.
Asta Vision is designed to help the construction sector recognise the potential of digital and cloud to meet its urgent needs to enhance efficiency and speed. The pandemic only accelerated these needs, and it created a proving ground for the new solution.
The power of Vision in practice
Asta Vision supports contractors striving for more consistent workflows. Such businesses feature large numbers of concurrent projects or complex projects that require the attention of planning teams, not just individual PMs and planners.
Careys was among the first to demand these benefits. Derek O’Neil, Head of Planning for Careys Civil Engineering saw huge potential to remove complications from the planning process. Nearly two years on, he is pleased with the progress:
“The benefits of having all our data centralised on the cloud in Asta Vision became clear very quickly. Where projects have multiple planners, they can work together and review projects more easily. It also enables peer reviews as people can see the whole history of the project, including all the revisions and baselines. Having all the files in one place makes it simple to find information and improves our document control.”
The Building Division at VINCI Construction UK also embraced Asta Vision, after an extensive business review conducted in 2019. Head of Business Excellence Steven Tideswell realised that Asta Vision could strongly support its Digital by Desire initiative and efforts to transform planning processes. He told us:
“We realised that significant change was needed in the planning team’s technology and tools, as well as what they could do with data, insights, and reporting. We are committed Asta Powerproject users and quickly realised that Asta Vision could be an effective solution to our challenges. Because we have now standardised our programming template in Asta Vision all our programmes now have a consistent look and feel.”
Continuity and visibility in a crisis
In March 2020, the pandemic changed the game for every business. Construction operations continued, but Covid-19 intensified the need for programme accessibility as social distancing reduced numbers of people on site, and planners could visit less frequently. Collaboration came to the fore, as more teams worked from home and needed to share information.
The pandemic also altered the path of some projects. At Careys a few were paused, while most continued throughout. The advantage of enhanced visibility and centralised cloud file storage became invaluable. Derek said:
“Because our progress data is now in Asta Vision and connected to our BI reporting, we had clear visibility throughout the pandemic operations. The pandemic has inevitably delayed a few projects but, when they are reactivated, all the data is there waiting and neatly archived in the Asta Vision cloud.”
Many contractors faced tough decisions to furlough some staff and redeploy others. Maintaining continuity on projects is always vital, and VINCI had noticed this could be difficult even in normal times when planners or project managers might leave, go on holiday or be absent at any time. Steven recalled:
“Historically our planners worked on Asta Powerproject files on their laptops and didn’t always copy changed files back to the server. Filing was inconsistent. Now we know exactly where the programme is: on the Asta Vision cloud.”
Building cloud foundations for the future. The use of cloud to transform core construction processes and integrate project and progress data will be powerful aids to informed decision-making and enabling people to work more flexibly. Derek believes Careys will benefit on both fronts:
“Aspects of remote working could continue for a long time, or even permanently. Now I have fewer concerns about where people are working and whether on site or not, because all the data is in one place. Project teams have now been using Asta Vision for well over a year. Both they and the wider business are really appreciating the value of having live data at everyone’s fingertips. Showing our capability around project controls and how we use data with the aid of Asta Vision will become an increasing point of difference for Careys.”
Embracing digital advantage will be critical to enable construction businesses to strengthen and thrive in a challenging environment. Not just to operate effectively as the pandemic continues in 2021, but also to support the role they will play in helping Britain ‘build back better’ via the National Infrastructure Strategy. Efficiency, speed of project delivery, and increasing use of modern methods, cloud technology and digital data are as high on the Government’s priority list as they are on those of contractors themselves.
* Construction News Top 100 2020