Q & A with Bovis Homes
Bovis Homes made the move to COINS Construction Cloud* in record time, discover more in this Q & A with Chris Pearce, Group IT Director at Bovis Homes.
Q: Why did Bovis Homes decide to update its construction ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)?
We had a legacy ERP that had been in place for 20 years. It was written in-house and was no longer a good fit for the business. It was very restrictive, you had to be on our internal network to use it and there were also a limited number of interfaces with third parties - so we had a big ambition to change.
Q: How did you decide to implement COINS?
We had a new CEO, Greg Fitzgerald, appointed in 2017 and under his direction we have installed COINS in record time. We chose a staged approach. Phase 1 was really about Commercial and Accounts, where we could achieve the most value as it would really help the regions to understand what their cost was out on site. Phase 2, which we are about to begin, is all about building upon the commercial foundation, and then later we will add Build Programming. Future phases will include Business Intelligence, Management Information and House Sales as well as other extras.
Q: Why choose a cloud hosted system?
For me, as an IT specialist, I wanted the system to be cloud hosted. Mainly because I didn’t want my team to be responsible for the infrastructure and back-ups anymore. Or to worry about how much processing the database has and how many CPUs (central processing units) etc.
Q: Did you have any other requirements?
Essential requirements were that the solution had to be secure and incorporate a full disaster recovery environment, such as being easy to restore to the latest data point and straightforward to transition users in the event of a disaster.
Q: Why choose COINS Construction Cloud?
We chose COINS Construction Cloud with Microsoft Azure mainly because, as experts in the construction industry, you could deliver on all of our requirements, as well as providing ‘nice to haves’. These include a single sign on for Bovis Homes users, which gives access to the Bovis Homes intranet and emails, as well as the COINS system. We are also able to scan invoices from multiple devices and have them tagged directly into the COINS system. We also wanted the Bovis Homes system ‘locked down’, so rather than being able to access COINS via the open internet, users access this via our VPN network, with a back-up option also available.
Q: How did you achieve ‘Board buy in’?
This was a large step forward for Bovis Homes. Firstly we were going to do something we hadn’t done before by adopting a third-party solution. This was being hosted in ‘the cloud’, which Bovis Homes historically hadn’t done, and there was also investment required. The clear benefits were that Bovis Homes would no longer have to worry about the scaling of the environment, for example how much RAM we will need in five years’ time. We just sign up to COINS Construction Cloud, confirm the number of users, then COINS worries about all of that! Board buy-in was actually relatively straightforward; as non-IT focused construction specialists what they really needed was my reassurance that this was the right thing to do.
Q: What was your implementation timeframe?
We had a timescale of nine months to get COINS construction software in and live - this was the deadline set by the Board. We went from a standing start and it was a lot of work, to be brutally honest, but we went live with seven business units in one day, over the Easter weekend, with all the support being handled in-house. To help reduce the risk we also adopted SureStart, COINS best practice. This was the first time Bovis Homes had implemented an ERP, let alone an ‘off-the-shelf’ solution, but we were ready for something fresh.
Q: What are the benefits to your IT team from using COINS Construction Cloud?
For me as an IT specialist, what I really like about COINS software is that my IT team can now really focus on adding value to the business. They can spend time on processes which get data into COINS Construction Cloud and focus on how we integrate with it, rather than having to worry about infrastructure.
Q: What are your next steps?
All seven business units and central services are now live on COINS and we haven’t looked back. We connect to it every day and haven’t had any reports from users about slow-downs. The environment has been up 24/7 and we do not need to use any resource to monitor and maintain the platform, as it’s all handled by the COINS team.
We have never really given Business Intelligence (BI) to the Board before, so we are really keen to deliver this to them. We also plan to take a COINS upgrade every year as I want to make sure we are continually evolving. Having come from an ERP that was never updated, we want to explore any new functionality that COINS has to offer in the future. We are also going to be working on commercial additions such as the Bill of Quantities (BOQ).
Bovis Homes as a business is adapting to COINS construction software and I would definitely recommend moving to COINS Construction Cloud with Microsoft Azure.
* COINS Construction Cloud combines a cloud-based ERP system with collaborative field apps which enable data to be remotely captured and made immediately available to the business.