With fast-moving projects, tight timelines and the increasing need to dig deeper into data to scrutinize work and progress, Guarantee Electrical knew it needed a modern software solution to keep pace with demand. The company relied on Viewpoint Vista construction management software for more than a decade and it worked well. But Dennis Heinle, the company’s director of information technology said there were a lot of on-premises systems in place and work involved to manage the company’s data, workflows, software updates and push new installs out. “We tried to centrally locate as much as we could here in St. Louis. Our main data center and disaster recovery (DR) site are both here. We were running Citrix for remote access of our core applications like Vista, but we keep growing, and up until about a year ago, we were still doing everything the old-school way, which was a challenge,” Heinle said. When Viewpoint began offering Vista in the cloud, Heinle said he saw opportunity for Guarantee Electrical to improve its operations. The primary challenge — processing speed — was an issue that made moving to the cloud particularly appealing. Years of data storage and processing in on-premise servers and software instances had slowed its system of record and getting some data into the hands of those in other offices or remotely also proved cumbersome at times.
“You’ve got to go to the cloud — that’s where business is going. It’s better, it’s faster, it’s more secure and it gives you more flexibility. You see the vision Viewpoint has and it made perfect sense.”
“Transferring of information between these locations — especially when dealing with manual processes like paper — has always been a little bit of a challenge,” said Controller Tina Helmsing, adding that rolling out with Viewpoint Field Time several years ago did alleviate some of that work. “That helped us with our payroll rekeying issues, and we’ve been using scanning and working to move toward paperless for some time now.” But storage of all that data and documentation also presented its own challenges. “We were starting to have a bit of a storage crisis to where we were going to have to purchase more storage
space here at our headquarters and at our disaster recovery site, just to keep up,” Heinle said, noting that was the second reason for looking to the cloud. The third reason? Viewpoint Team, the cloud-based document and project management platform that ties together back office and field processes with a common set of data. “We knew we wanted Team and this seemed like a great opportunity to solve the speed issue, get IT relief and go with Team — and do it all at once,” Heinle said.
“[Viewpoint] executed the plan and talked us through it all the way. It just seems like it was so easy for something that should have been really hard. Our users left here on a Friday using Vista on-premise and came back Monday morning and had it in the cloud.”
Guarantee made the switch, implementing the cloud version of Vista and Viewpoint Team. Heinle said the migration was a smooth process as Viewpoint worked closely with Guarantee to facilitate the move. “The Vista migration was extremely smooth. We knew exactly what we had to upload, when we had to upload it,” he said. “We probably overcommunicated with our teams here, sending out different tasks for the end users to do every day for a week beforehand.” As with any significant software and hardware update, there were some issues related to the move that arose, but Heinle said Viewpoint worked diligently to find solutions. The actual migration itself was done in less than 36 hours. Helmsing said that for the end users, the move was virtually seamless. “There was a plan, and they executed the plan and talked us through it all the way. It just seems like it was so easy for something that should have been really hard,” she said. “Our users left here on a Friday using Vista on-premise and came back Monday morning and had it in the cloud. And most of them didn’t have any issues. It was so easy to make this change.”
“We have a truck stock import for all of the potential materials for every one of our service vans that used to take about an hour with our on-prem system. Now that’s down to 15 minutes or less.”
The speed and flexibility that Vista in the cloud has provided Guarantee Electrical has helped significantly boost productivity and collaboration on projects, reduced time wasted and overhead for manual processes and has alleviated the strain on the company’s IT resources. “It has basically eliminated our need to purchase more storage. We’ve reduced our storage footprint by about 30 percent at our disaster recovery site,” Heinle said. “So, we definitely were able to kick that capital purchase down the road. We’re also considering other options with our DR site. With the majority of our data in the cloud now, we’re debating about whether we really need a DR site. It gives us a lot more opportunity now to look at other options.” Heinle said the cloud has opened up a new world of speed and productivity. For instance, the company has a truck stock report that updates all of the 4,000+ potential materials on each of its 60 service vans. That report, updated via an import of a spreadsheet into Vista, used to take more than an hour to complete. Now it takes less than 15 minutes. Helmsing added that the amount of time and work involved in processing accounting and payroll data has also been drastically reduced.
“We’ve reduced our storage footprint by about 30 percent at our disaster recovery site.”
“The flexibility the cloud version of Vista gives us is great. If we need to add more users or add a new location or change licensing, we can easily do that now,” Heinle said. “And all of our users can simply log in wherever they are. They can log in at work, they can go home and log in from there. They can go to a coffee shop and log in. I don’t think you can put a dollar amount on flexibility, but it’s just been huge.” Heinle noted that after attending one of Viewpoint’s recent Collaborate user conferences and getting a sense of everything that Viewpoint has been working on with regard to cloud-based technologies, it became obvious that making the move was a must. “You’ve got to go to the cloud — that’s where business is going. It’s better, it’s faster, it’s more secure and it gives you more flexibility. You see the vision Viewpoint has and it made perfect sense. All of those Viewpoint upgrades, SQL upgrades, server upgrades and database maintenance – we don’t have to worry about any of that stuff anymore.” Helmsing added that she wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Viewpoint to help navigate contractors’ cloud transitions. “We have seen some really great things from Viewpoint just over the last year. We’re still big fans of their products.”
“We have seen some really great things from Viewpoint just over the last year. We’re still big fans of their products.”