Top 10 goals we set out to achieve with 4castplus
This is an excerpt of a document we wrote many years ago when we were defining our motive for building 4castplus. Our energy and passion for these things hasn’t changed in the slightest and we still hold these as overarching principles of this company.
- Level the playing field. For years, the big players in the engineering and construction industry have held a technology advantage over small and mid-sized companies. They’ve had the deep pockets to build project cost control and procurement management solutions that they leverage to differentiate themselves in securing contracts. We set out to provide superior cost management and cost control capability to mid-sized companies so that they can compete head-to-head with anyone in their market.
- Give people their time back. We want Wayne at Devon Energy to go golfing once in a while, and take weekends off so that he can see his kids more often. We’ve come across a lot of guys like Wayne who spend an excruciating amount of time on tedious, unnecessary tasks that could be eliminated with intelligent, dedicated software. Re-keying data in spreadsheets, trolling through spreadsheet errors, collecting and organizing data from various different places to produce a report – it’s tragic that with the technology we have available, people can waste so much effort by using old tools. We want to give them their time back to do the job they’re supposed to be doing; not to mention spending more time on the things they love.
- Bring real-time information to everyone on a project. As any project manager will tell you, having current, reliable information on his or her project is critical for making good decisions. Project surprises, failures and budget overruns are largely avoidable by enabling real-time, accurate data to decision makers. We’ve been driven to provide an easy-to-use system that delivers key reporting to project managers and engineers in real-time.
- Remove the barriers for adopting key technology – Make it Easy. We want to make it easy for companies to adopt and implement critical software for their business. Companies often hesitate about technology because of the perceived disruptions, time commitments and cost of adopting new software. They also fear the very real problem that they won’t achieve buy-in from their staff. Minimizing these adoption challenges is one of the most important goals we set out to achieve. We focus on 5 key elements to overcome these barriers. Elements such as: usability, easy and quick configuration, self-training options, one-touch data integration, and a dedication to providing the necessary service to help organizations with strategies to guarantee success.
- Remove the owner-contractor barriers. The complexity of large projects is made even more challenging when there are dozens of separate companies working on that project. Engineering companies, contractors and suppliers are all contributing their piece to the project and passing their costs up the food chain to the owner. We saw the need to simplify the information flow of critical data between the various contractors and the owner as a clear win for all sides. Most projects transfer information by paper, spreadsheets, and emails; causing data re-entry and errors at every step. Why can’t that information be shared digitally? Why can’t the owner click a button to accept the latest data update from the EPC? They can share documents electronically – that’s nothing new. We want them to share the contents of those documents so that the owners and contractors can have cost information updated in a split second.
- Make software beautiful and easy. Software products should be much more than just functional. Yes, they need to serve a purpose and answer questions; but they can do that while at the same time be intuitive, well styled, and easy to learn. We approach building construction project management software with the theory that if it’s not easy, then it’s not functional. We fuss over every detail of every workflow to make sure it’s smooth, intuitive, involves the minimum possible clicks; and of course, that it looks great.
- Provide single-click answers to the “Where are we at” questions. Everyone from the Investment Community to the Owner to the EPCM to the Contractors – they all want to know “where things are at” on any day during a project. They have different perspectives as to what that means of course: one side looks at cost, and the other side looks at revenue and margin. Either way, knowledge in a single click is a powerful tool. On top of that, sharing that knowledge with relevant stakeholders gives all parties a competitive and strategic advantage.
- Simplify and improve the way project companies do business. We noticed that many companies go through an explosion of growth where they become too busy to address the growing infrastructure deficits that are causing internal struggles. The old spreadsheets and ad-hoc processes start to break down as complexity and pace increases. Confusion mounts, invoices are forgotten, mistakes get made. We can’t fix all their growing pains, but we can certainly organize and improve a chunk of their construction project management, procurement and cash flow reporting.
- Address the cash-flow darkness. Cash-flow reporting is crucial for project-based companies, but they really struggle with it. Being able to anticipate cash highs and lows is a vital part of project cost management: regardless of whether you’re an owner or contractor or EPCM. Moreover, that cash flow picture is a constant moving target as projects are continuously changed, forecasted and re-baselined. Additionally, projects can require significant upfront investment that may not pay off for months or years. We set out to provide clean and easy answers so that CFOs can constantly monitor the ongoing cashflow projections of any portfolio of projects.
- Provide the kind of caring customer service that gives our customers the peace of mind that they’re being taken care of. We know that technology is not the core business for organizations in our industry. They therefore need a trusted partner that is committed to their success in leveraging technology to improve their business. We want our clients to view us as playing a vital role in their business. We take the approach that we have to earn our clients’ business every single day.