"With Alpha Anywhere we rapidly built a Web and mobile project management solution for the building and construction industry, and replaced the existing Microsoft Access application. The result is a more powerful and useful tool that saved us 50% in costs and offers new capabilities."
- Bachir Georges Yazbek, Head of Project Control Department, Zerock Construction, and Founder, DesignPMS
With its head office in Lebanon, Zerock Construction is a group of construction firms operating throughout Africa and the Middle East. Its clients include governmental and private customers in Nigeria, Mozambique, Congo, and Lebanon. DesignPMS was founded by Bachir Georges Yazbek to offer complete web solutions for the management of projects that operate on a global scale in the construction and facility management industries.
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Rapidly takes MS Access databases mobile
Bachir had previously developed a project management and procurement control system for Saipem Company using Microsoft Access. The system was unable to provide the new capabilities the company needed to support the range and size of its evolving projects. Sapiem was moving to Zerock, a multi-site, multi-country company, and needed to centralize its data and reporting system while allowing for access to the system anywhere in the world via the Web and mobile devices. Microsoft Access could not build applications for Web and mobile access.
After evaluating other vendors, Bachir chose Alpha Anywhere as the technology best-suited to his needs. "Alpha provides us the flexibility and features we needed, without tying us to an individual vendor. It is ideal for building Web portals and mobile apps," he says.
Using Alpha, Bachir built an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution called webPCM. The solution manages every aspect of construction projects in several nations, including procurement, payroll, client certification, material transit and logisitics, delivering engineering documentation, and tracking the progress of individual projects. It also helps manage more than 600 pieces of heavy equipment including cranes, excavators, and bulldozers.
"We frequently need to analyze data, and using Alpha Anywhere's Xbasic function, we were able to build an elaborate dashboard for doing that," he says. "In addition, by using Alpha Anywhere to build a browser-based application, we easily and inexpensively created a powerful secure network between our company entities, something that major construction companies typically need to spend significant amounts of money to implement."
"Without Alpha Anywhere, I would have had to outsource development to an outside software company because we needed a sophisticated system with a strong back-end, and we couldn't have built that ourselves. But with Alpha were able to do it. We've saved at least 50% in costs and time."
Bachir notes that "Without Alpha Anywhere, I would have had to outsource development to an outside software company because we needed a sophisticated system with a strong back end, and we couldn't have built that ourselves. But with Alpha were able to do it. We've saved at least 50% in costs and time."
Zerock is also receiving significant benefits by integrating Alpha anywhere with Google Drive and Oracle's Primavera project portfolio management software. By integrating with Primavera, Zerock can better monitor the site progress of each of its construction projects. By integrating with Google Drive, it offers a way for staff in a wide geographic area to access vital information.
Zerock uses Google Drive to store vast amounts of construction data, including important correspondence among clients, main contractors, and many subcontractors. Bachir estimates that approximately 500 megabytes of this type of data accumulates every day in Google Drive. That data needs to be easily accessible throughout the company. Bachir accomplished that by synchronizing Google Drive with Alpha profiles. A user can then easily find and download documents from Google, using Alpha Anywhere.
Zerock has also gotten significant benefits from its mobile app. Construction projects are frequently dispersed over a large geographic area — Bachir says that in Nigeria, for example, the company's projects are typically 500 kilometers from each other. This can be problematic, because on each project, only the project manager can approve payment requests, but the manager cannot always easily be physically present at the main office.
"We needed a real-time approach to having project manager approve payment requests," Bachir explains. "We can't wait until he comes back into his office from the field to approve them. So we developed a mobile app using Alpha's list control feature that allows him to securely approve payments on his iPhone."
Summing up the benefits of Alpha Anywhere, Bachir says, "Alpha has saved us significant amounts of money, sped up development and allowed us to add features whenever we need them. More importantly, it has given us a tool to manage the projects of a large and growing construction company and made our business far more efficient."
"Alpha has saved us significant amounts of money, sped up development and allowed us to add features whenever we need them. More importantly, it has given us a tool to manage the projects of a large and growing construction company and made our business far more efficient."