The chosen technology is the Enterprise Resource System (ERP) IPOS. IPOS is a system that was created and has been developed for use mostly in civil-engineering companies. It is also software developer by a Czech company that is mostly used in the Czech Republic, but also in Slovakia. It is one of the best software programs in this industry and is widely used by small companies as well as by large companies foreign origin such as COLAS CZ, a. s. , IMOS Brno, a. s. , and Chladek a Tintera Litomerice, a. s.
This system combines a classic accounting system adhering to all necessary legal requirements with a program for planning, managing, controlling and results evaluating results of civil-engineering contracts. It is possible to use this system without the accounting part. The production part is used by the companies Strabag CZ, a. s. , Mostecka uhelna spolecnost, a. s. , Stavby mostu Praha, a. s. , etc. (IPOS-SOFT, s. r. o. , 201b). * What are the origins of the technology? When did it start to be widely used in business?
The necessity for profitable management of the civil engineering sites came after the Velvet Revolution. Many new companies were established, was growing and these companies needed to start to do their work more effectively and be one step ahead of their competitors. Due to the fact that each site is different, these companies needed to know their estimated costs to be able to be competitive and offer better prices for to investors. The company IPOS-SOFT was established in 1992 and since that time has been developing its IPOS program. (IPOS-SOFT, s. r. o. , 2013a). * What are the major features of the technology?
As was mentioned before, this technology is unique in combining the classic accounting program with a production part, which is useful for planning, managing, controlling and evaluating civil-engineering sites. ORACLE offers a very similar program and it is widely used as well, but one of the main advantages of IPOS is its lower price. Another advantage mostly for Czech-speaking people is its familiar language, not only translated words that make no sense. It has been developed by a Czech company, any changes is legal requirements are promptly implemented in the software.
* What company stakeholders typically provide input? What is the role of the financial staff? Company stakeholders provide many inputs into the software. The number of inputs depends mostly on the volume of the company and the parts of software, company used. Production part of the software: Every site usually begins with a bid. This bid is made by the business department.
To create an appropriate bid it is possible to use URS databases, which consist of estimated prices for civil engineering work (cubic meter dig by a worker, 1 m2 of plaster, 1 ton of transported soil per 1 km, etc.) and average material prices. Multiplying these prices by the amount of the work and material, the company can get an estimation of direct material and direct labor costs. Other costs such as site arrangements are usually calculated using a percentage corresponds to the direct costs. Overhead is calculated the same way. Finally it is necessary to apply the amount of the desired profit and the calculation is over. This was a very brief explanation, in the real world there are more inputs in the calculation.
After the bid is sent to the customer and is accepted, the business department usually attaches a production number to the contract and the calculation becomes budget no. 1 of the site. The costs of the budget no. 1 are usually the source of negotiations between the site manager and his superordinate. Prices are usually changed a somewhat. After the 2 spaces costs are accepted by the site manager, budget no. 2 is created. This is the most important budget for a site manager and his evaluation. The site manager can use the program for issuing orders. In the accounting part of the software bookkeepers issue invoices as well as receive them.
All these invoices are targeted by site number and matched with orders. While the site is operating, the site manager and his superordinate can see the costs that are implemented into the production part of the program from the accounting part. These costs are visible in comparison to the budget. As each site is usually divided into smaller parts, there is a better overview of the whole site. It is possible to see the percentage of collection threw the invoices, and the site manager can input there his own expectations of work-in-progress and the budgeted costs as well as real costs.
Costs can be managed this wax during the site is operation. When the site is closed down the site manager can see the result of his work and usually has a meeting with his superordinate. The superordinate takes the results and evaluates the site manager. This program is not used only for civil-engineering sites. But it is possible to see the fulfillment of the budget of each department in the company, such as administrative departments, quarries, asphalt plants, and transportation departments.
Inputs to the software can be done by everyone in the company with authorization according to the superordinate`s and management`s needs. The role of the accounting staff is to provide accounting, and the role of the top financial staff is to manage the company based on the inputs and to look for potential threats and prevent them. * How are they being used to drive business value? If possible, provide quantifiable examples of how they increase business value. This software clearly drives business value. It is a tool for company management to make a connection between history, the present and the future.
The final result of a site can be closely inspected and the estimated price for each item of work increased or decreased. It can also show the difference in non-direct site costs that are different for the building of a hotel, the building of an asphalt motorway, etc. The next time the site`s results can be closer to the company`s expectations. There are some more points for measuring how IPOS drives business value. Talking about customers, company is trying to satisfied consumers with better offers and estimated prices, what in finale means that company increase customer satisfaction.
In information technology world business value defines, for IPOS, when their software meets requirements of their clients needs, while providing them functional, usable, reliable, securable and accessible system. On the other hand, fighting against a competition, IPOS runs a campaign on Czech market to push forward own product, which is software. Having said that, company drives business value through marketing campaign response rate. Increasing marketing rate, it will help to increase a revenue growth at the end. * What are their limitations?
What changes would you recommend? The use of the software is unlimited. The only limitation is reality. The budget of the company is expectations can be anything, but the inputs have to be as close to reality as possible. Otherwise the whole planning and management system will not be useful. Recommendation for IPOS SOFT could be in a way of spreading their market area and trying to break into a European market. Due to competitor price in European level for installing such a system, IPOS has advantages with lower price.
Finding new segment of customers, cooperating with international companies let IPOS becomes stable and international. From financial site, in the future, launch an issue and increase thereby interest from investors. * What are the differences (if any) in the use of this technology in small businesses and larger enterprises? IPOS is a construction software that can be used partners of all sizes, involved in all types of construction (whether building or roads). The basic software has the accountancy and production part that is of use to all types and sizes of construction companies.
The accountancy IPOS handles a multitude of functions from cash flow, invoicing, cash operations, bank module, taxes, wages, expenditure & investments, as well as stores, internal and financial accounting for the companies. The production part is the core part of the software and is used for monitor and control of costs and schedules of all parts of a construction project. These two packages are of use to both large and small companies. To facilitate expansion of the software for use by larger organization, IPOS has different superstructures that may be added on to the basic package as required.
These include production superstructure (with additional functions like documentation, subcontractor module and network graph) investment superstructure and designer super structure– all of which are required mostly by only large companies for managing sub-contractors and sub-suppliers. The differences are in the number of inputs, the number of departments the software uses, and the number of users of the program. This program works with licenses, and each company can buy as many licenses as it needs. One license means one user currently using the program.
* How are companies adapting the use of this technology to their unique needs (e.g. , industries, size, geographies) to drive value? Provide three “real world” examples. IPOS is aimed towards construction companies of all sizes and types to streamline their processes and perform accounts, administration, and project management tasks efficiently. Following are three ways in which companies can use IPOS to create value: 1. Reduces papers chasing – The word ‘construction’ brings to mind not only people working in hard hats, but also struggling with reams of paper.
Companies can use IPOS to reduce paper chasing and instead focus on the more important goal of project management and delivery.
2. Project documentation – The project documentation in construction has always been always a time consuming task. At the same time the task is also demanding as the reports have to follow certain standards. IPOS’s production superstructure with its functioning of project document facilitates this task. 3. Vendor Sourcing – Large construction companies are always on the look out for companies giving better services and/or low cost services. Traditionally, there vendors would need to meet with several people before anyone takes a decision. This is a time consuming process.
IPOS can be used by vendors to directly send their proposals and brochures to multiple people who can then interact fast and make informed decisions This software has already been developed for the special purpose of the civil-engineering industry. Each company is different, but the software is specially adapted to all company needs. When a company buys it, there is a special system where the IPOS-SOFT staff implements the software. It is not like buying ORACLE. It is a system based on the requirements of each company. * What industry trends do you think will change how this technology is used in the future?
The makers of IPOS have developed a very comprehensive software package that is of much use to construction companies, regardless of their specific work profiles or size. The entry of well-established software companies is an ever present threat to IPOS-SOFT whose clientele is located almost entirely in Czech Republic. The global slowdown has caused major economic problems for European countries. This can act as both opportunity and threat to IPOS-SOFT. On one hand, there is the every present danger of construction companies calling a halt to existing projects and not starting newer projects.
However, as the software packages are usually paid for at the start, IPOS-SOFT does not have major issues because of this, though business expansion plans can be severely impacted if companies operating without a software package decide on austerity measures and halting any such purchases. On the other hand, as IPOS is specifically aimed to reduce cost for companies by reducing administration costs in the long terms as well as reducing short term costs by streamlining the business processes related to cash inflows and outflows.
Hence, the company can position this as a cost saving measure – a must for all construction companies in the present economic climate. This software will be faster, with higher numbers of databases, more accurate and full of newly invented tools, such as competitors’ analyses, and lists of business opportunities downloaded from the web. It could also include SCM and CRM programs in the future. References IPOS-SOFT, s. r. o. (2013a). Zamereni spolecnosti. Retrieved on March 17, 2013 from: http://www. ipossoft. cz/zamereni-spolecnosti/ IPOS-SOFT, s. r. o. (2013b). Reference. Retrieved on March 17, 2013 from: http://www. ipossoft. cz/reference/