MTSAB – Power Apps & Power BI case study
How we brought back control overspent time and budget in company operations
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Screenshot 1 - MTSAB - Power Apps & Power BI case study
MTSAB – Power Apps & Power BI case study

MTSAB is a company that deals with all types of ground-related work and renovations. They help with house foundations, garden reconstructions, putting up walls, laying tiles, etc.

The Company has ten years of experience, and over time, more opportunities for larger jobs had opened up. To keep the pace, MTSAB had to acquire more equipment, larger machines, and hire more people from which the majority were blue collars. The latter requires the Company to deal with new challenges and solve them in a cost-efficient way.

Challenges 

On the project start, MTSAB employed 100+ people. The Company needs a tool for workers’ time tracking. They reviewed multiple different tools for time tracking and decided to try one of them for a few months. Unfortunately, the selected solution did not meet their expectations, so company stakeholders chose to find a new application that will solve their challenges.

WORKTIME TRACKING

Historically, reporting of working time required that each employee directly contacted a dedicated employee (all with the same) who entered into the daily system information such as name and surname of the employee, performed work, and reported time.

First, Excel was used to collect data. After some time, Excel has been replaced with a 3rd party solution. Although new software had reporting capabilities based on data relationships, it didn’t have a mobile application, so the process itself was not only ineffective (weak scaling up), but also the software used did not reflect the information architecture of MTSAB and its internal structure. It is worth adding that the license cost of this solution was SEK 50,000 every month.

INABILITY TO PREDICT ALL TASKS RELATED TO RENOVATION WORK

In renovation works, there are often unexpected extra tasks. Sometimes it results directly from the ordering party, who suddenly finds the need to make an additional modification, and sometimes only after the work is done, other things that require attention come out. In such situations, MTSAB employees are allowed to take over those tasks. Still, they have to obligatory take photos that show the subject of additional work (and the effect before and after) and provides a description. So far, pictures with descriptions have been sent by e-mail, and a dedicated person has cataloged the received data together with the project (renovation work) data. Such work was carried out once a week and required a lot of time from the finance department employee.

BLUE-COLLAR EMPLOYEES MANAGEMENT

A team of people that works at the construction or renovation site. Each of them has different qualifications (electrics, plumbing, tiling, etc.). Occasionally, an employee is unable to show up on the work site for various reasons. Then the dedicated employee of MTSAB has to find a replacement for him in cooperation with other Team Leaders. Searched replacement requires taking into account multiple factors, ie. Required skills, employee availability, and rate. So far, this information has been implemented in Excel (separate from the 3rd party solution used to time reporting). As the number of employees increased, the number of replacement cases increased as well. That has an impact on management efficiency.

First, Excel was used to collect data. After some time, Excel has been replaced with a 3rd party solution. Although new software had reporting capabilities based on data relationships, it didn’t have a mobile application, so the process itself was not only ineffective (weak scaling up), but also the software used did not reflect the information architecture of MTSAB and its internal structure. It is worth adding that the license cost of this solution was SEK 50,000 every month.

PROJECT ASSUMPTION AND REQUIREMENTS

To deliver the project successfully, Developico had to take into consideration the following factors: costs and complexity of the new solution.

LOW COST OF THE NEW SOLUTION

  1. The monthly cost of maintaining new solution must not exceed the current price of maintenance (SEK 50,000)
  2. Office employees (10-20 people) have Office365 licenses
  3. In-field employees (80-90 people) do not have any Microsoft licenses

COMPLEXITY OF THE NEW SOLUTION

  1. Solution for in-field workers should have a mobile application. Such an application should have an intuitive and straightforward interface allowing to reduce the time of training on how to use the app for new users
  2. The solution for office employees should have a web interface.
  3. The solution should be possible to implement within three months of the commencement of works (MTSAB had been looking for a new solution for several months, and the budget for finding a new solution was slowly melting)

Solution Architecture

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Common Data Service – the database for all tabular data in the solution. The reasons behind the decision were storage size (up to 10GB), the excellent performance of the database, possibility to enable auditing and backup capabilities and ability to export data to excel

Power Apps – a platform to build the user interface and use form from any device. There will be two applications in the solution:

  • Time reporting application – from its level workers will be able to report time (regular hours and extra hours with additional comment and photo)
  • Data administration application – application for managing clients, contacts, projects, and employees.

    PowerBI – reporting tool with various kinds of charts and data visualizations. It has excellent options for manipulating data charts, the possibility to drill down the data, and it can be embedded into PowerApps if needed. Such a report should at least

    • Show the number of hours reported by the employee in each month (by project)
    • Show total number of hours worked in the project by role and person
    • Show geographic map of projects

      Business impact

      The whole project has been delivered in 4 weeks from the start (on-premise analysis workshop).

      The solution covers all business needs and requirements. It also brings modern UX that is very easy to learn for a new employee. It has a significant impact on the decreased time effort required for the project and human resources management.

      Common Data Service stores all data (including photos) in a structured and secure way.

      The recommended approach required to buy up to 100 PowerApps Per-App license for every user that will use any of the two PowerApps apps. Single license cost was around ~88 SEK/user/month at that time. Moreover, users that want to use PowerBI reports need an additional license for PowerBI Pro (also ~88 SEK/user/month). But even then, the ROI was in 3rd month of usage of the solution (Developico cost and licenses that client requires every month) in comparison to the previously used solution of 3rd party vendor. If all benefits are taken into account (including those hardly measured like exact time saved), then the total ROI could be even faster.

      After a month of usage, the client returned for more features, i.e., localization (for Swedish) and historical view of submitted hours in Time Reporting Application (both visible in-app screenshots below)

      Client opinion

      Our aim was to be able to identify factors that unnoticeably or uncontrollably caused financial losses in our organization. We used to rely on excel spreadsheets which was later replaced by dedicated tool. However the tool had unmpleasent data structure and along with lack of mobile application it moved us toward next change. Developico helped us consolidate our users channel by creating 2 Power Apps apps with ergonomic UX connected with structured data using Common Data Service. Then the data fed our data model and ultimately allowed us to gain clear business insights through Power BI. I’m very happy with the result of our collaboration with Developico. Developico looked at our business from different perspectives and proposed solution hollistacly used Microsoft offer with license costs effective. We do recommend their services.

      Daniel Murzyński

      Operational Chief / COO, MTSAB

      Solution screenshots

      ADMINISTRATION APPLICATION

      TIME REPORTING APPLICATION
      POWER BI REPORTS

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