Cloud for Construction

Posted by Phillip Schell May 28, 2018 11:21:00 AM

Cloud for Construction is here, anchored by SAP's Digital Core - S4 Public Cloud and Corecon for Construction Field Operations is a true end to end integrated ERP solution for Construction companies.

cloudforconstruction

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Topics: cloud, Cloud Computing, construction, Engineering and Construction, sap public cloud, corecon, S/4Hana, B4 Consulting

Analytics in the cloud

Posted by Phillip Schell May 7, 2018 1:17:26 PM
I would like to submit this idea for true discussion. Joint ventures are a growing concept to manage risk on large projects, but when companies come together bring disparate applications to manage their portion of the work it becomes difficult to have a screenshotsingle source of the truth on the health of the project. Our Analytics Cloud for Construction which is totally agnostic to any application can provide that single source of the truth and allow JV members to use their own systems. Comments? 
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Topics: cloud, Self-Service Analytics, Cloud Computing, Data Analytics, construction, productivity

Driving Project Certainty with Next Generation Analytics

Posted by Phillip Schell Jan 29, 2018 11:37:47 AM

Sorry you missed the webinar! 

Please stay tuned.  It will be posted OnDemand soon.

 

Analytics Cloud For Construction

B4 Consulting has developed a stand-alone solution for the entire construction market.  Our Analytics Cloud for Construction app will be a game-changer in this industry. We are offering a complimentary webinar to introduce you to this efficient and easy eay to meet business objectives, manage risks and grow your business. Please register at the link below to learn more.

The construction industry is one of the world economy’s largest sectors, with $10 trillion spent on construction-related goods and services every year. In a low margin industry with capital-intensive projects, success can depend on tightly monitoring and controlling the performance of projects. The SAP® Analytics Cloud for Construction solution can make this task easier by helping managers identify issues, derive insights, make optimal decisions, and take action.

SAP has had a dedicated industry practice since 1996, serving a customer base that includes over 3000 companies globally. We see the challenges posed by globalization, resource constraints, and increasing project complexity and risk. We are working with our customers on a variety of fronts to meet and defeat these challenges.

SAP is committed to partnering with customers to help:

  • Provide timely, accurate information in real-time
  • Tightly monitor and control project performance
  • Detect and mitigate risk early in the project lifecycle
  • Give project executives appropriate information to make better decisions
  • Avoid time and resources involved with developing customer-specific analytics content
This webinar will showcase our partner, B4 Consulting, and how they’ve created a construction/project specific deployment of world-class analytics in the cloud.  B4 Consulting integrates business processes and technologies globally for customers who want to transform their businesses with innovative on-premise and cloud-based solutions.  B4 Consulting’s team of solution architects integrates these solutions with leading systems, such as SAP solutions, to enable business performance excellence and improved profitability. Partnering with customers throughout the U.S. and Canada, B4 Consulting has the largest practice in North America dedicated to the engineering, construction, real estate, equipment management, field services and professional services industries. www.b4-consulting.com.

 

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Topics: Data Analytics, cloud, solutions, Cloud Computing, Engineering and Construction, B4 Consulting, Self-Service Analytics

iSlide Chooses B4 Consulting to Implement SAP Business One

Posted by Angela Cook Dec 29, 2017 1:43:18 PM

ISlide Chooses B4 Consulting to Implement SAP Business One®


Cloud-based, comprehensive business management solution will transform business operations for fastest-growing and innovative footwear manufacturer


Waltham, Mass. – June 20, 2017  B4 Consulting®, helping companies grow with innovative software, services and support, today announced that Massachusetts-based ISlide, one of the world’s fastest-growing and innovative footwear designers, has chosen B4 Consulting to transition its business operations to SAP Business One® Cloud. SAP Business One Cloud is an affordable, scalable and easy-to-use business management solution designed for growing companies. B4 Consulting, a full-service SAP Gold-level partner, resold SAP Business One Cloud on SAP S/4HANA® and will implement the solution at ISlide headquarters in Boston.

“ISlide is a great example of innovative entrepreneurship that thrives in Massachusetts,” said Klaus Schottenhamel, president and CEO of B4 Consulting. “They are pioneering a manufacturing process that enables customers to custom-design slide sandals online and receive the finished goods in about a week. Their business model is revolutionizing the footwear industry, and SAP Business One gives them the perfect foundation to scale and grow.”

ISlideAccess to Real-time Data for Real-time Footwear

Since its founding in 2013, ISlide has become the preeminent leader in slide sandals “with sales doubling annually,” noted Justin Kittredge, founder and CEO of ISlide. “But we were running a lot of disparate systems for financials, sales, inventory management and the like. To continue our growth rate, we wanted a scalable system that could integrate all the standard business functions plus incorporate those that are unique to our business, such as printing and website shopping. Plus, it had to be easy to use and deploy.”

ISlide vetted a number of solutions and implementation partners before deciding on SAP Business One Cloud and B4 Consulting. “We went through an exhaustive evaluation process,” said Steve Amrein, operations director at ISlide. “SAP Business One Cloud was the only solution that could fast-track our operations into the 21st century, adapt to our unique product needs, and give us access to real-time data, which is essential when producing custom-designed sandals with the industry’s fastest turnaround times.

“B4 Consulting was the only reseller who ‘got us’,” continued Amrein. “B4 has experience in helping early-stage companies successfully grow their business with the latest technologies, they’re experts in SAP Business One, they understand manufacturing processes, and they know how to translate those processes into simple functions with SAP software. Lastly, we wanted a local partner who would give us personal attention and support as needed.  The B4 team came to the table with a level of enthusiasm and commitment that matches the high energy at ISlide.”

The SAP Business One Cloud software-as-a-service model enables ISlide to accelerate the time-to-value of SAP® software across the organization.  On a single platform, the solution integrates key operational functions including accounting and finance, sales and customer management, purchasing and operations, inventory and distribution, material requirements planning, and reporting and administration. ISlide will also take advantage of SAP Business One add-on functionality for:

  • Job costing and project accounting
  • Shipping integration
  • Warehouse management
  • Credit card processing

Running on the cutting-edge in-memory computing of the SAP HANA® platform, SAP Business One Cloud will enable ISlide to quickly process large volumes of data and get immediate feedback on transactions and complex analyses. It is the only solution for mid-market companies with an in-memory database, which provides extensive analytics capabilities. “We’re on a growth trajectory, and we’re looking to SAP Business One to help propel that growth and our continued innovations,” noted Kittredge.

About B4 Consulting, Inc.

B4 Consulting integrates business processes and technologies globally for customers who want to transform their businesses with innovative on premise and cloud-based solutions. Our team of solution architects integrates these solutions with leading systems, such as SAP solutions, to enable business performance excellence and improved profitability. www.b4-consulting.com. Follow Us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/b4consulting

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B4 Consulting is a registered trademark of B4 Consulting, Inc.

SAP, SAP Business One, SAP S/4HANA, SAP HANA and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE (or an SAP affiliate company) in Germany and other countries. See http://www.sap.com/corporate-en/legal/copyright/index.epx for additional trademark information and notices.

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Topics: SAP, Mobility, Engineering and Construction, AEC, Enterprise Content Management, iSlide, Cloud Computing, SAP Business One, SAP Hana, S/4Hana

Wi-Fi on the Jobsite -- Anytime - Anywhere

Posted by Phillip Schell Nov 4, 2014 11:31:00 AM

OpenRoute OnSite Wi-Fi Sample DeploymentOpenRoute_Worker_w_Tablet

I will never forget the look on my son Tyler’s face as we backed out of his grandparent’s home late one Christmas day. At nine-years-old, he had received his first computer for Christmas, a small netbook -- the perfect starter. He said in an ever-so sad voice, “Dad, my computer is not working.” I looked over and replied, “Son, we are not connected to the Internet anymore. You can still use your computer, you just can’t connect it to the Internet while we are driving.” In a tone of voice increasingly glum-sounding, he said “If it can’t connect to the Internet what good is it?” Then came the obligatory speech about the old days and how the Internet came after computers. All of this was met, of course, with the usual eye-rolling and the deepening of my dinosaur-experience hole.

Every time I think about the construction industry and Cloud applications, I think of my son. His connectivity issues are not unlike those experienced by the construction industry when it comes to Cloud applications: If you can’t get to them – what good are they? And, the issue is actually bigger than that. A lot of important business takes place at a construction site and sharing and using field information in real time can pose a business-critical challenge. The construction site is where risk is heightened and where quick, fact-based decisions need to be made in the battle for margins. For a long time, it’s also been the place that’s been disconnected from all the tools that can improve productivity, manage risk, and enable effective decision making.  But – that was then. Today, portable Internet access is available from B4 Consulting's valued partner OpenRoute.

OpenRoute was born out of CoCo Communications, which was established post-911 to build software-defined, tactical communications solutions that enable people in mobile- and zero-infrastructure environments to share information securely and reliably. OpenRoute was formed to commercialize aspects of CoCo technology in support of the construction industry. The result:  OpenRoute™ OnSite Wi-Fi - a truly state-of-the-art, construction-rugged device, which extends Internet connectivity past the trailer and out into the field. OpenRoute OnSite Wi-Fi is easy to set up. It starts with connecting a small, self-contained yellow box to your existing Internet and power sources. That's it. When you need even more coverage as the job site expands and structures are built, add another yellow box or two, or more. The yellow boxes connect wirelessly and automatically, forming their own mesh network.

openroute_yellow_box

 OpenRoute On-Site Wi-Fi - A briefcase-sized yellow box that's easy to deploy and use.

To assist in deploying additional yellow boxes, you get a free OpenRoute™ NetMeter mobile application, which quickly identifies where to place units for optimal coverage across the site. You can even pick up a yellow box and move it for the day. No professional site survey or calling the wireless carrier. No need to add expensive controllers or computer-based software programs to manage the network.

OpenRoute Wi-Fi is a fully enclosed “simple-to-deploy” piece of communications hardware that’s built to withstand the harshest weather elements. A single weatherproof connection point substantially reduces installation time, moves and re-configurations.

I’ll let the facts speak for themselves:

 

Component Selection

  • Top-of-the-line radio cards generate maximum FCC allowable transmit power with extreme receiver sensitivity. Supports HT20 and HT40 backhaul speeds (130/300 Mbps) with very low latency. MIMO technology optimizes packet delivery.
  • The “best” antennae available – 2 omni-directional 5.8 Ghz and 2 cardioid patch 2.4 Ghz antennas installed in opposing positions provide a host of orientation/positioning options without changing antennas. Patch antennas optimize user experience in high noise environments.
  • Near-perfect antenna/card match (VSWR) for optimum coverage and throughput.

 Software

  • Operates in Layer 2, each unit capable of multiple roles
  • Self-forming network - does not require hardware or Cloud-based controller
  • Both 2.4 and 5.8 Ghz networks secured
  • Remote connectivity secure terminal via SSH
  • Multiple SSID and Radius support
  • Basic industry standard 802.11g/n/s protocols, compatible with standard networks
  • Enhanced patented software developed to “fix” 29 serious routing deficiencies in standard 802.11s improving packet delivery, throughput speeds, and user experience
  • Radius support

Deployment

  • Downloadable OpenRoute NetMeter app. supports set-up, configuration, and management without a laptop
  • Rover capability for instant network extension/fill-in
  • A myriad of mounting options for virtually any environment or application

 OpenRoute_Sample_Deployment

Sample Deployment of OpenRoute On-Site Wi-Fi

 

OpenRoute's rock-solid technology has been extensively field testing with several contractors and in different construction environments: vertical and horizontal construction; high-rise commercial construction; industrial construction; and in multiple infrastructure sites. Contractors such as Bayley Construction and Lease Cruther Lewis are among contractors who have deployed their yellow boxes. And, here are just a few of the benefits they are realizing:

  • Immediate access to information reduces rework
  • Reduced RFIs ($1500/RFI)
  • Near elimination of  “Trailer Walks” ($20-$40/walk
  • Field Data Management Tools save an average of 9.1 hours per user, per week
  • Improved “single entry” collaboration eliminates multiple emails on multiple enterprise networks, and multiple phone calls
  • Reduced/eliminated significant printing costs (paper, ink, printers, time, etc.) by going “paperless” onsite
  • Reduced/eliminated mobile carrier data fees ($25/GB)
  • Improved accuracy of project bids as a result of real-time data collection/tracking closer on the job site
  • Data connectivity to sub-contractors (monthly charge or free) to improve productivity

At B4 Consulting, we design solutions that give our customers end-to-end functionality utilizing the best technologies available. Many of the emerging solutions are Cloud based, which gives customers quick and easy implementations, rapid time to value, and the lowest total cost of ownership. Our Cloud solutions enabled by partners such as Ariba, Corecon and MobileLogix provide rich functionality. With OpenRoute we solve the connectivity problems of the past and provide reliable access to applications and data that are needed at your jobsite. We have partnered with OpenRoute to help solve construction site connectivity issues regardless of the applications you are using.

And to my son, Tyler, you are spot-on – applications aren’t worth much if you can’t connect to the Internet.

Let’s talk if you are ready to see how OpenRoute’s innovative technology can improve your field operations. Contact me at pschell@b4-consulting.com.

 

Phillip Schell is vice president of Industry Solutions at B4 Consulting.

 

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Topics: Mobility, Engineering and Construction, construction, productivity, Cloud Computing, Jobsite Internet Access

70% of CIOs Will Change Their Technology – Are You One of Them?

Posted by Norman Wendl May 15, 2014 10:19:41 AM

CoreconHome

It’s evident that mobility and cloud solutions are increasingly important technological innovations in the construction industry. These advancements improve efficiencies and increase profitability. Architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) companies that do not take advantage of these advancements will undoubtedly be left behind.

Current technology data substantiates company confidence in the value of cloud computing. A recent issue of Constructech magazine cites a Gartner Technology survey of CIOs stating: “25% of companies have already made investments in public cloud, and many anticipate more than half of their company's business will be running on the public cloud by 2020. Additionally, 70% of CIOs intend to change technology and sourcing relationships throughout the next few years.”

An Affordable & Comprehensive Technology Solution
Our firm, Corecon Technologies, is a leading provider of cloud-based construction software for general contractors, subcontractors, engineering firms and developers. We recently formed a strategic reseller agreement with B4 Consulting to meet a pent-up demand for comprehensive cloud-based project management solutions in the small to mid-size construction market.

Through this new partnership we are providing more in-depth services and support for Corecon’s flagship product, Corecon V7, and its integration with SAP® Business One. This relationship broadens Corecon’s reach in offering AEC clients a platform for all business activities whether it is estimating, project management, job cost control or accounting. This fully integrated solution creates a platform for sustainable growth and provides management the necessary tools to make quick and informed decisions anywhere, anytime.

Track Project Leads, Awarded Projects and More
A few key aspects of Corecon’s cloud-based software suite that distinguishes it in the marketplace is its depth and breadth in project management functionality including the ability to track both project leads (e.g. job opportunities) and awarded projects. Modules included in the software suite cover business development, estimating, document control, contract administration, procurement, time tracking, and scheduling. Tight integration both internally and with SAP Business One helps all departments work as one efficient team, a necessary component in today’s competitive environment. Wizards are also available to automate complex tasks such as our Estimate to Project Management Wizard, which saves time for project management and accounting staff when setting up project cost codes, contract budgets, POs and subcontracts.

Not all firms are alike which is especially true in the AEC industry. So, today’s solutions have to be flexible in terms of configuration. In addition, as firms grow in size, business processes and workflow requirements change. The Corecon/SAP Business One solution can effectively meet both of these requirements.

Certified Integration with SAP Business One
Closing the loop between project operations and accounting departments is critical. Our CoreconLink utility, which was certified by SAP in 2011, eliminates duplicate data entry so project transactions such as progress invoices or vendor bills transfer easily from Corecon V7 to SAP Business One, maintaining consistency across the organization. Duplicate data entry, which is rampant in the AEC industry, is basically eliminated with the Corecon/SAP Business One solution.

CoreconV7_ConstructionSoftware_ProjectFinancials_CostAnalysisDashboardCorecon Project Financial Dashboards

 

The primary benefits of Corecon V7 and SAP Business One integration include:

  • Eliminates Duplicate Data Entry
  • Import/Export/Synchronize Customers, Vendors and Employees
  • Setup a Job in SAP Business One using Corecon Project data
  • Export Corecon Bills, Sub Invoices and Miscellaneous Expenses to SAP's AP Invoice feature
  • Export Corecon Progress Invoices to SAP's AR Invoice feature
Mobility & Collaboration
Corecon V7 also addresses mobility and collaboration challenges inherent in the AEC industry. Due to its project-based nature, the AEC industry has a very mobile workforce. Therefore, providing industry professionals with an invaluable tool to enhance productivity from the jobsite or office is crucial. Since Corecon V7 is Web-based and smart phone and tablet compatible, it can be accessed instantly by key individuals in multiple locations on any available device.

Corecon V7 also allows remote project team members to effectively collaborate with one another through access to Corecon’s online TeamLink Portal. This cloud collaboration tool gives Corecon subscribers the ability to share lead and project information with customers, subcontractors, vendors, and consultants who can access the TeamLink Portal for free.

In today’s technologically advanced and competitive construction environment, it’s more important than ever before to deliver a project collaboratively and efficiently. With Corecon’s comprehensive project management software solution and B4 Consulting’s expertise in integrating business processes and technologies, our team will clearly provide construction firms with the competitive edge they need to achieve business success.

Small and mid-sized construction companies don’t have to sit on the technology sidelines. Affordable, innovative, and easy-to-use cloud-based solutions are within your reach with Corecon V7 and SAP Business One – implemented by B4 Consulting.

I invite you to learn more about the Corecon/B4 Consulting partnerhsip. Please click on this link to scheudle your demo:

 Corecon/SAP Business One Demo

Norman Wendl is president of Corecon Technologies, Inc.

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Topics: Project Management, Engineering and Construction, job costing, Cloud Computing, AEC, SAP Business One

Thinking About Cloud?

Posted by Jay Nichols Mar 25, 2014 10:22:00 AM

Blog_SAP_Cloud_Cumulus

 

Do you have software licenses up for renewal or some that require an upgrade for enhanced functionality? What about servers that have to be replaced, or employees with server expertise leaving for the competition? Maybe now is the time to plan your journey to the Cloud.

The Cloud has many benefits, and having worked with customers of all types and sizes for several years, I have been able to see the benefits from different aspects. Given what I’ve seen, there are number of compelling reasons to make a move to the Cloud. Here are my top eight reasons for making the move to the Cloud.
1. Implementation in Just 3-5 Weeks
The Cloud enables short implementation/setup times compared to traditional on-premise solutions. You don’t have to purchase new infrastructure or invest in extensive employee training. In some cases, SAP Cloud solutions can be implemented in just three to five weeks. Yes, that’s right -- I said three to five weeks!
2. Highly Adaptable
Cloud is ideal for companies that often change business processes or strategies as it can be quickly updated to meet dynamic market demands. The SAP Cloud solutions are agile enough to make fairly rapid changes as required, with virtually no downtime.
3. Advances Innovation
When you eliminate complex infrastructures and the associated overhead to maintain them, you free-up resources both in talent and hard-dollar investments. This gives you the flexibility to do things differently and to focus more on your customers and not the tools that you use to deliver value to your customers.
4. Rock-solid Security
The Cloud is a highly-secure environment as delivered by SAP. SAP runs cloud solutions and services at the same high level of security as on-premise solutions. SAP invests heavily in security, especially for the Cloud. The level of security delivered by SAP is more stringent and rigorous compared to what IT organizations can provide in large enterprises. All companies, not only small ones without access to deep resources benefit from the SAP commitment to a secure Cloud.
5. Low Cost
ROI studies abound that attest to the low-cost value of Cloud solutions. Why so low-cost? In the Cloud, costs are shared among many customers, which provides economies of scale that are not possible with on-premise options.
6. Quality
SAP Cloud solutions are in keeping with the SAP commitment to quality. SAP understands the environments and business processes for which they have developed their Cloud solutions. SAP has in-depth knowledge of implementation, integration, and maintenance processes. They apply this knowledge to continually advance solutions based on customer requirements and innovative technologies.
7. Mobility
For many, if not most, customers – mobility is the most-often cited benefit of a cloud-based deployment. The option to work on any device (via both HTML5 and native applications, in most cases) at home, in the field, or in the office is fundamental to business excellence and success. SAP for mobility has options that can be tailored to specific business requirements.
B4_Blog_Cloud_GreenIT
8. Green IT
When you move to the Cloud, you help to make IT greener. Using the Cloud helps to reduce relative peak loads as the Cloud serves large numbers of organizations and users on a shared infrastructure, allowing servers to be operated at higher utilization rates.
What Not To Like?
I’ve briefly outlined just eight of the many compelling reasons to consider the Cloud. At B4 Consulting, we have invested heavily in Cloud technologies. And as an SAP Partner Center of Expertise, we are prepared for the proliferation of Cloud services in the enterprise. In my next post I’ll discuss what makes the SAP Cloud solution portfolio rise above all others.

In the meantime – I’d love to chat with you about the many more reasons that the Cloud makes business sense. Let’s start a conversation – email me at: jnichols@b4-consulting.com.

Jay_Caricature1

 

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Topics: Cloud Computing