Two Australian companies offering complementary specialist engineering software for project accounting and data management are transforming approaches to infrastructure planning and construction.
The increasingly complex nature of civil engineering and construction means an interconnected digital ecosystem that filters and analyses the vast swathes of data involved across the entire lifecycle of a project has become essential.
Without complete transparency and the ability to keep track of costs, supply chains, timelines and communication channels, it’s easy for major builds or infrastructure upgrades to veer off course and seriously impact profits.
There are numerous automation software solutions on the market, but two leading Australian firms, Total Synergy and 12d Synergy, provide the holy grail of tech stacks to engineers looking for holistic packages tailored for their specific needs.
“Together, we do wonderful things,” said Total Synergy’s Head of Client Services, Scott Donnelly. “We recommend each other all the time as our services complement each other and we can leverage our combined knowledge and expertise in the AEC space.”
Total Synergy’s end-to-end practice accounting products were built by engineering experts to manage entire projects, from winning a tender through budgeting and ERP to customer management and advanced analytics that assess success against multiple metrics.
Meanwhile, civil engineering software developer 12d Synergy has its roots in the aftermath of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand, which killed 185 people and caused damage estimated at NZ$77 billion, making it the country’s costliest natural disaster.
More than 1,000 buildings were so badly impacted they had to be demolished, while hundreds more suffered structural damage. As teams of civil engineers, town planners and architects began the enormous task of formulating a strategy to rebuild the South Island’s biggest city, they ran into a significant logistical hurdle.
The sheer scale of the disaster meant it was simply impossible to collate and process all the information sources in one central location.
“There were terabytes of data, and no technology existed that could cope with it all,” said 12d Synergy CEO Joel Gregory. “There was an urgent need for a platform capable of managing both the huge volume of data and its varied and complex data types, so we stepped in and created it.”
The company’s software agnostic approach and ability to distil data sets that are too vast for other platforms made it an instant success. Today, 12d Synergy has an impressive portfolio of engineering and construction clients located across the globe, and is especially proud of its symbiotic relationship with Total Synergy.
“We have many customers in common,” Gregory said. “To create the ultimate tech stack, you need both a cutting-edge common data environment (CDE) that can handle complex 3d models, geospatial data and CAD drawings, plus the analytics from a project accounting perspective. We’re a very potent combination.”
Replacing legacy systems
But, despite such obvious benefits, both firms still face widespread resistance.
“It can be a conservative industry with an attitude of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’,” said Gregory. “Many companies are a little stuck in their ways and don’t even realise they have a problem until we show them how their processes can be improved.
“Too many still rely on internal legacy systems based on Excel and email that were built years ago and have multiple copies of files floating around on servers. That’s when mistakes occur and budgets spiral out of control. Embracing automated software is a no-brainer.”
For Donnelly, the best part of his job is meeting new Total Synergy clients and hearing how their role has been transformed.
“It’s always wonderful to see their reaction,” he said. “They say things like ‘How did I survive this long?’ The first thing they notice is a reduction in admin of up to 50 per cent – it’s a real ‘aha’ moment, as it means their employees can engage in more meaningful tasks that drive growth and productivity.
“Suddenly there’s order out of chaos, projects run smoothly and no unaccounted costs creep in. One client in Perth told me, ‘It’s become a joy to log on every morning’.”
Register for the webinar – “The ultimate Tech stack for Engineering practices” on 26 September, 2024.