Ostrova owns such projects as the Snegiri and Vivaldi housing estates, as well the Sunrise residential settlement. More than 1000 families live in these residential areas today. In 2017, Ostrova is developing a new residential area for 9000 people, with a school and two kindergartens. On top of it, the Sunrise-2 settlement is finally open for sale.
We spoke to the head of marketing, Andrey Ovchinnikov and IT-specialists Vlas Kropochev and Rasul Karimullin and found out how the company manages their projects and grows.
– Why did your company decide to focus on property development?
– Andrey Obchinnikov: The lack of high-quality comfortable housing at a reasonable price is a general problem in Russia. In our city, the housing per capita is lower than in other similar cities. Therefore, we consider property development an area of high-demand.
Since 2007, we have been working in the following three areas: development and construction of apartment blocks, selling of land, and construction and reconstruction of commercial property including retail properties.
In our projects, we manage the whole construction lifecycle: from the concept planning to handover and maintenance of the infrastructure of our housing estates. Due to our approach and participation in every stage of the project, we have proven to be a responsible and secure developer.
– What is most important in property development?
– Andrey Obchinnikov: Of course, the project itself. It is highly important to work out a concept, determine the project stages and stick to them, pay attention to details. These basics allow you to have high-quality results.
– How is project management organized in your company?
– Andrey Obchinnikov: In property development, like in any other area, project implementation comprises tens and hundreds of tasks assigned to different teams. At one point, we realized that we needed to coordinate well communication between departments. We made an analysis of our projects and started thinking about automating the main business processes.
– How did you start the optimization in your company?
– Andrey Obchinnikov: We started by choosing an appropriate IT tool. We were facing two goals: organize project management and create a single information space for our employees. We spent six months looking for the right solution and at the end opted for ELMA BPM. Why? Because it is an all-in-one solution and integrates easily with other IT solutions.
After having selected the system, we interviewed our employees to receive feedback and learn about their expectations. It took us one month. Together with the ELMA team, we then worked out terms of reference, specifications, and the implementation plan.
– What was the first stage of the implementation project?
– Vlas Kropochev: The first stage included configuring an EDS, an internal portal for employees (with calendars, interfaces, and information channels), and automation of construction project management. The first processes to automate were approval of contracts, invoices, and supplemental agreements.
Approval was a tough question. Our company uses different types of contracts; each type has its own formatting rules and order of approval. Often documents were lost, sent by the wrong route or filled in with errors. When it happened, the processes failed and we had trouble, for example, buying equipment or materials. Now, this process is divided into clear stages. A user selects the type of the contract, ELMA creates the document and routes it accordingly. After we have implemented this business process, we instantly received positive feedback from our employees.
– Andrey Obchinnikov: After that, we started to automate the managing processes. Most are routine, but contain many stages: choosing the land, contractors, getting all the permits, creating a plan, doing the construction work, selling apartments.
We needed a tool to control every step of our projects. With ELMA, we can monitor the project and make timely adjustments.
An important moment was creating the Object Portfolio. You see, it took us very long to search for originals and document copies. With the Object Portfolio, we solved this problem. The Portfolio stores all the documents required for construction: documents of title, cadastral records, technical information, project charter and so on. We have also structured the client and contractor data by developing one of the core processes of our company, Tendering.
The employees now have a shared space where they easily find all the information they need. With the message feed, calendar and well-configured interfaces the tasks are accomplished much faster. I almost don’t use my paper planner anymore. What’s the point? Any event can be planned in ELMA, and it is synchronized with the Google calendar on your phone.
– What did the second implementation stage include?
– Rasul Karimulin: Automation of sales processes and CRM. For selling the residential and commercial property, we installed ELMA CRM+. Our specialists use it to manage the whole lifecycle of a deal: from the first phone call to a signed contract. All the history is stored in the system.
After we have implemented ELMA, managing information became much easier, because now every deal and property has its own web page in the system. These pages store all the client inquiries and reservations. A property page features full description of a property unit, such as the layout, address, price and the contract. We also have user pages with shortcuts, that allow out employees to organize their workspace and start business processes in no time.
ELMA CRM+ has also made customer relationships more manageable. With such features as Deal Dynamics and Sales Funnel, our sales reps are always aware of the sales performance and can get a required report at any moment.
– Andrey Ovchinkinov: As for marketing, I really needed the data to evaluate the effectiveness of our marketing channels. John Wanamaker had said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”. With ELMA CRM+, this problem is solved. It helps me analyze how our advertising money is spent and shows which channels are the most efficient. Therefore, we can manage our resources much better, and analyze the conversion. Without a CRM system, this is pretty difficult.
– How do you plan to develop the system?
– Andrey Ovchinkinov: There are definitely things that we want to improve. We have managed to control the construction process and have made it transparent. Now we are thinking about adding specific settings, data-entry forms, and metrics. We want ELMA to help us go to a new level. The plan is to work on reporting and analytics, integrate with 1C and IP-telephony and finally finish the integration with our website.
– What can you advise to those who are thinking about implementing a BPM system in their company?
– Andrey Ovchinkinov: First, you have to determine your goals. If you want one system to manage it all: your business processes, projects and, for example, documentation, then you definitely need ELMA BPM because it is multifunctional.