IT & Consulting

Skanska Partnership

The rapid growth of the economies of Central and Eastern Europe is largely based on modern technologies and advanced business services. As a by-product of this success, these industries generate significant demand for office space. In Poland, Skanska not only constructs office facilities, but also roads, bridges, residential developments, conference venues, and cultural and sports facilities, and employs 8000 people.

Skanska has long been aware of the investment potential of this market. Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania are responsible for over 50% of the entire Skanska group’s global revenue from the sale of office space. In 2012, Skanska commenced cooperation with JCommerce in the scope of solutions which support the construction of office space and monitoring the profitability of investing in this region of Europe.

Country: Sweden
Year: 2013
Project scope: Solutions to support the office space management and monitoring the investing's profitability
Team size: 6 members
Time: 5 years
Technologies: JSON C#, .NET, Microsoft SQL Server, X++, MorphX, QlikView,
Project company name: Skanska Commercial Development
JCommerce and Skanska partnership

Skanska in 2015:

  • 530,000 m2 of completed office space,
  • 170,000 m2 under construction and 320,000 m2 planned,
  • a total of over one million square meters of existing and planned offices,
  • offices spread over several cities in Central and Eastern Europe.

The beginning of nearshore cooperation

Nearshore cooperation between Skanska and JCommerce commenced with a project to optimize the ERP  Microsoft Dynamics AX system in the Polish branch of the company, Skanska Property Poland. The system which was previously in use within the company no longer fulfilled expectations, and so, in 2012, JCommerce specialists became involved in the development of the system and its adaptation to the needs of the company.

Turning to dedicated software

As part of a project concerning the development and maintenance of an ERP system, the client outsourced the building of a mobile application for the iOS system to JCommerce. This project was part of digital transformation towards mobility, and increasing the efficiency of the accounting process was the main goal. The application was created using .NET and C# technologies and it allows users to verify and accept accounting documents, account assignment, employees’ expenses, and business trip accounting.

Implementation of a Business Intelligence platform

Along with the modernization of financial systems, the client decided to integrate their source systems – ERP MS Dynamics AX and the custom ERP system KORAB – with a reporting and analytical platform. The Business Intelligence solution was to enable the aggregation and calculation of financial and non-financial data from the project level to the national and regional level, facilitating communication between project managers and executives and reporting to the company’s financial controller.

Challenges

The client wished to create a flat management platform for each employee from all departments in European countries and regions. A platform for collecting data from various sources and systems and visualizing them as an easy-scalable reports was created. Integration of a number of data types, including both financial and non-financial data calculated in different time perspectives, was the biggest challenge in the scope of the project. As a partner of leading Business Intelligence platform providers such as Microsoft and Qlik, JCommerce has the capability to find an optimal solution.

Solution

Skanska was looking for an intuitive and easy-to-use tool, which is why they decided to implement QlikView. The client obtained access to modern full-service reports and an analytical platform including a mobile application. Implementation of the tools took less than a month and included multi-currency data from 4 regions, 10 subregions and 40 companies. QlikView allows the user to undertake multidimensional data analysis and export a report for any period. The solution also has a planning module which was used by the client in the strategic planning process for 2014-2024.

“The application implementation phase was completed successfully, and the tool itself has revolutionized work at our company. On behalf of Skanska, I recommend JCommerce as a reliable and trustworthy business partner in the area of Business Intelligence solutions. The extensive technical knowledge, experience and flexibility of JCommerce specialists contributed to the success of the project.”

Kamil Lubiejewski, Finance Manager, Skanska Property Poland

Dedicated Business Intelligence Platform- Skanska CD-Control System

A greenfield project the purpose of which was to develop standardized methods of analysis and reporting in various European branches of the company operating in the properties development industry. The project started in 2014 and our cooperation continues to this day.

Challenges

  • Complex domain – the system itself had a complicated business logic, which was to meet the expectations of various user groups, both at the central level and in the multinational branches of the company.
  • Many change requests – during this implementation, a team of our specialists had to deal with the limited time schedule and changes introduced during the project.
  • Performance improvements – as part of the project, we carried out tasks aimed at improving the performance of the system.

Solution

Our project team consisting of .NET developers, Business Intelligence specialists in QlikView technology, and data warehouse engineers fulfilled the client’s vision within the assumed time.

The team was responsible for the entire solution, both in terms of technological development and implementation. During the project, the team coordinated the work carried out by other external companies.

The developed system is integrated with the client’s external systems (Korab, Axapta, ExOpen, HFM) and has functionalities that are key from the business perspective:

  • Forms for input of data on planned and ongoing projects,
  • List of tenants,
  • Project profit report,
  • Posted and planned costs report,
  • A set of financial reports in QlikView.

The implementation of the system has resulted in the unification of project management methods within European branches (Poland, Hungary, Romania, and the Czech Republic). A centralized space for data storage was created (previously, data was scattered over many systems and spreadsheet files). Thanks to QlikView, managers gained quick access to clear reports in real time.

“We appreciated mutual trust and transparent strategy in the project realization. Some phases of the projects have been accomplished under very strict time constraints and we were pleased with the flexibility of provider to scale up the project resources when needed.”

Peter Beres, BU Controlling Manager at Skanska

Business benefits 

  • All branches within CDE use one project planning system. 
  • Employees in all branches of CDE work in the same way. 
  • A centralized place for data entry (previously data was spread out over many systems and spreadsheet files). 
  • Easy access to clear reports thanks to QlikView. 

Technologies 

.NET Framework 4.6.1, ASP.NET 5, Windows Services, Entity Framework 5, Telerik Kendo Grid, SQL Server 2012, Azure DevOps technologies were used to develop the web application. The data warehouse was based on MS SQL Server Database and MS SQL Server Integration Services, and the QlikView Server 12 platform was used to create the analytical and reporting system.   

As the cooperation developed, the following technologies were introduced:  

Identity Server 4, .NET Core 3.1, ASP.NET, WebAPI, Vue.js, RabbitMq, SQLServer 2019, and Git. 

The team 

Agile project team consisting of 10 specialists: 7 .NET developers; 2 software testers and BI specialist. 

After the successful implementation of QlikView, other sources were integrated with the reporting platform that standardizes the calculation of KPI in different departments. In order to unify the data collection process, Skanska outsourced the development of a web application combined with a data warehouse based on MS SQL Server and the QlikView application.

Continuous development

For the next steps, the nearshore team implemented additional data grids for processing and analyzing, and further extensions of the functionalities, such as:

  • a new Land Valuation tool which analyzes changes in the reported book value of land compared to market value,
  • the integration of a new CRM system,
  • the addition of certain external market data.

“The system has been presented in all of Skanska’s business regions, namely Scandinavia, the UK, and the United States, and there is a desire to roll out the system in all locations. This is obviously another big challenge that requires the adaptation of the system to local conditions, such as different accounting systems, or changing the metric system to the imperial system in the United Kingdom and the United States.”

Péter Béres, Business Unit Controlling Manager, Skanska

Software testing process

During the development of the web application, the client reported the need to build a software testing process. The current process was based on irregular UAT testing in which many critical errors occurred. The aim of this project was to systematize the software testing process and decrease the number of errors reported by users as well as its criticality.

After an audit of the applicable process and consultation with users and developers, JCommerce engineers prepare and implement documentations and regressive tests to discover problems related to the existing functionalities. Several tests were also automated and added to the continuous integration process. As the next step, our nearshore team detected problems with the interface of the application, which was non-intuitive and differential. To unify the UX and interfaces of the application, our team created templates which help with analysis and make it possible to detect user activities causing errors.

The implementation of the new standards in the testing process lasted about six months. The total number of reported issues decreased by 70% and the number of critical errors was reduced by 90%.

Application refactoring and future plans

During the long-term nearshore cooperation on the project, the JCommerce team released numerous versions including additional functionalities, changes in data processing and interface improvements. To ensure the high quality and efficiency of the system, the client decided to rewrite the code. Refactoring aimed to improve the operation of the system and build it with the use of new technologies, to allow for future development and maintain stability.

About the client

Skanska Property Poland Sp. z o.o. – a leader in the construction and development industry, operating on selected markets in Europe and North America. Skanska Property in all its projects focuses on innovation, sustainable development and harmonious integration of its buildings with the existing urban infrastructure.

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