Robert A.M. Stern Architects See The Future With Planifi Project Analyzer
Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University, Beijing Chine Photographer Credit: Peter Aaron / Otto for Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) continually found themselves asking the fundamental questions about their projects: Where are we now? What people do we have available? How are we going through the next week, next two weeks, and so forth into the future?
Like so many other firms in the industry, RAMSA didn’t have the data-driven answers they could trust. That is, until they saw Planifi Project Analyzer. After they standardizing on Planifi Project Analyzer, answers emerged for past and current projects, as well as providing insights looking into the future.
Before starting with Planifi Project Analyzer, most of their resource planning was done through Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. While spreadsheets can offer great value to firms, there are certainly limitations and hazards that come with relying on spreadsheets for planning and forecasting.
We had this conversation with David Freedman, CFO of Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) and he shared the leadership’s perspective on why they made the switch from Excel to Planifi Project Analyzer.
As David put it, “I think what RAMSA recognized was the need to put something more robust in place, something that enables us to look almost as far into the future as we possibly can and really get a feeling for, not only what have we got and where it’s going, but if there’s any trend changes.”
Now, for some firms, getting people to use a new system can be a challenge, especially when they have established practices in Excel. However, a key factor in driving usage for RAMSA was the intuitive and visually-appealing interface. The designers and project managers enjoyed seeing the visualization of their real-time data in easy-to-understand graphs, instead of hunting for answers in an endless matrix of numbers and hidden formulas.
As David put it, “One of the big things that Planifi offers us is the visuals, which for architects is a beautiful thing. They’re not necessarily all that keen on looking at the numbers, but they can see a pie chart and they can see when it’s got a red piece in it because it’s under-performing your expectations. That gave them a whole new perspective on project performance.”
We’ve always said there is a big difference between data and intelligence. Data is data, but when you can visualize the data, you get intelligence. And that intelligence allows principals and project managers to make strategic decisions with confidence.
Since everyone at the firm was willing to look at the data and use the powerful tools that Planifi Project Analyzer delivers, it became a core component to their meetings and decision-making.
This allowed leadership at RAMSA to get more and more benefits from using the system over time. As David said, “I think it has really progressed, and it has progressed in order for us to use it to make senior-level decisions on staffing, on things that, even project pricing, on competitions is another big way that it’s really helped us, the ability to plan out what a particular effort might cost, but also to be able to plan out what the eventual project might do for us.”
For us at Planifi, it has been exciting to see how RAMSA has benefitted from using our product since joining as a customer in 2014. We look forward to sharing more real-world results from RAMSA, and our other customers, who are seeing improvements in project planning and business performance. Read the full RAMSA Case Study here.