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InEight Innovations: See What’s New to the InEight Platform in 2022

Originally aired on 07/14/2022

32 Minute Watch Time

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Transcript

Brad:  

Hello everyone. My name is Brad Barth. I am the chief product officer for InEight. Welcome to InEight Innovations. Super excited to bring you today some of the new things that we are up to here at InEight. This is always one of my favorite things to do, to show off what our great product teams are up to. Some of the new things that they’re bringing to our integrated project controls platform. And really just to talk about what those things are, how they can help you approach your work more efficiently, more effectively. So real quick, my background. Come from the construction technology been in this space for 30 plus years, working on this vision that we call InEight and this integrated project control solution that we bring to the market. And so get to work with a lot of our product teams, very closely in terms of what are we prioritizing, what are we bringing out to the market and hearing feedback from customers and continually improving and innovating in the platform.

Today, I’m super excited to be joined by Dominic Cozzetto. We’ll have Dominic introduce himself here in just a second, but Dominic looks after a good chunk of our products and is going to help us understand some of the new things that are coming out, particularly around an area that’s really important to us and that’s subcontractor management and how we drive collaboration across general contractors, GCs, subcontractors, and really all of the constituents and stakeholders that participate in these large projects. So, but before we jump into those innovations, Dominic, thanks for being here. Maybe introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

 

Dominic: 

Yeah. Thanks Brad. I’m Dominic Cozzetto. I look over our plan and progress tools here at InEight. So anything to do with work, packaging and planning, and then on the progress side, our daily plans, our time capture, quantity capture, and field management tools. On this side, before I came over to InEight, I worked 12 years in the construction management field. So on a lot of mega projects, anywhere from a project engineer, construction engineer to procurement management, scheduling cost control, I kind of did it all in the field, went into estimating for a while. And then I’ve been with InEight ever since then for the past five years, looking over the field management tools.

 

Brad: 

Dominic, I got to ask you what… After that on the ground construction experience coming over to the technology side, what was it that led you to do that? What were your reasons for making that jump?

 

Dominic:  

It was more timing than anything, but a lot of my time in the field was building site spreadsheets, site tools, and in order to help plan it and manage the field guys in the beginning. So I really spent my time hacking around with software on my own before I came over and started helping build different versions of what I was already making in the field. So it was just a seamless fit to something I was passionate about.

Brad: 

You saw there was a better way and wanted to help bring that to fruition?

 

Dominic:

Yeah. Yeah. Not quite technically savvy enough to make the apps or the programs myself. So there was a lot of macros built, a lot of spreadsheets built with copy and paste functionality of my own. But yeah, now we have a whole team of really smart people putting it together for us, where I can just throw the ideas by and make it happen.

 

Brad:  

Now you just get to dream up stuff and then the [inaudible 00:03:33]

 

Dominic:   

Yeah. Dream up stuff, ask people if they think it’d be helpful, get something down and then test it. And then bring it to the market. So really fun.

 

Brad: 

It does sound like fun. Yeah. Well, so before we get into too much detail, maybe just let’s provide a little context. So any plan in any progress, the solutions that you look after, I think you could, correct me if I’m wrong or keep me on track here, but I think you could categorize that space that your products play in the overall field execution space. It seems like they’re the solutions out there either go into one bucket or the other. They’re either focused on more from the GC’s perspective in terms of managing subcontractors and more let’s say higher level managing subcontract work daily reporting thing. And the other bucket is more of the for the company’s organizations are doing the self-perform work, more of a bottoms up planning tool, creating work packages, tracking off all those dependencies before we go issue out work packs to the field. Is it fair to say, I guess, first of all, is that how you see it, too? Those two buckets. And is it fair to say that InEight so far has been largely focused on the latter? The more work planning, more self-perform. Can you comment on that?

 

Dominic: 

Yeah. Yeah, I would say so we’ve always been focused initially more on the self-perform work, I mean, depending on your industry on the job, more than 90% of your work could be subcontracted work. So we knew there was a gap there to fill and then other players in this market, they own the more subcontract tracking field that it is like a nice daily report. And there’s some great daily reports out there that do that. But unfortunately they don’t, well, fortunately for us, they don’t hook up to anything else. So by introducing a subcontractor tracking in the same manner that we track our own self-perform work, we’re able to tie into control for budgeting. We’re able to tie over the contract to see where that contractor fits into their contract and those integrations help us play on a higher level. So, so it’s not just a data entry form that makes a really pretty report, but it’s actually validated data against other aspects of the job, financial and progress wise that helps you manage that subcontractor, not just give a snapshot one photo in the day.

 

Brad: 

So Dominic, it sounds like, and I know this is a big part of what the product teams at InEight are always looking at. That two pronged approach. How do we make sure that we’re providing the right functionality for the roles that are doing this work? So in your case, it’s foreman, it’s field engineers, project engineers, superintendents. That whole gamut of field folks, making sure they have the capabilities they need to do their job. But then secondly, which I think is what you’re alluding to, how do we take that effort and that work and that data that they’re putting in and use it in other ways? You mentioned budgeting, right? How do we tie, for example field execution is where everything starts in terms, “Hey, we got to get the progress, get that percent complete if we’re going to do things like earned values and update our forecast and all that” is that what you’re alluding to there in terms of how do we tie off?

 

Dominic: 

Yeah. Yeah. Like how do we start managing our subcontractors like their own work? Like the most successful jobs I’ve been on in the field is that subcontractor isn’t just an afterthought and see what they did today. Make sure they’re here and make sure they’re thumbs in the air, how much percent complete are they. We really brought them in as part of the project team. Had them in safety meetings, had them in our daily plan meetings with the crew they’re working beside. For example, first big job I was on was a cement plant. And the rebar installation crew was part of our concrete crew. You know, they were a subcontractor, but they sat in our daily meetings. They bought into the safety program. They were all about the quality program as well. And we did track their work at the same level detail as if it was our own self-perform work.

What that did was allow us to claim quantities of what they installed and get a very accurate percent complete against that we at that time manually input into our project control system. Now you claim those quantities over in progress within our own system and that’ll seamlessly flow back to control. So I can see what they’ve installed. I can see an accurate percent complete. And one of my favorite superintendents always said, “You don’t know how much you have left to install, unless you actually know where you’re at installing it”, which is, that’s basic common sense, but if you’re slacking in the really tracking what your subcontractors do are doing on the field, you miss a giant chunk of that work. So you could be giving a very false sense of percent complete that might come around to bite you in the end.

So with the way we’ve built this system, I’m now tracking my subcontractors in the same data, the same environment that I’m tracking my own self-perform guys. I can actually hold them accountable for what they’re installing, see what they’re installing, and help them out if they need to be helped out as well. So it’s no longer just a, “Hey, here’s a form. Make sure give to the new field engineer, walk around, write down how many guys were on site for that subcontractor and about what they did today.” No, it’s either give them an iPad themselves and let them control it themselves and it goes through our nice workflow for approval, or you have a guy walking around, gal or guy walking around and actually tracking that themselves on their iPads, which gives it the same process, no matter who the work is belonging to in the field. It’s really nice.

 

Brad:

Well, and you put your GC hat on. I mean, ultimately you’re responsible for all of the work. And I think historically in this industry, you go back away and it’s been whatever report I’m asking you as a subcontractor for it’s only because I might want to use that against you if I need to. It’s its as opposed to I think now it’s, tell me your view on this, but it feels like there’s more collaboration, more openness, more transparency and solutions. Like InEight’s I think are helping to enable that as well. There’s a desire to do it. And sometimes the technology is what it takes to make it happen.

 

Dominic: 

Yeah. I would say the coordination’s really the key on that. Like our software is just software, but if it drives a business practice, it’s really helping out. And we’re driving a business practice even with the work packaging modules that we have in there. It gives you as a GC, an opportunity to really scope out the work and give that to your subcontractors. So they know exactly what they’re supposed to install. And seeing that all in the same system and not just a spreadsheet helps me define predecessor successors. It helps me define constraints against those work packages, what needs to get done first. So then I can coordinate that with all the different subs that I have. I can say, okay, yeah, you belong in this area. I have another subcontractor in there first that has to finish up and then I can look at once again, those installed quantities and say, oh, they’re about 80% complete over there.

So you probably have a couple more days before you can get in. So it takes that level of coordination from just a daily meeting of what’s going on to actual tangible values that you can see within the same system and help coordinate that work in the field so everybody’s not bumping into each other.

 

Brad:   

That’s perfect. And that’s, I think goes right along with InEight’s mission is all about project certainty and that we tend to define that as how do we avoid surprises? How do we do things in a predictable way, repeatable way? And that coordination you’re describing goes right into that, right? The more you know about what’s the plan, the more everybody knows about where are we at? What’s next? All of that. Just make sure that we know what to do next. We can all be held accountable and deliver projects in a predictable way. That’s what it’s all about.

So, so tell me, let’s get a little more detail some of the new things that you’ve been up to with InEight plan and any progress that help in that area in terms of coordinating between the general contractors and subcontractors. What’s new?

 

Dominic:  

So, we brought in what we call a vendor functionality within, especially within progress brought with also within work packaging. We’re now on a daily plan. I can have my own named resources on there. And if I have Brad’s brick and mortar out there as a subcontractor, I can bring you into that daily plan as well and charge time against you. Now, a lot of the times, I don’t need to know your individual name guys with my subcontractor. So now I can just bring in your name vendor as a whole, track how many people and how many hours I’ve charged against a certain WBS or task, and really just automate that through the system. So I’m bringing in a level of detail from contract from control that automatically comes over to the system and I can track time against it. So I can track time.

I can track quantities against them in a daily plan. I approve that, those quantities installed can go back over to contract. So I can validate billings over on the contract side now, and those hours go back over to a new vendor hour column and control. So I can actually track the hours that you’ve been on site as well. So it helps me from handing off paper product or emailing spreadsheet around, it automates that through the system for me. So now I have my own self-perform guys. I have my own vendors on the same thing. It’s the same system, it’s the same workflow approval. So now my guys are going out there, they’re approving these daily plans and it automates it for me.

And we also have a daily report now that it used to be just a conglomeration of all my self-performer work. We now have a vendor section on there as well. So my subcontract work by subcontractor, by hours, people, any notes that they had, any claim quantities they had inside there all in the same report. So that gets automated at the end of the day upon approval of those plans and sent out if you have subscriptions to it. So it takes away a lot of running around and duplicate data entry into multiple systems and gives our field users the same experience, no matter if it’s a self-perform or if it is a subcontractor.

 

Brad:

So wait, you’re telling me that you no longer have to get an email at the end of the day from all your subs and then, and then take all that information and transpose it into another system. And then transpose that into the date for the project values and then create a report off of that. And then email that? If I heard what you’re saying, keep me on track, but it sounds like you’re saying the subs can go in and put in their own information.

 

Dominic: 

Yeah.

 

Brad:

Send an email, or more likely call them and say, “Hey, I didn’t get that email. Send it to me.” And then they can go in and put it in themselves. And that flows right into you can approve it goes right into the report. Is that?

 

Dominic:

Yeah. Yeah. So if I’m a superintendent to charge of not only my own four crews, but also a subcontractor, they’re in there just like my crews entering time and quantities claimed and sending that off to my approval for the day. So I can check and see what they did was valid. I’m not taking that information and typing into a separate system to generate a report. It’s there the same as all my self-perform hours and quantities are and notes and pictures and issues, and anything else that gets logged against it. I approve that daily plan. It goes through the system and it generates a report for me. I don’t even have to touch a report if I don’t want to if I set it up correctly. So there’s elimination of multiple systems. There is elimination of duplicate entries. I don’t have a poor new hire field engineer at the end of the day with five different sheets in front of them trying to type it in and send it off before they go home. It’s all the system one time, one time only.

 

Brad:

That sounds like a beautiful thing. And that’s, I think the type of efficiency gains on both sides. On the GC side, you’re not having to wrangle up that information, follow up and find out where it is if it’s missing. On the subcontractor side, you’re not having to track what have I sent the stuff they’re looking for? Oh, it’s not what they were looking for. I got to redo it and send it back. I mean, all those things that just suck efficiency right out of the projects. Sounds like this addresses that. And talk to me about it. It feels like, and back when you were on the ground doing this stuff, the cloud solutions that we see today were not really around. So doing this collaboration where you open up the system for these different parties to all be playing in the same system, used to be much harder to do. If it were working off of an in-house system or an on-premise system, if we wanted to open that up to a third party, now we got to get it involved. We got security issues and all that stuff. Tell me how the clouds made that easier.

 

Dominic:  

Yeah. So I mean, I’m going to date myself a little here, but the last big project I was on we had some field boxes set up with some cat five cable running across them to show the 3d model set up in the field. So everybody could go in scroll through the 3d model and see that. Where now I have my iPad in the field. I want to give this one of my subcontractors, add him as a user, give them the right permission. So they can only see what they’re they’re they should be seeing in there. They’re not getting into any budgeted dollar amounts. They’re not seeing anything except what I want them to see in the system, give them that iPad for them to track that through the day and they’re done. So it’s has nothing to do with logging onto a PC inside the office and getting them set up and trained.

It’s a very easy, manageable system. I can hide a bunch of tabs in there. So they click on their time card. They enter their time, they click on their productivity tab and they enter their quantities. They click on the notes. They add any pictures, anything that they did for the day. And they hit submit and they’re done. Like it really could be as simple as less than a dozen clicks through that system for them to actually get it and use it. So it’s very user friendly. Anytime that you have them. I know I had my favorite vendors that would come around, drop the job and follow us around if they were the correct bid and you give them that repeatability factor.

So now they know the system, they know how easy it is. And there’s no more dragging their feet on trying to do something new when they can actually see, hey, this is easier than filling out a sheet and trying to find the guy I’m supposed to give it to at the end of the day. I can submit it from the field, as long as my signal’s good. If not, it syncs as soon as it’s back to where the signal should be, and I’m done. I don’t have to chase down anybody and try to find that. So it’s made it really simple in the field.

 

Brad:

So two things there. It sounds like what you’re describing makes it really easy and efficient to get the data in there. What you described. Because it’s not like, I think sometimes when people think of cloud systems and we’re going to open it up to all the different stakeholders or constituents. It’s like, hey, we’re just going to open it up. Everybody’s in the same thing. And they’re on their own, but what you’ve described as a role based approach, I’m a subcontractor. I come into that tool, whether it’s from a tablet or a laptop. And I just see the stuff that’s relevant to me. And things that I can turn in against are all that I see. All that I need to worry about. I don’t need to get overwhelmed by all kinds of other stuff. I see just what I need to see, do what I need to do. And I’m in and out in just a few minutes.

 

Dominic: 

Yeah. With some of the functionality we’ve added, you can’t even assign time to the wrong task. It grays that out for you if somehow that’s on your same time card and you’re not tagged against that in budget, you can’t even charge time against it. So it takes away a lot of error and a lot of misinterpretation that would’ve to go back and be fixed.

 

Brad:  

So Dom, the second thing I took away from what you said was as we see and you have kids and you know what it’s like the younger generation has expectations about technology. So one of the things we hear quite often when organizations are coming to InEight is to attract new folks coming into the industry, younger folks that have certain expectations about technology. Don’t tell me that I’ve got to fill out a paper form and scan it and email it. There should be an app for that. It’s the expectation. Are you seeing that as well? Do you see this solution as a way to help get new folks, particularly younger folks into their jobs and being more efficient and happier with what they’re doing?

 

Dominic: 

I, yeah. I mean, you said it perfectly there, like my daughter, we had to fill out a form for her to go to summer camp and we had to find a place to scan it. So we ended up just taking a picture with the phone and saying it was a scanned copy. They don’t care. They don’t use that anymore. So yeah, getting them inside of a system that works seamlessly, it feels native to whatever device they’re in has helped us with that. But also there’s a misconception at, on the other side of that, of my foreman, can’t do this. And people will say that right away, where I found with all my experience, the foremen are the most capable people on the entire sites. You show them how to do it in two days, they have that thing down pat, and they’ll be showing you features that you didn’t know existed on that thing.

So they will hack in that system no matter what their age and use it efficiently. So yeah, both the young and the more experienced people on site have no problem with adapting this, especially when it takes work away from them. It’s making them more efficient. They’re not having to sit inside of their Conex box at the end of the day, filling out paper time cards when they just take that iPad around with them all day and fill it out throughout the day. So yeah, complete buy in most of the time after the official, oh, this looks complicated and we can’t do it. After two hours of just like looking at and digging in they’re 99% ready to go on it.

 

Brad: 

Well which makes sense. I mean, these are people that are used to adapting to whatever’s thrown at them at the job site or dealing with unexpected things and adapting and just getting it done. So it makes sense that just a tiny little bit of training, especially today, as easy as it is to your point, young and old can adopt this quite easily. It is funny though, just the change in expectations. 10 years ago, that wasn’t the expectation. Now it is. If you don’t have a solution like this, it’s like, what are we doing here? Why are we so far behind?

 

Dominic: 

Absolutely. Those people on the field are the best problem solvers probably in the entire industry. So have to give them that opportunity to get in there and understand. And a lot of my functionalities based on the feedback I get from them as well. Like I get a whole list of, Hey, it’d be nicer if your app did this instead. Or they would take away five button clicks if you let me add a note from over here instead. So a lot of my features are driven off of that feedback that I get from the field.

 

Brad:   

That’s the music to your ears. That’s the fuel for future innovation. So, yep. Love that feedback. On that front. So what are some of the things, as you think about, again, back to the topic of managing, coordinating the subcontract work. Are there certain things that you look for? Certain metrics or what are the things that you look for that are key in terms of keeping on top of that work, keeping it on track?

 

Dominic:

Now it really is coordination, kind of what we hit on earlier, and I’m getting accurate measurements out of them in the field to see where they’re actually at. So those metrics on percent complete, for instance, you can look at a subcontract and how you manage them. If you’re just winging that percent complete in those quantities claim. Like Brad, if you had five buildings installed and you were a brick work subcontract for me, I can say, oh, he’s got one done. So he’s 20% complete. Where if I actually got in and looked at that, with the way that we set up our quantity tracking, I would be able to see, well, that’s actually only 5% of the total length of wall that they have to install on site. So they’re not even close to 20% complete. So it’s setting up those expectations and those scope items to really be accurate to track the same level of detail that she tracked on self-perform work.

 

Brad:

I love the Brad’s brick and mortar, too, by the way.

 

Dominic: 

Brad’s brick and mortar. Make a t-shirt, going to have an InEight logo.

 

Brad:   

We’ll be the best for sure because I’ll have the right tools. Super efficient. What in terms of, I think what you’re saying, just, I know one of the challenges is always what you think of as percent complete may be different than what I’m thinking of as percent complete. But that’s a really critical thing because that percent complete gets rolled up all the way through the project and ultimately affects earned values and billings and everything like that.

 

Dominic:

And forecasting, right? Like if that’s incorrect, I’ve seen jobs that have two months left on them and they actually are probably another six to eight months out, which costs tons and tons of money. It can really be a detriment to your job.

 

Brad: 

And so how do you make sure that you guys, let’s say you put your GC hat on you and the sub on the same page with how are we going to measure percent complete? How do you do that?

 

Dominic:

Yeah. So that really comes down to scoping the job and setting up those quantities, those components, as we call them at an agreed upon level. I don’t need to track my new nut and bolts. I can’t just say, hey, how many each buildings do we have that to install? It really comes down to an understood metric between both you and the contractor that you should be talking about front to, this is how we’re going to track the job. This is how we’re going to pay you as well. So that’s usually agreed upon well before that contract is even decided, and you just get them set up and you roll with it.

 

Brad:

So the system… I’ll give you an example, maybe tell me if this is correct. So let’s say you had, it’s not Brad’s brick and mortar now it’s, let’s say Brad’s storm drain. So now I’m installing some storm drain. I’m going to excavate that trench. I’m going to put the pipe in the ground. I’m going to do any connections or tie offs. I’m going to backfill. Are you saying that I can, as the subcontractor, I can give you progress on each of those tasks? So maybe I’ve done all I’ve excavated the whole trench. I haven’t put any pipe in the ground yet, but I can get a certain, I get a certain amount of credit if you will for-

 

Dominic:

Yeah. So, we do have rules of credit set up for those as well. So you don’t have to say, okay, that trench is completely excavated the pipes in and it’s back filled to get credit for that. Maybe you get 10% when the trenches excavated, another 50% when the pipes laid in, another 40% when it’s back fill and final graded. So you get more accurate than just saying, nope, you don’t get any credit for that work installed until it’s a hundred percent complete. So those are set up within the system where you can define them and earn different credit depending on what those tasks are. Yeah.

 

Brad:

Makes sense. And then that way we if you say it’s 37% complete, I know exactly what you mean by that, based on those rules then.

 

Dominic:

And we can break those down to different areas too and help it even get more detailed than just overall lineal feet of that storm drain. If I need to track it by area so I can get other subcontractors in after you that start doing their work, we can set that up too to really get an accurate percent complete by area, by system, by turnover package, whatever you want to set up as.

 

Brad: 

Perfect. Well, sounds like you guys have come a long way in terms of driving that coordination across the different stakeholders, from GCs and subs that are involved in these projects and making sure everybody’s on the same page, making it easy for both sides to do what they need to do every day, while also connecting, taking that data, whether it’s progress, work hours, issues, photos. All that stuff in the InEight solution can come in and then it goes different directions and makes other folks jobs easier. You guys have come a long way on that. Before we wrap it up, I just got to ask you, what’s the favorite part of your job? What do you love most about your job?

 

Dominic: 

I like building the things that mess me up in the field, Brad, like the things that I’d made big mistakes that got me in trouble in the field. I like making little things in the system that don’t even make that an option for somebody else. I get a kick out of that. I remember screwing, this one really comes from a scaffolding subcontractor, which are the hardest to manage in the field that there is. Everything’s temporary work. They pull it down, put it back up, and you have to pay for it again. So this is a small attempt to help some poor kid that doesn’t know what he’s getting into that just got out of college and is on a giant construction site trying to help them out. So it really gives me a kick of working with the guys and seeing what we can produce to help people out in the field.

 

Brad: 

So I think you’re saying you’re like the athlete that’s evolving to the coach. You used to do it.

 

Dominic: 

Yeah. I can’t do it anymore. So now I coach. So that’s what I-

 

Brad: 

Now you can help the next folks coming behind you do it better or at least not make the same mistakes.

 

Dominic: 

Or not need to devote all that time to sitting in the office. They can get in the field to make sure everybody’s performing safely and efficiently in the field. Because I bet that’s the one thing I do miss is that interaction with people and actually helping build stuff out in the field. So get them out of the office, get them away from paperwork, and help them coordinate and keep people safe.

 

Brad:

Now you get to do it vicariously through your customers. You get to see what they build.

 

Dominic: 

And yeah. And go out to those job sites. You visit a job site, you get all the positives, none of those negatives of the snowy cold weather and the rainy muddy days.

 

Brad:

That’s right. Well, that’s awesome. Dominic, appreciate you taking some time today and sharing some of your new innovations that you are bringing into the InEight solutions. So yeah. Thanks so much for your time today. Looking forward to what’s coming next.

 

Dominic: 

Thanks Brad.

 

Brad: 

So that wraps us up here today. Just to bring it to a close. We certainly invite you to continue to keep up with InEight at our website. So we do have a specific page on our website for InEight innovations, as we continually bring new enhancements and new capabilities out to the platform. So at InEight.com/innovations, great place to keep up with that. We do these about every few months. So targeting September again to do the next one of these and who knows what we’ll focus on then. I’m sure, Dominic, you will continue to add the new innovations and new enhancements to your products. And certainly I would encourage other folks too. I know Dominic has done a number of blogs and things like that can also be found on our website on that blog page you see there. So if you want to learn more about our view and Dominic’s view on how to drive project controls, make it more effective and bring projects to delivery with more certainty. That’s what we’re all about. So encourage you to visit our website. And with that, I hope to see you at the next one of these in September. Thanks for joining us today. Thank you, Dominic.

 

Dominic: 

Thank you, Brad. Bye.

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