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Assignar delivers real-time data to construction firms

Cloud-based software Assignar has been designed to eliminate the need for the construction industry to retain paper-based records when it comes to managing their workforce, assets, and legislative compliance.

Assignar started out as a prototype and internal software tool used by Infraworks Rail, but 12 months ago it was launched as a commercialised solution to help other businesses in the construction industry better manage their workforce, assets, and compliance with legislative requirements.

Assignar CEO and co-founder Sean McCreanor said the compliance, asset, and workforce management tool was initially designed mainly because Infraworks was unable to find an appropriate solution.

"We had about 200 guys out in the field and heavy machinery, such as cranes and big trucks. We were looking for a software solution to run and grow that business, but we couldn't find it a few years ago, so we decided to build our own," he said.

"We built it initially as an internal tool, and we found when we showed it to a few subcontractors they wanted to buy it."

McCreanor explained since commercialising the software, it has been running on AWS' cloud, something in which Assignar had to migrate to as the prototype was initially designed on-premises. He said the main appeal about AWS was its ability to scale.

"The prototype was for our own business, and we always knew we'd have to go back and revisit it. It was just time consuming; we knew what we had to do, and within two months we were in the cloud," he said.

As a result of making the migration, the company was able to reduce the length it took to provision new clients.

"When we built our first prototype it would take us four to five days to provision a new client; with AWS we can provision in under 10 seconds, and that's important because you can onboard clients almost immediately," McCreanor said.

Another highlight McCreanor pointed out is that compliance is now helping deliver real-time safety information straight to the clients, removing the reliance on paper-based documentation -- a key motivation behind the platform.

"We're getting real-time feedback. One of the hot things in safety is 'take five risk assessments' where you would stop, assess the safety, and that used to be all paper-based and often hard to track for analytic purposes, but now we're getting all of that in real-time; it allows them to see trends or patterns.

"Where we'd like to get to is giving them that visibility to pre-empt any incidents before they happen," he said.

The solution so far has helped win over customers that are contractors working for companies such as John Holland and United Groups. McCreanor also revealed that it is working closely with a NSW transport agency on a pilot that is set to go live in December or early January, and will be used to manage their supply chain.

Assignar is now looking to expand, with McCreanor saying that there are plans for the company to spin up its solution in some AWS datacentres located in the west coast of the US.

Disclosure: Aimee Chanthadavong travelled to AWS re:Invent 2015 as a guest of Amazon Web Services.