Melbourne start-up Progressclaim.com solves a problem that has long plagued the construction industry: lodging and reconciling progress claims. Often done manually, stakeholders have to submit and chase these claims via endless emails and the matching up of Excel spreadsheets. This industry pain point inevitably leads to heated phone calls and strained business relationships.
Progressclaim.com provides an online platform to lodge standardised payment claims and schedules quickly and easily.
In essence, explains Mark Ballinger, director of product and technology: “We are bringing a manually intensive industry into a cloud-based, mobile-enabled world”.
Soft launched at the start of 2015, the approval of early adopters was critical.
“I had put together a diverse and skilled team to create an industry leading product,” Ballinger says, “however without early client success we risked being relegated to the category of ‘just another good idea’”.
From the outset, as the company eyed the major players in the construction industry here and overseas, a SaaS ethos offering scalability and easy integration with every major industry ERP and accounting system was key. And all on an often limited start-up budget.
“Like any start-up we’ve had a number of significant budgetary constraints, particularly in those early phases. This meant that I couldn’t try multiple approaches to see what worked,” Ballinger says, “we needed to get it right first time, and we have.”
Small team, right people
Ballinger has built a small but versatile team which includes full stack developers, user experience experts and customer engagement leads.
“Success is a team outcome,” he explains. “A lot can be achieved with a small team if you have the right people. I endeavour to empower every member of our team, whether junior or senior, and we all acknowledge that the team is much more than the sum of its parts.”
Engineers are asked: ‘Would you want to use this system?’ while customer engagement agents are given the mandate that any customer that contacts Progressclaim should be an advocate of the product by the end of the conversation.
“It wasn’t always easy to explain that costs are best minimised through having a high level of quality in the engineering process, investing in automation and maintaining a strong focus on essential scope,” says Ballinger.
Within little over a year Progressclaim.com has signed on the likes of Mirvac, Built and Grocon. It’s number of users has rocketed by close to 1400 per cent. It processes well over a $1 billion in progress claims.
Ballinger holds monthly showcases to share new ideas and critique new functionality against commercial aims.
“I challenge all employees to find better ways of doing things. We regularly explore new technologies as they emerge, particularly where they encourage collaboration within the business and break down the formal barriers within the organisation,” Ballinger says.
Throughout the company, employees know the importance and impact of the technology team.
“Positive perception is easy to foster if you get results.”