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New cloud-based management platform clarifying the complex for architects - Clarc

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Launched this week, Kiwi-designed Clarc is an integrated cloud-based management platform where all the day-

to-day operational needs of an architectural firm are met under one streamlined roof. Designed to house everything you need to manage your projects and your practice, Clarc takes the time out of business admin and enhances collaboration for architects, architectural designers, engineers, and surveyors, freeing them up to focus on what matters - designing, planning and creating for clients.

Clarc is the brainchild of founder and architect Owen Xing. Unable to find a tool that did the whole job, or a great job for his own business, he decided to work with fellow architects and developers to create one himself. The objective: To design a solution that could handle the complex workflow of the construction industry’s professional consultants and deliver clarity - over budgets, plans, responsibilities and deadlines.

"I kept thinking that it shouldn’t be this hard. It has to be possible to work together, work simple - to cut out the unnecessary complexity and make it easier to do business with you. That’s what Clarc achieves."

Core to Clarc’s premise is the value of relationships and how teams can achieve so much more than individuals - whether those be internal teams or virtual teams formed in partnership with other firms or consultancies.

"The modern workflow is a heavy burden on your work day, made more so by the need to collaborate with people in different companies and even different geographies. By removing the obstacles to great teamwork, we can help our customers achieve so much more", he says.

According to Owen, the impact of the platform on his own business was instantaneous: "We went from spending up to 20 minutes generating one invoice to a few minutes, and because our client portal makes digital signatures possible, finalising contracts takes just an hour or two, rather than up to 10 days. Budget blowouts are a thing of the past because our teams can see in real time how much budget is left against which tasks, how realistic that is and make adjustments as necessary. That means budgets that are kept on track, clients happy and ultimately better project outcomes. Personally, I am saving at least an hour a day on administration tasks, time I now get to spend on what I really want and need to be doing - creating."

Initially developed as a bespoke solution solely for his own firm, the tool’s immediate success showed Owen how much the broader building supply chain would benefit from such a solution, and so Clarc was born.

"Clarc is built for architects, by architects with a deep understanding of the construction industry and how our workflow actually works."

As a cloud-based system, it can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, which is vital for a world lived largely

virtually in 2020. Data security is a priority for Clarc and the Clarc platform is hosted by Google’s world-leading

Cloud Services, with Google’s consistently updated security standards ensuring data is kept safe and secure.

The integrated management platform allows a team to more easily track project progress, with projects broken down into manageable chunks and individual tasks assigned to team members including notes and due dates. Projects act as shared folders that always show the latest version of a drawing, allowing for better document version control.

Collaboration is key to Clarc, both internally and externally. Importantly, this includes with clients, who have a dedicated client portal to view reports, approve designs, and sign contracts with the digital signature functionality. Live chat allows team members to easily chat to each other, and with clients meaning prompt decisions that keep projects moving, and clients happy.

Clarc simplifies budget tracking and its smart, automated invoicing allows users to import timesheets and repetitive items instantaneously. It integrates with Xero and MYOB, so that invoices are updated across all invoicing platforms as required. In addition, Clarc’s scheduling feature syncs with Google Calendar and Outlook for calendar entries and adds any scheduled task or meeting directly to timesheets.

Learning what worked well, what didn’t, and being able to act upon those key insights and improve future business performance is also a crucial feature. Project reports can be instantly generated including detailed breakdowns from timesheet records, consultant utilisation and coming in January, project profitability.

According to Owen, Clarc is committed to continual improvement so it’s a matter of watch this space with exciting plans in the 2021 pipeline including incorporating AI into the platform: "One area we are looking at using AI is to automate new project setup by pulling project information directly from the client contracts. By automating what is currently a cumbersome and time-consuming manual process of pulling relevant information from those signed-

off client contracts and inserting them into project timelines, budget, reports - we hope to further clarify the complex and get our customers back where they need to be: Designing, planning and creating.

With Clarc now being used by a number of architectural consultancies up and down the country, Owen is keen for others to benefit from the clarity it creates: "We’re excited and proud to launch a tool specifically targeted to our industry. One that we know from personal experience will deliver a great outcome for your business - and for your clients."

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