Smoothing information transfer between common data environments

In the world of major infrastructure construction, the sheer volume and complexity of data takes some management. All the way through the supply chain from origination to end-use, a multitude of Common Data Environments (CDE) – each with its own different structure – needs to use a consistent set of information. For every major project, this can require millions of documents, drawings, models and data to be manually collated and transferred between suppliers’ and contractors’ servers – with all the potential for error that ensues.

ETL Platform

Automating this process provides huge efficiencies in time and resource, whilst reducing the risk of mistakes. GroupBC’s advanced Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) platform connects Common Data Environments with a Right First Time approach to information transfer, ensuring compliance with type and metadata conventions and protocols between client and suppliers. To achieve this groundbreaking advance in their software, GroupBC called upon Techifide to deliver the Offshore Software Development skills and resource required.

The challenge

GroupBC already had great demand for implementation of their core CDE product, which ensured the existing software development team was at full capacity. Client usage demonstrated a key business opportunity to enhance the core product with improvements to modules and enhancements to APIs, supporting better integration with third-party solutions. However, the existing resource could not be re-factored to scale development, so an outsourcing solution was required.

With a client base in Government and the public sector, an essential contractual requirement is UK ownership, with hosting, back-up and development of the core code taking place in the UK. However, the near-sourcing options GroupBC reviewed did not provide the necessary skills and capacity required for the ambitious software development programme.

Our solution

With Techifide’s UK business status, we were well-positioned to de-risk 100% Offshore Outsourcing as a means to engage the expertise required. Our founder, Ivan, was well known for the award-winning BIM software development he had completed for the UK construction industry. Knowing he had the skills and experience to manage the complexity of the project, GroupBC’s co-founder and international director Sanj Shah engaged him to deliver it.

They are flexible in their work approach, highly skilled and provide excellent quality code and intellectual property (all retained by GroupBC)
Stuart Bell – Sales and Marketing Director at GroupBC

Our highly-skilled team offered technical expertise and prior industry knowledge to deliver effectively with zero reliance on the internal resource. Ivan was contractually employed by GroupBC full-time, providing all technical project management. His personal involvement, alongside our English development program, negated any language issues, which are often inherent in Offshore Outsourcing models.

Working within the critical national infrastructure (HS2, Highways England, Houses of Parliament) comes with stringent cyber demands for a software developer of a data management platform, which we take responsibility for in our Offshore program compliance.

Operationally and logistically, the Offshore team now works autonomously as an extension to GroupBC’s own team, providing scalable bandwidth. They work on discrete development tasks to Agile protocols in three-month sprints. After each sprint, the output is reviewed against timelines, ensuring effective progress. The team accesses platforms externally via GroupBC’s API, ensuring compliance with UK clients’ core code safeguards.

The impact

We have successfully delivered GroupBC’s advanced ETL product and, in the process of doing so, driven significant enhancements to their API which have downstream benefits to other integrations needed:

  • a module targeted at major asset owners and their supply chain to improve the efficiency and accuracy of information and data exchange
  • a module that is designed as a framework so can be extended to include other application ‘handlers’ to enable further 3rd party integrations

“This product will save us thousands of hours transferring documents to Highways projects, plus we can be assured the quality of the information meets their clients requirements”
Stuart Bell – GroupBC

In terms of growth, the intelligent development work provided, over and above the original requirement, is an enabler for new business as well as connecting a network and ecosystem of GroupBC clients.

And from a procurement perspective, with quality software development innovation being delivered cost-effectively without resource compromise in the core business, time to value and payback for GroupBC is significantly quicker than scheduling work into their existing schedule with the existing team.

The relationship between Techifide and GroupBC has proven itself time and again over its initial contracted period of 6 months and has now solidified as preferred supplier partnership. The next project is a visual workflow tool (leveraging work on the API), working within standards compliance.

We delivered this significant ETL advance in Common Data Environments for GroupBC, recently purchased by Bentley Group and set to expand its BIM project and asset information management SaaS portfolio with Digital Twin technology. They will extend value for collective IT (information management), OT (operational technologies including reality modelling), and ET (engineering models) in line with the UK’s national initiatives for major infrastructure investment and towards infrastructure digital twins.