Friday, April 13, 2018

UniPhi 14 Survey Results Are Out!

A few weeks ago, we sent a survey asking you, our users, what you thought of the current features and modules of UniPhi 13 and what you would like to see in the next update of UniPhi 14. We had a great number of responses and are extremely grateful to all who participated. It has allowed us to gather a lot of insight into what is and isn’t working for our user base, what ideas they have for the future of the software and where we should go from here.

And so, without further ado (we won’t keep you in suspense any longer), here are the results of the survey.

Current Modules
The purpose of the first part of the survey was to find out what users thought of the current modules and gain some insight into their experience using UniPhi 13.

We found that the most used modules of UniPhi 13 were Resources, Contracts Management and Costs Management, with the least used module being Risks Management.


This linked in with the most liked modules, being Contracts Management, Costs Management and Resources, potentially being the result of why they are the most used or vice versa.


Though, where there are highs there are also lows. The least liked modules of UniPhi 13 were Document Management and Issues. This was mainly accredited to a lack of drag and drop functionality within Document Management and wanting more features in Issues such as the ability to email out of UniPhi.


Further improvements suggested in the comments, were those regarding outlook, with users wanting improved functionality particularly with regards to saving emails as issues, enhanced reports and dashboard charts and graphs, as well as more training around auto phasing to make it appear less black box and mysterious.

The rate of response of the system was however not found too slow with the majority saying so.


New and Improved Features
This leads us to the second half of the survey, which was designed to ask users what features they would like to see in the update. Respondents were therefore offered a predetermined list of options to pick from of potential future updates.



It comes as no surprise, given the previous comments that enhanced outlook integration was the most sought-after feature with 68% of respondents opting for it. This was closely followed by mobile optimization (62%) and new visualization dashboard, including design your own dashboards embedded in the application (56%).

Finally, we were interested in finding out what other ideas and suggestions users might have for the update.  There were a lot of great suggestions for new features in UniPhi 14, some of which were:
  • More obvious track changes in document management
  • Project calendar with integration to outlook + event scheduler
  • Auto job creation in MYOB and the sending of PDF invoices across MYOB with an automated sync function between MYOB and UniPhi for paid invoices
  • Payroll functionality
  • Ability to hide cards on the project summary screen
  • Allow users to select the view for the project summary screen in resources, default setting
  • Ability to show linkages between tasks in or with other projects
  • Ability to import contract deliverables and overwrite existing identical lines
  • Feasibility analysis
  • Profit reporting by resource not just by team
  • Process for expense claims through UniPhi using OCI

Where to from here?
Now that we’ve gathered all your responses, had a chance to learn about what you do and don’t like and what you’d like to see in UniPhi, we can get cracking on UniPhi 14.

We will be writing an update blog post in late May and in June we will start presenting the new features with a set to be released date in July/August.

Watch this space.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

New review and awards


UniPhi Receives Project Management Software Distinctions from Platform for Software Reviews

In exciting news, UniPhi has been the recipient of two awards and a glowing review from FinancesOnline.

FinancesOnline, which is an independent software review platform that aims to help business and software vendors find their best fit, recently reviewed us on their site. They gave us a fantastic review for our comprehensive project portfolio management tools, rating us an 8 out of 10, including us in their list of project management tools, and ultimately awarded us the Great User Experience award and the Rising Star award for 2018.



A little snippet of what they said about us:

“Construction consultants (e.g. engineers, and architects) often struggle to integrate the completion of deliverables with the value assigned to that deliverable on the project. This can lead to cost overruns. The causes of this are the dissociation of delivery of work to the capturing of time on the job.

UniPhi integrates these two elements through three pieces of functionality, issues collaboration, contract deliverables and timesheets to contract deliverables. Issues collaboration ensures rapid progress on delivery, timesheets have an “hours remaining” function which allows for earned value to be captured and therefore warning project managers that the project may be running over time even when progress is at 5%.”

We’re also proud to be highlighted in their article detailing the purpose of project management. And so, with a few more awards under our belt, we can confidently begin working on UniPhi 14.

To find out what else FinancesOnline had to say about UniPhi, visit:



Thursday, March 22, 2018

Wonderful new employees have landed!

Here at UniPhi, a lot of changes have been happening. We’ve successfully launched UniPhi 13, are looking at what’s next with version 14 and have been recruiting like a company possessed; hiring four brand new staff members in the past two months.

Introducing you to, in all their glory, our four new team members:

Drum roll......

Andrew Fist, Jason Zheng, Stephanie Larkin and Trudi Kirk!

Left to right: Andrew, Stephanie, Jason. (Trudi in spirit)

Andrew is our new national sales manager. He came to us from BST Global and has vast sales experience in the IT and SaaS sector. He is dedicated to matching businesses with the right solutions and is also so enthusiastic about working at UniPhi that he commutes 2 hours every day through thick and thin. That is some dedication to the cause.

Next is Jason, our handy resident software engineer, who was recently an intern at NVP Studio. He is experienced in writing code, from JavaScript, SQL to C#. In his spare time he plays guitar and if he plays guitar anywhere near as well as he writes code, he just might be the new office rockstar – watch out Mitch…

Stephanie is a recent graduate and our new marketing specialist. Having relocated from Melbourne, she likes to think of herself as the new office chair ornament and lord of marketing. You may also begin to recognize her work in all newsletters, emails, videos and blog posts.

And finally, Trudi our new UniPhi consultant, specialising in cost management. Due to her being located in Melbourne, we like to think of her as our second office ghost in Sydney, along with Simon Day, – you hear their voices but do you ever see them? In addition to her ghostly ways, she has had vast experience in all aspects of Cost management and has worked on a range of building construction projects. Trudi is your go to for cost benchmarking success.

Now that we have once again a full house and that the old staff have adjusted to the shock of change, we look forward to their future success becoming our success.

Friday, November 03, 2017

UniPhi 13 is here!

As my three year old son would say....."Phew, that was close". But without further adieu, here is the new interface in all its glory!


When the team uploaded this video to YouTube and tweeted the results the first tweet above it was the new iPhone X....A little intimidating but hey, I hope this video helps our dear users get excited about their pending upgrade.

There's a whole host of feature improvements as well in this release. Some of this were listed in our May post when we decided to delay release and go hell for leather on a new interface.

We will be highlighting these new features in coming blog entries over the next few weeks.

Now onto UniPhi 14 and a whole new world of React!

Thursday, November 02, 2017

UniPhi 13 - Release eve

Tomorrow is release day. Finally! It has been a very hectic 5 months since we pushed the go button on completely re-designing our core web application. The first re-design in 14 years, some would say we did alright the first time around. Others might say we waited too long)! Either way, the wait will be ancient history from tomorrow.

As promised, this blog will announce other survey results from our generous end users who have supported our product and it's feature improvements for the past 14 years.

The only specific question left to announce was the background of the sub-nav: White, grey or something else and the winner was.....grey with 70% of the vote. Here's how it looks:

Who said grey was drab? On an Aston Martin its divine and how a UniPhi sub-nav gets the grey look

Yes, those observant people will have noticed that this was actually revealed in my last post. However, here it is explicitly announced.

Commentary given in the survey included:

1) "Just give me the hamburger! Less means more." Sorry Mr Clutter Less, you lost out on this one from your peers but we have added a change for our 13.1 release (developers groan...it never ends) to allow for the nav bar to be hidden for those who agree with Mr Less.

2) "Can we get a compact view of tables". The answer here is yes, and a more padded with larger font view. In supporting the visually impaired, UniPhi has made sure there's a lot more functionality around this issue.

3) "Can the client re-skin the interface". Not yet but yes in 10.1. We will be building an interface for fonts, colours and logos to be included into the site so that your application truly is your application. One smart pants commented that if this was planned, why'd you care about what colour the nav bar was....answer, for our own deployment!

4) "Right hand side controls as I'm right handed". Sorry Mr Right Handed, you were out voted on this one...probably good to even out the muscle tone in the hands and arms.

That's the main comments relating to the interface, other comments will be addressed directly to the commenter (damn, that's not a word. It should be!).

So, as can be gleaned from the responses, there will be a 10.1 release within 2 months of this one adding all the little bits that polish off the re-design that weren't necessary for a release but will continue the improvements within a short space of time.

Tomorrow will see the release blog update, new videos and the chance to explore  how the end product turned out. I'll also announce the first lucky client who is to receive it first. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

UniPhi 13 - 3 days to release!

As per our newsletter yesterday, we have 3 more days to go before we go live with the biggest UniPhi software release in 13 years!

The release date was postponed in June when it was decided that the interface was becoming our biggest weakness and inhibiting our goal of building business software people want to use. It is a common lesson learnt at all management conferences that IT software roll-outs fail because of a lack of senior management support. We felt the best way to mitigate this risk was to build software people want to use. That way, even if senior management are not sold on the idea, the project will succeed as the key stakeholders are the end users who populate it with data. Give them benefits to doing so and surely a good result will ensue. So, this new release is focused on building an interface that encourages use and rewards effort.

We have engaged our user base over the past 3 months to assist us in designing the new interface. Participation was excellent and we really appreciate all the feedback. Yesterday, via our newsletter distribution list, we announced the first set of results from our user survey. 

Today I'll be announcing the second result. This was around colour schemes and has a background story to it. Our existing system (designed 14 years ago) has a save icon that can often get lost. The new interface has reduced the number of icons by replacing the top nav bar of the current system with the current sub nav and thereby bringing in a sub-nav for the current sub nav....that's a lot of sub nav. What this means is that a "button" will never be used as a navigational function in the new release. It will be provide action functions like saving, moving, editing and updating. This means a lot less buttons.
New top nav and sub nav for costs

Secondly, the add and save buttons needed to be accentuated from the other less used action buttons like move or assign to. So we sent out a survey asking what colour the save icon should be and the winner by an overwhelming 90% of respondents was green. I'm sure my 3 year old son will like this as "green means go" and boy does he go!

New action buttons with a green save
Please revisit our blog tomorrow to see the next survey result.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

UniPhi 13 is coming!


The UniPhi platform is fast approaching its 12th anniversary. And as is the case every year, we are continuing on with the development of enhancements and brand new features. Over the course of the next few weeks I'll be producing a series of blogs which will detail exactly what you can expect in the forthcoming release of UniPhi 13 due out in July 2017.

The two major features are enhanced BI reporting with Tableau, PowerBI or other tools of choice and a tweak to the interface. (Hint! We've gone square!)


BI Tools providing rich reporting capability

BI Tools enabling cut and dice analysis

Some other new features are:

Redesigned My Work Summary tab. We have completed a redesign of the my work summary so that you can now see all of the work that you have allocated to you.

Issue Custom Fields can be added to the Issues tab. This allows you to filter for any specific type of issues according to your organisations requirements

Ability to link issues to milestones, and link milestones to lifecycle phases. As issue or action dates change, your lifecycle dates are dynamically updated, and your milestone forecast data are also adjusted.

Progress Claims multi contract selection. When creating a progress claim, UniPhi now allows you to select all contracts within a project that relate to a single supplier.

Provisional Sums. Allows you to specify a deliverable as being a provisional sum, and then managing the committed value as it becomes known.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Cost Management Series III - Cash flow

Feedback from cost management firms is that there is a dearth of software to support the cash flow forecasting requirements for developers and consultants. One of the reasons for this is the complexity in generating an algorithm that can handle with accuracy the permutations of projects that are run in the construction industry. One of our clients has 12 construction industry sectors (e.g. Health, Education, Commercial, Leisure etc). Across all sectors there are over 30 project types or sub sectors (e.g. oil and gas, solar for energy sector, defence and justice for government, Office short, medium and tall plus fitout for commercial etc) and against 30 project types there are literally hundreds of asset types (Halls, libraries, pools, stadia etc etc). Then you need to consider the work types for these projects (i.e. new build, refurb, extension etc). And finally size and complexity all need to be considered.

How can a software developer generate an accurate profile of how an estimate will be spent over time? Many project managers build up work breakdown structures with both effort and material allocated. This is then sequenced and durations determined for each piece of work. Then via the Gantt profile, scheduling software can spit out a cash profile.  However, this is an enormous amount of work to complete for an investment that may only be at feasibility stage or even right up to detailed design. What if there was a better way?

We believe that a simpler way is to leverage the past to predict the future. As projects are completed, an actual earned profile is developed for that project. Categorising that project with a selection for each of the meta data described below means that we can use this information on any future projects that match the meta data classification. So over time, your consultancy, development company or construction company can use past projects to predict the spend profile of future ones.

Read our blog post on the release of this cash flow algorithm here:

http://uniphi.com.au/blog/view.aspx/uniphi-12-s-curve-phasing-algorithm-based-off-benchmark-past-621551636789556201

Or watch a demonstration of it in use on YouTube below:



Now this database of old projects can be an inhibitor to the success of such an algorithm, however, the expectation is that most organisations have strategic plans that result in them focused on only a small subset of the sectors, project types and asset types listed above. Therefore, it does not take long for cost data to exist in their key strategic niche to. Cost consultancies could look to sell actual phasing profiles of past jobs to companies in niche areas of work (so long as that company has UniPhi to take advantage of the data!). With a small amount of strategic activity, even a startup construction company or developer could obtain rich benchmark data for very little when compared to the risk of poor cash flow forecasting leading to funding issues and other financial stresses.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Cost Management Series II - Managing change

UniPhi's version 12 release saw the demise of the lonely change request system. This system was created in UniPhi's second release back in 2005. Since then, the documents, costs,  issues and risks modules have evolved to a point where all the functions contained in change requests were better managed via these other modules.

How is this so? Well, we realised that managing change is significantly more than document the description and reason why change occurred and then analysing the impacts. If you want manage change rather than react to it then it needs to be incorporated into the day to day management process of which, the first element is capturing the risk of change. By better identifying the risks of (or opportunities for) change to your project, you can then create specific tasks in UniPhi to mitigate the chances of the risk occurring and preparing for if it does.

Risk register across a portfolio of projects
As projects evolve, these risks sadly sometimes eventuate and other issues crop up that weren't identified in the risk analysis. By triggering contingency plans or logging, managing and if necessary escalating issues in a transparent and collaborative fashion through a web based tool that pulls in emails and allows for commentary with file sharing, these changes can be effectively closed out without impacting on budgets or delivery dates.


Of course, some issues morph into events that do requiring further funds and/or delay delivery of the project outputs (we won't even touch benefits as who manages these anyway). When this occurs, new budgets can be created in UniPhi's cost module, time delays via the project schedule function and then presented to management in accordance with the relevant delegation of authority via the the documents system. Once approved, this then becomes the new baseline to compare commitments and forecasts to complete.




And that is the interactive, evolutionary way we support managing change.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cost Management Series I - Adding Value to the Value Management Conversation

Value management
Value management is a methodology mainly used in the construction industry to do what most commercial organisations would call benefits management. However, in my experience, much of the value management discussion conducted in workshops or in after workshop documentation doesn't really focus on the real final benefits of the building being designed. Most discussions look at precursor factors to value like number of desks per sqm, number of meeting rooms, green star and the like. This is mainly because these things are easy to value.

Best Practice
This is where the cost consultant can come into their own. By knowing the key benchmarks and by being able to quickly analyse where the variance occurs and how much things vary for every quantum or rate change then at worst they can input into the investment side of the debate. For example, a cost consultant being able to quickly advise that removing 10 workstations and adding two multi-media meeting rooms will cost an extra $50,000.

Key to this best practice is the development of volume and rate variances. Each time a cost plan is updated, the cost consultant needs to be able to quickly identify the volume change, the rate change and the monetary impact of those changes and this needs to be done on a functional and elemental level. Again, an example of a change in design and type of windows leads to an increase in costs of $2m but this is driven by a $3m increase in the price of the windows offset by a $1m saving in scope. Now it might be that this design reduces heating and cooling requirements that leads to a 4 star Green Star rating but the reduction in size and number leads to reduced natural lighting. The investor may then review the value in keeping the original design but just change the quality of windows as it is only a $1m saving for a reduction in potential comfort of the space.

A sample view of this type of data can be seen in the screenshot below:

Variance analysis at the elemental level - download image for original size.

Variance analysis displayed graphically

Equally, it is essential that the cost consultant has the knowledge and time to complete extensive sense checks on these value management estimates as they're often time constrained, are not completed from first principles and can rely on benchmark data to create.

Software can provide significant value to this by automating the calculation of volume and rate variances including the monetary valuation of these changes (not merely the quantum) and by auto calculating the sense checks that verify the veracity of the estimate. As per previous blogs, benchmarking, leveraging the data captured on previous projects and using this to validate the estimate is essential.

Future disruption
As can be seen here, the variance analysis needs to be centred around whether the extra benefit is worth the extra investment, not just what the design parameter changes cost. There needs to be a higher level conversation that matches the goals of the investor. For example, in a fit out example, what's the staff profile and growth prospects of the business? What is their hot desk policy? How are they expecting this new fit out to change staff retention rates and what is the $ value saved in terms of re-training and knowledge loss? As a cost modelling expert, it should be possible for consultants to extend their capabilities into the benefit side of the equation and use their modelling skills to provide input into the value management conversation.

Again, software can help here by quickly aggregating the bottom level benefit drivers into the overall $ value assessment and linking the net benefit/deficit of a change in one design over another. Perhaps the future will see the Cost Manager become the Value Manager when benefits are factored into their cost modelling!