Commnia has been making project management and document control software for the Australian construction industry for over 25 years. Along the way, we’ve learnt a thing or two about how our users, the people building the cities around us, work and how their processes have changed.
So we’re very chipper today to announce that on Monday, 19 April, we’ll be releasing as new version of Commnia. The new version will provide, to quote our founder, “bloody brilliant” improvements that will make Commnia an even more powerful tool for today’s builders and developers. We’re automating more, making complex workflows simpler, and giving you more visibility over your projects.
Before you start jumping up and down: don’t worry, the new version won’t change things around too much. We’ll still be the Commnia you know and love. But we do have some slick new features that we’re excited to share.
Here’s what’s included in out latest release:
One of the most difficult parts of construction projects is the sheer number of people involved. There are dozens if not hundreds of consultants, subbies, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Commnia’s Document Register makes it easy to send and keep track of all your important project-related documents and their revisions. But what about all the happenings on site? Who is keeping track of all that information?
Our new Forms app makes it easy to keep track of all the information about your project site, no matter where it’s coming from. It enables users to create, send, and track custom and industry-standard forms along all their other documents in Commnia. That means no matter who you are dealing with, whether it’s a contractor on site or a project manager at head office, you can get all the information you want, in the format you want it.
Most builders and developers today use PDF forms for their checklists, inductions, and incident reports. These are often sold as simple to use, but in our experience they’re clunky to create and format, and more importantly, they provide little control over how the form is filled and shared. That means you can’t use any of the data you collect–which is kind of the point of collecting data in the first place.
When we were creating our Form app, we considered using PDF forms. But being the geeks we are, we also knew that there is better technology out there. So we did some research, and decided to build a web-based form app that would not only work on any device, but enable our users to use the data they collect to gleam important insights into their projects.
In comparison to other systems, the Commnia Forms application has a number of advantages:
- Anyone can easily create custom forms using out drag-and-drop Form Builder
- Collect and analyse the data you gather and gain insights into your project and company
- Keep up to date on what’s happening onsite with instant notifications when forms have been filled out
- Control how your forms are filled out with authorisation sign off
- Keep track of your forms using the Forms Register and Dashboard
So, what does this mean in practice? Take an incident report, for example. Using a disconnected form technology, such as PDF forms, it would be hard for your company to gleam any patterns across 18 months of projects. And even if you could somehow keep track of hundreds of documents in your head, it would take up a solid chunk of time that could probably be better used on more important things.
Now imagine if you could pull the data from those incident reports into a single place and integrate it with all the other data about your project. Suddenly you’d be able to see things you couldn’t when the data was spread across multiple departments and documents. Perhaps it is that the vast majority of your safety incidents on a particular project have been in scaffolding (and that you should probably have words with your scaffolder). Or how many incidents you have on average across your all your company’s projects. That’s the power of Commnia’s Forms app.
Drawings are the bread and butter of the construction industry. Without them, we wouldn’t know up from down. And so it makes sense that as a project progresses, we need to discuss the same drawings across various teams.
Commnia’s new Markup Tool allows you to mark up and annotate drawings and share them with relevent teams all within Commnia. That means that all all your drawings and the discussions around those drawings are kept in one secure, centralised location. Commnia’s end-to-end system will keep track every step of the way. That means when it comes time to refamiliarise yourself or other members of your team, all the important documents and their related discussion are kept together.
Of course, there are already tons of markup tools out there. But almost all require that the user have their own licence to use the software.Speaking to our customers, we realised that many people working on site are being left out of the loop because they don’t want to pay for an expensive software licence that they would hardly ever use. That’s problematic because they’re the ones who are actually on site, doing the work.
Commnia is top to bottom solution. That means anyone who is part of the project, regardless of whether they have purchased a licence to Commnia, can contribute and use our tools, including the Markup Tool. To us that just makes sense: collaboration and communication are about treating everyone–from the suited developer all the way down the line to Joe the plumber–as part of the same team.
Here at Commnia we believe that collaboration should be free. All we’re doing is creating the space for you to do it.
New Outlook Plugin
We’ve rebuilt our Outlook plugin from the ground up. With just a few clicks, save your email conversations alongside all your other documentation in Commnia. And now it works from any Outlook client, including the web-client and on Macs.
One thing we’ve learnt speaking to our users over the years it that they don’t like it when a software forces them to work a certain way. Here at Commnia, we agree: our job is to make software that makes your existing processes faster and easier, not to upend them entirely.
When we designed our original Outlook plugin almost a decade ago, we had specific power users in mind. These users wanted to record and track all their project-related documents and conversations, but they didn’t want to have to leave their Outlook client do so. Our original plugin allowed them to save their emails to Commnia with just a few clicks.