Digital technologies are having a profound impact on Australia’s construction industry. Procore research shows more than two in five (43%) construction companies have accelerated digital technology adoption since 2020, addressing key challenges around productivity, skills shortages, and paper-based practices.
A core tenant of a robust digital strategy is ensuring all staff have open access to modern technologies and devices. This sets a solid foundation for technological innovation and gives workforces the tools they need to succeed.
Leading construction and infrastructure organisation InfraBuild met and addressed this challenge head on. As Australia’s only fully vertically integrated sustainable steel manufacturer, InfraBuild has a large team of industry experts that require consistent access to digital technology, whether they’re in offices or out in the field.
The organisation partnered with Telstra Purple to improve the experience for staff when ordering new devices such as laptops and accessories. By building a state-of-the-art automated ordering and procurement platform, the organisation has helped set a platform for future innovation, whilst enhancing visibility across IT asset management.
Identifying an opportunity for change
When InfraBuild employees needed to order devices such as laptops and accessories, the ordering process was cumbersome and time-consuming, involving multiple steps and interfaces. Orders had to go through various stages, including contacting vendors, obtaining quotes, creating orders, invoicing, and delivery. This led to a backlog of invoices and a lack of visibility, with invoices spread across multiple ERP systems.
The manual effort required to manage these invoices and track orders resulted in significant payment delays. Telstra Purple needed to provide a solution that improved efficiency, reduced order processing time, and centralised the procurement process.
“There was an absolute lack of visibility in this whole process. We didn't know what devices we had, what our refresh process was, or how things were supported,” says InfraBuild Senior Category Manager for IT, HR and Professional Services Wayne Malby.
Implementing a new portal
InfraBuild recognised a need for a ‘digital front door’ to simplify the ordering process and reduce the time taken to deliver devices to new starters and existing employees.
Telstra Purple proposed implementing a solution on the Power Platform that provides a clean and fresh interface that allows users to select and order devices from a catalogue.
Telstra Purple first worked on the development of the digital shopping cart experience on the Power Platform within the InfraBuild’s internal development environment to showcase the solution’s capability before deployment to InfraBuild’s Production Environment.
The process involved integrating with the existing ITSM system, automating order placement with the vendor, and enhancing invoice management. It also allowed for easier management of approvals and ticket creation within the ITSM Tool.
Telstra Purple worked closely with InfraBuild to refine the initial concept and design the portal. The first version was launched with quick results in mind, while work on version two, which focused on improving the back-end infrastructure, began simultaneously. Telstra Purple's team re-architected the solution, integrating APIs and leveraging Power Apps and Power Automate to automate the procurement process.
Significant efficiency gains
The new procurement portal has significantly reduced InfraBuild’s order processing time. The average time to send an order to the vendor has reduced from two weeks to approximately four hours, enabling faster device deployment.
“Now we receive a weekly file from our AP outlining the invoices that have come in. We match that against the system, allocate the cost centre, and get payments out the door,” Wayne says.
InfraBuild now has real-time visibility into orders, invoices, and device inventory, and the portal’s centralised catalogue gives it control over approved devices and prevents unauthorised purchases.
“The system has given us control over our catalogue and filtering out our own items,” Wayne says. “We now have complete control over all specs and devices that are coming through. It’s also helped us address security concerns and streamline device management.”
The automated procurement capability drives down the time spent on invoice management whilst improving overall accuracy. The changes have also improved InfraBuild’s new employee onboarding experience by providing end-users with access to a comprehensive catalogue of devices before their arrival. This ensures they receive the required devices and support services promptly.
“The portal has made onboarding easier,” Wayne explains. “We can bring people on and make sure they have the devices and software they need. They can have their system ordered before they even start work.”
Supporting ongoing innovation
The new procurement portal has already driven some massive benefits, prompting InfraBuild to expand its use to incorporate mobile services, telecommunication services, software procurement, and printers. InfraBuild says the goal is to create “a one-stop-shop experience for end-users”, while maintaining consistent control and visibility across different procurement systems.
With support from Telstra Purple, InfraBuild is set to build a connected ecosystem of digital devices and services, supporting the organisation’s digital transformation vision, and improving operational effectiveness.