Marketing Manager, Technology, Stantec Consulting Ltd.

With more than 6,000 employees across the world, it was important for Edmonton engineering firm Stantec Consulting Ltd. that everyone work with the same marketing and company information.We need to justify our projects and align them with the business, and that’s one thing we really pride ourselves on doing.Adam Jevne>Text

The company’s solution to that challenge was honoured Tuesday with a Silver Award of Excellence at the Canadian Information Productivity Awards (CIPA) gala in Toronto.

It’s an online portal – the Stantec Marketing Knowledge Centre – that offers company employees access to comprehensive, consistent and current marketing and business development information, as well as tools to manipulate this data.

Having one central repository of information was far from common in the engineering industry, said Stantec vice-president Vi Becker, who is the project’s executive sponsor. She said engineers, typically, like to keep their isolated databases, and are very reluctant to give that up. “[Now we] have one repository for all our information, so the whole company knows the vast array of projects we’ve done, [and accesses] the same information.”

At Stantec, it’s company policy when any new project is proposed, that the return on investment (ROI) be clearly laid-out. In this case, Becker said the ROI was clear: with Santec pursuing an aggressive growth strategy, it needed a way to keep everyone quickly and easily on the same page.

Lara Masse, who led the initiative as Stantec’s director of marketing, said the idea for the project was conceived in the year 2000. It was rolled out, in phases, beginning in 2001.

Phase one included design of the system and centralization of the data. The second phase, which CIPA recognized, was completed this year, and involved adding several efficiency-enhancing tools and applications.

These include an automatic PDF generator, and an image tool that uploads a single large image to the network, while enabling users to download the image in a size suitable for their needs (for example, a smaller jpeg for a PowerPoint slide).

Besides saving their time and network resources, Masse said this tool also makes it unnecessary to invest in photo-editing software for each desktop.

Before it was implemented, Masse said all business and marketing information resided either on individual desktops or on servers within a LAN. It also existed in a variety of formats, from Microsoft Word and Excel to Corel Draw. Each writer might put his or her own twist on the same information, said Masse, and there wasn’t a single version of the “truth” company-wide.

“What we were trying to do was achieve some continuity and consistency, in not just the technical information but also the [other] information we share, and how we share it,” said Masse.

Outside consultants were used in the first phase of the project but Masse said the initiative was mainly driven by an internal project team. Adam Jevne, who was responsible for the IT side as marketing manager, technology, added the software involved wasn’t off the shelf, but was developed in-house, from scratch.

“It was completely based on our business requirements, developed from the ground up for our needs,” said Jevne. “We need to justify our projects and align them with the business, and that’s one thing we really pride ourselves on doing.”

Looking back on the success of their project, Masse said the biggest lesson she learned was to take the time to build the right project team, and take care of them along the way.

“Let people show you their greatness,” she said. “People have a lot to offer, and when you give them an opportunity to do it, they’ll show you.”

Stantec was just one of the companies and individuals honoured by CIPA for their IT achievements in 2005.

The ceremony also included the induction into the CIPA Hall of Fame of Carol Stephenson, dean of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario and former president and CEO of Lucent Technologies Canada. Matthew Anderson of the University Health Network was named CIO of the year.

A big winner was 3L Filters Ltd. of Cambridge, Ont., which bagged the Diamond Award of Excellence for its automated technical quotation system.

For a complete list of winners and their projects, visit this Website.

Related links:

CIPA Awards: CIO of the Year caught off guard

Bombardier portal boosts productivity

Information collaboration key for businesses: Gates

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