After an intensive exercise in process mapping, and then hiring a consultant to review whether the integrated systems available in the market could really deliver desired benefits, Scott and Bill Jagoe decided to build their own system. With the help of an IT firm and three years of arduous meetings, brainstorming, testing, and tweaking, Jagoe Homes launched its Dynami Builder management system in 2008. Scott Jagoe talks about the advantages of having a system that handles workflow from customer relationship to warranty management.
Q: Why did you decide to build your own enterprise system?
A: From a tech standpoint there were a few areas where we didn’t want our information going out to the public to be different from what we had internally. That meant when you’re putting in information about a home, a site, an option, a price, whether the inventory is available or not, you’re not going to have to do that again. We had different silos of information that didn’t speak to each other, so we wanted that to go away.
Second, within an options catalog for pricing, we may have 400 to 500 options per house that you can choose. You can build within your system, options on top of options on top of other options, depending on what you want to offer to the customer. With that, picking a particular option can present different features, different colors, and different prices from the supplier. If you’ve got a good system that can control that, and you’ve got good price information, the consumers can really drive themselves and build a house online.
A third piece is we could not find a scheduling system that would work for our construction activities. With a lot of systems, you have to come to a break in schedule from a hard finish because sometimes you don’t finish something even though another task can take place simultaneously. When you have the critical path method going on and you break it, you lose track of what is going on out there in the real world. Conversely, we wanted to do something with workflow within the company that is not construction-activity related. Those schedules are probably more robust than just building the home, whether it’s getting through entitlements and zoning, market research, and plan development. We wanted to be able to come through and build those workflows and different templates that would allow us to start tracking the cycle time. So you look at nonconstruction activities and lay construction activities over them, and then you can start applying variances to why you gained in the schedule or why you lost in the schedule.
Q: How has the system been updated or changed since launch?
A: When we built it, no one was running around with iPhones, Androids, and so forth. IE (Internet Explorer) was the No. 1 browser that was out there and, as the years went on, the code had to be updated to be able to pick those (mobile devices) up. For instance, if you look at IE right now and you’re on the back side (company side not the consumer side) of the portal, they’ve come up with updates, and you just have some tweaks to do. We’re not rebuilding the system, but you have to tweak the software some to get it visually to how you want it to look. We did that a couple of years ago. Now we’re in the process of updating the consumer side to where you can get all your RSS feeds to it, do all the blogs on it. We’ve got Facebook and Twitter and all of the other social media, but what we’re really doing is going into the software and having a push there so our (search engine optimization) is better represented. We want to make sure we’re relevant for what the consumers are looking for.
Q: Have you developed a strategy in which you’re not merely trying to attract traffic but also prospects for sales?
A: Early on we made a decision to put as much out there as we could. I think today’s consumer, if they don’t find what they are looking for, they’re gone. They are off your site and on to the next search.