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Proteus: How to use technology to stay agile in the changing business environment

Proteus: How to use technology to stay agile in the changing business environment


The world has changed. It is now incumbent on business leaders to use technology to manage their workforce and help their organisations stay agile amidst a changing landscape.

Proteus was not developed with a global pandemic in mind, however as we see most industries engaged in a race to the bottom to try and secure enough orders to see them through the next crucial year, we believe Proteus is a major part of the solution.

Proteus was originally designed with the future of the energy industry in mind.  A future that would allow companies to be competitive in a world of declining oil and gas prices and through a transition into renewable energy, which has traditionally operated with lower salaries and lower margins.

We looked at the key drivers across a number of businesses and put in place measures to improve every aspect that was underperforming.  The outcome of this was Proteus, a revolutionary new product, aimed at digitally transforming a business and putting real improvements onto the bottom line.

Our best estimates were that companies would be slow to adopt these changes, as some of it requires a different mindset, particularly in moving to a more variable cost resourcing model.  However, the global pandemic that has pushed many companies to the brink, has accelerated this change to the top of every companies in-tray.   Proteus is not a nice to have, it is a must have for most companies now.

Introducing Proteus: Proteus is a cloud-based software platform, made up of 4 key modules; Proteus OS, The Marketplace, The Gateway and Xchange.

The Operating System  

Proteus has, at its heart, a business operating system, Proteus OS.  Proteus OS is often referred to as an ‘ERP system’, however we have tried to avoid using this term due to the bad press they get, particularly from employees on the coal face who have to use them. Most ERP systems are designed with a 20/80 user base.  i.e. they are designed for the needs of 20% of the business with the remaining 80% forced to use features that add zero value.  The use of spreadsheets for all workflows from pricing to completing timesheets is a result of this 20/80. Proteus aims to flip this to provide solutions that the 80% need. 

Proteus OS sits at the centre of your key day-to-day workflows. Configurable to the needs of your company structure and industry, this is where you manage client work leveraging team collaboration with shared databases, templates and files. There are three key modules that all use the same data sets ensuring 100% consistency and accuracy across the full project lifecycle: Proposals, Projects and Invoicing.

The Marketplace 

A new way of accessing or finding talent. The Marketplace offers a database of rated skilled professionals that companies can use to search for rated talent, post projects, engage freelancers, invoice and pay all through a single, simple-to-use interface and wallet system. This makes finding and engaging team members simple, fast, efficient and offers huge savings as it costs less than traditional recruitment routes. Using the Proteus OS platform, project onboarding is quick and seamless. Freelancers can invoice automatically and companies can manage payments in line with contracts. Proteus is integrated with online payment gateway Mangopay to facilitate rapid and seamless payment between companies and freelancers.

The Gateway 

The Gateway provides staff or freelancer team members with instant access to leading industry software on a PAYG basis. This cloud-based model allows you to access the software when you need it, wherever you need it. Optimised for the job, you no longer need to worry about onboarding expensive, heavy-duty tools which end up under-utilised. 

Xchange: Xchange is Proteus’ global technical forum where you can exchange questions for answers. Based on the concept of a social feed, you can post technical or project-based queries, drawing on the wealth of knowledge held by other companies and freelancers. Collaborating with experts, you can focus your posts on specific topics and industry verticals. By actively participating in discussions, you can become recognised within your field of expertise, generating future work opportunities and networks.

Not just a nice to have

Proteus is founded on making everything simple and consistent to drive tangible business efficiencies through every aspect of the business. Too many systems promise the world and deliver nothing other than an expensive overhead; with Proteus the ROI is directly measurable. For example, our modelling conservatively indicates companies can reduce as much as 75% of the cost developing proposals, 50% of project management administration costs as well as minimise debtor days. These concrete savings can make the difference between running a profitable project and running negative EBITDA.

Poor utilisation in a company erodes value faster than any other component.  Proteus tackles this problem in two ways; firstly by ensuring that all metrics are tracked accurately, giving project managers real time visibility and therefore the information to make accurate decisions.  Secondly, through  The Marketplace and The Gateway moves certain components of a company's fixed  costs into variable costs and therefore maximises utilisation.  The Marketplace focuses on the utilisation of people and The Gateway focuses on the utilisation of software.

Hard-wired to help a company closely manage margins, Proteus offers a number of overhead benefit savings. From reducing waste such as office space and the associated cost that comes with this, to allowing a company to expand and contract fluidly and cost-efficiently, Proteus enables a leaner infrastructure model.

An example of this is software utilisation. Engineers working on OEM projects deploy specialised, expensive software that is typically used less than 30% as utilisation is driven by working hours.  In addition, it is common for software to not be billed on a project. With Proteus this cannot happen as the engineering software is integrated with the project management system.  A user cannot run the software without entering the correct project code and the runtime is then tracked.

Services are bought by clients looking for a predictable, high quality of content or output. A move to a fluid, contracted workforce makes this consistency in quality harder to control and therefore is time-intensive. Proteus generates deliverables that are always consistent, whether documents are created by temporary outsourced freelancers or by senior managers. Single-entry data allows control over how the platform is used by the workforce and form-led processes and templated document creation ensure content meets desired standards. 100% accuracy is achieved through inbuilt cost controls and approvals meaning risk is managed efficiently.

Operating in low-margin environments, it has become more important than ever for managers to maintain a real-time view on team workflows. However, disparate legacy tools and siloed teams working across multiple offices has made it difficult to get immediate and accurate oversight. Proteus changes this paradigm by bringing everything into one place. Instant, real-time data via in-built dashboards provides visibility across offices and departments.

The genie is out of the bottle

Perhaps one of the most relevant benefits Proteus offers is not the one we originally focussed on as a key selling point. But the genie is well and truly out of the bottle. Recent lockdowns have precipitated a successful move to remote-working, demonstrating that the traditional 100% in-office model is no longer legitimate.

There is now an expectation from both the workforce and management for at least a measure of remote working to remain for the foreseeable future. Proteus offers the perfect online environment for companies working with remote teams, removing all physical barriers. Users can share files and knowledge within the same platform, working fluidly across multiple projects. Remote teams can expand and contract quickly and easily with experts being either onboarded or outsourced to other external projects within minutes.

Internally, we’ve discussed at length why the oil and gas services sector has not traditionally embraced the remote working paradigm. A valid answer is the industry is driven by productivity which is typically best achieved in a monitored environment. By tracking all workflows through easy timesheeting and resource management, Proteus allows teams not only to closely manage, but to increase productivity. Easily accessible databases for contacts, contracts and end-to-end projects greatly simplify the tasks of storing, retrieving and working with varied data while also enormously expanding the capabilities of information sharing and reporting. Templated deliverables make the tasks of creating, editing, storing and sharing documents much more efficient. Business continuity is enabled through zero product downtime.

Find out more at https://proteus-work.com/

Read the latest issue of the OGV Energy magazine HERE.


Published: 17-10-2020

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