CMiC’s Fully Unified Project Management and Financials Platform Puts Govan Brown 3-4 Years Ahead of the Competition

The Challenge

Govan Brown logo

Govan Brown & Associates Limited, a Canadian full-service General Contractor and Construction Manager, needed a software solution to help fulfill their vision of growth. The firm began their journey in 1994 as a two-person operation and grew to revenue of $40 million by 2005. Still, Govan Brown found themselves at a technological standstill. Their then-current software solution (Jonas) was growing out of date and falling short on functionality. “It just wasn’t enough horsepower for the company,” says John Brown, senior partner and co-founder of Govan Brown. The firm needed a powerful and modern approach – a construction-specific, web-based solution that could seamlessly integrate project management with financials.

In 2005, Govan Brown selected CMiC for their cutting-edge platform, superior data access and ability to support breakthrough growth. “We were a $40 million company at the time,” said Brown, “which is smaller than many other CMiC customers. But we knew we could become a $100 million company. We needed something dynamic and adaptable, and CMiC was it.”

Learn why Govan Brown chose CMiC and put them ahead of the competition.Download this Case Study

The Solution

“CMiC is a differentiator for us. It has put us three to four years ahead of the competition.”
– John Brown, Sr Partner and Co-Founder of Govan Brown & Associates Limited

Once CMiC was implemented, Govan Brown quickly began to develop and implement new, more successful strategies for growth. The partners examined the accepted practices of interior construction projects and realized that increased collaboration could improve project management efficiency. Using CMiC’s web-based collaborative platform, Govan Brown realized the benefits of better managing projects on job sites, at the office and in partnership with their vendors.

With these changes, decision-making became faster and better informed than ever before. “Our job process is very quick,” says Brown. “We need to make decisions fast. With CMiC, people can log in from anywhere and access the right information.” By having CMiC as their centralized database, Govan Brown was able to fully integrate project management with financials—rather than relying on bridges and workarounds—and develop standardized business processes that apply to daily operations and shine a light on inefficiencies.

“One of the main challenges we were facing was the misplacement of subcontractor invoices, which made cost and revenue forecasts almost impossible. The management team was shocked by payments that were still outstanding despite it being half a year after project completion,” says Serena Zeng, Sr. Director of Information Technology at Govan Brown, who has been managing the full lifecycle and upgrade of CMiC since 2005. To overcome the challenge, members of CMiC’s product engineering team worked directly with Govan Brown to implement Imaging, Workflow, and later—for the first time—electronic funds transfer (EFT), digital cheques and a reconciliation utility that met Canadian banking requirements. Further, it provided the Project Management team with an up-to-date AP aging status query by embedding the invoice image. 

Govan Brown’s newly unified database eliminated both double-entry and misplaced information by having “everything in one place,” says Brown. “We don’t have to worry about misplaced documents and unknown liabilities.” Furthermore, CMiC developed a tax filing program that streamlines tax filing and financial reporting and meets the Canadian Revenue Agency’s requirements.

The Result

In 2017 Govan Brown announced their merger with Structure Tone, another CMiC customer and one of the global leaders in construction management and general contracting, with more than $4 billion in annual construction revenue. Govan Brown credits the flexibility of the CMiC software—and the commitment of the CMiC team—as key success factors during the system integration. In preparation for the adoption of Structure Tone’s chart of accounts and fiscal year, the president of CMiC, Gord Rawlins, stepped in to ease the transition and to help in speeding up the integration.

In 2018, Govan Brown reported $300 million in revenue—surpassing their initial goal of $100 million, which had been projected when they partnered with CMiC, by a factor of three. In addition to their impressive revenue growth, Govan Brown has expanded across Canada, with offices in Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Edmonton.

“CMiC and Govan Brown have been growing together for over a decade. Having our head offices in the same city [Toronto], we have had the opportunity to get to know many CMiC employees personally over the years,” reflects Zeng. “Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to successfully complete three major upgrades and a number of implementation projects. It’s been a great journey.”

Key Benefits GOVAN BROWN Enjoys with CMiC

  • Real-time collaboration between executives, internal and external project key players, and subcontractors
  • A unified enterprise system that automates workflows and connects project management with financial processes, driving efficiency and transparency
  • A single database that eliminates double-entry and reduces risk
  • Simplified, detailed task tracking and reporting during the full project lifecycle
  • Timely creation, sharing, review, and editing of actionable project data among team members through their mobile devices
  • Integrated approval using DocuSign  
  • Quick and accurate contract forecast & WIP process
  • Easy financial and compliance reporting 
  • Standardized core business processes optimized for scalability
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