Data has always played a critical role in the success and progression of companies worldwide.
And as more data is captured, the storage and management can become a challenge — how can this information be effectively used when most of the time is spent gathering and sorting it?
This is the problem BC-based entrepreneur, environmental engineer, and data management consultant Chris Kam has been working to solve with the creation of Arkit, a software company he built from the ground up, that has now rebranded to Fieldshare.
Last year, Kam saw through the full rebrand with a new vision: to give companies the power to break their spreadsheet glass ceilings. By providing cloud-based data aggregation software that tailors to the unique data and workflow of its clients, the company ultimately gives clients greater flexibility and management control.
Why the rebrand?
As a cloud-based software, Fieldshare helps clients understand how to approach, structure, store, and consolidate their unique data, and can connect people worldwide. It allows anyone involved in a project to access the system and input data for consolidation, whether it’s a project manager working from home, someone working on a job site, or a contractor.
What factors fundamentally influenced the company’s rebrand from Arkit to Fieldshare? In addition to targeting a broader market, Kam explains that Apple introduced an AR feature called the ARKit (Augmented Reality Kit); this caused some confusion between users of the Arkit app.
“We’re trying to make Fieldshare more of an off-the-shelf software,” says Kam. In doing this, the company hopes to give management powers to the users of the software so they can control the data themselves. “They don’t need to rely on the IT department to manage it for them.” Combine this adaptable data approach with Fieldshare’s updated UI/UX design, and markets ranging from oil and gas to property management have found themselves a solution.
Kam tells us companies can have a “data problem,” which means they never do data modelling. As such, they are not able to structure data in a way that allows them to examine it in reports. “We have a configurable system; they can structure the data in a certain way that will deliver what they want.”
After a company goes through the consultation process with Fieldshare, the problem often becomes clearer for them, and they know they need to “change their workflow.”
For smaller firms, it can take as little as two weeks to consolidate data into a usable system. With larger clients — where data problems are not uncommon, either — it can take several months. Kam says one of his bigger clients was managing an annual budget of up to $30 million through six Excel spreadsheets before they implemented Fieldshare software to streamline their data into a comprehensive system.
How they got here
With over two decades of experience working on environmental projects in Canada, Kam has developed an in-depth knowledge of reclamation and remediation for oil and gas and energy industries, the environmental liability associated with corporate mergers, and real estate transactions.
“When I was an environmental engineer, my main role was to manage a lot of the contaminated sites throughout BC and Alberta,” Kam tells Daily Hive. “Throughout that career, I noticed, as a project manager, I needed to manage and organize a lot of the data that we are collecting regarding the projects.”
This, he says, could involve field managers going out to collect information about the site, followed by him amalgamating the information, working with clients and field staff to manage the financial aspects of the project, and ensuring everything is under budget before communicating that information to clients.
“At that time, I was having a hard time managing that data because I [was] using Excel,” notes Kam. Although he was using the tools he had to do his job, it was “becoming a lot of work,” noting that a wealth of information is required when eight or nine million dollars is spent on a site.
“That’s the reason I created Arkit and Fieldshare,” he adds. “The main purpose is just to make my job much easier.” This started with the creation of what Kam calls a minimum viable product (MVP), which was shown to potential prospects at that time, mainly in Alberta’s oil and gas and environmental trade sectors.
“Based on the feedback we [got], we [were] able to refine the product,” explains Kam. Over roughly two years, this betterment took place, and when the team went to sell the product, Kam noticed that many clients — regardless of the industry — had similar problems with data workflow.
“We started to notice there [was a] pattern,” he says. With a lot of data coming in, the project managers didn’t have the skillset to manage it. “A lot of those companies have their own in-house programmers who manage the data flow. However, what we realized is that our clients who are project managers are not able to articulate the problem to the internal IT.”
As a result, Kam says IT would not know what they’re looking for, so they’re not able to translate the business’s need to the software.
“Our software combined the project management aspect with geospatial information,” says Kam. “But over time, we realized that [clients] lack expertise in both putting their business workflow into our software, and collecting multiple amounts of data.”
Fieldshare works with clients from publicly-traded companies to government entities to small and mid-size enterprises, creating future-proof systems to suit their unique needs — with the flexibility to scale based on their requirements.
The team is currently comprised of 10 full-time staff and two part-time members within Canada. “We are constantly hiring,” says Kam. Those who are interested in learning more about the company or working with the team can visit fieldshare.io.