Insights into the ideas and innovations that are transforming project planning and delivery

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Walbridge Director of Innovation on the Future of Machine Learning

In Part I of our interview with John Jurewicz, director of technology innovation for Walbridge Building Design and Construction, we explored John’s professional background as well as his insights into emerging technologies. In Part II, Dr. Burcin Kaplanoglu, Executive Director, Innovation Officer for Oracle Construction and Engineering, and John discuss the potential of machine learning and where technology is heading long term. BK: What is the biggest value in AI and machine learning leveraging the existing data we’re collecting in the short and mid-term? JJ: The value of machine learning—or algorithms that optimize—is going to first evolve in repetitive building types. For example, you’re putting up data centers and modular construction in days instead of months. You have a pattern of what we've done in the past, and now we want to increase efficiency or look at how to shave 30 percent off the schedule, which obviously saves money. The initial result you see is we’re taking the patterns that you’ve already collected in your data and optimizing it with better intelligence. It’s usually experience-driven—people looking at the algorithms but also saying, “OK, if you're checker boarding the concrete pours to optimize how the concrete cures, what if you use two crews versus three?” Study how the crews affect each other’s efficiency. Monitoring patterns for optimization For example, we can see the weather cycles and the predictability of rain. What if we build at a different time of year, when we're not as likely to encounter rain or flooding? You’re going to see a mixture of weather data with predictability of patterns of how you pour concrete. And you see some of these technologies we’ve been talking about. We’ve seen algorithms with recipes that can improve how you self-perform an activity. But I’m thinking more holistically about the following optimization questions: Should you even be building like this? Or should you be building it at a different time of the year, and if so, how much money would that save? How can you optimize by evaluating four different sites where you could potentially build? By observing the patterns of how to deliver concrete or build a batch plan, you can optimize the site selection based on the construction value or by lessening the environmental impact. You’re weighing both considerations simultaneously: “I’ve got less erosion and less impact to the environment, but am I paying a premium to deliver concrete or services to this site?” You can begin evaluating things differently. BK: Where do you see technology heading in the long term? JJ: I foresee two trends in our industry: Constructors will become more technological in their approach to services. We’ll also be more driven towards prefabrication. We’ll partner with people who are very smart. Or we will become very smart at building portions of buildings, meaning we’ll specialize in the prefabrication of certain building types. For us on the industrial side, if we’re designing and building data centers near power stations that are cogeneration facilities, we may start specializing in building just those because the cost of distributing the electricity is so much less. We’ll become advisors on how to build buildings for the biggest bang for the buck, meaning you build these factories close to where power’s generated. And that isn’t new. If you build something near a hydroelectric dam, you could say it’s going to be a lot easier to get reliable energy. But I’m thinking more in terms of looking at your existing nuclear assets. The cost of energy is going to go down. They’ve got to do something with these nuclear facilities which are very expensive to run. Why aren’t they locating the data facilities near the power stations? Or, why aren’t energy-intensive factories that are producing gypsum drywall located closer to where the power source is? Tracking emerging projects will become easier. Expensive tools are rapidly becoming more affordable everywhere. It’s going to almost be an expectation now by owners: "Well, why aren't you tracking and doing things that quickly? Because everybody else is.”  Owners are beginning to demand tracking work in place, using more meaningful dashboards, and telling you what's going wrong in terms of risk sooner. You can track bad news much more quickly. For example, Intel's RealSense sensors, which are under $200, are essentially doing what the $500 Tango did last year. And for quick little scanning studies, why not?  It’s better to track work put into place. And once you know exactly what’s put into place, what do you do with it? How do you adjust and start to optimize or reduce people working on top of each other - like you see with Oracle Prime Projects? We can pull people apart so they're not working on top of each other. That's reducing our risk. There's a real value there.  Those construction advisors are going to evolve long-term. We’re going to become better at giving good guidance on where to build in the future.  And you’ll be able to back it up with data using AI for sure. Discover more innovative ideas emerging in construction and engineering in our “Navigating the Future of Projects” report from Oracle Industry Connect. Related posts: Disrupting with Intent: Bechtel's David Wilson on Innovation in Engineering & Construction Mortenson Innovation Leader on Driving Transformation in Construction  

In Part I of our interview with John Jurewicz, director of technology innovation for Walbridge Building Design and Construction, we explored John’s professional background as well as his insights into...

Construction Project Management

Maverik Turns to Primavera Unifier to Fuel its Ambitious Growth Strategy

Maverik, a fast-growing chain of fuel and convenience stores throughout the Western United States, builds about 30 new facilities each year, in addition to renovating and expanding scores of existing locations. The scale of this work creates urgency to complete projects efficiently and effectively. “We have to complete projects as quickly as possible to maintain the customer base and start or continue to earn revenues as quickly as possible,” Leslie Springer, director, engagement and Project Management Office for Maverik, said in a case-study presentation at the recent Oracle Industry Connect 2018 knowledge-sharing event in New York. But achieving that goal was a challenge. “Our problem statement was, ‘Every time we open a store, Maverik is pulling off a miracle,’” Springer quipped.  To continue its growth trajectory, the company had to modernize its project management and construction processes, which were no longer sustainable or scalable for its current requirements. To achieve those objectives, Maverik chose a new path forward: close collaboration with Oracle and the implementation of Oracle’s Primavera Unifier. “Unifier provides a unified solution for managing our complex projects,” Springer said. “We now have total visibility from project conception to completion. With this in place, we know exactly how much we spend on materials and on external vendors, and we can determine where opportunities exist for cutting costs.” Oracle representatives worked closely with the Maverik staff to define requirements and reorganize construction process components. Stakeholders then identified and implemented as many standard features of Primavera Unifier as possible to avoid costly and time-consuming customizations. “We are able to supply standard business processes and provide checkpoints for authorizing or denying changes,” Springer adds. “And we have one place of truth to report on the repercussions of those changes.” Working with Oracle, the Maverik team successfully implemented Primavera Unifier under budget. Stakeholders and executives have reacted so enthusiastically to the platform, Maverik officials decided to expand its use to additional areas, such as entitlements and special projects.  “Because of Oracle, we have happy employees, as opposed to resource overload,” Springer says. “Which now makes [our process] sustainable and scalable.” Read our earlier post to learn more about how Leslie Springer finds adventure in project management, and check out our recaps of day one and day two at Oracle Industry Connect for more coverage of innovation and digital transformation in project delivery. Read insights from the Oracle Industry Connect 2018 report here. Further reading:  Oracle's Primavera Unifier Enables Earned Value Management to Improve Project Delivery      

Maverik, a fast-growing chain of fuel and convenience stores throughout the Western United States, builds about 30 new facilities each year, in addition to renovating and expanding scores of existing...

Five signs your organization is ready for ERP-PM integration

Engineering and construction is a project-centric world— and ERP-PM integration is key. Along these lines, E&C professionals frequently ask, “How can I tie my corporate ERP system together with my project management system(s) to avoid error-prone, time-consuming double entry?” Few will dispute how the lack of integration is is a headache—including missing or inconsistent information and inefficient double entry— but taking the first step can feel daunting. Fortunately, the tools and expertise available today make ERP-PM integration faster, easier, and more complete. How do you know if integration is right for you? Five signs your organization is ready for ERP-PM integration Recognition of the value of integration Buy-in from the departments and roles impacted by the integration Understanding of process optimization Flexibility to change job functions to match new integrated and optimized processes Open-mindedness: there is more than one way to accomplish the goal To help ensure a successful integration, it’s important to set the groundwork. Keys to successful integration Define and align business and project processes Optimize processes before you automate them Set up the framework and ensure the right mindset to enable cross-departmental collaboration Scope your integration to align with business goals Inspire people to push the limits to gain the most value from integration A recent survey from Oracle’s Aconex revealed that individuals’ main motivation for technology investment is to “improve efficiencies.” In E&C, we all want to see the results of our efforts. Concrete results of integration Improved data integrity by eliminating error-prone double entry Time savings in data entry, analysis, and reporting More timely and accurate reporting Better decisions from improved access to timely, accurate, and complete information Ability to up level job functions, such as transitioning from data entry to data review and analysis Increased bottom line One firm that recently integrated their ERP and PM solutions is saving over 40 hours per month in project management time alone— allocating more time to focus on higher value-added work and overall project improvements. Like anything, ERP-PM integration is not a one-size-fits-all activity. Economies of scale do apply. Define the right level of effort and investment What is the right breadth of implementation? What is the time horizon of your program? How mature are your current processes? Remember: Anything is possible, but what is appropriate? At the end of the day, it’s all about leveraging data to your best advantage. Data rules the world. Make sure you rule your data

Engineering and construction is a project-centric world— and ERP-PM integration is key. Along these lines, E&C professionals frequently ask, “How can I tie my corporate ERP system together with my...

Construction Project Management

Oracle’s Primavera Unifier Helps Real Estate Developer Rockefeller Soar to New Heights

Rockefeller Group, a 90-year-old real-estate developer, owner, and investor, specializes in high-rises and other complex construction projects that represent about $300 million in annual capital expenditures. When existing project management systems and processes started falling short, company officials decided to act. They turned to Oracle’s Primavera Unifier to deliver the modern capabilities Rockefeller needs: company-wide reporting, uniform standards, paperless workflow processes, electronic approvals, and integration with existing enterprise applications, such as Oracle PeopleSoft. “We chose Primavera Unifier because it helps us provide standard operating procedures for project administration, while also supporting cost and financial management requirements,” John H. Pierce, Rockefeller Group’s senior vice president of design and construction, explained in a case-study presentation at the recent Oracle Industry Connect 2018 conference. The success of two recent commercial projects in the metro New York area highlight the wisdom of this decision. Primavera Unifier reduced the manhours needed for project controls compared to past engagements, while greatly improving project management and providing more accurate forecasting of project outcomes and cash flow requirements, Pierce explained. Primavera Unifier supports not only overall project administration but also handles the complex tracking of subprojects, such as the replacement of the elevator system in a newly renovated Manhattan skyscraper.  “Consistency is huge for reporting across multiple lines of business,” Pierce said. “We’re now able to sort data by region and industrial segment or by a number of other sources.” Rockefeller executives are seeing additional benefits. Because Unifier integrates closely with Oracle PeopleSoft, the company has streamlined how it handles project invoicing, Pierce’s presentation also highlighted a number of lessons learned from implementing and capitalizing on Primavera Unifier for complex projects. They included the need for buy-in from a cross-section of stakeholders, who must come together to develop a single design mandate at the start of a project. Stakeholders include project control professionals, as well as financial, legal, procurement, and audit teams, Pierce said. For more from Oracle Industry Connect, including additional customer success stories and insights into innovation and digital transformation, read our blog posts highlighting day one and day two at the event. Read insights from the Oracle Industry Connect 2018 report here. Further reading: PROMTEL Transforms Internet Connectivity in Mexico with Oracle's Primavera Solutions Maverick Turns to Primavera Unifier to Fuel its Ambitious Growth Strategy

Rockefeller Group, a 90-year-old real-estate developer, owner, and investor, specializes in high-rises and other complex construction projects that represent about $300 million in annual capital...

Five essential corporate trends: Set yourself apart from the competition

 In Part I, we discussed how company culture impacts team members. In Part II, we’ll examine how five corporate trends help organizations distinguish themselves from competitors and gain a leading edge. 1. Corporate trends: The biophilia hypothesis E&C organizations have also created many new and innovative approaches to redeveloping their physical workspace. The biophilia hypothesis proposes that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. Connecting workers in office environments with nature certainly isn’t new, but it’s getting a lot of recent traction. I visit many clients who’ve added courtyards, gardens, beehives, and natural light to their work spaces. For example, CookPlusFox Architects in New York City designed the Bank of America tower at One Bryant Park— the first LEED Platinum certified skyscraper in the U.S. CookPlusFox was one of the first architectural firms to incorporate the biophilia philosophy as part of its company culture and brand. As a result, the firm has become an incubator for future leaders in the field interested in sustainable design. 2. Corporate trends: Cross-discipline training Years ago, a co-worker and I were dropped by helicopter on top of a New Hampshire mountain to perform routine maintenance to a remote hybrid power unit. We hiked 12 miles back to civilization after completing our tasks. For the typical cubical dweller, opportunities such as these are both memorable and rewarding. Offering employees different, unique experiences (i.e., cross discipline training) adds immense value to company culture. I became a better designer after seeing and touching a working model—something I’d only previously known from a CADD station in 2D. Shared experiences amongst the designers and field engineers forge a bond across everyone in the organization who worked on the project. 3. Corporate trends: Workplace culture and customer satisfaction Chances are your client won’t be posting a raving five-star review on Yelp if you do your job well, but we all know how the phones light up when you don’t. It takes a lot to move the needle up a favorable notch or two, but, it’s quite easy to make the needle drop. A good impression begins with solid communication— regardless of your industry, service, or product. The organizations that adopt solid communication practices as a culture are well-positioned to have their clients become reference accounts. When clients are happy, everyone should share in the success. Organizations that consistently recognize the importance of happy customers draw and retain the best employees. 4. Corporate trends: Learning and development Organizations should identify what differentiates quality talent. The millennial workforce is keenly aware of company culture. Technology plays an important role in which opportunities millennials will pursue to further develop their careers. Engineering and construction firms that continue with monotonous and inefficient practices (hello, spreadsheets) will not likely retain creative thinkers. A recent Deloitte University Press survey states that, “more than two-thirds (of millennials) believe it is management’s job to provide them with accelerated development opportunities for them to stay.” Finding employees who understand how to effectively enable and use technology is paramount. Developing existing talent through ongoing learning and training is also crucial. Many of the most successful organizations either have their own certifications or allow corporate access to credentialed training as a measurable component to an employee's career growth. 5. Corporate trends: Technology as a culture Just a few years ago, assigning smartphones and tablets to construction workers as part of their job was unheard of. Construction, while making major leaps, still lands near the bottom of the list for adopting technology. These days, employees in the field can’t imagine doing their jobs without smartphone gadgets. That said, the E&C industry still has a long way to go in terms of digital transformation. The challenge of seamlessly integrating and connecting E&C teams remains. This disconnect is partly due to there being three main locations where people work: the office, the worksite, and the field. These three locations must establish an easily repeatable communication strategy to reduce errors and resolve issues quickly. The office: Access to technology is plentiful in the office. The worksite: Wireless signals or trailer workstations are the norm at worksites, but communication is somewhat limited. Accessing documents between organizations is difficult due to on premise applications, corporate networks, and firewalls. The field: Often no signal is available on handheld devices in the field, so technology must function offline and then sync. The technology is readily accessible, but looming disconnections still prevail. Breakout sessions at nearly every construction related conference and forum prove the challenges of communicating in the field. E&C firms that explore, adopt, and develop technology as part of their corporate culture will be well-positioned as future industry leaders to help drive job satisfaction, productivity, and ultimately— profitability. Read more about Oracle's Aconex here.  

 In Part I, we discussed how company culture impacts team members. In Part II, we’ll examine how five corporate trends help organizations distinguish themselves from competitors and gain a leading...

Four ways to tackle change management across your project

In our previous blog post, 7 Deadly Project Controls Sins, we highlighted project management missteps that contribute to construction project delays and budget overruns. Last April Oracle’s Aconex organised a Project Controls webinar series which addressed: challenges and solutions, the importance of contract administration, and the benefits of one stop solution. Even if each project is different, the challenges faced by organizations remain the same: Aligning data: Companies are often using different systems that lead to disconnected data across the project. Integrating Cost & Schedule: Lack of consistency across these two disciplines is leading to higher risks. Managing change: Inaccurate reporting of a scope or variation change during the project decreases the visibility into project status. Disconnected environment: Project performance suffers when people, disciplines, and departments are working in isolation. These challenges stem from various sources, ranging from the design of processes and use of systems to organizational culture. Fortunately, you can overcome these challenges by learning about today’s project controls hurdles. Effectively manage change across your project Many questions arise throughout any given project, including: “How does a change in scope affect my schedule?”, “How does this project delay affect my cost?” or “How will this delay impact my processes overall?” Below are four ways to improve change management: Project members must weigh a project’s change against the entire project to assess the impact. Tracking a change’s origin before managing its impact on the project is crucial, because changes will affect the entire project, not just one area. Organizations need a strong solution that manages the impact changes have on cost and schedule. Successful projects depend on a standard approach to change management that’s supported by a system robust and flexible enough to support multiple project types. Watch our webinar on Contract Administration to learn more about effective change management. The goal of project controls is simple: reduce risk and successfully deliver a project. According to a World Economic Forum study cited in Construction Dive, a 1% reduction in costs would save the construction industry approximately $100 billion annually. However, achieving these goals requires an artful integration of teams, systems, processes, and data. Early visibility into cost impacts starts with connecting every project member of the supply chain on a single platform -- whether they’re in the office or the field. A single source of truth across the project lifecycle and portfolio is essential. Program and Cost Management capabilities give project members an accurate view and forecast into how their projects are performing across cost and schedule. Select a secure solution for your projects so you can: improve internal and external communication, have better visibility into your project performance, avoid risk and errors, and successfully deliver your projects. Watch our webinar to learn more about the benefits of a one stop solution.

In our previous blog post, 7 Deadly Project Controls Sins, we highlighted project management missteps that contribute to construction project delays and budget overruns. Last April Oracle’s Aconex...

Construction Project Management

Oracle's Primavera Unifier Enables Earned Value Management to Improve Project Delivery

With evolving government standards and securities laws increasing pressure to adopt stringent cost and earned-value standards, many organizations today recognize the need to incorporate comprehensive cost management and earned-value analysis capabilities into their project portfolio management systems. Earned value, a critical dimension of the execution of large and complex projects, provides an integrated view of progress that encompasses cost, scope, and schedule, enabling deeper project analysis and more intelligent decision-making. The earned value management (EVM) methodology entails comparing the amount and cost of what was planned to be completed against what work has actually been completed, and how much that work has cost. Such a comparison enables greater precision in forecasting the final cost of the project and whether it will be completed on, behind, or ahead of schedule. New enhancements to Oracle’s Primavera Unifier enable users to perform EVM to better analyze the progress and performance of projects. The new Primavera Unifier EVM capability allows users to leverage data from Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management to: Import multiple projects from Primavera P6 EPPM into a single Primavera Unifier project activity sheet, creating a consolidated view of the costs and earned value. The new EVM capability in Primavera Unifier incorporates resource spreads and progress information from the Primavera P6 EPPM schedule data. Create rate sheets by resource and role with escalating rates. Rate sheets can also be created at a company or project level and be assigned to a mirror of the Primavera P6 EPPM projects within Primavera Unifier through the activity sheets. This allows different rates to be assigned to each P6 project and even to the P6 project baselines. Pull data from the activity sheet into the EVM module, which will display industry standard graphics in addition to various critical project metrics, including historical trending. “Earned value management is an increasingly important project delivery process that enables organizations to understand key dimensions of project progress and performance. The data that the new EVM capability in Oracle’s Primavera Unifier yields will enable project delivery professionals to improve outcomes through better visibility and smarter decision making,” said Andy Verone, Vice President of Strategy for Oracle Construction and Engineering. For more information about these new enhancements to Oracle’s Primavera Unifier, register to attend a webinar on EVM and Oracle.  

With evolving government standards and securities laws increasing pressure to adopt stringent cost and earned-value standards, many organizations today recognize the need to incorporate comprehensive...

Energy and Resources

Technology Supports the Intelligent Client Project Approach for Utilities

Last week, I spent the day with an incredible group of procurement and supply chain professionals from across the UK utilities industry. From our interactions at the Utility Week Procurement & Supply Chain Engagement 2018 conference, it became clear that they shared a few common goals. All were looking for transformational change that would help to: Improve the way their organisation does business Enhance their customers’ perception by providing exceptional service, and Manage their rate increase to the lowest possible factor The desired shape of that transformation was also shared: to influence procurement and supply chain activities across the asset lifecycle, from strategic thinking to delivery and into operations. But how best to accomplish that? During my presentation at the event, I covered a few core concepts which aligned with and provided insight into the realization of their shared goals – as well as exploring the engine needed to drive the sought after transformation. Operating as the intelligent client The utilities space has changed significantly over my lifetime in terms of the way utilities procure and manage asset delivery. Previously, this process was run by an entirely in-house organisation that undertook most activities thru design and construction management, mainly working with the direct supply chain. Later, utilities began outsourcing this activity to Tier 1 contractors, who handle project management and delivery. But with this shift came a loss of control, so today we are at a point where most of organisations are looking at becoming what is called the “intelligent client.” To do that they need to clearly understand - by capability - how they wish to manage and support the supply chain, including the appropriate approach for various tiers and even members within those levels. To successfully manage this change, a common data platform is needed. With such an environment, organisations can adopt different approaches based on project size, duration, supply chain, and organisational competency. In addition, with the desire to manage “TotEx” (rather than a split CapEx/OpEx approach), it is vital to understand the impact change has on the asset delivery project, including its outcomes and its impact on the asset’s revenue returns.  Ensuring governance and compliance around deliverables With the intelligent client concept comes the desire to manage the supply chain at any level by going directly to the appropriate level/source. This leads to a need to ensure compliance, governance, and control to a level that is appropriate to each member’s situation. So, now that utilities are interested in managing the tier 2,3, etc., supply chain organizations, they need tools that support that approach. A siloed patchwork of individual applications is no longer appropriate when trying to manage across a diverse array of suppliers and contractors. This approach also necessitates a model that delivers more real-time data. And because ownership of data is fundamental, a move to a subscription model is needed to support the key needs around collaboration, compliance, and governance. In addition, the intelligent client approach is supported by modern best practice in supply chain contracting, with processes such as NEC4 including significant provisions around collaboration, compliance and visibility. Managing change through its life, from RFI to approval As was discussed at length during the event, change is something that utility organisation must get to grips with (and, you would think, something that should have been sorted out years ago). But in light of the desire to directly manage tier 2 and below of the supply chain, the management of such change - and its impact on other suppliers and the overall asset delivery - is a significant area of focus. There is a need to move away from current models that involve multiple lines of communication and significant use of siloed data transmitted via email or other offline means. Such practices continue to result in disconnected and opaque management of change, bringing overruns in both budget and schedule and impacting asset revenues. Key to addressing this challenge is the use of a common data environment (CDE) that delivers a single version of the truth to support change control across stakeholders. With such an approach, organisations can manage the process from the point of an issue right through the RFI, assessment, change notice, approval processes, etc., and ensure everyone has visibility into the resolution path. How technology can support the above Any productive and efficient effort to embrace an intelligent model to manage a much broader range of suppliers and contractors requires the right technology to support positive outcomes. Fundamental to such initiatives is a common data platform that can provide collaboration, compliance, governance, control and real-time data for all stakeholders. Visit Oracle Construction and Engineering to learn more about how we are helping energy companies undertake journeys of digital transformation.              

Last week, I spent the day with an incredible group of procurement and supply chain professionals from across the UK utilities industry. From our interactions at the Utility Week Procurement & Supply...

Energy and Resources

How Cloud Technology Helps Utilities Overcome Market Challenges

It’s no secret that power companies today are contending with a staggering array of challenges. Between a shifting regulatory and environmental landscape and disruptive innovations such as smart grids, the sustainability shift and the Internet of Things (IoT), utilities are staring down change of historic proportions. Indeed, according to a recent Deloitte report, most utility executives now firmly believe their companies will be completely transformed in as little as three years’ time. As a result, many of these firms are already mapping out new ways to weather hardships and harness all opportunities. Visionary utilities will do that by applying technological best practices to critical facets of their businesses. Capital Planning Heads to the Cloud Capital planning in the utilities industry is complex to say the least. Predicting costs, measuring return on investment and ensuring desired outcomes is difficult. With long project timelines, billions of dollars in assets and large amounts of capital needed to sustain and grow businesses, effective planning is critical to not only profitability, but also in meeting stringent regulatory requirements. In fact, improving the way these projects are selected and managed can deliver savings of 15 to 30 percent, according to McKinsey research. Unfortunately, too many utilities still try to address capital planning using yesterday’s manually driven solutions, such as spreadsheets, instead of more efficient digital solutions. This simply won’t cut it. Considering the rate of change, forward-thinking utilities are turning to cloud-based portfolio management solutions to position for the future. These solutions are designed to deliver a bird’s-eye view of everything that might influence the success or failure of an organization, including key performance indicators, costs and funding/budget status. They can help utilities map out every step of project lifecycles, from planning, building and operating key assets to their ultimate retirement. Having a cloud-based system has the added advantage of creating a central, widely accessible repository for collecting information to advise planning. In addition, it establishes a hub where both internal and external stakeholders can share ideas about how to improve the business. In capital planning, “ideation,” which is the gathering of information from various people involved in a project, is also becoming increasingly important to success. For ideation to be effective, stakeholders-which in many cases include the public-must be able to collaborate, so the data must be both centralized and accessible by all key participants without punching holes in the organization’s firewall.   Sustaining Projects and Small Caps – the New Normal There aren’t many electric utilities building billion-dollar power plants anymore. With limited budgets and a desire to avoid the risks, not to mention the delivery struggles of large undertakings, most utilities are instead investing in multiple small projects with faster timelines. The challenge with such small projects is that they entail multiple teams working on many smaller efforts simultaneously. This means that if a utility doesn’t have a centrally accessible way of ensuring visibility, planning, control and executive oversight across these projects, they could fall behind schedule rather quickly. To solve this, many utilities are considering a combination of technologies. Many will begin with a cloud-based project and program solution. But the solutions they choose might depend on their need for specific capabilities, such as templates, mobile field status updates, field-initiated change requests to monitor potential budget impacts, and resource tracking. More importantly, utilities driving multiple small projects will need to rely on analytical tools to understand how all projects are progressing – collectively – and what they deliver to the business. Down the road, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) will play a considerable role in automating many repeatable, manually intensive, small project-planning processes – but most utilities are not there yet.    Optimizing Maintenance Utilities are always looking to maximize returns from existing assets, but eventually every asset must be taken offline for maintenance to optimize process and production. Unfortunately, even with the best of intentions, more than two-thirds of organizations fail to get their assets back online on time according to Aberdeen Group. The reason? In many cases, it’s because of poor scope development, a lack of solid data, using too many niche products and relying on outdated and manually intensive technology.   What’s more, while these maintenance projects are meant to improve efficiency, in far too many cases poor management has the opposite effect. Delivery delays from scope creep, inefficient resource supervision and other factors can lead to higher costs, lost productivity and angry shareholders (for public companies). Many utilities are finding that having a cloud-based project management solution can also help address challenges around planned outages. A typical outage can involve 10 or 15 different departments and dozens, if not hundreds, of workers and subcontractors. Tracking these moving parts is tremendously difficult, so finding technological solutions to ensure collaboration and coordination should be of paramount concern. The right project management solution can help organizations to better understand, manage and control the scope of an event by providing tools for resource requirements, procurement planning, identifying and tracking purchase lead times, directing contractor and engineering obligations, and providing daily status and cost updates to key stakeholders. Similarly, these cloud-based solutions can provide a common data platform so that everyone involved in a project is working from a single view of the truth. Of course, this only works with a rich solution capable of providing a strong back-end infrastructure and the ability to support analytical tools for understanding what’s happening across the organization. In addition, organizations must be able to capture status updates and emergent work from mobile devices and applications in the field. Soon, this could also involve connecting with sensors or RFID devices that field workers would carry on their persons, allowing the project management solution to capture, aggregate and analyze data – without anyone having to act by physically typing something out in an email, text, online tool or spreadsheet. Conclusion Visionary utilities are not only thinking along these lines, they are already implementing project management technology to improve their ability to survive and thrive in this rapidly changing industry. Every utility will be a radically different company in just a few years. Now is the time to prepare. This article originally appeared on Electric Light & Power.

It’s no secret that power companies today are contending with a staggering array of challenges. Between a shifting regulatory and environmental landscape and disruptive innovations such as...

Construction Project Management

Construction Firms See Benefits from Integration of CPM and Lean Scheduling

Amid growing demands from owners for more efficient project delivery, builders continue to search for ways to enhance project execution and boost productivity, both to improve margins and create competitive advantages. Construction firms recently gained a powerful tool to aid in such efforts: the Lean Scheduling capability of Oracle Prime Projects Cloud Service. The cloud solution is the construction industry’s only project success platform that integrates two historically disconnected project scheduling and execution methodologies: the Critical Path Method (CPM) and Lean Construction. Early adopters are capitalizing on this blending of CPM/Lean processes and data. “People using it in the field love how it saves time when developing weekly work plans, as well as when they are performing their overall schedule updates,” says Mark Jenkins, a product management director for Oracle Construction and Engineering. “This means teams have more time for what’s most important—getting the job built.” The integration of CPM and Lean scheduling closes an important gap for the construction industry, Jenkins explains. “In the past, construction companies struggled to align Lean values with CPM priorities, giving rise to tensions between scheduling camps,” he says. “Project teams had also been forced to spend time maintaining project data in two different systems, in two different places. Oracle’s solution eliminates this disconnect to improve project outcomes for all.” “Oracle Prime Projects has enabled us to digitize our Lean task planning work in the field and fully integrate that activity and data with the management of our critical path schedule. By connecting these teams and activities, we’ve been able to unlock new levels of coordination, visibility, and productivity,” Mike Ball, project manager for general contractor Walsh Brothers, said in a recent announcement.   Integration enables full digitization of processes, closer collaboration across project participants, and centralization of project planning information. By transforming the paper processes of Lean Construction (including the famed sticky notes on the planning board) and digitizing all activity and task planning data in a shared workspace, Oracle Lean Scheduling eliminates the traditional silos and optimizes processes for all project teams. The single platform also gives construction firms a holistic view of the project. This visibility includes both the long-view analytics needed to accurately determine project milestones and completion dates, as well as prescriptive roadmaps for how to complete projects as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Although the solution addresses complex data integration challenges, early adopters say it is easy to learn and use by Lean-focused teams. “People who are familiar with the Lean Construction Institute’s Last Planner System report they don’t need training to use the platform,” Jenkins notes. For more information, read our latest white paper on blending CPM and Lean scheduling and watch a webcast on how to digitize and integrate these activities at your organization.

Amid growing demands from owners for more efficient project delivery, builders continue to search for ways to enhance project execution and boost productivity, both to improve margins and create...

AECOM and TAV Construction Share Proven Steps to Digital Success

As part of their Global Industry Council initiative, Oracle’s Aconex spoke with several industry experts about how organizations can move towards digital success and save $1 trillion by embracing digital transformation. GIC members AECOM, Bechtel, Chiyoda Corporation, Fluor, Lendlease, and TAV Construction worked together to identify key challenges, outline solutions, and share examples of success. In a recent webinar series, engineering and construction (E&C) leaders revealed how digital transformation can positively transform construction professionals' day-to-day work. {C} Webinar speakers: TAV Construction: Dr. Ahmet Citipitioglu, Director of Engineering and Design CIMIC Group: Ken Panitz, Principal for Methods, Lean and Innovation with EIC Activities Thornton Tomasetti: Jim Dray, veteran executive of AECOM and CIO of Thornton Tomasetti What are other industries doing right? Innovative E&C leaders are learning valuable strategies from other industries while simultaneously asking the question: “What can we standardize?” Here are a few successful strategies developed by TAV Construction, CIMIC Group, and Thornton Tomasetti. TAV finds inspiration from the airport industry. Airports’ centralized technical operations centers (TOCs) inspired TAV to use Aconex— amongst other collaborative systems— to centrally manage their projects. Ahmet says a centralized approach “broadcasts awareness throughout the entire construction team.” Ahmet’s team centrally captures and manages data throughout the project for all their ongoing airport operations. CIMIC emphasizes diversity within the workforce. Ken Panitz of CIMIC emphasizes the importance of forming central technology teams by recruiting E&C professionals who are passionate about change and innovation. Ken says, “It is a mindset more than a skill set. As soon as something is not impossible, then it quickly becomes the norm. Find those people who are willing to dream it . . . and then go do it.” Thornton Tomasetti seeks innovation from the IT industry. Jim Dray of Thornton Tomasetti builds teams with experience incubating new small companies to test and trial new technologies. A team devoted to testing new technologies frees up time for project managers to focus on their project deliverables. Jim’s team aspires to “create different revenue streams and a competitive advantage” by exploring new technologies. “There’s a beautiful link between what other industries have done and what we’re trying to learn in engineering,” says Jim. Digital transformation success stories from global E&C leaders TAV Construction: Five steps to supporting ongoing operations leveraging data Ahmet seized an opportunity to improve how project information is managed and handed over, stating “The amount of detail we provide to operations is orders of magnitude greater than before”, because we follow these five steps: Organize data leveraging BIM. Develop a digital SWAT team to manage the handover. Set up flexible data structures-- keeping in mind a designer can interpret the same data differently than a contractor or an operator. Establish processes to ensure data is up-to-date and usable. Integrate BIM with GIS to provide context for the models. CIMIC: Achieve process excellence leveraging these six tips Ken references Bill Gate’s rule of automation, stating, “If you automate an inefficient process, it magnifies the inefficiency.” Ken’s mantra is, “People, then process, then technology. Don’t be slaves to the system; be masters of it.” Here are CIMIC’s six steps towards process excellence: Ask the question, “What does this process buy us?” Do not replicate effort. Optimize a process by eliminating it. Unite operations and IT to innovate. Look for open solutions with APIs. (Ken warns: It's a big red flag if a tech vendor doesn’t have an API). Develop a culture of looking for opportunities. AECOM: Maximize project benefits with “Centers of Excellence” Jim discusses how AECOM’s Centers of Excellence (CoE) help alleviate project risk and improve new technology adoption. He says, “Our SWAT team’s approach lowers resistance to change” by providing ongoing support and guidance. The CoE delivers tangible value to projects and organizations in the following ways: Helping project managers define requirements as well as adopt and support the right technology. Leveraging technology to win new business during sales presentations. Executing specific goals: ie, designing the Building Information Model execution plan and writing BIM standards for internal and client use. Optimization, automation, and centralization: Steps your organization can take to embrace digital technology The CIMIC Group has successfully integrated process improvement and digital transformation throughout their company. For example, after reviewing their procurement process, Ken concluded, “If we went into a grocery store and followed their procurement process we would starve, thanks to our complex purchasing process.” As a result, the CIMIC Group expedited processes from two weeks to 1.5 days— reducing staff from 8 to 4 people— by optimizing and automating their processes. TAV Construction uses a centralized system and BIM to capture information and manage data and designs, providing 10-20 times more detail for handover. “BIM was the perfect tool to combine all the data,” said Ahmet, with a centralized system supporting complete data capture. Operations and maintenance— by far the longest phase of any project— is the ultimate beneficiary. TAV also uses cloud technologies to eliminate IT capital investment and associated costs. To learn more, watch our full webinars: “Five Steps to Digital Transformation” with Jim Dray from Thornton Tomasetti and Santiago Ferrer from the Boston Consulting Group. “Five Keys to Unlocking Engineering & Construction Performance” with Dr. Ahmet Citipitioglu of TAV Construction, Ken Panitz from CIMIC, and Andrew Newsome from The Boston Consulting Group.  

As part of their Global Industry Council initiative, Oracle’s Aconex spoke with several industry experts about how organizations can move towards digital success and save $1 trillion by embracing...

Construction Project Management

Digital Transformation Insights and Success Stories Take Center Stage at Oracle Industry Connect

Day two of Oracle Industry Connect opened with an engaging panel discussion focusing on an area of paramount importance to virtually all organizations: how to redefine business models and the consumer experience in an age of digital disruption. Cory Johnson, former journalist and chief market strategist for Ripple, led a broad discussion featuring innovators from several data-intensive industries, with executives from Con Edison, MGM Resorts International, Meed, and Bechtel Corporation sharing how their organizations are thriving in today’s  “disrupt or be disrupted” environment. The dominant theme was the need to navigate the challenge of investing in an organization’s core business while anticipating and delivering new business models. Bob Weiler, executive vice president for Oracle Global Business Units, highlighted the role that the cloud can play delivering next-gen solutions – built around artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, blockchain, and more – as a service. This model can empower organizations to focus even more closely on transforming their business and customer experience models. David Wilson, chief innovation officer for Bechtel Corporation, defines his role as “disrupting with intent,” and said that his guiding principle is, “How do we create a better experience for our builders?” Wilson explained that his organization thought they had a technology problem, but, in reality, they faced a process challenge. “The real question is, ‘How can we reshape processes now that we’re unencumbered by paper?’” Wilson explained that he sees team members eager to embrace mobile solutions, such as smartwatch applications that allow them to simply click and tap to complete their status updates. Wilson shared that Bechtel is now focused on using these technologies and others to more effectively deliver information. Focus on Customers Oracle Industry Connect is unique in that the focus is truly on customers talking to customers – with most sessions showcasing customers’ successes in the area of digital business transformation. Discussions and presentations on day two included the Rockefeller Group sharing its journey to next-gen project controls and analytics, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Julie Owen highlighting efforts to manage extensive transit upgrades in advance of the upcoming Olympic Games, and Leslie Owen from Maverik Inc. sharing her company’s story of transforming capital project management to support rapid growth. Later, Swinerton explored how it uses Oracle’s Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management in the cloud to achieve dynamic enterprise reporting that delivers critical project information to decision makers anywhere. “The cloud allows us to say, ‘What would we like to dream up – and how do we implement that?’ ” Murphy said. This approach has created a blueprint for organizational collaboration from the project site to the C-suite. The morning also featured a panel discussion on how women are driving change in technology. The panel featured women leaders from several industries discussing the key role that diversity plays in supporting digitization and other business transformation efforts – and what organizations need to do to drive needed workforce changes and ensure opportunities. Panelists also shared their own career journeys and offered advice for up-and-coming leaders. The Transformation Journey Sarina Moss-Tenan, project management consultant for NextEra Energy, spoke to a packed house, discussing the company’s successful ongoing journey with Oracle’s Primavera Unifier. NextEra Energy, named a Fortune Top 10 Innovator in 2018, implemented the solution approximately 18 months ago to address several key challenges, including: disparate project information; limited visibility of project data; need for process standardization; desire for greater collaboration; and necessity to eliminate duplicate work and data entry. The organization, which also uses Oracle’s Primavera P6 EPM, leveraged Unifier to centralize data, improve communication and drive efficiency. “Our vision was for Unifier and P6 to work together, with Unifer providing information back to P6.” Since deploying the solution – which is currently rolled out to the company’s wind and solar groups – NextEra has significantly reduced misses; cut time spent locating project documents and data; and strengthened communication through better management of checklists. Moss-Tenan also explained that NextEra deployed the solution in the cloud to enable both internal and third-party users. Later in the day, Charlie Dunn of DPR Construction gave a high-energy presentation on the company’s innovation culture and journey to drive new levels of productivity. He focused on innovation in construction techniques – such as the company’s work to pursue a strategy of building and inspecting on the ground and then flying modules into place – and how Primavera P6 helps to support its goals. Dunn’s presentation also explored the role of play in sparking innovation. Technologies such as 4D modeling and virtual/augmented reality can create an atmosphere where play is okay, he said, noting that this mindset helps enable transformation. Focusing on the opportunities and challenges presented by large, multi-year projects, Skanska/Walsh, the joint venture managing construction of the LaGuardia Airport Redevelopment project, shared how the Oracle Textura Payment Management Cloud Service is helping to ensure an efficient, scalable subcontractor payment process in the cloud. The solution is enabling Skanska/Walsh to streamline and automate payment activities, including invoice review, lien waiver collection, and electronic payment. Oracle Textura Payment Management integrates with the JD Edwards ERP system used on the project and has improved payment efficiency and transparency, while boosting team productivity. We’ll be diving into many conference topics and stories in greater depth in the coming weeks, so be sure to subscribe to the blog to receive updates. In the meantime, check out a rundown of day one at Oracle Industry Connect and our short videos featuring even more highlights from the event. Read insights from the Oracle Industry Connect 2018 report here. Check out takeaways from day one.

Day two of Oracle Industry Connect opened with an engaging panel discussion focusing on an area of paramount importance to virtually all organizations: how to redefine business models and the consumer...

Payment Management

Oracle Textura Payment Management Surpasses $500B in Construction Value Managed on System

We have some exciting news to share on the construction payments innovation front: Oracle Textura Payment Management Cloud Service since its inception has now been used to manage subcontractor payments on projects representing more than $500 billion in construction value. By streamlining, automating, and standardizing payment management activities—including invoicing, compliance management, approvals, lien waiver collection, and disbursement—Oracle Textura Payment Management helps improve payment outcomes and enable organizations to scale operations for growth. General contractors, subcontractors, and project owners/developers can all benefit from increased productivity, reduced risk, and improved communication across stakeholders from the application, which was launched in 2006. “Our customers rely on Oracle Textura Payment Management to improve efficiency, enhance visibility, mitigate risk, and improve cash flow,” said Mike Sicilia, general manager, senior vice president, Oracle Construction and Engineering. “Reaching this milestone is a testament to the value our application brings to the industry.” The $500 billion in construction value represents a significant number of projects, documents, and payments that Oracle Textura Payment Management has been used to manage since its launch: 43,000+ projects Nearly 10 million documents created and electronically signed $6.2 billion worth of subcontractor payments managed on a monthly basis To learn more, visit Oracle Textura Payment Management or read our white paper on transforming construction payment management.

We have some exciting news to share on the construction payments innovation front: Oracle Textura Payment Management Cloud Service since its inception has now been used to manage subcontractor...

Construction Project Management

Innovation and Customer Success in Focus at Oracle Industry Connect Construction and Engineering Program

The energy inside the New York Hilton Midtown matched the weekday bustle on the Manhattan streets outside as Oracle Industry Connect 2018 kicked off with record attendance for the Construction and Engineering program. Participants immersed themselves in innovation from start to finish on day one – absorbing and discussing insights from presentations showcasing business transformation and real-world customer success. Oracle Construction and Engineering Senior Vice President and General Manager Mike Sicilia opened Tuesday’s three-part General Session by welcoming attendees and previewing the program ahead. Soon after, a keynote address from McKinsey Partners Steffen Fuchs and Gernot Strube set the stage for digital transformation in the E&C industry - painting a picture of urgent need and unprecedented opportunity. Fuchs shared that productivity lags in the E&C industry cost the global economy approximately $1.6 trillion annually – roughly equal to the GDP of Canada. He also identified seven levers that the industry can use to achieve productivity gains of 50% to 60% and capture billions in new value: Regulation Collaborating and contracting Design and engineering Procurement and supply chain management Onsite execution Capability building Technology “Of these levers, technology represents the single largest opportunity for closing the productivity gap – offering gains of 14%-15%,” Fuchs said. The McKinsey team also shared three compelling examples of digital innovation in the E&C industry, including a leading real estate development company that introduced 5D building information modeling (BIM) and achieved $25 million in cost savings from original project estimates while avoiding 3,000 design clashes, and reducing masonry by 20%. The General Session continued with a spirited conversation between Lex Greensill, co-founder of Greensill, and Sicilia, focusing on a different element of innovation:  the democratization of access to capital. Approximately $3.5 trillion in working capital is tied up at any time due to unpaid invoices, Greensill announced to a surprised audience. Inefficiency in supply chain financing also drives up costs; a Greensill survey found that U.K. contractors are loading bids by as much as 5% to account for uncertainty around when they would be paid. He also provided an overview of the collaboration between Oracle and Greensill that is accelerating and transforming supply chain finance in the E&C industry.  “The partnership employs Oracle's leading-edge solutions and our innovative financing to unlock capital so our clients can put it to work,” Greensill said. To close the session, surprise guest Rob Phillpot, co-founder of Oracle’s Aconex, took the stage to a welcoming round of applause. Aconex, which Oracle recently acquired, offers cloud collaboration solutions that have been used in over $1 trillion in projects across 70,000 user organizations in over 70 countries. Together, Oracle and Aconex will provide an end-to-end offering for project management and delivery that enables customers to effectively plan, build, and operate construction projects. Innovation Unleashed A wide range of breakout sessions followed the General Session and continued throughout the day, offering insights on project delivery trends and best practices across a range of industries. Programs focused on themes as diverse as improving project outcomes using technology such as drones and autonomous vehicles, to a case study of how Turner Construction is improving subcontractor payment management in the cloud with Oracle Textura Payment Management Cloud Service (see some exciting related news). In a fascinating dive into innovation across industries, Bob Weiler, executive vice president, Oracle Global Business Units, led a discussion featuring the heads of Oracle’s seven Global Business Units that explored challenges and opportunities in each sector. Prime Time Oliver Greenwood, vice president, Global Sales Engineering for Oracle Construction, moderated a lively discussion featuring customers of Oracle Prime Projects Cloud Service, each of whom is using the platform for a different use case. Stephen Libby and Jason Duncan from McCarthy Building Companies are early in their journey and are leveraging Oracle Prime Projects to digitize and enhance Lean scheduling. Heather Leide, senior project manager of airport development for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, shared how her organization is introducing Oracle Prime Projects to support portfolio management. Jeff Davis, director of quality for White Construction, discussed how the builder is transforming field inspections and reporting, thereby accelerating project completion. All four echoed a single sentiment when asked what they would have done differently:  They wish they had begun their Oracle Prime Projects and digitization journey even earlier. Parks and Recreation Later in the afternoon, Diane Jackier, chief of Capital Strategic Initiatives for New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, brought local flavor to the program. She started her conversation by putting into perspective the scope of the department’s capital project portfolio. In the current fiscal year, the department will manage 530 capital projects, and she expects that number will hit 600 next year. Jackier shared her department’s journey and goal to provide better transparency – to the general public and government officials – into the progress of projects in the city’s beloved parks. The department used Oracle’s Primavera Unifier to launch - in just over four months - a Capital Projects Tracker that allows the general public, elected officials and administrators to get up-to-date, easy-to-digest updates on the progress of these projects. The tool delivers transparency and is driving additional results:  The department completed nearly 20% of construction projects early (defined as more than 30 days prior to their scheduled completion date) in fiscal 2017. Read more about Jackier and her work in our interview. The program took innovation to new heights at the end of the day when Darren Bechtel, founder and managing director of Brick and Mortar Ventures, presented his vision on the “Dawn of the Digital Era for the Built Environment.” His venture capital firm has tracked more than 500 start-ups in the E&C technology sector and sees innovation accelerating as the technology matures and the need to improve productivity through innovation becomes ever more pressing. In a wide-ranging discussion, Bechtel sketched out his vision for the construction site of the future, which includes:  augmented workers; local and remote connectivity; 4D/5D plans and ubiquitous “digital twins;” real-time, data-driven insight and smart schedules and tasks; autonomous and remotely operated equipment; zero waste jobsites; ubiquitous off-site fabrication; and a transparent and efficient supply chain.  For more on Bechtel’s work and vision, check out our recent interview. For more of the happenings and insights from of day one, watch our highlights video. And to keep up with the action in real time, be sure to follow us on Twitter. Discover what happened on day two here. Read insights from the Oracle Industry Connect 2018 report here.

The energy inside the New York Hilton Midtown matched the weekday bustle on the Manhattan streets outside as Oracle Industry Connect 2018 kicked off with record attendance for the Construction and...

How to define innovation metrics leveraging technology

Throughout our GIC report series, we’ve focused on how digital transformation can powerfully shift the engineering and construction (E&C) industry. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) notes that E&C can expect annual savings— up to US$700 billion to $1.2 trillion— by embracing digital transformation. The E&C industry must heavily invest in technology for project delivery to achieve these numbers. As we’ve heard from many clients, one of the biggest challenges is defining innovation metrics to assess project performance. So, how can E&C develop a solid ROI to capitalize on this massive potential savings at an organizational or project level? Organizations can follow the traditional construction project measures, such as: Financial return Breakeven points Planned value = planned % of tasks left to complete x project budget Actual cost of work performed = the amount of money spent on a project to a certain date Cost variance = planned budget against the actual budget Unfortunately, measuring construction productivity is often thwarted by moving variables, including: change orders/variations, numerous stakeholders, daunting amounts of information stored in various systems, and data-intensive metrics that aren’t easily quantifiable. Because every project is different, defining a set of consistent, quantifiable metrics can be tough. What else constitutes a positive return for your projects? The age-old principle—Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)— still rings true today. You’ll benefit from simple, easy to understand measurements that resonate across the business— despite the fact calculating certain performance measures may still require complex metrics. We’ve discovered some great approaches to measuring project success without delving into complex calculations— thanks to our 20 years of experience working with global organizations. Our suggestions: Fluor shared a very simple measurement of success called “The 1:10” in our Fives Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in E&C report in partnership with BCG. Fluor wanted to see every innovation implemented in their business rolled out to at least 10 projects to be considered successful. This simple metric removes time restraints and focuses on implementing change in a straightforward way. AECOM chose to standardize their innovations or solutions across every project. Simply having a new solution on one project wasn’t enough to warrant success. The processes and standards must be the same across the board— no matter where they happen in the world. At Oracle's Aconex, we help clients measure basic savings— such as the reduction of printed documents— leading to savings in the millions of dollars. For example, one client reduced their printing by 83% using Aconex and saved an astounding $14m. Dialing in on process management Our Connect Awards winners have also achieved considerable savings by focusing on process management instead of fixating on the daunting goal of  saving $XX million(s) across the organization. Here are some examples of how they’ve measured success: Balfour Beatty saves an estimated £1.3m in reduced errors and rework through improved document version control— or 1% of the project value— on the Burbo Bank offshore wind farm. The Qatar Rail Program, valued at US$36b— and one of the largest infrastructure developments in the Middle East— reduced review cycles by automating workflows, and completing complex reviews in less than 10 days. Burns & McDonnell adopted Aconex for project-wide collaboration across multiple global practices. They’ve decreased their average response time by 64% (from 14 days to 5 days) for 50,000 workflow requests using our platform. We’ve also used time and motion studies for new clients who’ve adopted our Field product resulting in direct cost savings (a definitive measurable result). The study is based on comparing how things were done before and after embracing digital transformation (i.e., progressing from the traditional ways of working to adopting digital technology). Leading the way with predictive analytics Digital transformation— or, the power of big data— is unfolding greater opportunities for companies to predict and communicate market trends, spending, customer behavior, and supply chain/project needs. Predictive analytics can change the way business decisions are made by identifying when to switch suppliers or brands for all types of spending, including: building supplies, fuel, equipment, etc. By gathering data, having clear objectives and goals, and activating evidenced-based decisions, companies can streamline their project processes and make smarter business decisions that adhere to the age-old KISS principle. As Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it, you don’t understand it well enough.” Keep it simple. Read the complete Global Industry Council (GIC) report, "Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Engineering and Construction".

Throughout our GIC report series, we’ve focused on how digital transformation can powerfully shift the engineering and construction (E&C) industry. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) notes that E&C can...

Trends and Insights

Dive Deep Into Innovation at Oracle Industry Connect

We think of the innovator as a loner: Darwin following in the footsteps of unusual finches in the Galapagos, Tesla toiling alone in Wardenclyffe on his massive transmitter, Marie Curie busy isolating isotopes in a converted shed outside the École Normale Supérieure. But, in reality, innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There are people, ideas, and thinking that came before to lay groundwork, and there are chats, experiments, and happy accidents every day that make the ongoing potential (and spark) of innovation possible. Darwin chased his theories alongside a now relatively unknown naturalist—at least in popular culture—named Alfred Russel Wallace. It was a real rivalry, and it drove him. Tesla lived in a scientific world made possible by Edison. It was a turbulent relationship, but it drove him. Curie built on the X-ray work of Wilhelm Roentegen and Henri Becquerel while teaching. It was the very definition of mentoring, and it drove her. Innovation in any form is driven by rivalries, by relationships, by reversals of fortune. It’s driven by concepts, by collaboration, by conversations. It’s driven by people coming together to talk about what’s new, what’s hype, and what’s truly coming. At Oracle Industry Connect this year, innovation can be found in every conversation, across every represented industry from energy to retail, whether you’re looking for information on blockchain, artificial intelligence, IoT, or new and exciting concepts of customer experience. Darren Bechtel, founder of Brick and Mortar Ventures and a speaker for Oracle Construction and Engineering at the show summed it up for his industry.  “For an (architecture, engineering and construction) organization to remain relevant, survive, and thrive over the next 10 years, we believe they need to be investing in innovation right now,” he said in a recent interview for this blog. “And much more than just talking about it, they need to be actively seeking out new technologies and learning how to work with the new generation of ever-improving solutions, or they will have a hard time remaining competitive.” And that need for innovation permeates all industries. It’s not just construction and engineering looking toward new ideas to remain competitive. This in-the-now view of innovation comes from a single source—disruption. Every major industry has been dissecting major disruptors and how to react for a number of years. The innovation conversation is the next major step in that process.  “From Netflix to WhatsApp, digital disruptors are everywhere,” added Dave Shively, Group Vice President and General Manager, Oracle Insurance. “It is happening in the insurance industry as well. Many insurers are using core systems replacement as the foundation for digital transformation, which insurers are counting on to help them become more agile and responsive.” A number of new innovative concepts answer those disruptions and enable industries from construction to hospitality to be more agile. (Blockchain, for example, both allows for faster, more real-time energy markets and has potential for verification and establishing integrity in clinical research and healthcare as well.) So, the deep-dive facets of a variety of innovative touchstones are infinite. But one area in particular is rising to the top of every industry when it comes to innovative thinking—and that’s reworking, re-examining and, in some cases, completely rebuilding the customer experience. What do they see? What do they hear? What do they want? But, first and foremost: What do they need and what should stores, hotels and healthcare providers offer to answer that need? In the energy and utilities field—one of the many industries represented at Oracle Industry Connect—they’re starting with the basics. “Innovation is not about the tech,” said Lawrence Orsini, CEO of LO3 Energy and speaker within the Energy & Utilities’ track at the conference. “It’s the people. They’re going to be interested in services, [not necessarily about energy in general]. We’ve got to engage people in ways they comprehend; it’s the biggest hurdle we have.” Indeed, while the tech shouldn’t be the beginning of any customer conversation, for many industries, getting down to the elements of customer-listening sparks new forays into new gadgets and software. In the areas of retail and hospitality, for example, that move to customized customer experiences has led quite quickly to another major innovation concept: the cloud. “By shifting to [a cloud service], we are empowering our teams with an intuitive and modern interface, and a holistic planning solution that provides store-level detail and allows us to make more strategic merchandise decisions,” said Julie Fillion, Senior Director of Planning with Groupe Dynamite and a speaker for Oracle Retail at Oracle Industry Connect. “In hospitality, it’s becoming clear that one of the key factors for success will be the ability to deliver personalized service to each guest,” added Laura Calin, Vice President, Strategy and Solutions Management for Oracle Hospitality. “And that requires the power to innovate quickly, which makes one of the biggest arguments for cloud. The writing is on the wall.” Find what drives your innovation this April at Oracle Industry Connect. Here are a few of our most hotly anticipated sessions to highlight on your schedule: Redefining Business Models/Consumer Experience in an Age of Digital Disruption The Technology Infusion: Next Steps in Evolving the Guest Experience The New York State of Energy (Executive Panel) The Dawn of the Digital Era for the Built Environment E-sourcing at Scale: Are we ready to change the game? Groupe Dynamite: Planning in the Cloud Embracing Digital to Improve Operational Efficiency Engaging the Connected Customer Or search all of our Oracle Industry Connect panels and sessions by your favorite innovation topic: cloud, AI, blockchain and more. Start that search here. Read insights from the Oracle Industry Connect 2018 report here. This post was authored by Kathleen Wolf Davis, content marketing manager for Oracle Utilities.

We think of the innovator as a loner: Darwin following in the footsteps of unusual finches in the Galapagos, Tesla toiling alone in Wardenclyffe on his massive transmitter, Marie Curie busy isolating...