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Innovation

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...

Overcoming resistance to digital technology: ditch those spreadsheets!

I’ve worked as an Industry Consultant in the Engineering and Construction space for many years. I’ve noticed a common theme: whenever I’m presenting a modern software solution— particularly a tool featuring a new, disruptive approach to a business problem— I’m often met by some degree of resistance from a few in the audience. Skeptics often claim they can use a spreadsheet faster than learning and implementing a new software application. That may be true in some instances, but it doesn’t make it right. Download: Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation For example, during one presentation I attended, the audience unanimously agreed that their existing system and business processes were inefficient, expensive, hard to learn, and administrative-heavy. Two individuals who disagreed with this assessment were an IT administrator and internal developer—both intelligent and competent professionals. My theory: the possibility of change is of greater concern to many digital laggards than the risk of failed project delivery—whether the proposed change impacted their job security, increased or decreased their work hours, or introduced some other personal inconvenience. Which leads me to the question: why is there so much opposition to improving business processes with digital transformation? Easy Riders: Successfully mitigating risk Consider risk for a moment. Many motorcyclists who ride tens of thousands of miles accident free may have remained intact for the following reasons: 1) they ride conservatively and safely 2) they wear highly visible clothing with reflectors at night 3) they view the consequences of an accident as greater than the cost or inconvenience of preparedness or training. These riders are successfully mitigating risk— similar to those who adopt digital transformation in the engineering and construction (E&C) industry. The light at the end of the tunnel in the E&C industry The ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ tunnel has been repeated for years, and, frankly, it’s an outdated construction project reference. Today’s successful, well-lit tunnels are built as a digital asset long before the drill tip touches any rock. Most organizations agree on the importance of maintaining an ‘on-time, on-budget’ reputation in today’s competitive construction market. Effective collaboration and efficient communication between hundreds of organizations participating in the design, bid, and build phases of infrastructure projects are the true light at the end of the tunnel— start to finish— making risk visible. Digital transformation exposes risk, including: Excessive RFI’s created by the same people early in a project, or noticing an approval process that’s taking longer than expected. Lack of information flow-- particularly during the design stage. Excessive document revisions without accompanying reviews or distribution. Delayed, incomplete, or terminated processes. The value of understanding how and why these risks are occurring— and mitigating these instabilities early— far outweighs the cost or inconvenience of preparedness. This is, in effect, putting light at the beginning of the tunnel where it’s really needed. Spreadsheets can’t do this in a timely and effective manner. Digital transformation in construction management is exactly the method of delivery to accomplish this. Click here to learn more about Aconex.  

I’ve worked as an Industry Consultant in the Engineering and Construction space for many years. I’ve noticed a common theme: whenever I’m presenting a modern software solution— particularly a tool...

Construction Project Management

ACE Mentor Group Creates Construction Career Paths for High School Students

The construction industry faces a crisis in its ongoing shortage of skilled workers. The sector’s critical workforce challenges, which stem in large part from a worker exodus during the economic downturn a decade ago, threaten AEC firms’ ability to grow and prosper—and even meet the growing demand for building projects. One initiative working to make a big difference in this area is the ACE Mentor Program of America. Working with industry companies to engender interest in the AEC industry among high school students, the program provides practical experience, mentorship, and financial support to enable students to pursue additional education and enter the AEC workforce. Representatives of the ACE Mentor program will take part in a panel discussion next month at Oracle Industry Connect exploring the AEC industry’s workforce challenges and successful strategies for surmounting them. We recently sat down with Diana Eidenshink, president of the ACE Mentor Program of America, to discuss the program’s mission and activities.  What is the mission of the ACE Mentor program, and how did it come about? DE: Our mission is to enlighten and engage high school students about the integrated construction industry, and then to support their path to get them ultimately into the industry. And, when we say the integrated construction industry, it’s really any part of the industry: engineering, architecture, construction management, and trades. The program started 22 years ago in New York City. Manhattan College was looking at ways to attract more minority and women students to the engineering school, and a group of engineers got together to mentor kids about engineering. What they found was that a number of the kids weren’t all that interested in engineering but were interested in architecture and construction management. They realized that they really had something here if they expanded it to the entire industry. Probably about three years in, Thornton Tomasetti realized that this was really a great program and expanded it to all the cities where they had an office. And, it just kept expanding from there. What are the workforce challenges for the industry, and how does ACE Mentor work to address those? DE: The AEC industry has an interesting challenge in terms of general understanding of all of its varied roles. Most people know what an architect does. They have an idea of what an engineer does. They probably understand what a construction manager’s job is. But, there are many other jobs within the industry that are not as well known—jobs like landscape architect, geotechnical engineer, plus the various trades. The challenge is that many of our schools, many of our cities have really pushed the idea of college, and the trades have been forgotten. In our industry, the biggest gap of workers is in the trades. Our message to our students is, we’ll support you if you want to be an architect or an engineer and go to college, but we also want to make sure you understand there’s another path: the path of trades through an apprenticeship or trade school. Many of the trade schools and apprenticeship programs work with the students to ultimately get their associate’s degree. And, then they very often can find a job within the industry, where the employer will help financially support them to get bachelor’s degree. What is the experience like for a participating student? DE: ACE Mentor is an after-school program. We bring a team of professionals together—very often it looks like what a design team would look like in our industry—and we meet with the students. The program starts with the professionals explaining what the different roles of the construction industry are, such as an architect, engineer, so on. A big part of what we do is exposing them to different options, so that they can make an educated decision on their future path. And there are hands-on activities. We make sure the teams visit active construction sites. Many of the affiliates do trade days. Some of the affiliates have the students work on OSHA training so they understand the importance of safety. Every student also works on a project. I was just in Denver, and they are designing a new fire station for the city. At the end of the program, each group hosts end-of-the-year presentations, where these students present to an audience of their classmates, their mentors, their parents and other guests. They actually have to do a formal presentation on their project. So the students are not only learning about our industry, but also developing soft skills like teamwork, presentation skills, managing deadlines, and organization. Most of our affiliates offer scholarships to the students to help support them for their continued education.  Who are the mentors in the program? DE: The mentors are really where the program happens, and we are very, very lucky that we have an amazing group of mentors. We have around 3,500 volunteer mentors who come from more than 1,000 big and small firms across the country. We do have a number of large firms that are incredibly supportive, where the top-level management has worked to get their local offices involved. We would love to have every firm in our industry be involved. In addition, about 5% of our current mentors are alumni. They come back because the program impacted them and they want to give back to new participants. Many of our alumni tell us that they felt they had an incredible advantage over the students in their school because of their experience with ACE.  Visit the ACE Mentor Program of America website to learn more or get involved, and check out the full schedule of presentations at Oracle Industry Connect 2018 here.

The construction industry faces a crisis in its ongoing shortage of skilled workers. The sector’s critical workforce challenges, which stem in large part from a worker exodus during the...

Why cultivating digital talent is paramount to E&C success

Last week we discussed how defining a digital strategy within your organization helps bolster technical transformation. This week, we’ll address how uniting digital talent with simplified processes can significantly help bolster your organization’s output. We explore this challenge in closer detail in a recent report called ‘Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Engineering’, authored by Aconex and The Boston Consulting Group. Digital technology helps deliver projects on-time and on-budget by: 1) optimising industry productivity 2) improving quality 3) and underpinning safety. Organisations can harness the immense potential of digital transformation by uniting empowered employees with simplified and streamlined processes.   Download: Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation Simplifying your processes with rationalisation and standardisation Rationalisation and standardisation are two of the most important approaches to simplifying your processes. To inspire an entire organization comprised of “mini businesses”/projects to adopt to a new way of working, your existing processes should make your project teams’ lives easier—otherwise, it’s pointless. My definition of ‘simple’ is not one hundred different systems doing similar things in slightly different ways. Project people do crave a simplified approach, but they also desire to access “what’s cool” in digital tech land. For example, during project team meetings I’ve watched the following scenario occur numerous times: Person A suggests: “We should be on the cutting-edge of super-savvy technologies and have many tools at our disposal to pick and choose from.” Person B retorts: “We need to simplify and revert to using just one system instead of many.” While this scenario reveals quite polarising ends of the spectrum, both people are right. Each scenario requires implementing sound underpinnings for growth. For Person A, super-savvy technologies and the “cool factor” need the correct foundations.  If users want to try building information modelling (BIM), they’ll need a single digital 3D design solution with the correct standards and libraries to support the level of detail and governance the entire ecosystem requires. BIM standards must also align with the various consultants, supply chain, and trades involved on the project. A BIM solution must also communicate with the planning and cost planning systems governed under the same standards. The digital asset created in BIM must also respond to asset management/facilities management requirements defined by the asset manager. The power of streamlined processes Once this simplified baseline foundation is in place—including the right standards and governance to support various stakeholders playing in the ecosystem—the “cool factor” can happen. Simplified processes are the launching point to including fancy add-ons and ideas built off your solid rationalised and standardised baseline. The opportunity to innovate can truly expand once an integrated and well-governed ecosystem of core technology enablers are in place. The challenge to building digital talent There’s no point to considering innovation if you don’t have digitally skilled, enabled, and empowered people within your organization. At Lendlease, we’re focused on developing the construction tech equivalent of a Hugh Jackman ‘triple threat’ (singing, dancing, acting): a combination of technical super nerd, influential engineer who lives to build stuff, and change agent—effectively EQ and IQ wrapped up in equal parts. Shadow IT: Teaching colleagues how to apply IT A smart Lendlease Building Senior Design Manager explained this concept brilliantly using an IT example – he called it ‘Shadow IT’. If you want people to use IT (or tech), you must show them. I don’t mean do it for them; I mean show them. You need to become a trusted and respected part of the team, but, you also must really know how to apply IT. When your colleague is using Excel (instead of a more modern solution) to update the status of their project, you pick up a mobile device—which conveniently has a digitised version of program status-checking using a 3D model, and demonstrate how to use technology (saving your colleague hours of needless Excel time). That’s Shadow IT. The intersection of simple processes and digitally-talented people Help your team appreciate the ‘why’ behind digital transformation. Tech-savvy ambassadors within your business who can convert sceptical, pressured, and time-poor project managers to adopting and applying digital technology are worth their weight in gold. Such ‘triple threats’ (super nerd, influential engineer, change agent) spark the imagination of others and motivate teams to educate themselves; the pivotal juncture for digital transformation to truly gain momentum across an organization. The magic happens at the intersection of elegantly simple processes, and digitally-talented people. For further reading on the future of construction tech, go to our Lendlease blog Better Places. To read the ‘Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Engineering’ click here. Watch the webinar: Five Steps to Digital Transformation.

Last week we discussed how defining a digital strategy within your organization helps bolster technical transformation. This week, we’ll address how uniting digital talent with simplified processes...

Public Infrastructure

Construction of Central Park a Marvel of Public Planning and Project Delivery Innovation

As we approach Oracle Industry Connect 2018, we continue to draw inspiration from our host city of New York. This time, we look at the vision, creativity, and engineering and design innovation behind the creation of one of the city’s most loved and enduring public spaces, Central Park. Called by some the “crown jewel of New York,” Central Park is an expansive and vibrant green space in upper Manhattan. One of the largest public works projects of the 19th century in New York City, the development of Central Park involved more than 20,000 workers transforming what was a challenging topography – considered unsuitable for other types of development at the time – into one of the world’s most admired and replicated urban parks. Intended as a place for the people, the park had an appropriately democratic genesis: planning began with the country’s first landscape design contest. Frederick Law Olmsted, the park’s superintendent, and Calvert Vaux, an English architect, submitted the winning concept – known as the Greensward Plan – prevailing over 32 other submissions and ensuring their future as design icons. The park is designed to represent a microcosm of New York State, with the southern section showcasing more formal features, evoking the city and its suburbs, and the northern parts reflecting the more rural upstate regions. While much of the nearly 850-acre park feels quite bucolic, it is almost entirely man-made — with the exception of its famous rock outcrops and the native woodland that stands in the northwest corner. Transforming the site’s swamps into lakes required a complex engineering feat that included extensive grading and drainage systems. Other features required similarly heroic efforts. According to the park’s official history, after “blasting out rocky ridges with more gunpowder than was later fired at the Battle of Gettysburg, workers moved nearly 3 million cubic yards of soil and planted more than 270,000 trees and shrubs." Even the road system traversing the park was innovative. Olmsted and Vaux designed a network of sunken roads featuring landscape grading and plants to facilitate cross-town traffic while maintaining expansive views and minimizing noise. The gracefully curving roads were also intended as a form of 19th century traffic control – discouraging their use for horse and carriage races.    The ongoing story of Central Park and New York’s other green spaces is fascinating one, and that’s why were so excited to welcome one of the people shaping the future of New York’s landscape to Oracle Industry Connect in April. Diane Jackier, who is chief of capital strategic initiatives for New York City Parks and Recreation, will present on her work and Oracle experience at the event. Read more about Diane in our “Speakers in Focus” blog post. Innovation continues to thrive in today’s construction and engineering industry.  You just need to know where to look. We invite you to join us at Oracle Industry Connect, April 10-11, where Oracle Construction and Engineering, our customers and other thought leaders will together explore the cutting-edge ideas, tools, and approaches that are shaping the future of project delivery. For more information and to register, visit us here. Read insights from the Oracle Industry Connect 2018 report here.  

As we approach Oracle Industry Connect 2018, we continue to draw inspiration from our host city of New York. This time, we look at the vision, creativity, and engineering and design innovation behind...

How digital technology drives success in E&C

 Doubling down on digital technology Digital technology is sparking widespread disruption across industries—including engineering and construction (E&C). We’re at the start of a Schumpeterian cycle of “creative destruction”. The phrase—coined by economist Joseph Schumpeter in 1942—describes how replacing outdated products and processes generates productivity growth in the long run. To survive (and thrive) in this new reality, E&C firms must double down on their digital strategies and activities—including the creation of ecosystems and other forward-looking alliances. Download: Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation Digital strategy benefits We’ve already witnessed digital transformation disrupt automotive manufacturing, the entertainment industry, and print publications. The engineering and construction industry is poised to embrace digital technology after decades of slow productivity growth. The benefits of implementing a fully-fledged digital strategy are huge for the construction value chain. BCG estimates that within 10 years, full-scale digital transformation in nonresidential construction will result in an annual cost saving of $0.7 trillion to $1.2 trillion (13-21%) in the engineering and construction phases and $0.3-$0.5B (10-17%) in the operations phase. These are exciting numbers if the E&C industry acts now and capitalizes on future opportunities Advancing the asset life cycle with digital technology Thanks to a strong technological wave, the E&C industry is bolstering digital transformation and advancing all points of the asset life cycle, including: Operations: BIM-enhanced O&M is benefitting from “a digital twin” created from data captured across the project lifecycle How digital technology will expand beyond the construction value chain Organizations can gather information flowing across the value chain and the entire life cycle to full take advantage of big data. Advanced analytics can also help enhance building design, predict potential project risks, enable real-time decision making, and support the planning and management of future projects. These technological advances will expand beyond the construction value chain and impact: wider society: reducing construction costs the environment: improving the use of scarce materials and improving the eco-efficiency of buildings over time the economy: by narrowing the global infrastructure gap and boosting economic development in general The key to unlocking these values is adoption. In partnership with Aconex and BCG, the GIC report explores how digital transformation will shift the E&C industry and provides insight into common challenges that many organizations face and case studies from global E&C leaders. The path to digital transformation requires: a critical assessment of the digital ecosystem and your organization’s strategic direction implementing standards across the value chain attracting digital talent to drive technological change and innovate digital adoption across the organization from C-level to new hires qualitative and quantitative measures to develop benchmarks and create true value How Bechtel, AECOM, and Chiyoda have leveraged digital technology The GIC report shares more details on each of these points and includes examples of successful digital transformation programs led by innovative companies—including Bechtel, AECOM and Chiyoda—that will help your organization and the industry take another leap forward. Five Steps to Digital Transformation: a must-see webinar I’ll be discussing the report with Dexter Bachelder from Aconex and Jim Dray-- an AECOM veteran in the upcoming webinar on March 13. Join us!  

 Doubling down on digital technology Digital technology is sparking widespread disruption across industries—including engineering and construction (E&C). We’re at the start of a Schumpeterian cycle of...

Customer Success

Making Capital Project Portfolio Management a Walk in the Park

New York City is renowned for its lush and lively open-air parks. Indeed, few green spaces in the US are as iconic as Manhattan’s Central Park. With Oracle Industry Connect set for April in New York, we are excited to have Diane Jackier, chief of capital strategic initiatives at the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, join us to share her experience helping make New York City an inviting, beautiful, and livable metropolis. NYC Parks is the steward of more than 30,000 acres of land—14% of New York City—including more than 5,000 individual properties, ranging from Coney Island Beach and Central Park to community gardens, parks, athletic fields, and Greenstreets. With a five-year capital budget of more than $4 billion and a portfolio of more than 500 active projects, the department uses Oracle’s Primavera Unifier to manage capital projects and ensure visibility and transparency for stakeholders. We recently sat down with Diane to learn more about her professional interests, career journey, and approach to her work. What path led you to your current role? DJ: I never pictured myself working in city government. After college, I worked at an investment bank and a law firm before I realized that was exactly what I didn’t want to be doing. I decided to go back to school and study architecture, and through that process, found that I was much more interested in taking a broader look at cities and urbanism. I ultimately changed course and studied historic preservation and city planning. These are two very different disciplines that not everyone thinks would go together, but I’ve found them to be such a great combination.  After I graduated from graduate school I started working at the Landmarks Commission and later joined the Parks Department, where I’ve been able to continue working on exciting, large-scale projects that have a positive impact on New York City’s built environment. Other than your current work, what’s the most interesting initiative or project you’ve worked on? DJ: I think the most impactful project was my first internship in grad school, which was my first real professional job. I was working for an architectural firm, and they selected a group of students to work on a project at the Second Bank of the United States. We were tasked with doing a full conditions assessment of the south- and west-facing facades of the building, which involved climbing up on rickety scaffolding and looking for cracks and compromises to the structure. Since I’m terrified of heights I opted for the only role that kept my feet firmly on the ground, and that gave me the opportunity to connect and communicate with people passing by who wanted to know what we were doing.  I’ve used those skills in every job I’ve had since then. What’s the best advice—personal or professional—you’ve ever received? DJ: I used to work for an artist when I was in college, and she told me: “You should always listen more and talk less.” That is something that has stuck with me throughout my career, and I think it can be applied to both your professional and personal life. It’s really important to listen to other people and hear their point of view. I’ve learned to choose my words wisely and keep in mind that, if I’m not talking, that means I am listening — and people have really important things to say! Many other innovators and big thinkers will join Diane at Oracle Industry Connect to share their stories of successful business transformation. Visit Oracle Industry Connect to learn more about our full program and to register to attend.  Read insights from the Oracle Industry Connect 2018 report here. Further relevant reading: How Exoskeleton Technology is Helping Transform Construction and Industrial Work Darren Bechtel on the Future of Construction Technology Finding Adventure in Project Management Los Angeles Metro Helping Ready City for the Olympics  

New York City is renowned for its lush and lively open-air parks. Indeed, few green spaces in the US are as iconic as Manhattan’s Central Park. With Oracle Industry Connect set for April in New York,...

BIM

How BIM Can Enable Construction Scheduling in 4D

The concept of 4D schedule simulation holds significant promise to improve project delivery by marrying highly detailed scheduling to building information models (BIM). Unfortunately, this approach has been difficult to implement, as the constantly changing nature of the models, activities, and other schedule data used makes it difficult to share information across project teams. But Oracle and Assemble Systems are working to change that. Oracle Construction and Engineering and gold-level partner Assemble Systems recently announced integration between Assemble and Oracle's Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management. This integration enables construction managers to combine the schedule and BIM data to communicate construction sequencing to owners and other partners. Users can easily create simulations and manage project changes. “By merging the BIM model and scheduled activities, managers can watch a project being built virtually to validate the accuracy of planned sequences within the schedule,” says Mark Jenkins, Oracle product management director. “If there’s an error when moving from one project element to another, it will stick out like a sore thumb.” The Assemble integration will be showcased at Oracle Industry Connect 2018 this April in New York City.  The push for 4D scheduling has grown in recent years, and the Assemble integration fuels the adoption of this approach by streamlining the transfer of BIM data into Primavera P6 EPPM. The integration is also important for helping builders win jobs, Jenkins says. “General contractors who can simulate construction and 4D scheduling demonstrate to owners that they know how to deliver the project.” This innovation also helps companies better manage scheduled shutdowns for maintenance or for addressing outages. Because downtime means the plant isn’t generating revenues, these projects must be completed within narrow time windows. “With the combination of Assemble and Oracle’s Primavera P6 EPPM, staffs can practice the work virtually to hone their skills before the actual event,” Jenkins says. “They can also confirm that the scheduled work can be completed in the allotted time.”

The concept of 4D schedule simulation holds significant promise to improve project delivery by marrying highly detailed scheduling to building information models (BIM). Unfortunately, this...

Energy and Resources

Five Tips to Keep Energy Turnaround Projects In Scope and On Target

If there’s any certainty in the energy industry, it's that every few years executives will spend considerable time overseeing the process of taking refinery units out of service for scheduled maintenance or unforeseen events. These turnarounds (or TARs) are costly projects, not only because of the millions of dollars companies lose for each day a unit is out of commission, but also due to the direct costs, such as labor, tools, heavy equipment and materials that hit the bottom line. Indeed, TARs are now the most significant portion of a plant's yearly maintenance budget, according to EPCM Professional Services Partners, a US-based consultancy. A perfectly executed project will be costly enough by itself. Unfortunately, nearly every TAR invariably involves some degree of delay. When properly planned for, the damage from such glitches can be minimized. But if anticipation of potential issues is lacking and appropriate steps are not taken to avert them, the financial effects can be significant, with critical equipment offline weeks or months longer than expected. By and large, the traditional tools used to manage turnarounds don't provide the visibility and efficiency needed to effectively manage the agreed scope through its lifecycle. Organizations need the right combination of processes and tools in place to effectively manage this scope and mitigate risks arising from complex TAR events. Here are five tips for improving TAR project management to improve outcomes: Plan as if the Business Depends on It (Because It Does) Large TARs or shutdown projects often involve thousands — sometimes tens of thousands —  of activities that must be completed within a very tight, fixed window of time. Each piece of the event involves specific direct/sub contract labor resources, parts/equipment and major plants that needs to be available at certain times. All detail must be identified and scheduled in advance to ensure a smooth process and avoid costly delays. A large refinery, for example, in addition to turnaround activities will also have thousands of day-to-day preventive maintenance activities, and several new construction or expansion projects under way — all running concurrently. A refinery's profitability largely depends on being able to quickly schedule all the above and deploy resources across projects, locations, product lines, and divisions, to ensure projects are achievable to meet the business needs. If a turnaround in one plant impacts production of a highly profitable product in another, profitability on the whole can suffer. That's why it is critical to have a meticulous budget and timeline-driven plan that spans the entire scope of the project, from planning to execution and post-event analysis. The most important planning consideration for TARs is to recognize most plans stumble or fail because they do not adequately prevent "scope creep," where a project's original goals expand while it is in progress. Scope creep is one of the most common causes of TAR projects going over time and budget, and it's typically driven by conflicting objectives and lack of sufficient coordination among stakeholders. To minimize extensive scope creep, identify all project stakeholders from the start, get them engaged in planning, and ensure everyone understands and agrees to the business objectives well in advance of project kickoff. Every scope item should have at least one direct connection to the TAR business objectives. And every scope item should be tracked, compared against budget and deadlines, and mapped back into procurement. As part of this process, it will also be important to account for unscheduled or "emergent" work in the field — that is, identifying and planning against things that might go awry during a TAR. For example, a technician might take the head off a vessel, look inside a compressor and discover it's in worse shape than expected. A solid plan will always include scenarios and fixes for emergent work. Similarly, a comprehensive plan will also anticipate and account for delays beyond control, such as an unexpected permitting problem or extreme weather conditions that could delay work. Keep Scope Sacred It's one thing to have a plan and quite another to stick to it. Too often, teams struggle with following scope throughout a project's lifecycle, frequently delivering varied results from what was originally targeted and agreed upon. The idea of "scope freeze" — delivering on scope exactly as agreed upon at the onset — rarely works, resulting in huge costs. More often than not, the scope changes as the project progresses, chiefly due to poor planning and up-front coordination and alignment. To avoid such scenarios, it is critical to hold stakeholders accountable to commitments made during the often-lengthy planning process. Companies must also pay close attention to the "scope-challenge" — the points in the project where requested changes are reviewed and either approved or denied. This is a good process, but many times changes are approved for the wrong reasons (often, down to who shouts the loudest). Instead, make certain all approved changes map back to the initial and agreed upon business objectives and cost-benefit analysis. And be aware of how the changes will impact project deadlines. Make Data Available to All Many oil and gas companies track project information the old-fashioned way: they plug it into a spreadsheet and standalone tools. The trouble with this approach is that critical data resides on someone's PC, where it isn't readily accessible to all stakeholders who need the data to make decisions and execute projects effectively. With a centralized platform for project management, teams can track their work and increase overall coordination and organizational competence across the enterprise. For example, the ability to manage scope through its lifecycle — including all estimates, reviews, approvals and any changes to the overall scope connected to the resources and schedule — ensures visibility throughout the organization. This helps ensure all stakeholders, especially management, can make effective decisions. In today's connected world, oil and gas companies that do not take advantage of modern integrated tools and the ability to share information in real time put themselves at a significant competitive and financial disadvantage. Transparency is key to success in the digital age. Connect the Enterprise There are many tools and products available to support TAR events, but none delivers the kind of common, centralized project management platform that an Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) solution does. As such, an EPPM solution should be a top consideration for oil and gas companies. The EPPM approach eliminates the need for multiple and disparate management by spreadsheets and the like and provides accurate, up-to-date information and a bird's- eye view of project progression. For example, on a TAR there are two shifts per day, and the shift scheduler must bring all the needed data together from one shift, reconcile it, and then create the next shift plan. Managers can leverage EPPM to more effectively forecast and manage costs, schedules, materials and resources across the enterprise. Cost, schedule, and earned-value thresholds can be set to automatically generate issues when projects exceed specified limits. Negative trends can be identified early so the necessary course corrections can be made. Managers can plan for the unexpected by performing 'what-if' simulations to determine the schedule and cost exposure of project risks. This holistic view, combined with the ability to see details when needed, provides management with the data they need to deliver the highest possible levels of predictability at the lowest possible cost. Learn and Improve Continually Far too often, the siloed and disconnected approach to TAR planning and execution leaves oil and gas companies unable to track performance and capture learnings that can be applied to future events. On average, larger TARs occur every four to five years. Everything that occurred during previous projects — actions, incidents, scope changes, overruns, etc. — needs to be centrally stored, analyzed, and readily accessible to advise future endeavors. TARs do not start with planning and end when specific projects are done. Organizations should view turnarounds as ongoing, circular maintenance processes that can have a direct effect on a company's revenues and competitive standing. In conclusion, managing scope, cost, scheduling, risk and change is a core challenge for the oil and gas industry. By successfully applying these five best practices above, oil and gas companies can not only keep current TAR projects on track, but also improve the overall planning process and minimize costly delays. A version of this article first appeared in Oil & Gas Financial Journal. Read this whitepaper to learn more about how Oracle Construction and Engineering can help you efficiently deliver turnarounds and other STO events with a phased development plan of Oracle's STO solution. An STO solution can help plug the visibility gap and provide the data you need to ensure your next STO event goes as planned. Visit Oracle Construction and Engineering to learn more about how we can help you efficiently and effectively deliver turnarounds and other STO events.  

If there’s any certainty in the energy industry, it's that every few years executives will spend considerable time overseeing the process of taking refinery units out of service for...

ROI Analysis in the E&C Industry: Take Control!

We establish value and ROI every day of our lives—constantly comparing how our time, money, and resources can benefit us most. Shouldn’t we do the same on our massive E&C projects? Fluor and other Global Industry Council members identify “establishing value and ROI” as one of the top challenges for the E&C industry in their inaugural report, Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Engineering & Construction. Download: Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation Launching a cost-benefit analysis might seem easy – but many organizations struggle to measure business processes and how they impact their bottom line: Which process do we prioritize? How do we define success? What are the hard metrics that matter? The Global Industry Council identified 4 steps to establishing value and ROI: Gain executive support: Leadership must agree to a set of “metrics for success”—whether you’re assessing a new technology or implementing an innovation. Executive approval ensures that the metrics are aligned to the overall business needs. Establish a baseline: Organizations must first establish a current baseline to measure technology’s ROI. Developing a baseline upfront will help assess the impact after implementation. For example, Fluor established a simple, yet effective metric to report on the value of innovation against project delivery on a company-wide level. Their baseline target is a 1:10 ratio—meaning at least 10 projects must use an innovation to be deemed successful. Fluor has also proven that metrics don’t need to be complicated calculations. Develop a measurement framework defining:  What will be measured and evaluated The process for collecting the data and managing access How to turn raw data into insights How these insights will be conveyed to different audiences How information will drive action Share successes: Identify improvements and share with the wider business by setting a baseline and tracking performance over time. Project teams will quickly realize the great opportunity for the business and begin implementing their own new systems and processes to strive for similar improvement. Following the four steps identified by the Global Industry Council in Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Engineering & Construction will help businesses overcome resistance to digital transformation with proven measurable results. Five Steps to Digital Transformation: a must-see webinar The Boston Consulting Group and AECOM veteran share the top 5 E&C digital tech challenges and how to overcome them. Register for the webinar here. March 13, 11:00am (New York) /4:00pm (London). For additional best practice tips on how to improve business process management, watch our webinar with Patty Sullivan – Strategic Initiative Group Project Manager for Burns and McDonnell, “Show me the ROI – Concrete Results From Process Improvement”.  

We establish value and ROI every day of our lives—constantly comparing how our time, money, and resources can benefit us most. Shouldn’t we do the same on our massive E&C projects? Fluor and other Glob...

Gathering momentum for digital adoption in the E&C industry

The path towards digital transformation—while no means an easy journey—is critical to the success of the E&C industry. Digital transformation will garner immense value and productivity gains, including: reduced cost overruns, improved quality and safety, better asset information for operations and maintenance, and on-time delivery. Digital transformation will fundamentally change the game in the E&C industry, according to The Boston Consulting Group. Download: Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation The importance of digital adoption in the E&C industry In our previous blog post, we revealed the crucial role people play in achieving digital transformation and the importance of cultivating and recruiting digitally savvy talent. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of digital adoption. How do you inspire your workforce to use, implement, and drive technological change—often the true test for organizations investing in innovation? The engineering and construction (E&C) landscape is continuously evolving, including the rise of digital technologies such as: drones, big data applications, augmented reality, BIM, and mobile interfaces. People must test, adopt, and optimize their innovations to truly attain the most from their ideas. Readying the workforce for change Adoption is critical for any digital transformation strategy—regardless of whether this is for processes, standards, new approaches to working, or technology. Some people may either resist trying new technology or question whether their workloads will increase—ultimately hindering collaboration and data management. Other workers will enthusiastically embrace the value new tools can bring. We understand how rare it can be to work with an entirely optimistic, open workforce within a complex, matrixed organization. Digital transformation starts from the top of an organization. New technology requires committed and strategically savvy senior management to produce a culture of change and innovation. Leaders must set the vision and take people on the digital transformation journey. Planning, readiness, and robust training (adapted to the different roles, needs, and business functions) are required to make the transition as easy for everyone as possible. AECOM:  Leading by example AECOM is a great example of a company encouraging digital adoption with an organization. Our latest report reviews how AECOM created a Center of Excellence (CoE) to foster the strategic need for technological change. The CoE team helps pilot the setup and motivates the workforce to assist implementing new technology. This specialized team ensures that technology innovations are scaled across the business while maintaining consistency in the delivery and rollout. Conclusion:  Now is the time for digital transformation A certain percentage of E&C professionals will most likely continue resisting new technology. Preparation and training are critical to effectively implement digital innovation and achieve measurable success. The global cost savings in E&C phases for non-residential projects are estimated to reach $1.2 trillion by 2027 as the industry continues to digitally transform. The gap between E&C and other industries will only continue to grow if idlers don’t join the digital transformation journey—now!

The path towards digital transformation—while no means an easy journey—is critical to the success of the E&C industry. Digital transformation will garner immense value and productivity...

Three crucial ingredients to modernizing federal project delivery

The U.S. federal government has an extraordinary opportunity to modernize and improve how they deliver their projects as part of their journey to digital transformation. As a federal government sales specialist, I love helping clients save 4-6% on project delivery. I recently spoke with Debbie Larson Salvatore, Senior Policy Advisor to the Director of Civil Works, US Army Corps of Engineers on the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Construction” initiative, with one of its core tenets focused on how technology can contribute to higher quality infrastructure by helping manage efficiencies, reducing cost, and meeting schedule. Debbie’s current role focuses on how technological innovation could improve project outcomes for new project delivery and managing those assets over the lifecycle of that asset. She offers a unique perspective on the current and future state of federal project delivery and has worked with the federal government for over twenty-five years, including working on a $5 billion effort to modernize and restructure the National Weather Service in the 1990’s. Our conversation centers on how technological change can help improve how federal engineering and construction projects are delivered. What technological challenges does the federal government face and why haven’t we seen a bigger shift towards modernized cloud systems? Digital technology will eventually lead to reshaping the construction and engineering sector and reshape their business strategies and business models.  Adopting the right new technology offers tremendous promise of creating new levels of productivity.   Cloud technology vendors have only recently been able to abide by federal agencies’ high level of data security and compliance requirements. In the past, federal agencies developed their own proprietary applications and hosting environments to ensure secure access to program/project information. Many of today’s systems are outdated, expensive to maintain, clunky, and unreliable. Cloud vendors are now fortunately able to offer reliable, agile, and easy-to-use solutions. Their offerings include advanced security services that address complex federal cyber security data classification requirements mandated by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the General Services Administration (GSA) FedRAMP program. So, why haven’t we seen a bigger shift towards the cloud? Agencies are traditionally risk adverse and adoption of new technology can be expensive. Change is particularly difficult, because utilizing cloud technology is still new to them. Also, part of the challenge is helping agencies understand the value and benefits that modernized systems bring and how they contribute to delivering the projects to meet your breadth of mission more efficiently and cost effective. Why should agencies prioritize digitally transforming federal project delivery? Trillions of dollars will be invested in infrastructure over the next decade.  While agencies need to invest in digital technology to meet increasing demand, they also need to invest in organizational capabilities that ensure their impact is meeting expectations. The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are just a few of the agencies adopting cloud technology to help successfully deliver capital engineering and construction programs. What kind of impact can digital transformation have? Faster and smarter project delivery: There’s a massive opportunity to improve resource effectiveness at every stage of the project lifecycle. Anyone from project directors to engineers can expedite their tasks and minimize duplicate entry and errors by leveraging technology. Centralized data also would help us access information faster and accelerate our decisions. Software supporting real-time communication and collaboration between stakeholders minimizes the time and effort it takes to ensure every individual knows their role, just like musicians when playing an elaborate musical composition.  Streamlined asset operations: Centralizing data management across the entire project delivery lifecycle will help maintain assets moving forward—including accessing consolidated data to research historical information. Once assets become more connected with censors and diagnostics, project insights will helps track performance and predict issues.  Best practices, learning & sharing: We would be able to easily extract best practices, thanks to captured process information and tracked performance across projects. Technological insights are the key to ensuring we continuously improve as a team and deliver quality projects on time and on budget.  Helps secure private funding: Projects reliant on private equity for funding will need to prove they’re focused on innovation and improving productivity. The same approach applies to federal contractors; many of whom are winning more bids by highlighting their commitment to technology to help drive efficiencies. Attracting talent: The next generation of construction & engineering leaders were raised on smart phones and tablets. Our new, younger hires will expect ease of use, fast access to information, and efficient tools. Modern technology is “table stakes” for attracting and retaining top talent. Transparency to Congress, stakeholders and the public: Modernized systems can help create a better dialogue with the public regarding more timely updates on project status and asset issues that might arise.  Three ingredients to modernizing federal project delivery Develop a vision and mobilize the organization. Challenge the construction industry’s status quo and create the momentum for change by setting clear objectives and outcomes. Agency leadership must express a willingness to drive change. Leaders are constantly looking for ways to innovate and improve process efficiencies. We should invest in strategic technology initiatives, challenge the technology titans, and create partnerships and alliances with the private sector to drive cutting edge technology and accelerate change. It’s harder for change to happen and instill an innovation culture within agencies without leaders’ enthusiasm and commitment to technology innovation to drive the transformation. Performance-based contracting. Many progressive agencies are focused on the outcomes versus merely the list of tasks to be done. This outcome-based mentality would incentivize contractors and engineers to innovate. Technology providers must strive to meet the unique needs of the federal government. This includes adhering to compliance & security regulations. Conclusion: A centralized, single source of truth increases visibility, drives accountability, creates efficiencies, and fosters program/project wide team collaboration. Cloud & mobility: Communicate in real-time, improve resource effectiveness, and reduce costs. Compliance & Security: Comply with federal data classification requirements and agencies’ ownership of data. Auditability & Transparency: Reduces risk of re-work and claims. Ease of use: Simplicity drives adoption and lessens the potential for project/program budget or schedule overruns. To learn more about Aconex for Federal Government, the nation’s #1 cloud platform for federal capital engineering & construction programs, check out our datasheet. I’m happy to answer any questions or share more about how digital transformation is helping our clients. Contact me at wayne.nichols@oracle.com.

The U.S. federal government has an extraordinary opportunity to modernize and improve how they deliver their projects as part of their journey to digital transformation. As a federal government...

How to build a digitally savvy workforce in E&C

We all must acknowledge:  The time for digital transformation in the E&C industry is now. But, this proclamation requires more than simply investing money into software, hardware, or applications—you also need people to adopt, implement, use, and optimize the technology.   People are still at the heart of business. How people leverage technology can significantly improve and advance the way business is conducted. The pressing challenge remains: in an industry with a labor shortage, how do you attract digitally savvy talent? Download: Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation Why the need for digital talent? Technology has moved beyond simply changing processes and how things are managed. Digital transformation has spearheaded roles that never existed before in E&C, including: the BIM Manager, GM of Innovation, and Digital Delivery Officer. Technology will continue to be critical in the next wave of growth in the industry. Employees in the industry will need to be upskilled to help manage and implement digital transformation, and organizations must attract talent eager to harness the power of technology. How technology drives productivity Organizations rely on a competitive edge in an industry driven by productivity gains. Margins continue to dwindle, the industry is becoming more fragmented, and there’s a challenge to recruit talent and a skilled workforce. These obstacles, amongst others, are impacting the rate of productivity and efficiency. Technology helps empower productivity gains by creating a better flow of information across the supply chain, improved efficiency through standardization, reduced costs, and efficient project delivery. Should everyone be trained to be an expert? The simple answer is, no—not everyone needs to be at the same level of competency. The degree of training and digital savviness will depend on the role type, function, and level of interaction with technology. The workforce can be segmented between highly skilled experts with specialized skills and those who simply need to be aware that the systems or standards exist. Investing in a phased certification program—ideally provided by the vendor—will help upskill the workforce based on their competency requirements. Establishing digital talent within an organization The biggest perceived technology challenge is a lack of qualified employees, according to recent BCG research. So, how do you encourage and grow digital talent? Organizations must invest and nurture the existing workforce’s skill set and eagerness to innovate, while recruiters need to evaluate tech savviness in their hiring criterion. For example, Bechtel created a program called the Future Fund to encourage their employees to innovate and promote emerging trends and technology. The Future Fund provides an opportunity for the workforce to unleash ideas that will help increase productivity and reduce costs across projects. Read the full case study here. The bottom line: digital transformation is a culture shift that will impact the entire organization. Digital transformation is migrating from the traditional ways of working and will require the support and commitment from everyone, ranging from C-level staff to new hires. Want to know more? Read the full case study in the report.

We all must acknowledge:  The time for digital transformation in the E&C industry is now. But, this proclamation requires more than simply investing money into software, hardware, or applications—you...

Los Angeles Metro Helping Ready City for the Olympics

Throughout February, the world has been captivated by extraordinary displays of athleticism, dedication, and heart at the Winter Games in South Korea. As Oracle Construction and Engineering roots on these incredible Olympians from around the globe, we are also thrilled to highlight another impressive Olympic feat at this year’s Oracle Industry Connect: the transformation of Los Angeles in preparation for the 2028 Summer Olympics.  Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which manages the second-largest public transportation system in the US, is planning $160 billion in transportation upgrades as it readies the city to host the 2028 Olympics. Julie Owen, deputy executive officer, program management for Los Angeles Metro, will join us at Oracle Industry Connect this April in New York City to explore how her agency is leveraging technology to promote innovation and enhance the delivery of those and other projects. Key to such efforts is enterprise scheduling that provides project, portfolio, and program-level performance information for executives and constituents. In addition, the agency’s centralized solution enables tracking of transit project risks, while capital project lifecycle management solutions integrate with corporate financials and executive dashboard analytics to ensure project delivery on time and within budget. Julie is no stranger to extraordinary and inspiring projects, as you will soon see. We recently sat down with her to discuss her career path and background. What path led you to your current role? JO: Throughout my whole career, with the exception of the time I spent at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), I have been in the construction industry. I’ve worked in so many different capacities in the industry — I’ve been an owner’s representative, an owner, a construction contractor, and a claims consultant. Wearing all of these different hats has really helped me get to where I am because I learned how to view projects broadly. I like to think of it as being able to speak different languages when it comes to project management. In my current role, there’s a lot of collaboration with different departments when it comes to planning, staffing, and project delivery. Without the range of skills I developed early in my career, I would not be equipped to take on the kind of work that I’m doing now. Other than your current work, what’s the most interesting initiative or project you’ve worked on? JO: That’s an easy one. Hands down, the most interesting project I had the opportunity to work on was the Curiosity rover program at JPL, which I worked on for six years. In my role there, I was responsible for scheduling all of the mechanical systems on the Mars rover (Ed Note: Wow!). I worked with 70 different managers as they designed, delivered, and tested flight hardware before the launch. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling when I finally saw the rover land on Mars. Everything went exactly like clockwork through the whole process— exactly how it was designed and planned. What’s the best advice—personal or professional—you’ve ever received? JO: Work on your credentials. In this industry, you should get experience as both a contractor and an owner. As an owner, it’s easy to oversee the people who are doing the work, but when you flip those roles, it’s a whole different world. That has forever changed my philosophy. If you were to ask me the best advice I would give, I would say: “Follow your passion in your pursuits and be the example you want others to emulate.” Many other innovators and big thinkers will join Julie at Oracle Industry Connect to share their stories of successful business transformation. Visit the event site to learn more about our full program and to register to attend.  Read insights from the Oracle Industry Connect 2018 report here. Further relevant reading: Making Capital Project Portfolio Management a Walk in the Park How Exoskeleton Technology is Helping Transform Construction and Industrial Work Darren Bechtel on the Future of Construction Technology Finding Adventure in Project Management

Throughout February, the world has been captivated by extraordinary displays of athleticism, dedication, and heart at the Winter Games in South Korea. As Oracle Construction and Engineering roots on...

Customer Success

Finding Adventure in Project Management

We’re big fans of adventure – after all, what interesting project isn’t one? – and so we’re especially excited to have Leslie Springer, director-engagement and PMO for Maverik Inc., as one of our speakers at Oracle Industry Connect this April in New York City. With a rapidly growing footprint that today includes more than 300 store locations in the western United States, Maverik (aka “Adventure’s First Stop”), wanted to modernize and enhance its capital project management processes to support the company’s continued expansion. In her presentation at Oracle Industry Connect, Leslie will explore Maverik’s journey with Primavera Unifier—seen as one of the best implementations by the PMO—including how the initiative won key support from the sponsor and subject matter experts, and the critical role of end user involvement in managing any successful solution rollout. We recently sat down with Leslie to learn more about her background and how she approaches her work. What path led you to your current role? LS: Spending the last 10 years at a company that lives and breathes adventure, I can earnestly say that my career has been just that—an adventure.  With no specific career in mind, I began my early pursuits in marketing with the mindset that a foundation in how to make a business profitable and relatable to its customers would support any future endeavors, which it has. After working in various management roles in vastly different industries, I really found my passion was in problem solving and relationship building. I was able to leverage this while learning how the company works from the ground up, and as my knowledge and experience grew, so did my career.  Little did I know that early concepts in relationship management and driving solutions would lead me from roles in merchandising, loyalty development, and brand management straight to project management and more. I’ve spent the last several years honing the skills and knowledge I attained from those seemingly unrelated areas to develop as a successful project manager and leader. Other than your current work, what’s the most interesting initiative or project you’ve worked on? LS: Early on in my project management endeavors, my boss walked in and said, “You’re running the credit switch project.” My response: “Ok, what’s a credit switch?” From there on out I learned the intricacies of payment systems and how broadly they are intertwined with every aspect of the business, including the potential risks from the simplest misunderstanding. It was through this project that I really understood what it meant to be a great project manager. There seems to be a misapprehension that PMs just coordinate and communicate status and deliverables of a project; a PM does so much more than that. Leadership and an intimate knowledge of how to expertly and efficiently run a project is a trade every bit as much as an accountant or attorney. The skill set is not one you just come by, but is definitely more innate to certain personalities. With that balance of skill and demeanor come some of the best PMs I have seen in my career—and that’s something I continue to develop myself. That along with standing a PMO while managing projects and hiring, developing and retaining great talent are where my passions lie, which makes just about everything we do very interesting to me. What’s the best advice—personal or professional—you’ve ever received? Oddly enough, my grandmother always used to tell me “how blessed we are that our problems can be solved with money.” Anyone who has had to run a project wrought with cross-departmental turmoil or lack of appropriate support can relate to how much easier it would be if we could just throw money at it and solve the problem! Oftentimes, getting buy-in and support to implement complex or even simple solutions floundering under contempt is far more difficult than building a case to fund a project. And while I don’t think this is the exact intent of her words, it has helped me refocus on using the right tools at my disposal to navigate such difficulties. Thanks for the insight, grandma!   Many other innovators and big thinkers will join Leslie at Oracle Industry Connect to share their stories of successful business transformation. Visit the event site to learn more about our full program and to register to attend.  Read insights from the Oracle Industry Connect 2018 report here. Further relevant reading: Making Capital Project Portfolio Management a Walk in the Park How Exoskeleton Technology is Helping Transform Construction and Industrial Work Darren Bechtel on the Future of Construction Technology

We’re big fans of adventure – after all, what interesting project isn’t one? – and so we’re especially excited to have Leslie Springer, director-engagement and PMO for Maverik Inc., as one of our...

Six ways to boost your digital ecosystem and streamline project performance

In last week’s post, we highlighted the five keys to unlocking engineering and construction digital transformation to radically improve productivity within the industry. This week, we’ll explore a common emerging technological challenge many organizations face: integrating your ecosystem. The digital ecosystem in the E&C industry The digital ecosystem is a pivotal component to technological change. Organizations resistant to modernizing their technology risk losing their competitive edge to more disruptive, contemporary, and innovative companies. The engineering and construction (E&C) ecosystem is particularly complex—extending beyond a single organization and permeating across the entire supply chain. But what happens if there are so many interconnected pieces of software, hardware, and applications a company is unable to create a streamlined ecosystem? Download: Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation The Global Industry Council (GIC) provides digital ecosystem guidance Aconex formed the Global Industry Council (GIC) to encourage industry laggards to digitalize or risk being left behind. Numerous global leading contractors formed the council, including: Bechtel, Chiyoda, Lendlease, and TAV. We partnered with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and met the GIC group several times throughout the year to discuss digital transformation in the E&C industry. Our discussions covered a variety of topics, including how to create a streamlined ecosystem. We discuss this challenge in our latest report Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Engineering & Construction . Along with the Global Industry Council members and The Boston Consulting Group, we explore how we can help E&C organizations build stronger digital ecosystems while reducing complexity. Here are the recommended steps to maximizing the value of a digital ecosystem: Define a strategy – Create a convincing case for why your organization should modernize their technology to ensure a high level of adoption. Understanding the architecture – Manage the flow of data and processes, and improve productivity, by understanding your company’s tools and platforms. Capitalize on open APIs and file formats – Take advantage of innovative technologies—including IoT, geospatial solutions, and augmented reality—by accelerating your company’s API integration Interoperability and usability – Consider how new technology will fit within your organization’s existing software, hardware, and application (in addition to how it impacts the end user) before adding it to your ecosystem. Vendor support for integration – Research vendors’ level of service and support thoroughly before globally implementing and adopting software. Invest in a data lake – Motivate organizations to unlock valuable insights by leveraging the power of data. At Aconex, we easily integrate with other systems. We realize that the seamless flow of project information between systems is imperative for large enterprises and megaprojects to succeed. We also understand that digital ecosystems will continue to evolve as organizations’ productivity increases and their profits rise. Leading by example:  See how global leaders have embraced digital transformation Find out how Bechtel, AECOM, Lendlease, and other global leaders are solving these challenges in their digital transformation journeys by reading our latest report, Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Engineering and Construction.  Download the report today!

In last week’s post, we highlighted the five keys to unlocking engineering and construction digital transformation to radically improve productivity within the industry. This week, we’ll explore a...

Construction Project Management

Darren Bechtel on the Future of Construction Technology

We’re excited to have Darren Bechtel, founder of Brick & Mortar ventures, join us at Oracle Industry Connect 2018 to discuss his work and his perspectives on the “dawn of the digital era” in the AEC industry. I recently sat down with Darren to discuss his journey to become a venture capitalist for the built world and his views on the future of technology in AEC. Why did you start a VC company for the built environment? I was born and raised in the engineering and construction industry. My great-great grandfather, Warren A. Bechtel, started the family business 120 years ago with two mules and a scraper in Oklahoma. He built up a grading business in the railroad industry and started making his way west. After saving up enough money, he purchased one of the early steam shovels, put his name on it, and then started winning construction work for railroads, then highways, then power, then dams…and the momentum continued to build. Fast forward to today: the company is in its fifth generation of family leadership with my brother, Brendan Bechtel, as the chairman and CEO. There are about 52,000 non-manual employees who, collectively, help the business generate annual revenues of around $35 billion. That was the world, the culture, and the family that I grew up in. As was customary and encouraged in our family, I started working summers once I turned 14.  By the time I graduated college, I had served as the gofer to the gofer on a homebuilding crew, a finish carpenter, a mason, a forklift operator, a TIG welding instructor, a field engineer on a light-rail project, and an area superintendent on a coal terminal expansion in Australia. It was a bit of a sprint-paced exposure across the broad spectrum of the AEC world. In college, I studied mechanical engineering at Stanford with a product design focus – so creative problem solving was the focus on my education.   Following graduation, I took on a role at a commercial architecture firm on the East Coast, initially as an in-house engineer and eventually an architect and construction admin. I loved working in a creative design community, but I came to miss the hands-on tinkering of product design. I pivoted away from the built world industries and returned to the San Francisco Bay Area to join a medical device startup as an R&D engineer – a role that ultimately led to me becoming a turnaround CEO for that company several years later, after completing my MBA back at Stanford. My work as a medical device CEO was a real crash course in startup operations and management; I learned so much about trying to get a startup cleaned up and off the ground, managing a growing business, and the day-to-day challenges of a turnaround effort. It was during that time I began angel investing – though then in an industry-agnostic way – and trying to help startup founders apply some of the hard lessons learned from my own experiences. I fell in love with the world of startups and venture capital. After my career in life sciences, I launched an incubator and co-working space in San Francisco for Stanford entrepreneurs and began focusing full time on venture investing. I knew that was my calling, but I also knew the world didn’t need another generalist super angel. After some soul-searching, reflection on my own experiences and competitive advantages over other investors, and looking for common traits among the breakout performers of my portfolio of investments, I realized the opportunity presented by the still underserved and yet-to-be disrupted built world industries of architecture, engineering, construction, and operations and maintenance. So what conditions make the built world a favorable target? We recognized that the dawn of the digital era for the construction industry was just starting to break over the horizon. The industry’s need for productivity and safety improvement was clear, and the foundational technologies necessary to connect the field to the office, trailer, and digital world were just starting to become accessible to end users. Digitization and industrialization of the built world industries has long been an inevitability, but we were starting to see early indications that suggested that the timing was favorable. We formalized our efforts to launch Brick & Mortar Ventures in early 2015 with conviction in our vision that the global construction industry – a $10 trillion dollar sector expected to grow to $15 trillion by 2025 – will need to realize an exponential growth in productivity and significant decrease in project delivery costs in order to meet the $50T in infrastructure demand over the next 12 years. Innovation through digitization is being embraced by some early adopters in the industry, and it is being forced upon others by the clients they are serving. From a human capital standpoint, AEC companies are also beginning to experience difficulties recruiting and retaining the next generation of the workforce that has come to expect the use of new technology in the workplace. For an AEC organization to remain relevant, survive, and thrive over the next 10 years, we believe they need to be investing in innovation right now. 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. How is Brick & Mortar Ventures helping drive innovation in the industry? Over the last two-and-a-half years, since the inception of Brick & Mortar Ventures, we have invested a lot of time, energy, and resources into developing partnerships with some of the progressive, industry-leading organizations and corporations across the AEC world, realizing that those organizations are the ultimate end users of the technologies that entrepreneurs are trying to develop. It is not uncommon that the entrepreneurial tech talent that has the knowledge and tools to develop cutting-edge solutions lacks the understanding of what their target market actually needs and values. We believe that the way to develop sustainable, successful solutions is to get end users involved in the iterative design process and get them involved early. It is a fundamentally different way of thinking for an industry that has historically only had the options of buying technology off the shelf, as-is; developing solutions in-house; or paying a large software company to develop a custom-built solution. We’re helping to create a more efficient path to market for entrepreneurs that struggle to navigate our opaque industry, and at the same time, we are helping ensure end users are getting the tools and solutions they actually need. Part of this process requires us to help the industry think through their own strategies of how to engage, work with, evaluate, and ultimately implement new technology and business solutions. We are excited to see the position of Chief Innovation Officer becoming more common within the AEC industry, and we are encouraged by seeing established organizations allocate capital for funding pilots and investing in their own corporate infrastructure to enable and encourage innovation. We regularly talk about being at the dawn of this digital era, and that is because the industry is just starting to wake up to this new day. What emerging technologies do you see presenting opportunities to drive transformation? It is a wide variety; we feel like there’s almost too much opportunity. Construction is one of the largest industries in the world, and yet it is tied with hunting for the title of least digitized. There is massive opportunity in the internet of things (IOT) space – just being able to create the connected construction site, to start. To really try to improve processes out in the field, we first have to be able to get reliable connectivity, functional sensor networks, and ubiquity of mobile computing. The worksite needs to be connected to the office and the trailer to be able to unlock the power of real-time information and data-driven actionable insights. You can start doing predictive analytics and intervene before there’s an issue. Advancements in robotics introduce the possibility of disruption to the way we physically perform work, from automation of repetitive tasks to utilization of remotely operated equipment in high-risk and harsh environments. “Worker augmentation” is another exciting area of opportunity in which technology is utilized to enhance a worker’s physical capabilities through solutions such as exoskeletons or modification of traditional hand and powered tools. And then there’s new materials and fabrication techniques, such as additive manufacturing and subtractive manufacturing, that have the potential to not only change the way we build, but also unlock a new world of engineering and design capabilities. We also believe the refinement of emerging “reality capture” technologies – solutions that generate 3D models from scans or a series of photographs of a physical environment – will help users marry real-world conditions of “what exists” with their increasingly more detailed 4D and 5D BIM models of “what should be” to identify clashes, automate progress analysis and reporting, and verify site conditions and compliance against design parameters and intent. These technologies also start laying the foundation for utilization of autonomous drones and equipment by enabling a kind of situational awareness onboard in field equipment. The future of construction looks very different from the processes of today, and industry transformation is well underway. We see great opportunities across a wide range of solutions for the AEC industry, ranging from addressing the low-hanging fruit of getting people off of paper and into the digital world through to the stuff of science fiction, like 3D printing habitats on Mars. It is an exciting new era for the built world industries, and we’re betting science fiction is closer than most think. Darren will explore his work and vision for technology in AEC at Oracle Industry Connect this April in New York City. Visit the Oracle Industry Connect site to learn more and register to attend.    Read insights from the Oracle Industry Connect 2018 report here. Other relevant reading: Finding Adventure in Project Management Making Capital Project Portfolio Management a Walk in the Park How Exoskeleton Technology is Helping Transform Construction and Industrial Work    

We’re excited to have Darren Bechtel, founder of Brick & Mortar ventures, join us at Oracle Industry Connect 2018 to discuss his work and his perspectives on the “dawn of the digital era” in the AEC...

Construction Project Management

Carillion Collapse a Reminder of Need for Process Improvements, Transparency

The sudden collapse of Carillion reminds us that even titan contractors are not immune to the effects of cavalier fiscal and supply chain management. With all of the confidence placed in organisations of this size, we often fail to arrive at an adequate assessment of risk. Big does not mean unbreakable, and behemoth builders may still buckle under the weight of cascading short-sighted financial strategies. The end result is, without question, unfortunate for all involved – and potentially disastrous for some. As I wrote in my previous post on the Carrillion matter, unfulfilled government projects spell delays to critical infrastructure and present an increased burden on taxpayers. In this case, they also leave many small-to-midsize businesses and their employees at risk. The Carillion situation serves as a cautionary tale. It also, however, presents a valuable opportunity to focus on much-needed strategies for creating more robust lines of communication and greater overall transparency across project owners, builders, and contractors – at each stage of the supply chain. Such visibility can form the bedrock for more successful project outcomes – for all stakeholders – and should help provide a form of early warning when problems arise. Even before the Carillion news broke, we saw policy moves to support greater transparency and payment velocity in the supply chain. Recently enacted regulations in the UK require large corporations to report their payment terms and performance twice a year. In addition, Parliament has appointed its first small business commissioner, Paul Uppal, who is looking to tackle the issue of improving the timeliness of large corporations’ payments to their suppliers. He has indicated openness to a collaborative approach with industry, but is not ruling out punitive initiatives if progress is not made. So much of what occurs in the construction industry boils down to relationship management. Communication of schedules, guidelines, budgets, and goals between main contractors and project owners lays the groundwork for a successful partnership. The same is true for the relationship between main contractors and their many subcontractors, where clear definition of roles, timelines, tasks, and payments is essential to creating an environment that supports compliance, safety, good relationships, and on-time, on-budget project delivery. While transparency stands to deliver powerful benefits to all project stakeholders, it has long been a challenge in large projects – both public and private – that can span years and involve large numbers of stakeholders, including thousands of subcontractors and suppliers. One key factor obscuring supply chain visibility (while increasing risk and inefficiency) is that payment processes in the construction industry have remained largely manual and paper-laden. These disjointed and opaque processes are conveniently – and, at times, rightfully – blamed for lengthy delays in remittance to subcontractors.  Recent events underscore the need for an approach that improves transparency and accountability and brings all stakeholders in the supply chain closer together. This pressing need in the construction industry is part of why we see such promise in the Oracle Textura Payment Management solution. As a cloud collaboration platform, this technology provides needed control and process standardization, as well as appropriate levels of visibility to stakeholders – including those provided for in payment-related provisions of the UK Construction Act. Such a shared-platform approach to payment management can support mutually beneficial initiatives to shorten the invoice collection/approval period as well as help deter practices involving the “creative” use of change orders to boost margins (see my previous post). There are also considerable productivity benefits to be gained by liberating teams from the onerous, error-prone manual processes that now drain time and resources. Main contractors can leverage technology improvements to strengthen relationships with owners and their subcontractors – while elevating their reputation as a partner of choice in the industry. They also improve productivity, compliance, efficiency, and their overall ability to deliver projects – each of which has a positive impact on the bottom line. Owners reduce risk and are empowered to be informed and engaged stakeholders. And, subcontractor trades – the very foundation of the industry ‒ can demonstrate new levels of accountability, achieve greater financial stability, and, cash in hand, can focus more labour resources on projects. To be sure, the convergence of factors that led to Carillion’s demise is complex. Still, inadequate transparency into its projects and financial practices clearly played a role. The UK construction industry must look to the Carillion saga – and look within – to find ways to bolster operational processes and ensure their success and stability – as well as that of their partners and the sector as a whole.       

The sudden collapse of Carillion reminds us that even titan contractors are not immune to the effects of cavalier fiscal and supply chain management. With all of the confidence placed in organisations...

Three technology trends shaping the future of design and construction in 2018

The digital construction revolution is rapidly underway and will continue accelerating in 2018. The engineering and construction (E&C) industry is embarking on a new era, with technology changing how companies design, plan, and execute projects. E&C spends $10 trillion on construction-related goods and services each year, and is “ripe for and capable of transformation.” (source) Global E&C plans are unfolding daily, including creating new smart cities, LNG operations, national infrastructure programs, and even construction for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. According to a recent McKinsey report, adopting new technology could boost the industry’s value by an estimated $1.6 trillion, adding about 2 percent to the global economy. So, what major E&C themes can we expect to unfold as we face the new year? Here are three key trends that will shape design and construction in 2018: 1. Continued industry digitization Digital adoption is a massive opportunity for companies who leverage the right technologies. Within ten years, full-scale digitization will lead to huge annual global cost savings. For non-residential construction, this includes $0.7 trillion- $1.2 trillion in Design, Engineering & Construction phases, and up to $0.5 trillion in Operations phases. Opportunities within the E&C space are only beginning. This past October, we hosted our second annual Construction Technology Summit 2017 (#CTS2017) and discussed how global construction companies must adopt a digital first mentality-- or risk being left behind. The Engineering & Construction (E&C) industry is already adopting many of the digital technologies we discussed at #CTS2017, including: digital sensors, mobile devices, BIM, augmented reality, virtual reality, drones, 3D scanning and printing, autonomous equipment, and advanced building. These technical innovations help companies improve their processes and fundamentally transform how building and projects come to life. Technology is also radically shifting traditional business partnerships into the building blocks for digital ecosystems. As the construction industry shifts towards adopting cloud-based platforms, businesses must quickly develop strong partnerships to prepare for a rapidly growing collaborative network. Aconex is at the heart of this E&C ecosystem. Automated data syncs between the Aconex cloud platform and other systems like Dropbox, Box, and Earthcam reduce duplicate entries, prevent errors, and save precious time. 2. Data and insights will play a greater role in project delivery Data is everywhere. In fact, Forbes believes that “data is the new electricity”. Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data—enough to fill 10 million blue ray discs. If these blue ray discs were stacked on top of one another, their height would be equivalent to the height of four Eiffel towers. This incredible amount of industry data will continue to exponentially grow. For example, the largest infrastructure projects produce an average of 130 million emails, 55 million documents, and 12 million workflows. Construction companies are using this massive quantity of data to perform a wide range of tasks, including: detecting risks early, making proactive decisions, and tracking projects to assess which processes are trending within their organizations. The opportunity is ripe to share data across companies—and the entire ecosystem—to drive best practices and continuous improvement. 3. Increasing need for greater security With the new year upon us, it’s essential for E&C professionals to trust that their data is secure. A 2017 UK government survey revealed that nearly 7 out of 10 large businesses have suffered a cyber breach or attack at some point, adding up to hundreds of billions in losses. Contractors cringe at the possibility of their project information falling into the wrong hands. It’s more important than ever to ensure the following: a) no external parties can alter or delete the trail of communications and documents shared among organizations and b) companies need ISO 27001 certification and two-step verification processes set in place. In May 2018, the all EU residents and companies must follow the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to help protect their data. Any company dealing with data owned by EU businesses need to follow these guidelines. The E&C industry can proactively protect itself by incorporating cyber safe technology into their processes while learning from other industry leaders in the information security space. Aconex continually sets a high bar for security and compliance across all its regions globally. We’re committed to helping our customers adhere to the GDPR through our robust privacy and security protections. Our company has obtained internationally recognized certifications such as ISO 27001, and we continue to invest in important programs on our information security roadmap, such as FedRAMP. Aconex is focused on achieving compliance with the GDPR once it becomes enforceable later this year. Summary According to Forbes, may organizations feel reticent to embrace digital transformation because of their fears of cannibalization - of shaking up their profitable ways of doing business and replacing it with something new and unknown. But disrupting one’s own business may be the only way to not be left behind entirely. Ganesh Ayyar, CEO of Mphasis, puts it this way: “If you don’t embrace cannibalization . . . you will stop in your tracks and not progress.” It’s an enormously exciting time to watch how the E&C industry will continue to evolve in 2018. At Aconex – with the world’s largest project database of industry data, we’re proud to be a part of this digital revolution. Construction leaders who want to stay ahead of the competition will quickly embrace digital technologies to help reshape the future of our industry.

The digital construction revolution is rapidly underway and will continue accelerating in 2018. The engineering and construction (E&C) industry is embarking on a new era, with technology changing how...

Construction Project Management

What Technologies Will Have the Biggest Impact on Construction in 2018?

The global construction industry continued to make progress last year on efforts to leverage new technology to tackle its longstanding and well-documented productivity challenges. That trend should accelerate further as forward-looking AEC firms embrace new tools, approaches and data-centric strategies to improve project and business outcomes. Kin to the Bechtel dynasty, Darren Bechtel of Brick and Mortar Ventures recently noted in Wired Magazine that construction is “one of the last massive industries to be disrupted.” There is growing consensus among industry thought leaders that construction, given its high volume of work and high degree of risk, as well as low profit margins and low productivity, is ripe for positive disruption. Indeed, there are many opportunities for the second least digitised industry (following only agriculture and farming). But what solutions in particular will drive genuine disruption and transformation in the near term? Here are some thoughts on the technology trends that will most profoundly impact the industry in 2018. Cloud and Mobile Realising true, real-time collaboration across all stakeholders remains the biggest challenge on the job site – and the area where an integrated approach to data and processes in the cloud will have the greatest positive impact on project outcomes. The ability to leverage the cloud to quickly, easily, and inexpensively stand up and manage an end-to-end project controls platform enables the collaborative workflows and communication needed to improve productivity and margins. In a field where project participants are numerous, teams are highly distributed and project complexity increases with size, project team collaboration is critical to success. The cloud and mobile applications enable these stakeholders to access common project data and work together more efficiently in real time. 4D & 5D BIM There is a growing push to use building information modeling (BIM) technology, especially in the wake of 2016 UK government requirements mandating the use of BIM on government projects. The potential benefits of next-generation BIM approaches – including 4D (3D+schedule) and 5D (3D+schedule+cost) – are considerable, including enabling faster, less costly and higher quality construction, to improved lifecycle costs. As the technology supporting this approach improves, traditional processes will also be challenged. Increased adoption of higher levels of BIM will bring about the industrialisation of construction. The lines between the digital and physical world will be much less defined. 3D models will be used to create digital simulations of physical objects – similar to processes in manufacturing – and technology platforms will be used to provide an integrated view of an asset throughout the manufacturing life cycle. 4D and 5D BIM is the starting point of this evaluation. Internet of Things (IoT) Construction companies collect a large volume of data via systems such as ERP and project controls, but most of this information is collected and reported after the fact, rather than in real time. Such an approach limits the value of the data, with organisations forced to be reactive rather than proactive. The growing use of connected devices – aka the Internet of Things (IoT) – is changing that by enabling real-time data collection and proactive management. In IoT systems, thousands of devices will be able to connect wirelessly to routers. Those routers in turn pass data into the cloud, where we will be able to run fast analytics and leverage machines to make decisions. Those decisions will be communicated back to the devices, prompting the devices to take actions. All of this happens at astonishing speeds, and artificial intelligence (AI) will play a big role in the decision-making. Some of these calculations have the potential to be made at the device level, as well as in the cloud. Rather than act individually, devices will communicate with each other and create a collective system similar to an organism. We believe robots, drones, exoskeletons, and autonomous construction equipment are also part of the larger IoT ecosystem, as they will always be connected and provide data points to improve operations onsite. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will also allow us to better communicate and act on the information collected and to collaborate more effectively. The AEC world is experiencing a digital transformation. Early adopters and visionaries continue to test new technologies by forming partnerships with technology providers and other AEC companies. The promise of cheaper, faster, safer, and higher quality construction operations is not that far away – and its arrival will be hastened if these technologies quickly prove their value and begin to be adopted at a larger scale. We believe when industry companies embrace a centralised, modern platform to manage projects and data from end to end, they will then be able to fully reap the benefits of the emerging technologies that promise to disrupt the industry in 2018 and beyond. This article originally appeared in the February issue of UK Construction Excellence magazine.

The global construction industry continued to make progress last year on efforts to leverage new technology to tackle its longstanding and well-documented productivity challenges. That trend should...

Construction Project Management

Blending Lean and CPM Scheduling for a Competitive Advantage

This post was written by Mark Jenkins, Director of Product Strategy for Oracle Construction and Engineering.  The construction industry remains relatively strong, but that doesn’t necessarily mean builders have their houses completely in order. With project owners demanding faster builds and trade resources becoming increasingly scarce, construction companies are keen to identify operational changes that will enhance project execution and boost productivity, both to improve margins and create competitive advantages. The urgency for more efficient project management becomes even more apparent when one considers that approximately 70 percent of projects come in late and over budget, according to the Lean Construction Institute. That’s why some progressive construction firms are beginning to integrate two project scheduling/execution methodologies traditionally seen as separate: the Critical Path Method (CPM) and Lean Construction. CPM is a proven, longstanding scheduling approach that uses a project network diagram to identify and map relationships between activities that affect the project completion date. This approach is ideal for any project with a network of interdependent activities, making it the standard across construction and engineering projects. The methodology’s precursor, developed by DuPont in the early 1940s, was even applied to and associated with the success of the Manhattan Project. Lean Construction is a more recent concept that focuses on the task level of building activities and the precise coordination and communication required to meet project commitments. Based on the Lean Manufacturing methodology, this approach strives to continually improve quality and efficiency in construction processes by maximizing utilization of materials and labor, thereby eliminating waste and minimizing activities that do not add value. In fact, a Dodge Data & Analytics Owner Satisfaction & Project Performance study last year found high Lean intensity projects were three times more likely to complete ahead of schedule and two times more likely to come in under budget. Both approaches offer significant efficiencies and other project delivery benefits to construction companies. But Lean values often don’t align with CPM priorities, giving rise to tensions between scheduling camps. While CPM advocates view its methods as ideal to building and maintaining a proper schedule, Lean proponents argue that CPM doesn’t consider the level of detail to properly execute the field production work. However, limiting adoption to one or the other also means leaving important opportunities on the table that could help improve project performance. Innovative companies know this and recognize that, if they can successfully merge the two and harness the power of both approaches, they can achieve synergies with the potential to deliver significant, operational, competitive, and financial benefits. By blending the “rival” scheduling methodologies in a single platform provides, construction firms can have a holistic view of the project – i.e., both the long-view analytics they need to accurately determine project milestones and completion dates, as well as prescriptive roadmaps for how to reach project completion as efficiently and economically as possible. So how can a company bridge the gaps that have divided scheduling camps and held back the efficiencies and visibility of a combined approach? Technology holds the key. New tools, powered by cloud technology, enable full digitization of processes as well as collaboration across project participants and centralization of project planning information. By eliminating the paper processes of Lean Construction – the wall of Post-It notes on the trailer in the field – and digitizing all activity and task planning data in a shared workspace, such a platform eliminates the traditional silos and optimizes processes for all project teams.         In recent years, the industry has embraced standalone point systems that automate parts of the commitment and task management process. Companies embracing such tools have taken an important first step toward bringing new levels of efficiency to site-based Lean processes. But they need to recognize that this approach does not address the Lean/CPM divide, which means construction firms will still struggle with communicating accurate task status information to the enterprise project management system in a timely manner. The next stage in the evolution of scheduling systems is a generation of project management solutions that effectively bridge the gap between master schedulers and “last planners,” connecting the field office with the enterprise in ways that can deliver even greater efficiencies. In conclusion, builders today have tremendous business opportunity in front of them but must never lose sight of the need for optimal project management and delivery. To that end, it is time to harness the exponential power of cloud-based tools that combine the key capabilities of the time-tested CPM approach with those of Lean Construction. Such an approach has the potential to put builders ahead of the pack and deliver even better projects to their clients, while also improving their own bottom line. This article originally appeared in the January issue of Modern Contractor Solutions. Visit Oracle Construction and Engineering to learn more about how we can help you digitize Lean Construction and integrate Lean task management with the CPM schdule.

This post was written by Mark Jenkins, Director of Product Strategy for Oracle Construction and Engineering.  The construction industry remains relatively strong, but that doesn’t necessarily mean...

Five steps to becoming a tech-savvy E&C company

Last week we discussed how Aconex formed the Global Industry Council (GIC) to motivate industry laggards to boost their game. This week we’ll highlight how your organization can start to digitally transform. The global engineering and construction (E&C) industry is overflowing with revenue potential. In fact, E&C is charted to become a $17.5 trillion business by the year 2030. Download: Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation E&C is still lagging behind despite this massive opportunity. Various reports claim E&C is among the least digitalized, ranking second to last out of the largest economic sectors in technology investment. As a result, labor productivity is dragging behind the rest of the world economy. Bottom line: If the construction industry wants to capitalize on a $17+ trillion opportunity, E&C must quickly join the digital revolution or risk missing the technology train altogether. That’s why Aconex created the Global Industry Council (GIC): a panel of top executives from some of the biggest players in the industry tasked with finding solutions to the largest challenges weighing down E&C. In association with the Boston Consulting Group, the GIC met multiple times over a period of several months, identifying organizations’ biggest technology hurdles – including siloed technology solutions and a lack of digital savvy – and distilled their findings into a comprehensive report. Here are the key challenges and potential solutions the E&C industry faces: 1. Disjointed point solutions Virtually every large E&C organization has achieved some level of digitalization, but too many rely on separate point solutions that don’t communicate with each other. Without an integrated digital platform, users share scattered files via email or cloud-based storage services, resulting in lost documents, rework, lack of accountability, and lagging productivity. The solution: Leverage open APIs for seamless connections to third-party software and services. Invest in a storage depository (i.e., “data lake”) that allows information to be shared and analyzed, potentially leading to new insights. 2. Lack of standardization Global construction companies often use a wide gamut of processes and procedures to perform the same job. The lack of standardization on rapidly expanding global projects can become a major headache for partners and subcontractors, including: project inefficiencies, mistakes, downtime, and potential safety hazards. The solution: Simplify existing processes by getting rid of unnecessary or inefficient systems. Adopting a project collaboration platform that embraces uniformity will lead to greater efficiencies across partners and projects. 3. Lack of tech-savvy talent There’s an unfortunate lack of technological expertise in global E&C. But not every employee needs to be a tech whiz. A few digitally savvy individuals are certainly needed, but the majority of the workforce only needs basic working knowledge of key platforms. Just as a long-haul trucker doesn’t need to know how to tear down and rebuild an engine to drive an 18-wheeler, most employees don’t need to know how to write code to use software. The solution: Hands-on training and certification programs can help bring employees up to speed in a relatively short time period. Noting employees’ level of tech expertise can also simplify recruiting and hiring. 4. Resistance to software adoption Introducing new technologies to an existing workforce can cause apprehension, particularly among more senior employees. If the solution has too steep of a learning curve or doesn’t immediately deliver its promised goals, employees will either ignore or abandon the technology altogether. The solution: Organizations need to be aware that resistance to change is human nature. Leaders must create communications, training, and change management programs to encourage software adoption. 5. What’s the ROI? Dramatic changes in technology and processes are often daunting and challenging – particularly if the return on investment is unclear. For example, how can one measure qualitative improvements in processes and methodologies? Flimsy metrics and/or no appointed executive “technologist champion” can result in top management eschewing the new technological investment altogether. The solution: Organization leaders must establish a baseline for current operations to accurately monitor improvements over time and promote their successes throughout their digital transformation. Key Takeaways Achieving full digital transformation is about more than just standardized processes and improved productivity. Government mandates, such as the UK’s requirement to implement building information management (BIM) systems for public infrastructure projects, are forcing large E&Cs to either adopt digital technology or risk losing out on multi-billion-dollar projects. By following the GIC report guidelines and adopting the necessary changes, organizations can reap the rewards of digitalization. Deploying a collaboration software platform ultimately gives organizations insights across a range of projects, enabling them to make more strategic decisions and address small  problems before they turn into big ones. Joining the digital revolution will ensure the E&C industry doesn’t get left behind. To explore how the GIC members are digitizing their organizations and value chain -- and how your organization can join them -- download the report, Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Engineering & Construction today! Click here for your download!

Last week we discussed how Aconex formed the Global Industry Council (GIC) to motivate industry laggards to boost their game. This week we’ll highlight how your organization can start to digitally...

Trends and Insights

The Collapse of Carillion in the UK and Remedies for the Future

Since the collapse of Carillion just over a week ago, much has been said about what brought about its downfall, who is to blame, and what the implications will be for Carillion’s 20,000 UK employees and the estimated 30,000 firms in its supply chain likely to lose out on around £1BN for unpaid bills. It is undoubtedly a very sad situation for the UK construction industry. But now that it’s clear this whole sorry state of affairs exists, we need to move beyond the emotions of denial and resistance and jointly evaluate the situation, learn from it, and move on, stronger and wiser from the events that led to it in the first place. Before we can prescribe a remedy that will avoid, or at least reduce, the likelihood of others falling victim to this ailment, we first need to diagnose its causes. Setting blame to one side, let’s first look at the underlying conditions that led to this in the first place. Then, let’s look at how others have found ways to overcome these conditions. Finally, let’s look at a method by which the UK can get its house in order and by doing so bring renewed confidence to the industry, construction companies, their employees, their supply chain, and not least of all the UK taxpayer. The Underlying Conditions Tight margins have been commonplace in the UK construction industry for decades, and central to this has been the overly aggressive procurement policies of clients, including those within government departments. Construction companies have been forced to bid low – often below what they know to be economically viable – to win the work, with the aim of finding “creative” ways of turning a profit. This has been achieved most notoriously through change orders placed on the client, working within the constructs of the contract but in a way that benefits the main contractor to the detriment of the client as well as the subcontractors beneath them. Less obvious, however, is using the supply chain to essentially provide the cash flow, with client payment terms typically in the order of 30 days and the prime contractor offering 120 day terms to its supply chain, making them into “mini-banks” as well as essential service providers. No matter what, the idea that Tier 1 construction companies are too big to fail is a proven myth when, as in the case of Carillion, two or three major project failures can bring such a company down – and potentially many in its supply chain with it. How Others Have Tackled Such Problems The UK Government has itself recognised these conditions existed before the collapse of Carillion yet has been slow to do anything about it. In 2011 it proposed the Integrated Project Insurance model (IPI) where a “virtual company” is created for the duration of the works and where the main and subcontractors work in partnership. This collaborative and no-blame approach allows for joint ownership of risk, cost overruns, and quality issues during and beyond project completion.  In the US, the supply chain has a measure of protection in that a subcontractor that has worked on a construction project and hasn’t received payment has a claim against the client for the value of the work done. Indeed, to avoid such issues arising, many large corporations insist that their general contractor implement a system for the duration of the project that provides them transparency that work done has been paid for. In addition, the UK law known as the Construction Act as well as Australia’s Security of Payment Act are designed to help protect subcontractors against payment risks, including providing for certain rights in payment disputes. The efficacy of those measures is arguable, though, in terms of ensuring prompt payment. Another approach is that of project bank accounts. These ring-fenced bank accounts’ purpose is to act as a mechanism for payment on construction projects to ensure that contractors, subcontractors, and other members of the supply chain are paid on the contractually agreed dates. Getting the UK House in Order The current method of contracting major construction projects in the UK is broken and needs fixing. There are no winners to be found in the aftermath of the collapse of Carillion, only losers. Central to many of the projects Carillion was involved in were UK Government contracts; in other words, taxpayers are culpable for the way the government is contracting for major projects.  When this contracting policy fails, it is the taxpayers who suffer, from employees of the likes of Carillion, to employees of their supply chain companies that in turn fail, to taxpayers who will ultimately need to pay (again) for the clean-up.  Like many issues that require significant amounts of change to happen, it will be a combination of changes in people, processes and technology that will enable real success.  By “people,” I’m referring of course to the procurement culture that dominates UK construction. There needs to be a move away from “cheapest-is-best” and a move toward shared risk and reward contracts that incentivise efficiency gains and true collaboration.  By “process,” I’m referring to initiatives such as the Integrated Project Insurance model and other ways to bring about shared ownership of risks and drive greater openness, transparency, and collaboration from the owner through the main contractor and as far down into the supply chain as is necessary. Finally, the technology component refers to the means by which the whole of the supply chain  –  from the owner, through the main contractor and down through its supply chain – can work in a single system that improves visibility and brings them closer together. A system that operates in line with the billing cycle to show the subcontractors what they are expected to be paid for the month and what is required to be delivered to be paid. A system that removes the archaic and disjointed slow processes that exist today and are often used as a means for delaying payment, and replaces it with transparency, real-time information, and speedy payment. Finally, a system that provides a fair and equitable basis for the UK construction industry going forward that in turn offers better supply chain certainty, protects jobs, and enhances the return on taxpayers’ monies.    

Since the collapse of Carillion just over a week ago, much has been said about what brought about its downfall, who is to blame, and what the implications will be for Carillion’s 20,000 UK employees...

E&C Mythbusters: Are we really that far behind in the digital transformation journey?

Digital transformation is disrupting industries and global economies everywhere. E&C in particular is ripe for change, generating nearly $10 trillion in revenue, or about 6% of global GDP. We’ve all heard how the Engineering and Construction (E&C) industry is one of the least digitalized; rated second-to-last after agriculture and hunting. However, is it true that all organizations within the E&C industry are lagging, or are some companies daring to innovate and digitalize? Many of the world’s largest E&C influencers whom we work closely with are redefining the face of construction and global innovation by embracing technology. Their leadership will help establish a bold precedent of digital transformation for the rest of the industry to follow. Download: Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation Digitalizing the E&C Industry: The Global Leaders To help motivate industry laggards to boost their game, Aconex formed the Global Industry Council (GIC).  Aconex recruited some of the world’s leading contractors to participate, including: Bechtel, Chiyoda, Lendlease, and TAV. These organizations are truly passionate about digitally transforming our industry. We partnered with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and met the GIC group several times throughout the year— either virtually or in person in Melbourne— to discuss digital transformation in the E&C industry. Our discussions covered a range of themes, including the current state of the industry, joint ventures, alternative delivery models, and data security. The GIC members also shared with one another how each organization is addressing the digitalization challenge by providing insight and learnings through their combined years of experience. Several recurring themes surfaced throughout these sessions, including: data and process standardization, disconnected and fragmented platforms, as well as talent shortages. One GIC participant said, “It’s refreshing to hear that all of us are impacted by the same challenges; we just have a different brand on our door.” This simple, off-the-cuff remark validated that are discussions resonated for all of our members. Regardless of the size or scale of the business, digital transformation is high on the agenda and a challenge for everyone. Five Keys to Unlocking Engineering and Construction Performance The findings from our meetings turned into a report: Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Engineering & Construction. The GIC team helped us identify five key roadblocks to wider technology adoption across the construction sector. Five Keys to Unlocking Digital Transformation in Engineering & Construction is a practical guide to help innovate and improve productivity by addressing common digital transformation challenges. We hope this report will help organizations build on the momentum for changes across each project, asset life cycle, and industry. The report includes real-world case studies from reputable companies including Fluor and AECOM. These industry leaders address how they’re overcoming challenges within their own organizations by setting up Centers of Excellence (CoE) or establishing a metrics-drive approach to standardization. Our findings also include non-E&C case studies to help understand how other industries are continuing to transform their sectors. Technological Change in the E&C Industry: The Benefits Are Clear and the Time is Now Now is the time for the E&C industry to adopt technological change and innovation to address productivity challenges, increased risk profiles of projects, and struggles associated with time, quality, and budget. We can help champion the continued evolution of the E&C industry by doing the following: develop new skills, increase the digitally-savvy talent pool, and promote innovation across processes and business models to help evolve our industry.

Digital transformation is disrupting industries and global economies everywhere. E&C in particular is ripe for change, generating nearly $10 trillion in revenue, or about 6% of global GDP. We’ve all...

How E&C is leveraging the power of project controls to tackle giga projects

Imagine trying to explain modern E&C technology, materials, and resources available in the industry today to a construction worker from a century ago. Their jaw might drop at today’s technical solutions: “You mean, you can store project information in the sky??” Today’s technological advancements have empowered us to maximize our productivity compared to how we managed projects one hundred years ago. A megaproject (valued at US $1B or below) may have seemed daunting in the past, but we’re quickly adapting to a new normal. The giga project (valued at US $1B or more) encompasses even greater complexity, capital expenditures, and risk. So how can project controls help manage the mounting risk associated with giga projects? Project Controls EXPO 2017 The Project Controls EXPO 2017 is the biggest UK project controls event, attracting over 700 project owners and contractors across construction, infrastructure, and energy and resources industries. Guy Barlow, Aconex Commercial Director of Connected Cost, was a featured speaker discussing the emergence of giga projects and why it matters. This session recording defines the drivers behind giga projects, the challenges they present, and how innovative companies at the vanguard of project controls are successfully addressing these hurdles. Guy discusses how pioneering E&C companies are leveraging project controls to successfully address the drivers and challenges behind giga projects. This recording provides a sweeping framework— including primary and secondary project management research and the latest studies on cognitive biases—to help better manage projects of all sizes. Listen to the full session recording here.

Imagine trying to explain modern E&C technology, materials, and resources available in the industry today to a construction worker from a century ago. Their jaw might drop at today’s...

Construction Project Management

How Drones and Data are Improving Project Outcomes in Construction and Energy

For construction companies, visibility into status and activities is critical to project execution. One innovative company, Uplift Data Partners, is taking that fundamental concept to new (ahem) heights, helping construction and industrial organizations get a new level of visibility into their projects by enabling the capture and analysis of drone data to improve outcomes. Uplift will take part in a panel discussion on drone technology at Oracle Industry Connect in April. To preview that discussion, I recently sat down with Chief Operating Officer Andrew Dennison to explore how drones are being used to deliver actionable information (and savings) in construction and engineering. Burcin: What is Uplift Data Partners’ role in the commercial drone space? Andrew: Uplift is a drone data collection platform. Any company that wants to use drone data can plug into Uplift, and we’ll collect their drone data throughout the country. We began by flying construction sites, and are currently the leading AEC drone data capture company. We’ve used our expertise to serve real estate and insurance clients as well.  Burcin: What are some of the key uses of drones in construction and industrial settings? Andrew: Currently, the number one use case in construction is job site media updates – photos and videos showing progress on construction projects. And what’s coming next is using the point cloud –which is essentially a virtual 3D model of whatever the drone flew over – collected on construction sites to dive a lot deeper and gain some really interesting insight into project progress beyond just the video. Some of the first things that are coming out of these point clouds are relatively simple surveying-type measurements, such as cut and fills and volumes.  Another really interesting use case is what we call “overlay,” where you take the design of your foundation and you overlay it with the drone imagery to ensure that everything is lined up properly and check your underground utilities, concrete pours and the like. In the future, as the drone data gets more accurate and the software for processing this data gets more intelligent, we think that these three-dimensional models that you can collect can be compared to the building design, so then you can do some really interesting automated clash detection. The long-term goal for data processors in construction is a status bar that you can share that really shows the status of construction with regard to the schedule – and this should be entirely automated using only drone data. Again, we’re definitely seeing more interest from construction firms, including leading companies like Clayco, and expect that sector’s interest to grow.   In energy, the general use case is new inspection capabilities – particularly for utilities, which are doing regular inspections of their distribution, their substations, and their transmission lines throughout the year. Using a drone, you can inspect more towers per day. It’s much easier and faster to inspect using thermal cameras. And also it’s much safer. Burcin: Can you share some of the demonstrable benefits of drone use in construction today? Andrew: Let me share a couple of real-world examples studies showing how we’ve saved projects money. The first one – and one that we see quite often – involves a dispute between the surveyor, the soil engineer, the general contractor, and sometimes even the haul-off contractor about how much dirt is being hauled off and how much is getting charged. So weekly measurements using  drones can help provide an objective record and get everyone on the same page about how much earth is actually being moved. In one case we worked on, the drone data indicated that the haul-off contractor on a project was almost double charging, and that determination resulted in a savings of around $50,000. Another significant example involves using overlays. When reviewing an overlay the site design against the actual imagery of the site, we have been able to detect several elements that were misaligned, including concrete footings and underground utilities. If those mistakes hadn’t been detected by the drone, it could have been weeks or months before they were detected by someone out in the field. And every day an issue goes undetected, the change orders get bigger and bigger to fix the problem. In one example, we found a cold storage pipe that was connected to the wrong coupling – a discovery that the project team estimated saved more than $200,000, as they likely would not have found the issue for a few weeks. Andrew will join panelists from DPR Construction, ComEd, and drone company H3 Dynamics to explore these issues further during the Construction and Engineering Program at Oracle Industry Connect 2018, to be held April 10-11 in New York City. Visit the Oracle Industry Connect site to learn more and register to attend.    Read insights from the Oracle Industry Connect 2018 report here. Other relevant reading: Darren Bechtel on the Future of Construction Technology Finding Adventure in Project Management Making Capital Project Portfolio Management a Walk in the Park How Exoskeleton Technology is Helping Transform Construction and Industrial Work

For construction companies, visibility into status and activities is critical to project execution. One innovative company, Uplift Data Partners, is taking that fundamental concept to new (ahem)...

Four ways an EPC leverages BIM to power Sudan

Enprode, a global engineering, construction and procurement (EPC) company specializing in combined-cycle power and gas plants, recently leveraged Aconex Connected BIM to advance an open cycle (soon to be combined-cycle) gas turbine power plant (Garri 3 and Port Sudan Project) in Sudan. Headquartered in Turkey, Enprode conducts business with major energy centers across the globe, spanning from South America to the Middle East. Project Overview: Using BIM to improve efficiencies and lower costs The open cycle power plant is surprisingly efficient, combining both gas and steam turbines to produce up to 50 percent more electricity from the same fuel than a traditional simple-cycle plant. Enprode claimed their project wouldn’t be managed nearly as well without the help of a digital project delivery platform to keep them on track. The high-profile Sudanese public project wasn’t without its hurdles, however. Enprode and other key players—Siemens, Lahmeyer, and the Sudanese Electricity Transmission Company (SETCO)— ensured the public had consistent access to power, regardless of project challenges. For example, Enprode BIM Manager Deniz Asar mentioned how difficult it was working with a geographically dispersed project team on BIM models. Collaborating across a range of time zones and varying languages within the team was no easy task. Enprode also had to meet a series of regulatory requirements mandated by the government owner, STPG. Four ways Enprode stayed within budget by using a secure, cloud-based central platform: Deniz’s team found the platform easy to use and deploy, thanks to intuitive dashboards and configurable workflows. The ability to view dashboards and easily export reports is a huge time saver.” Aconex Connected BIM improved access to information and input from reviewers, resulting in better project decisions with fewer errors. Deniz claimed managing the sheer volume of information on the Sudan project would have been much more difficult, and not nearly as efficient, without a system like Aconex. The Connected BIM models will make ongoing operations and maintenance more efficient over the 25-year projected life of the power plant. “We wish we had this functionality 10 years ago,” said Sudan’s Ministry of Energy. Enprode also eliminated the wasteful tedium of printing and mailing copies of drawings to Sudan, Germany, and Turkey; an added paper-saving bonus—in addition to budget savings—for the environmentally progressive, sustainable company. The power of BIM Deniz’s team leveraged Aconex Connected BIM to share their models – and the valuable data associated with the model—amongst their group. Connected BIM includes project-wide access to models and data, clash detection, and the ability to view, rotate, and create mark-ups without authoring software. “The BIM grouping functionality within Aconex helps efficiently resolve clashes. We can quickly rotate the model to view the associated information thanks to the existing meta data structure,” Deniz said. “Thanks to Aconex, we’re working in a digital office rather than an actual physical one,” said Deniz. Read more about Connected BIM.

Enprode, a global engineering, construction and procurement (EPC) company specializing in combined-cycle power and gas plants, recently leveraged Aconex Connected BIM to advance an open cycle (soon to...

Construction Project Management

Empire State Building Stands as an Icon of Construction Innovation

New York City will soon play host to Oracle Industry Connect 2018, drawing hundreds of Oracle Construction and Engineering customers, thought leaders and visionaries to the city to share knowledge in a collective spirit of innovation, inspiration, and business transformation.  New York City is a fantastic conference locale for many reasons, not least of which is the importance of construction to the city’s economy and its identity. Home to numerous acclaimed structures and other achievements of architecture and urban planning, the city’s skyline is shaped by an impressive array of iconic buildings. Among these, perhaps none is as famous as the Empire State Building. But less well known is the story of this New York landmark’s construction – and the remarkable creativity, innovation, and collaboration that made it possible. A Monument to Innovation The Empire State Building, with its familiar Art Deco design, still dominates the New York City skyline more than 86 years after its completion. In addition to its place in history as one of the world’s tallest structures, it is renowned for its premier Midtown location, panoramic views, and role as the backdrop for countless films.  A deeper look at the building’s story reveals some fascinating insights into construction and engineering innovation ‒ sparked both by rivalry between two automotive titans and a series of formidable logistical and engineering challenges. The result is an enduring architectural treasure and testament to the power of determination, creativity, and collaboration. Let’s start with the rivalry. Jakob Raskob, a former vice president of General Motors, decided to go head to head with Walter Chrysler in his quest to build the world’s largest building. Time was of the essence as the Chrysler Building was already in the works. William F. Lamb, chosen to lead the Empire State Building design team, worked at breakneck speed, completing preliminary drawings for the 102-story building in just two weeks. To help ensure the stability and usability of the massive structure, he offered an innovative design that placed critical components, such as plumbing, mail chutes, and elevators, at the building’s core. The Empire State’s water delivery system – which includes more than 70 miles of pipe – is especially noteworthy and remains virtually unchanged today. The landmark’s water tanks are housed in the core of the building instead of on the roof, like most tall buildings in the city. The team also broke new ground when it came to fire protection and building strength by encasing the building’s steel frame and components in concrete. Iron oxide and linseed oil paint coated the steel frame components when they were manufactured. Builders on site then covered the frame with asphalt to prevent erosion when coated with the concrete layer. The Empire State Building also pioneered a form of just-in-time material delivery. The site was very compact and did not allow for storage of construction materials – which included over 10 million bricks. Therefore, everything that was delivered had to be used that day. To expedite construction, engineers created a railway system to move materials efficiently and rapidly around the site. The speed of the building’s construction is enviable even by today’s modern engineering and building standards. The Empire State Building was completed in 410 days – three months ahead of schedule – and at a pace of 4.5 stories a week. The transport system was essential to the building’s rapid construction. So, too, was the role of collaboration.  Architectural historian Carol Willis cites a “team-design approach that involved the collaboration of the architects, owners, builders, and engineers in planning and problem-solving, and the organizational genius of the general contractors,” as critical factors in the project’s success. This approach has proven to be as lasting the iconic building itself. Innovation continues to be the engine powering the evolution of project delivery – and today's innovations will take center stage during Oracle Industry Connect in April 2018. We invite you to join us at this event, where Oracle Construction and Engineering, our customers and other thought leaders will together explore the ideas, emerging technologies and cutting-edge approaches that are shaping the future of projects. For more information and to register, visit us here. Read insights from the Oracle Industry Connect 2018 report here.

New York City will soon play host to Oracle Industry Connect 2018, drawing hundreds of Oracle Construction and Engineering customers, thought leaders and visionaries to the city to share knowledge in...

Construction Project Management

Oracle Buys Aconex

Creates the World’s Most Comprehensive Cloud Offering for Managing All Aspects of Construction Projects Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Aconex Limited (ASX: ACX), a leading cloud-based solution that manages team collaboration for construction projects, for A$7.80 per share in cash. The transaction is valued at approximately US$1.2 billion, net of Aconex cash. The Aconex project collaboration solution digitally connects owners, builders and other teams, providing complete visibility and management of data, documents and costs across all stages of a construction project lifecycle. Aconex has been used in over $1 trillion in projects across 70,000 user organizations in over 70 countries. The Oracle Construction and Engineering Cloud already offers customers the industry’s most advanced solutions for planning, scheduling and delivering large-scale projects. 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. “Delivering projects on time and on budget are the highest strategic imperatives for any construction and engineering organization,” said Mike Sicilia, SVP and GM, Construction and Engineering Global Business Unit, Oracle. “With the addition of Aconex, we significantly advance our vision of offering the most comprehensive cloud-based project management solution for this $14 trillion industry.” “The Aconex and Oracle businesses are a great, natural fit and highly complementary in terms of vision, product, people and geography,” said Leigh Jasper, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Aconex. “As co-founders of Aconex, both Rob Phillpot and I remain committed to the business and are excited about the opportunity to advance our collective vision on a larger scale, and the benefits this combination will deliver to our customers.” The Board of Directors of Aconex unanimously recommends the transaction. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2018, subject to Aconex shareholder approval and certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. More information about this announcement is available at www.oracle.com/aconex.

Creates the World’s Most Comprehensive Cloud Offering for Managing All Aspects of Construction Projects Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Aconex Limited...

Construction Project Management

How Exoskeleton Technology is Helping Transform Construction and Industrial Work

I have long been fascinated by robots and other technologies that help expand the tasks and activities that can be performed by human beings. What once was science fiction is now being used  in hospitals, in factories and on construction sites. During a session at Oracle Industry Connect 2018, Russ Angold of EksoWorks will explore the evolution of exoskeleton technology and the applications and use cases for such innovative technology in several sectors, where exoskeletons are improving productivity, quality and safety, and helping to extend workers’ careers. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Russ to discuss his interest in exoskeleton technology and how his company is making a difference in industrial and other settings today. Burcin: How did you develop an interest in robotics and exoskeletons? Russ: It all goes back to when I was a kid. When I would get toys for Christmas, I would tear them apart and then put them together again. I’ve always been curious about how things work. I also did some construction work in high school and college summers, and after earning my engineering degree, I went straight into robotics. And then in 2004, I got a chance to work on a project for DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), in which they were funding an exoskeleton for soldier load carriage. As soon as I saw the video for the project, I was hooked – it was just cool technology. Burcin: What are commercial exoskeletons and how do they work? Russ: Think of it as a wearable robot. Some are powered, some are passive, but it’s basically a structure that goes around the human body and provides some sort of augmentation. That could be on the medical side, for people who have lost abilities – for example, due to stroke or spinal cord injury –enabling them to stand up and walk again. In addition, in the construction or industrial environment, we’re thinking about how to give someone unlimited endurance or greatly enhance their strength. We’re trying to help workers perform tasks that are hard. Whether it’s operating heavy tools or working overhead or moving stuff around, we think there are a lot of applications there for exoskeletons. And eventually we see this moving into the consumer space as well, helping augment capabilities to keep people active. Burcin: Can you describe some current use cases for exoskeletons in the industrial/construction world? Russ: So we first launched our medical exoskeleton in 2012, and then about three years ago, we started seeing a lot of inquiries from the industrial/construction sector, saying: “Hey, if you can help someone who is paralyzed get up and walk again, why don’t we have exoskeletons on the jobsite?” So we started surveying companies to understand their needs, and what came back were three things people were really interested in. Number one, safety; how do we keep our workers safe? Number two was productivity; how do we keep workers productive on the job and keep projects on schedule? And the last one was the aging population. The entire workforce getting older and staying on the job longer, so how do you keep them healthy and able to work out in the field longer? And so we started looking at applications around those areas. One of our products is the zeroG Arm (check out this video to see it in action – ed.), which helps workers using heavy tools. On one jobsite, the zeroG Arm increased the number of overhead holes a worker could drill in a day from 80 to 400 – and still end the day feeling good. In addition, our EksoVest is being used by companies like Ford Motor Co. for assembly-type applications – enabling workers to perform overhead tasks without causing fatigue and injury. Burcin: In light of workforce changes and productivity demands, is it likely we will see robots taking over jobs currently performed by human workers in construction? Russ: If you look at the past 20 years and examine productivity in manufacturing versus construction, there’s a marked difference. It’s almost doubled in manufacturing, while in construction it’s stayed relatively flat. And I think that’s because in manufacturing, you have a known environment. It’s a factory; you can put a robot in and it can do the same task every day. It’s not using any intelligence; it’s just repeating the same process over and over again. But if you look at the construction job site today, it’s very dynamic – the environment changes every day. You’re adding walls, you’re adding floors, so it’s a very complex environment to navigate for robots. And the work that’s being done is very decision-intensive. Workers are constantly making decisions about how to do the next thing, how to do it right. So I think we’re decades away from anything close to a robot replacing that skilled worker. And what we’re trying to do with exoskeletons is to take that skilled worker’s experience and knowledge and leverage it with robotic enhancement so you get the best of both worlds. You get the human intelligence with the robotic endurance, and everyone wins. Russ will explore these and other ideas at length during a session at next year’s Oracle Industry Connect titled “Better, Stronger, Faster: The Evolution and Applications of Exoskeleton Technology.” Registration for the exclusive event, to be held April 10-11 in New York City, is now open. Visit the Oracle Industry Connect site to learn more about the Construction and Engineering program and to register today. Read insights from the Oracle Industry Connect 2018 report here. Other relevant stories: How Drones and Data are Improving Project Outcomes in Construction and Energy Darren Bechtel on the Future of Construction Technology Finding Adventure in Project Management Making Capital Project Portfolio Management a Walk in the Park

I have long been fascinated by robots and other technologies that help expand the tasks and activities that can be performed by human beings. What once was science fiction is now being used  in...

Key Dimensions of Capital Project Delivery Transformation

Earlier this month, I joined Oracle colleagues and 1,500 or so fellow project delivery professionals at the Project Controls Expo in London, where attendees were looking to find inspiration and ideas from peers – and to capture those nuggets of wisdom that could make a difference at their own organisations. It was great to see so many old friends and meet new ones to discuss what the future of project delivery will look like, our vision at Oracle Construction and Engineering (or as many of you still know it, Primavera), and how we are working together with customers to innovate and continue to drive greater productivity and improve project outcomes generally. Throughout the discussions at the Project Controls Expo, several themes were apparent: transformation, digitisation, supply chain collaboration, and embracing current best practices. This sat nicely with my own presentation, in which I explored how technology can be an engine for transformation and generate significant efficiencies in project delivery. Indeed, a McKinsey report I discussed in a recent post found that a comprehensive and efficient application of current technologies could reduce total project costs by more than 20 percent.  In terms of digitisation efforts, we have found that the key to driving real transformation in capital asset lifecycle management is embracing an approach that encompasses these key areas: Enterprise investment planning: This entails ensuring  that the management of portfolios, capital planning, funding, and project selection are done collaboratively across the entire organisation. Scope definition and stage-gate governance: Organisations can derive benefits from ensuring scope is developed and fully defined at the required level for each stage gate prior to approval. This helps ensure the construction phase involves as little change as possible. Integrated planning: A key best practice in successful project execution is integrating schedule and resource planning, and we have seen many organisations benefit from leveraging cloud technology to achieve the visibility, coordination, and control offered by such an approach. Supply chain governance and standardization: Because as much as 90% of a CapEx project is delivered by the supply chain, it’s critical that technology and process support how they interact with owners – and ensure these interactions follow a common/standard approach that reflects modern best practice. Cost controls: A portfolio approach is crucial to supporting this function, and as the supply chain is heavily engaged – and often remote – the approach (and supporting technology) should enable the needed level of collaboration. Change management: Change happens, so it must be managed effectively. A key role of technology is ensure that valid changes are processed quickly while spurious ones are easy to identify and reject – all while providing appropriate visibility into change management to stakeholders. Mobility: Ensuring connectivity between field and office can deliver a range of benefits, including increased productivity, enhanced visibility into status and issues, and improved/accelerated decision making. Near-real-time analytics: Bigger, better and faster data will enable stakeholders to manage projects new and better ways, including improve the predictability of outcomes and – critically – the repeatability of successes.  In discussions with numerous organisations at the event, it was clear that these areas resonated, and many are already on a journey to transform project delivery using this foundation. Should you want to learn more, my entire presentation from the Project Controls Expo is available to watch on demand. And be sure to read our other post from the expo, in which a colleague explores the innovative project management methodology embraced by the UK Infrastructure and Projects Authority, as well as the great work being done by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to prepare that city to host the Olympic Games. Finally, you can visit us at Oracle Construction and Engineering to explore how we are helping organisations plot their own course into the future of projects.  

Earlier this month, I joined Oracle colleagues and 1,500 or so fellow project delivery professionals at the Project Controls Expo in London, where attendees were looking to find inspiration and ideas...

Customer Success

How Oracle Helped Railroad CSX Modernize Its Project Portfolio Management

CSX Transportation, a leading railroad with 21,000 miles of track across the U.S. East Coast and eastern Canada, recently set out to modernize its project management processes and improve information sharing for $1.8 billion worth of annual capital and operating expenses projects.  "We wanted a modern toolset that would give us mobile capabilities," A.J. Erdman, CSX's director of project controls, explained during a presentation at Oracle Industry Connect earlier this year that is now available to view on demand.  Additional business requirements for the transformation initiative included having a platform that could manage the entire range of project types and enable enterprise-wide information sharing and reporting. The latter goal was critical for the various engineering groups, whose responsibilities range from renovating signal systems to installing new tracks, bridges, and tunnels. Individually, each discipline successfully performed its roles, but stakeholders from the various groups couldn't easily collaborate with each other when projects required combined efforts. "Part of the Projects Control Group's task is to make [these groups] speak to each other," Erdman says.  In light of these needs, CSX turned to Oracle's Primavera Unifier, Which Erdman characterizes as having become "the core of project control" in his group.  The company uses Primavera Unifier to document project scope, manage accounting and budgets, manage processes, perform time tracking, and serve as a master document repository. CSX pairs the platform with Oracle Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management for project scheduling.  Oracle Primavera Unifier also integrates with the Oracle E-Business Suite and other critical business systems. For example, thanks to links with the company's third-party cost-accounting system, Erdman and his staff can import detailed cost estimates into Oracle Primavera Unifier. "This makes (cost management) much easier for us and much more manageable for everyone on the project," Erdman says.  With the modern lifecycle management and scheduling capabilities provided by the Oracle Primavera applications, CSX achieved greater information sharing and project visibility across all engineering departments, as well as more accurate project estimates and improved planning and cash flow.  Watch the entire presentation from Oracle Industry Connect 2017 to learn more about CSX's successful project portfolio management transformation effort, including additional benefits realized and key lessons learned along the way for ensuring a successful technology rollout.  Registration for the next Oracle Industry Connect, to be held April 10-11, 2018, in New York City, is now open; visit the Oracle Industry Connect site to learn more.  The event will feature a host of sessions led by customers and other innovators from a wide range of industries, including engineering and construction, industrial manufacturing, oil and gas, travel and transportation, public sector, and utilities. With a focus on sharing best practices, these sessions will highlight how leading organizations are using Oracle Construction and Engineering solutions to drive business transformation.

CSX Transportation, a leading railroad with 21,000 miles of track across the U.S. East Coast and eastern Canada, recently set out to modernize its project management processes and improve information...

Buildings and Facilities

Primavera Helps the University of Texas System Manage Complex Projects

Officials at the University of Texas System don't just imagine the future, they're already embracing it. "We feel we are already building the world of tomorrow," says Chris Macon, manager of program control systems for the Office of Facilities Planning and Construction (OFPC). His remarks echoed the core theme of the Construction and Engineering Program at Oracle Industry Connect 2017, where his presentation was delivered.  That presentation, in which Macon explores how the OFPC is bringing the future to life with the help of Oracle's Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management and Primavera Unifier, is now available on demand.  Oracle's technology helps Macon's team oversee a $6.2 billion capital improvement program that's building modern classrooms, health care and research facilities, advanced computing labs, and other future-oriented resources. "Over the last decade, the OFPC completed about $8.6 billion in projects; Primavera Unifier and Primavera P6 were utilized in all of that," he says.  With Primavera P6, the OFPC monitors contractual compliance, creates progress reports, analyzes change proposals, and facilitates scheduling and planning responsibilities as well as claims analyses and forensics. Primavera Unifier supports funding and cost management, schedule of values, and collaboration among team members.  Macon says the reports his staff produces with these applications "is one of our greatest assets" because in addition to the latest data, the analyses can draw from 10 years of archived information for trends and historical insights. Reports help decision makers understand project cost-recovery, the value-engineering effort, and how project expenses compare to building programs by other organizations in Texas and the rest of the country.  The OFTC also optimizes funding using Oracle Primavera's reporting and analysis capabilities. For example, Macon notes that cost reductions are possible by delaying bond purchases until they're actually needed. "If we know what our funding sources are and what our cash flow is, we can predict when we will expend one source and when we need to start expending another," he explains. "The flexibility of the system allows us to do this."  For additional insights about how Oracle helps the OFTC improve project planning and delivery, watch Macon's full presentation from Oracle Industry Connect 2017.  Registration for the next Oracle Industry Connect, to be held April 10-11, 2018, in New York City, is now open; visit the Oracle Industry Connect site to learn more.  The event will feature a host of sessions led by customers and other innovators from a wide range of industries, including engineering and construction, industrial manufacturing, oil and gas, travel and transportation, public sector, and utilities. With a focus on sharing best practices, these sessions will highlight how leading organizations are using Oracle Construction and Engineering solutions to drive business transformation.  

Officials at the University of Texas System don't just imagine the future, they're already embracing it. "We feel we are already building the world of tomorrow," says Chris Macon, manager of program...

Customer Success

Innovation, Technology Drive Infrastructure Program Success

Earlier this month, I joined a contingent of Oracle Construction and Engineering colleagues in London at The Project Controls Expo, where we (and roughly 1,500 others) heard stories of successful project and program management at a variety of industries.  Central to many of these stories was the role innovation and technology play in delivering critical improvements in these areas.   The keynote speaker was Dr. David Hancock, construction director for the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) of the UK government’s Cabinet Office. Being a UK taxpayer myself, I was keen to hear how the IPA is going about ensuring the major projects it oversees are delivered on time and on budget. The IPA works across government with the aim of supporting the successful delivery of all types of infrastructure and major projects, ranging from railways, schools, hospitals and housing, to defense, IT and major transformation programs. Their aim is to continuously improve the way infrastructure and major projects are delivered to support government priorities and improve people’s lives. In particular, I was excited to hear that the greatest proportion and growth area of major government projects are infrastructure and construction related; of the 143 major projects overseen by the IPA, around half of the full-life costs of these projects are infrastructure related. Of the total budget of £455.5 billion, £222.5 billion are infrastructure related, with the next biggest being military at £143.3 billion. The IPA uses a methodology called the Delivery Confidence Assessment (DCA) to evaluate a project’s likelihood of achieving its aims and objectives. The IPA uses a standard five-point scale that ranges from green, where successful delivery is highly likely, to red, where delivery appears unachievable unless urgent, and often substantial, action is taken. Across the whole portfolio, more than 60% of projects by whole-life cost were rated amber or better, and the performance of projects is improving year-on-year with the support of more than 10,000 project management professionals within government.  This investment in people is underpinned by one of the IPA’s main priorities, which is to build capability in government by providing project leadership programs such as the Major Projects Leadership Academy (MPLA), where more than 400 professionals have enrolled and 250 have graduated to date. Following the keynote there were five program tracks throughout the day. Naturally, I followed those related to infrastructure projects - my pet subject -  freshly enthused by the knowledge that at least part of the taxable portion of my hard-earned income is being spent diligently. Next on my agenda was a presentation by Julie Owen, deputy executive officer-program management, program control, for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.  Here was an opportunity to hear how a major program of work is delivered by the organization responsible for the planning, design, build and operation of the second-largest US public transport system, which covers some 89 cities and an area of 1,433 square miles. With the 2028 Olympic Games being held in Los Angeles, the urgency of certain transit system projects is uppermost in many people’s minds – including that of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. He announced a new “28 by 28” initiative at the last meeting of the Metro Board of Directors to speed up 28 of its transit projects in an effort to ready the city to host the Summer Olympics. It was great to hear how the program management information system used by the LA Metro is delivered using Oracle’s Financials and Primavera solution set.  For such a high-profile program of works, providing visibility on progress to multiple stakeholders is key, with dashboards allowing information to be delivered for to internal and external (public) users alike. One area that really caught my attention was how LA Metro has used the risk management capabilities of Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management and extended them with user-defined fields and snapshots to keep a history of how risks have changed over time and by project milestone, thus allowing them a better understanding of drivers.  It was an engaging and insightful talk, and I’m pleased to note that Julie will join Oracle Construction and Engineering as a presenter at Oracle Industry Connect next April in New York. During her presentation, Julie will further explore LA Metro’s work and how the agency is leveraging Oracle technology to promote innovation and enhance project delivery. I attended two additional presentations: one by Niall Faris, the Head of Programme Controls at Thames Tideway, and another by the team at National Grid. Both were great examples of the types of infrastructure projects and programs hidden from the casual observer but crucial to people’s everyday lives. Passionate people delivering life-improving projects is what makes working in this industry hugely rewarding to me.

Earlier this month, I joined a contingent of Oracle Construction and Engineering colleagues in London at The Project Controls Expo, where we (and roughly 1,500 others) heard stories of...

Five tips from Parsons to reduce risk on alternative delivery model projects

Over the past decade, the size, expense, and number of organizations working on engineering and construction (E&C) projects has grown exponentially, spawning a new species dubbed “megaprojects”. The risk inherent in megaprojects is massive. In many cases, mitigating “mega-risk” on these projects require alternative delivery methods – such as joint ventures (JVs) and public-private partnerships (P3s) – to prevent a single organization from shouldering the burden of risk alone. So, how can you tackle a megaproject with the help of alternative delivery models? Hans Hoppe, the Director of Project Risk at Parsons (one of the world’s largest leading engineering and construction organizations) recently hosted a webinar with Aconex. Hans shared five steps to ensuring successful delivery of alternative delivery projects. They include: Adopt a collaborative leadership mindset A committed and enthusiastic leadership team will help set the tone for their cross-organizational project team– often scattered across the globe—to follow. Leaders should encourage their organization to adopt new construction project management software and share timely, cross-functional program information. Develop a program-wide document repository During project kick-off, Parsons relies on a project-wide document repository as a crucial element to mobilizing their projects. With this new project management standard, they invalidated a claim in less than 24 hours by swiftly accessing pertinent documentation. Implement flexible systems Relying on offline processes to manage megaprojects poses major risks. Manage your processes via an easily-configurable project-wide system instead. A flexible, cloud-based system provides faster visibility into your progress and performance across your entire portfolio. Select neutral systems Project teams collaborate best without barriers. With a neutral system, no single company controls the information. Each organization has their own secure space and can easily share what they choose to with others. Software adoption rates are high because a neutral system helps everyone. Begin with the end in mind Avoid errors, rework, and disputes by selecting a system with the flexibility and functionality to support your entire project team. An efficient and unalterable project record created at the beginning of your project will help support operations and maintenance for decades to come. Want to learn more? Click here to listen to the complete recording.

Over the past decade, the size, expense, and number of organizations working on engineering and construction (E&C) projects has grown exponentially, spawning a new species dubbed “megaprojects”.The...

Customer Success

Explore the Future of Project Delivery at Oracle Industry Connect 2018

What does the future of project delivery look like, and how do we – collectively – get there? What are the transformative ideas and innovations that are reshaping this landscape, enabling organizations to unlock new levels of productivity and operational effectiveness? What technologies and practices, nascent or still speculative today, are likely to be commonplace in 15 years? These and similar forward-looking questions will pervade the many educational sessions, hallway conversations, and solution-focused presentations during the Construction and Engineering (formerly Primavera) program at the upcoming Oracle Industry Connect 2018 event. Against this backdrop, Oracle Construction and Engineering will showcase our vision of the future and examine the collective effort by organizations and their technology providers to bring about the changes that will transform project and program management for the better. Oracle Industry Connect 2018 will be held April 10-11 in New York City. Registration for this exclusive event is now open; visit the Oracle Industry Connect site to learn more. Central to our program are more than 20 educational sessions led by customers and other innovators and thought leaders from an array of industries, including engineering and construction, industrial manufacturing, oil and gas, travel and transportation, public sector, and utilities. With a focus on sharing best practices, sessions will highlight how leading organizations are using Oracle's Construction and Engineering solutions to drive business transformation with a holistic approach to reducing costs, mitigating uncertainty, and improving outcomes. In addition, our program will feature several presentations exploring how various emerging technologies -  including exoskeletons, drones, and autonomous vehicles - can reshape construction and industrial project delivery. Attendees also will have ample opportunities to network with peers and to engage directly with Oracle leaders and solution experts. Oracle Industry Connect 2017 featured an range of insightful presentations from Oracle customers such as Burns & McDonnell and Alectra Utilitles, as well as customer panel discussions on the benefits of moving to the cloud and other topics. This year's lineup already includes a keynote presentation from McKinsey & Co. and customer presentations from such organizations as Skanska USA, DPR Construction, Kellogg, NextEra Energy, Swinerton, Turner, LA Metro, New York Parks and Recreation, PG&E, Rockefeller Group, and many more. For the latest lineup and agenda, and to register to attend, visit  Oracle Industry Connect 2018. Read insights from the Oracle Industry Connect 2018 report here. In addition, check out a short video to hear from some of our attendees on the value of Oracle Industry Connect, both to them personally and to their organizations.

What does the future of project delivery look like, and how do we – collectively – get there? What are the transformative ideas and innovations that are reshaping this landscape,...

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