While the transformation of an entire nation often extends across many years, if not decades, the Public Works Authority "Ashghal" is tackling this huge infrastructure undertaking for Qatar over just a few years.
Among the major improvements currently underway:
Such a massive undertaking involves multiple organizations that must coordinate with one another spanning the entire life of the project. That encompasses everything from initial design and preconstruction to ongoing operations and maintenance and beyond.
This program, however, is unique in that a single organization is managing the full project lifecycle of the nation’s rapid transformation. Public Works Authority "Ashghal," the only entity in Qatar creating national infrastructure programs on behalf of multiple agencies, is committed to taking a long-term view as they modernize the country’s infrastructure, creating new possibilities for the country and the people of Qatar.
The scope and magnitude of the program and system implementation cannot be understated. It is massive. It is complex. It is the biggest infrastructure program in the Middle East and one of the biggest in the world.
“This is truly a transformational journey for the country of Qatar,” says Abeer Al-Hajri, Manager of Information Systems Department (ISD) at Ashghal, highlighting that in the coming years, the Public Works Authority is expecting to manage approximately 900 different projects, including ongoing and upcoming projects worth approximately 250 billion Qatari Riyal.
“Ashghal is responsible for design, construction, operation, maintenance, and management of infrastructure including roads, drainage, and buildings such as public buildings, schools, and hospitals., so we are thinking about how we are building, how we are collecting and managing data, and how we can make the most of this investment in our country. It is a huge programme!”
Not only is this by far the largest program ever undertaken in Qatar, but there also is a firm, non-negotiable schedule deadline. It’s critical for Ashghal to successfully deliver these programs to scope and on time.
Indeed, the short time period for a program of this magnitude is truly extraordinary. Ashghal showed the foresight to assure that its operational solutions could handle the scope of so many projects in a condensed timeframe. They recognized the importance of selecting and implementing proven portfolio management technology solutions to provide controls, visibility, and forward-looking insights to manage these programs efficiently.
“It is a very large system implementation,” Abeer Al-Hajri says. “We were looking for and found in Oracle’s Primavera Unifier a cradle-to-grave solution to standardize and automate construction project management lifecycle processes, end to end and across all Ashghal.”
A large number of stakeholders across all areas are involved in the design, process, and cost management of roads, expressways, and other infrastructure. Yet it isn’t just construction and engineering projects being managed in Primavera Unifier.
Shared services, IT, HR, and general services projects are also managed on the Oracle system, taking advantage of its flexibility, efficiency of automated workflows, visibility, and control over all processes.
Such flexibility was a key reason Ashghal selected Oracle’s Primavera Unifier over competitive solutions they considered.
In the past, Ashghal relied on various siloed, document-driven systems and lacked the consistency that one cohesive integrated solution brings to fully manage an asset’s lifecycle. By implementing Primavera Unifier across programs, functional areas, and processes, Ashghal is bringing together people, processes, and data, speeding up activities, and reducing errors.
In the previous model, contractors bought their own project management tool on Ashghal’ s projects. Ashghal now provides a centralized Project management information system (PMIS)—Primavera Unifier—for the entire team to use, so there is no need for each contractor to bring its own system. This approach saves Ashghal money and improves consistency.
If you don’t have the data, you are essentially operating in the dark. Mrs. Abeer Al-Hajri recognized that the company needed a technology solution to capture and manage the data, ensuring it is accessible and in a usable format was next. Data integrity is critical to teams having trust in the information and adopting the technology quickly, and Primavera Unifier has let Ashghal bring all that data together into one platform.
Issues that used to take two to three weeks to resolve now take just a couple of days—an 80 percent improvement—which is a huge value in keeping their projects and programs moving. Secure, easy access to a system in which team members from other organizations, such as the project management consultant and general contractor, can access allows Ashghal to bring everyone together on the same page.
“It was always a desire to bring all the stakeholders onto a common platform,” Abeer Al-Hajri says. Primavera Unifier’s automated workflows also helps Ashghal meet stringent cash-flow requirements. They can track the approved budgets, commitments, actuals, anticipated changes, and forecast expenditures, thereby providing a means to efficiently manage costs.
Previous document-driven and point systems didn’t provide the benefits and connected processes of a form-based workflow system and the visibility and control offered by Primavera Unifier. As an example, in the past, only total costs would appear. With Primavera Unifier, Ashghal is now provided with a breakdown of line items. Payments are timelier and more accurate, and there is greater confidence in the process.
“Primavera Unifier allows us to digitally review and process the contractor payments and invoices,” Abeer Al-Hajri says. “It saves time in validating & processing payment applications and have optimized the overall KPI.”
Reviews, feedback, and approvals also are faster, helping keep critical programs on track to meet Qatar’s rigorous deadlines. In the past, reviews were routed via email, without the benefits of tracking or deadlines. Now, if engineering services finds an issue, they can immediately route it to right people for resolution and can be assured of its completion.
“Primavera Unifier’s functionality covers the full project lifecycle enabling us to have one solution to manage all phases from planning to completion of all projects across the portfolio,” Abeer Al-Hajri says.
Ashghal has the advantage of Oracle Premier Support with direct access to the Primavera Unifier product team’s expertise and knowledge. In addition, Oracle Construction and Engineering Consulting Services has provided the right oversight and guidance to mitigate risk, reduce costs, and protect and maximize Ashghal’s investment in Oracle.
Ashghal uses several other Oracle solutions in addition to Primavera Unifier.
“We gained visibility and transparency. This brings not only control and assurance, but it builds trust,” Abeer Al-Hajri says. “There is a full record of all activities and decisions which is valuable throughout the asset life.”
The Oracle technology platform is helping Ashghal deliver the needed infrastructure to the country and people of Qatar, with control and assurance.
Oracle Construction and Engineering, the global leader in construction management software and project portfolio management solutions, helps you connect your teams, processes, and data across the project and asset lifecycle. Drive efficiency and control in project delivery with proven solutions for project controls, construction scheduling, portfolio management, BIM/CDE, construction payment management, and more.