Thursday Mar 03, 2016

How can I deliver better projects in my Smart City?

By: Werner Maritz, Public Sector and Infrastructure Industry Strategy

The world is watching - 10 Game Changing Characteristics

Globally city managers are faced with an ever-increasing city population and a decrease in financial and human resources to deliver adequate services across the city region. The challenge of ensuring the city’s sustainability must be seen against a backdrop of increased environmental and social awareness, economic pressure and competition for public and private investment in and around the city. City managers are often faced with challenges related to ensuring basic human rights, dignity, safety and security for the poorest of residents while delivering on the life style demands and expectations from the richest of residents. Often these diverse groups are living in close proximity of each other and resources must be allocated and shared. Given this familiar situation, city management need to prioritize capital and social investment to deliver on the strategic objectives of the city, a fine balancing act indeed.

City managers need to take a holistic approach in planning the future growth and improvements across the city to ensure not only cost-effective services delivery of and new infrastructure but also ensure synergy across the city responsibilities related to Built Environment, Economic and Social Infrastructure to ensure the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the city. From breaking down the traditional silo approach of the City departments to having real-time insight of the transversal infrastructure demand and backlog across these departments is critical to effective investment planning in the city. Eliminating duplication of effort between departments and leveraging synergy to achieve common objectives is key to a successful Smart City Transformation Roadmap.

Leveraging continuous technology advances and improving cost-benefits ratio of technology to improve the productivity of the city’s infrastructure, city managers face an ever-increasing portfolio of new projects to be delivered across the city. Often these are complex, long term programs consisting of multiple sub-projects to plan, co-ordinate, and implement with due regard to operational effectiveness improvements in the process. Monitoring performance and taking timely corrective action is critical in delivering these long-range programs on time and within budget in a complex delivery environment with multiple stakeholders.

Effectively transitioning the city’s new assets into the operations and maintenance phase is critical to ensure early value generation from these investments, and to manage and maintain these assets at their design capacity and capability over many years to come.

 

Oracle Primavera Smart City Projects Solution

A significant challenge in the implementation of Smart City Transformation Roadmaps across the world is related to securing adequate funding for the projects on the roadmap. Development Financing Institutions (DFI) and potential Public Private Partnerships (PPP) indicate that adequate funding is available to realize the Smart City Transformation goals but they have two main investment decision considerations:

  • The availability of investment grade project opportunities, and
  • The assurance that adequate financial control and governance processes are in place during the project implementation phase.

The Oracle Primavera Smart City Projects Solution delivers 10 characteristics, which will significantly contribute to meeting these requirements:

1. Implement a detailed project portfolio management process to show the alignment of the investment opportunity with the overall strategic objectives of the city. Track the development and approval of deliverables across project development phases. Show how the business case for the project supports the longer term vision of the Smart City transformation roadmap and how benefits realization will be tracked once in operation;

2. Establish a standard platform for program and project set-up, project management and project close-out processes. Ensuring predicable and repeatable project processes and structures facilitate effective project administration;

3. Set a standard for project performance monitoring and reporting. Standard performance reporting across all projects enables decision makers to take early corrective action based on real-time metrics indicating deviation from planned cost and schedule objectives. Poor performance from contractors and suppliers is a leading cause of project failure

4. Enforce project and financial governance processes through configurable workflow for change requests and financial approvals. Ensure the auditability of actions taken by project team members and tracking of contractual deliverables;

5. Implement a formal project scope and contract change management processes. Align the interim contract payments with a formal schedule of values under the contract terms and conditions. Only make payments for work actually completed and certified;

6. Enable electronic correspondence management, document tracking, document control and electronic document handover across all project team members, city operating divisions and external stakeholders. Create a full electronic record of the project to ensure proper project hand-over, close-out and dispute resolution support;

7. Leverage transactional control data in the City’s ERP to enable informed cost and cash-flow management and forecasting. Integrating the Oracle Primavera Smart City Project Solution with the City’s ERP solution will promote operational efficiency and financial data integrity.

8. Implement a formal program and project risk management platform, integrated with the cost and schedule management of the project. Effective program and project risk management is one of the most under-estimated forward looking management tools within the overall project governance framework;

9. Establish a collaborative environment between the city project owner’s team, engineers, consultants, main contractors and sub-contractors. Clear and timely communication between team members reduce project schedule delays due to delayed decisions caused by slow communications;

10. Implement a formal post contract award management environment in support of the chosen contract format. This will facilitate contracts administration, contract change management, interim payment certification, partial and full contract deliverables handover and acceptance. Ensuring compliance with the conditions of the contracts between the city and the contractor will reduce the project cost growth due to uncontrolled contract changes. Preventing litigation related to contested contract changes is an effective manner to contain cost growth and wasteful expenditure on a project

 

Easy to deploy

In todays fast passed city environment the deployment of integrated management systems need to provide the agility the Smart City Transformation Roadmap demands. Unfortunately city IT managers often face challenges to deploy any form of integrated management systems to stakeholders outside of the city administration. In part, this may be due to cost consideration, the city’s procurement policies or data security considerations.

The Oracle Primavera Smart City Projects Solution is a fully web based solution which can be deployed as a Software-as-a-Services (SaaS) solution from Oracle or as an on-premise solution in the city’s own IT environment. The Oracle Primavera solution is designed for the extended enterprise. Cost effective licencing models put the solution within reach of all project stakeholders. The user access and security model is designed to enable deployment outside of only the city administration, allowing the operational efficiencies of a truly integrated project delivery platform across the city and its stakeholders.

The Oracle Primavera solution supports the use of mobile devises to facilitate a productive workforce across the city. Leveraging the city’s communication networks allow project team members and stakeholders to access project planning and contract information, status activities and contracts, and access reports and dashboards while on the go from their mobile devices.

 

1PPM for Intermodal Transportation & Infrastructure Organizations: Select, Manage and Maintain Transformative Projects. Aberdeen Group, March 2015

 

Monday Feb 29, 2016

Solve the Decommissioning Dilemma

By: Guy Barlow, director, industry strategy, Oracle Primavera

Decommissioning might be a rather dry phase of the asset lifecycle, but it is essential. And, at the same time, it is becoming increasingly costly and risk-laden – in 2014, total decommissioning spending came to between $1.6 and $1.8 billion.[1] For decades, it has been relegated to afterthought status in many industries, including the oil and gas (O&G) sector. Businesses instead have focused the bulk of their attention on bringing new projects online as rapidly and cost-effectively as possible to optimize production volumes and maximize revenue.

Times are changing, however. According to Decomworld’s Offshore Decommissioning Report, the drop in crude oil prices has shifted perceptions on decommissioning activity, and with this, the number of decommissioning projects is expected to rise as high as 250 in 2015 and 2016, from 210 in 2014. Federal regulations and declining shelf production have caused decommissioning projects, specifically in the Gulf of Mexico, to see record levels of activity, generating roughly $9 billion in spending and, as of January 2015, the market is valued at $26 billion.

As a result, O&G companies, as well as their counterparts in other asset-intensive industries, are rapidly realizing the need to better plan for and manage the final mile of their assets as carefully as they do their initial construction.

Roadblocks on the Path to Success

Aberdeen Group reported that less than 25 percent of asset-intensive organizations have a plan in place for decommissioning assets. Several factors are driving this surprising statistic:

  • Increased Focus on New Assets. New assets and infrastructure are vital to ensuring the scale and reliability needed to achieve agility in the volatile O&G industry. As such, enterprises are very focused on completing these new projects on time and on budget.
  • Asset Lifecycle is Stretched Thin. O&G companies, for example, are looking to squeeze every last drop of productivity out of their assets, especially as markets tighten and prices decline. This often involves extending lifecycles well beyond the original targets.
  • Resources are Limited. Enterprises today must frequently choose between applying skilled resources on new projects as opposed to using them to plan for or proceed with decommissioning. And, as decommissioning activity is expected to surge in the next year, there will be more pressure on offshore equipment resources causing industry experts to take a more collaborative approach to maximize resources with minimal costs.1

Focusing solely on these shorter-term considerations can create formidable challenges in the future—essentially, enterprises are overlooking the considerable opportunity costs, potential operational risks, and financial repercussions associated with a mismanaged decommissioning project.

Last, but Certainly Not Least

Although it’s the last step in the asset lifecycle, decommissioning should be approached with the same deliberation as the design, build, and operate phases as it carries significant risk. And, as the drop in crude oil prices causes the number of structure removals to rise, it is now even more important for O&G organizations to ensure they have an effective approach in place to carry out the decommissioning process.1

So what can O&G companies and other asset-intensive enterprises do? Here are six strategies that our customers have used to ensure successful decommissioning initiatives:

  1. Collaborate Early and Often. Involve all key stakeholders throughout the lifecycle planning process to define and validate project scope and approach. This includes facility managers, line-of-business leaders, risk officers, as well as executive management—and encompasses multiple external stakeholders—contractors, partners, as well as local, state, and Federal regulators who have jurisdiction over the project. It is also important to seek early input from individuals who manage and decommission the asset, as they can provide important insight into design features that can reduce the cost and risk of decommissioning decades later.

  2. Create a Centralized Plan Repository With the Ability to Embed Risk Assessment Into the Plan. These repositories are often the core of enterprise project portfolio management (EPPM) solutions. Organizations can embed risk information into these repositories and the resulting plans, enabling them to prepare and react to unforeseen issues, perform “what if” scenarios, and monitor the status of a project to approve, continue, and optimize decommissioning projects. Having this information repository in place is vital so that organizations have the institutional knowledge to effectively decommission an asset when it has reached end of life.

  3. Optimize Resources. As resources become increasingly scarce and expensive, stakeholders need complete and real-time visibility into the skill sets at their disposal, as well as where and how resources are deployed throughout the organization. It is also critical to standardize procedures for selecting resources and predefine exception processes. Working within this framework, leaders can accurately identify required skills and resources and effectively map them to project requirements, enabling them to avoid delays, mistakes, and cost overruns.

  4. Ensure Real-time Visibility Into Projects and Performance. Leaders require real-time visibility into project performance, including progress and budget adherence, and must be able to share this information with internal and external stakeholders. Clear insight into milestones achieved and missed, status updates, budget versus actual spend, and work breakdown structure updates are essential. With this approach, businesses can better determine and plan effectively for end of life to optimize return on investment.

  5. Equip Managers With Tools Needed to Plan and Execute. Automating the asset lifecycle management process is increasingly essential—the days of spreadsheets and paper-based processes are long gone. Leaders should look for tools like EPPM that can automate processes such as scheduling, costing, project management, reporting, and collaboration. At a strategic level, these changes could open doors to improved strategy execution, operational excellence, and financial performance across the entire enterprise, to ultimately ensure that projects are not only completed within budget and on time, but also to drive long-term value that aligns with business objectives.

  6. Focus on Continuous Improvement. Always take time to assess progress and capture knowledge for future initiatives. Leading enterprises bake continuous improvement into their standard operating procedures for project management and benefit greatly from continued evolution of best practices.

O&G companies, along with other types of asset-intensive enterprises, can set a solid foundation to support current and future customer demands by embracing a holistic approach to asset lifecycle management. With project management best practices, careful planning, and proven methodologies and technology solutions, these organizations can finally put an end to decommissioning distress.


[1] Upstream Intelligence, “Spike in GoM Decommissioning Quickens Need for Deepwater Expertise,” October 5, 2015 http://analysis.upstreamintel.com/deepwater/spike-gom-decommissioning-quickens-need-deepwater-expertise

Sunday Feb 28, 2016

New Report and Benchmark Assessment: The Secret to Reducing Shutdown Risks

New Report and Benchmark Assessment: The Secret to Reducing Shutdown Risks

A new study by the Aberdeen Group reports that leaders in asset-intensive industries such as the oil and gas, utilities, and chemicals sectors can gain an advantage when they have formalized processes in place to assess, quantify, and prioritize risks associated with shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages (STOs). Find out how enterprise project portfolio management can play a role in reducing the risks associated with STOs.[Read More]

Wednesday Feb 24, 2016

Oracle Delivers a New Contract Management Solution Customized for Engineering and Construction

Oracle Delivers a New Contract Management Solution Customized for Engineering and Construction

The new Oracle Contract Management cloud accelerator gives engineering and construction project teams a range of new tools for more closely controlling contract management and keeping costs in line with project expectations. Find out what the solution's key benefits are and where to learn more. [Read More]

Friday Feb 19, 2016

Five Reasons to Move to Cloud-Based Enterprise Project Portfolio Management

Five Reasons to Move to Cloud-Based Enterprise Project Portfolio Management

Industry studies show that 20 percent of projects may fail as organizations take on more risk in search of higher rewards. To mitigate risk, organizations are turning to modern project management solutions such as Oracle's Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Cloud Service. Learn about five critical benefits of moving project management to the cloud.

[Read More]

Friday Feb 05, 2016

The Fourth Dimension Has Arrived

By: Garrett Harley, Director, Engineering & Construction Strategy, Oracle Primavera

Making sense of the BIG picture

It’s a construction manager’s nightmare. Once work starts on site, it’s blatantly obvious the plans are flawed. Calls to architects and engineers might be able to resolve the issue, but what does this mean for materials, building products, subcontractors and specialists? Implications for all of these resources need to be considered in the light of the new redesign and even, throughout the project.

The arrival and popularity of building information modelling (BIM) is helping to make light of this situation. Redesigns can be considered on screen rather than onsite, on paper. What’s more, the consequences for materials and products can also be calculated.

BIM has been around for a few years, but now it’s entering the new dimension. This means that as well as three spatial orientations, the software also maps out how construction will progress through time – and it while accounting for the financial dimension too – it really delivers the BIG picture.

But BIM isn’t everything

To manage a whole project from start to finish, and through to operator handover and ongoing maintenance, BIM needs to be extended and integrated.

Construction and engineering managers need to map and display the embedded construction schedule on to the 3D model. They need to verify personnel clearances and spot any design incompatibilities. Another challenge is that construction contractors are investing in standalone BIM systems which need to be integrated with other enterprise systems, including ERP, supply chain and financial management.

Oracle makes all these systems, as well as producing project management software which can keep huge organizational projects on track. Bringing BIM into this environment can put construction managers in a better place when planning and executing building projects. And with the data managed in the Master Data Management platform it means that as changes are made throughout the project and at speed – it means you can visualize all the interconnected outcomes.

To discover more, read our latest business brief.

Thursday Jan 14, 2016

When The Unexpected Strikes

By: Krista Lambert, Director, Engineering & Construction Strategy, Oracle Primavera

Tales of the Unexpected

Expect the unexpected. That’s a mantra every construction manager could do with heeding. But it’s easier said than done. The one thing we don’t want is the unexpected.

The bigger the project the harder it seems to keep it on track. In the US, the Big Dig, which involved rerouting and tunnelling Boston’s Central Artery to the heart of the city centre, was set to be finished by 1998. In December 2007 the project was finally finished, with a cost overrun of 190 percent at $14.6 billion, much of which was attributed to unexpected changes.

Such is the complexity of these mega-projects it’s tempting to think that overruns and cost inflation are inevitable. Certainly change is unavoidable in a project of this scale and length. But how you manage change, can make a big difference.

Preparing for change

In a recent Economist Intelligence Unit survey of 300 executives in asset-intensive industries like construction, more than 60 percent blamed unexpected change for at least half of all project overruns. More than half of respondents rank their organizations as average or below average at anticipating change (55 percent), measuring the impact of change after its implemented (55 percent) and making contingency plans to accommodate potential change (51 percent).

There is clearly room for improvement. The question is, what can be done about it? Enterprise project portfolio management software can now track and aggregate all sorts of data vital to complex projects. This helps project managers map out “what if” scenarios to assess the impact of possible changes before they happen, and figure out how much to invest in mitigating these risks. Data can be shared with all internal and external stakeholders. It can also be extracted and integrated from ERP, finance and other enterprise systems.

Managing change has always been tough, but now there are tools to help. Ignoring them could simply lead to digging a bigger hole.

To discover more, read our latest business brief.

Monday Dec 14, 2015

Discover the latest version of Oracle's Instantis EnterpriseTrack and EnterpriseTrack Mobile

Oracle's Instantis EnterpriseTrack is the leading, cloud-optimized enterprise project portfolio management (PPM) software used to improve strategy execution and financial performance through better work and resource management.

Join us for our webcast and live Q&A to learn about significant improvements in the 15.2 version.
Register Now . [Read More]

Tuesday Dec 08, 2015

The Risks of ‘Word of Mouth’

By: Garrett Harley, Director, Engineering & Construction Strategy, Oracle Primavera

Where’s Bob?

When a kitchen appliance isn’t behaving as it should, it’s best to consult the manual. That’s if you can find it. In the digital, searchable, online world, it is easy to forget how much valuable information is hidden away. Until someone really needs it.

Multiply this problem by thousands and the difficulties in the maintenance of large capital assets become clear. Information needed by maintenance engineers might be in the architect’s drawings, the engineer’s calculations or in any documents from thousands of suppliers. It might be in the notepad of Bob, who heads up electrical engineering, his team made some changes to the set-up of the security schematics. Where is he? And where is the information?

The problem is that it might even have been mentioned in any number of project meetings and even the handover meetings between the construction contractors and the owner-operators. But where was the information captured?

With many different specialists (Bob#1, Bob#2, Bob#3, etc) working on a single capital asset, information gets stuck behind ‘tribal’ boundaries and sits in silos. Bob’s scenario is all too frequent and the complexity throughout the project lifecycle is magnified.

A lack of clear, consolidated, searchable data on components, materials and construction techniques can making maintaining buildings highly inefficient. It also creates a risk of the building being poorly maintained. Mistakes here lead to costly reactive work further down the road. It’s not a good place to be.

But there are better ways to manage the hand-over of large-scale capital assets. There are tools available that allow the main contractors to capture all the data in a coherent but flexible workflow. With so many people involved in a large project, keeping track of all the adjustments – it can make maintenance a lot easier, creating massive savings in the lifetime cost of the asset and more to the point – fewer ‘where’s Bob’ moments.

To discover more, read our latest business brief.

Thursday Dec 03, 2015

Optimize Maintenance Operations to Reduce Operating Costs

by Guy Barlow, Director, Industy Strategy,  Oracle

The impact of maintenance on the bottom line has never been greater. By skimping on maintenance, you run the risk of increased downtime and decreased revenue generation.

Millions of dollars and the success or failure of critical projects are on the line every time a skilled craftsman lays a wrench on an important piece of machinery.

Similarly, maintenance is tasked with keeping equipment running longer and more efficiently as the combination of an aging infrastructure and many new plants coming online challenge a diminishing maintenance work force.

As a result, maintenance and reliability teams are being asked to do more with less.

Read more....

[Read More]
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