Tuesday Nov 26, 2013

Enabling Public Sector Efficiency, Transparency

Written by: Paul Bender – Director, Public Administration Strategy, Oracle Primavera

Whether focused on infrastructure, public safety, healthcare or education, public sector organizations face some common and complex challenges in today’s environment, most related to limited funding, oversight and transparency and the increasing and immediate demand to construct new or upgrade existing systems and services.

Public sector entities—and their engineering and construction consultants— must find ways to operate within the given budgets while still meeting the growing needs of constituents.

These entities must answer pointed questions: Given the present budget environment, how does a public works agency determine which program(s) to terminate or downsize to avoid minimal disruption to citizen services? How can an airport authority develop better program oversight and transparency? Is a university system able to model program and portfolio risk so it can create contingency plans? Are there ways that every public entity can reduce waste and inefficiency through better contractor/vendor management? project management best practices in the public sector

No doubt, technology tools can help. Today’s program management solutions, in particular, can help any organization determine where to invest capital that drives greater constituent or agency value, captures inventory for projects and programs, provides oversight for mission objectives…or all of the above.

Program management technology is an enabler designed to improve strategic investment decisions around resource allocation and maintenance. It’s the foundation for facilitating the three strategic drivers—financial discipline, operational efficiency and risk management—that characterize the success of any business regardless of size, scope or market segment. Using technology to enable these three strategic drivers will drive better coordination, compliance and control so that public sector entities and their E&C teams can meet the demands of constituents, stakeholders and regulators in a timely, affordable manner.

Already airport authorities, transportation agencies, universities, healthcare systems and public works organizations have applied program management solutions to make the most of limited funding, meet oversight and transparency metrics and reduce waste and inefficiency.

Read the complete online magazine here.

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Friday Nov 15, 2013

Enabling Cloud-Based Project Visibility at the University of Utah

With an eye on transparency and financial discipline, the University of Utah in Salt Lake City has taken a cloud-based approach to manage its over 300 capital projects totaling more than US$900 million. cloud-based project portfolio management solution

The University of Utah is a leading education and research institution that serves more than 33,000 students. It offers more than 90 undergraduate degree programs and more than 100 fields of study at the graduate level, including law and medicine.

Maintaining aging facilities and constructing new facilities to meet the needs of the students, educators and researchers is a continuous and complex task. For years, the University of Utah’s Facilities Management department had used an in-house database for construction project tracking. In an effort to improve project visibility and enable more stringent financial controls, the university deployed Oracle’s cloud-based Primavera Unifier project management system.

Greg Colf, senior business systems analyst in Facilities Management at the University, recalls, “We went from a simple database system with limited access to a cloud-based, robust cost management and contract control system that provides greater flexibility to end-users, reduces IT management costs and enables project transparency.”

The University integrated Primavera Unifier with its PeopleSoft Financial environment to manage contracts, automate payments to vendors and ensure fiscal transparency.

In the near future, the university plans to integrate its Primavera Unifier system with facility operations, maintenance management and geographic information systems for greater data management, transparency and sharing opportunities.

Read the complete article here.

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Monday Nov 11, 2013

EPPM Is a Must-Have Capability as Global Energy and Power Industries Eye US$38 Trillion in New Investments

“The process manufacturing industry is facing an unprecedented challenge: from now until 2035, cumulative worldwide investments of US$38 trillion will be required for drilling, power generation, and other energy projects,” Iain Graham, director of energy and process manufacturing for Oracle’s Primavera, said in a recent webcast. He adds that process manufacturing organizations such as oil and gas, utilities, and chemicals must manage this level of investment in an environment of constrained capital markets, erratic supply and demand, aging infrastructure, heightened regulations, and declining global skills. In the following interview, Graham explains how the right enterprise project portfolio management (EPPM) technology can help the industry meet these imperatives. Project Portfolio Management Solutions for Capital Projects

Q: Why is EPPM so important for today’s process manufacturers?
A: If the industry invests US$38 trillion without proper cost controls in place, a huge amount of resources will be put at risk, especially when it comes to cost overruns that may occur in large capital projects. Process manufacturing companies must not only control costs, but also monitor all the various contractors that will be involved in each project. If you’re not managing your own workers and all the interdependencies among the different contractors, then you’ve got problems.

Q: What else should process manufacturers look for?
A: It’s also important that an EPPM solution has the ability to manage more than just capital projects. For example, it’s best to manage maintenance and capital projects in the same system. Say you’re due to install a new transformer in a power station as part of a capital project, but routine maintenance in that area of the facility is scheduled for that morning. The lack of coordination could lead to unforeseen delays. There are also IT considerations that impact capital projects, such as adding servers and network cable for a control system in a power station. What organizations need is a true EPPM system that’s not just for capital projects, maintenance, or IT activities, but instead an enterprisewide solution that provides visibility into all types of projects.

Read the complete Q&A here and discover the practical framework for successfully managing this massive capital spending.

Wednesday Oct 30, 2013

How Important is Project Team Communication in the Public Sector?

By Paul Bender, Director of Public Administration Strategy, Oracle Primavera

It goes without saying that communication between project team members is a core competency that connects every member of a project team to a common set of strategies, goals and actions. If these components are not effectively shared by project leads and understood by stakeholders, project outcomes can be jeopardized and budgets may incur unnecessary risk.Project and portfolio management best practices for federal agencies

As reported by PMI’s 2013 Pulse of the Profession, an organization’s ability to meet project timelines, budgets and especially goals significantly impacts its ability to survive—and even thrive. The Pulse study revealed that the most crucial success factor in project management is effective communication to all stakeholders—a critical core competency for public agencies. PMI’s 2013 Pulse of the Profession report revealed that US$135 million is at risk for every US$1 billion spent on a project. Further research on the importance of effective project team communication uncovers that a startling 56 percent (US$75 million of that US$135 million) is at risk due to ineffective communication. Simply stated: public agencies cannot execute strategic initiatives unless they can effectively communicate their strategic alignment and business benefits.

Executives and project managers around the world agree that poor communication between project team members contributes to project failure. A Forbes Insights 2010 Strategic Initiatives Study “Adapting Corporate Strategy to the Changing Economy,” found that nine out of ten CEOs believe that communication is critical to the success of their strategic initiatives, and nearly half of respondents cite communication as an integral and active component of their strategic planning and execution process. Project managers see it similarly from their side as well. According to PMI’s Pulse research, 55 percent of project managers agree that effective communication to all stakeholders is the most critical success factor in project management.

As we all know, not all projects succeed. On average, two in five projects do not meet their original goals and business intent, and one-half of those unsuccessful projects are related to ineffective communication. Results reveal that while all aspects of project communication can be challenging to public agencies, the biggest problem areas are:

  1. A gap in understanding the business benefits.
  2. Challenges surrounding the language used to deliver project-related information, which is often unclear and peppered with project management jargon.

Public agencies -- federal, state, and local -- have difficulty communicating with the appropriate levels with clarity and detail. This difficulty is likely exacerbated by the divide between each key audience and its understanding of project-specific, technical language. For those involved in public sector project and portfolio management, I would be interested to hear your thoughts and please visit Primavera EPPM solutions for public sector.

Monday Oct 28, 2013

The Rise of Project Intelligence and Why It Matters

By Amy DeWolf

Are you doing any of these in your organization? How are you leveraging historical data to forecast projects?

There’s a lot going on in government today. The economic pressures agencies feel from the uncertainty of budget cuts and sequestration effect every part of an organization, including the Project Management Office (PMOPMO Best practices).  The PMO is responsible for monitoring and administering government IT projects. As time goes on, priorities shift, technology advances, and new regulations are imposed, all of which make planning and executing projects more difficult.  For example, think about your own projects.  How many boxes do you need to check and hoops do you need to jump through to ensure you comply with new regulations? While new regulations and technology advancements can be a good thing, they add an additional layer of complexity to already complex projects.

To overcome some of these pressures, particularly new regulations, many in the PMO world are adopting a new approach- Project Intelligence (PI). According to a new Oracle Primavera white paper, The Rise of Project Intelligence: When Project Management is Just Not Enough“PI uses Business Intelligence methods to leverage historical project data to make more informed decisions and greatly enhance project execution.”

Currently, project managers plan and forecast the possible phases in an execution cycle.  However, most project managers don’t have the proper tools to do this as effectively as they would like. As the white paper noted, “The underlying deficiencies in most forecasting approaches are that 1) the PM fails in most instances to leverage historical data and 2) the PM doesn’t employ current Business Intelligence tools.” PI seeks to overturn this by combining modeling tools used in Business Intelligence for projects with the understanding of Emotional Intelligence for managing people.  

  • Simply put, Project Intelligence is built off four main pillars:
  • Actively use historical data to forecast project cycles
  • Understand the intricacies of complex projects
  • Enhance social and emotional intelligence in projects
  • Actively use Business intelligence tools

Read our complimentary whitepaper and discover the importance of emotional intelligence and best practices for improving projects, specifically in terms of communication.

Monday Oct 21, 2013

In the Firing Line: The impact of project and portfolio performance on the CEO

What are the primary measurements for rating CEO performance?

For corporate boards, business analysts, investors, and the trade press the metrics they deploy are relatively binary in nature; what is being done to generate earnings, and what is being done to build and sustain high performance?

As for the market, interest is primarily aroused when operational and financial performance falls outside planned commitments for the year. When organizations announce better than predicted results, they usually experience an immediate increase in share price. Likewise, poor results have an obviously negative impact on the share price and impact the role and tenure of the incumbent CEO.The impact of project and portfolio performance on the CEO

The danger for the CEO is that the risk of failure is ever present, ranging from manufacturing delays and supply chain issues to labor shortages and scope creep. This risk is enhanced by the involvement of secondary suppliers providing services critical to overall work schedules, and magnified further across a portfolio of programs and projects underway at any one time – and all set within a global context. All can impact planned return on investment and have an inevitable impact on the share price – the primary empirical measure of day-to-day performance.

Read this complete complementary report, In the Firing Line and explore what is the direct link between the health of the portfolio and CEO performance. This report will provide an overview of the responsibility the CEO has for implementing and maintaining a culture of accountability, offer examples of some of the higher profile project failings in recent years, and detail the capabilities available to the CEO to mitigate the risks residing in their own portfolios.

Friday Oct 18, 2013

Exclusive Webcast Series Explains How Project Success Drives Business Success

In the wake of the global financial crisis, organizations throughout the world are redoubling their efforts to enhance financial discipline, achieve operational excellence, and mitigate risk. How can they address all these areas with one comprehensive strategy? With enterprise project portfolio management solutions that provide greater transparency and visibility across all projects and portfolios, says Guy Barlow, OProject success drives business successracle director of industry strategy. In the following interview and in an exclusive, three-part webcast series, Barlow examines today’s new management realities and explains how organizations can succeed in this environment.

Q: Financial discipline has always been important, what’s different today?

A: A number of organizations are showing that by fiscally aligning projects with the business goals of their organizations, they can shave off hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in inefficiency and waste. For example, one Oracle customer, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, reduced its unbudgeted costs from US$24.4 million to US$3.5 million, for an 88 percent improvement.

Q: How do organizations achieve results like this?
A: First, they need to have the vision to see project management as part of a broad and critical element in their overall enterprise strategy. That means using a single solution, such as
Oracle‘s Primavera, to manage multiple projects across multiple functions within a company. So someone in corporate mergers and acquisitions as well as a capital projects team can standardize on the same technology. By doing so they all gain greater efficiency in planning and execution—because the technology can be configured for their specific roles and needs—and the IT organization really benefits from lower maintenance.

Second, enterprises must give executive leaders—CFOs, COOs, and CEOs—visibility across the entire business to easily see what projects are on track and which ones are falling behind. In fact, once executives see the power of enterprise project portfolio management, uptake is very quick across the organization.

Read the full interview here.


Wednesday Oct 16, 2013

RWE IT Updates Project Schedules with 10,000 Activities in Less Than One Minute

RWE IT GmbH is the internal IT service provider for the RWE Group, by revenue the second-largest German utility company, which supplies electricity to more than 20 million Project Portfolio Management software for Utilitiesconsumers and gas to more than 10 million consumers, mainly in Europe. Through technological expertise and extensive knowledge of business and processes, RWE IT helps RWE Group companies meet their challenges. The company’s competencies, aligned toward the processes of RWE Group’s value-creation chain, include the rollout of standardized systems for acquisitions, new business segments, and regions; flexible integration or expansion for acquisitions, new business segments, and regions; and optimized use and expansion of the group’s IT infrastructure.

 Challenges

  • Enable three group companies—RWE Technology, RWE Power, and RWE Innogy—to efficiently manage multiple power construction projects at the same time and optimize resource use across those projects.
  • Provide schedulers with the ability to effectively open and modify projects with thousands of activities—to ensure on-time and on-budget delivery of major capital projects

Read full list of challenges here

Solutions

  • Deployed Oracle’s Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management to optimize project scheduling for power station construction while reducing costs for project management and operations.
  • Enabled 80 internal and external schedulers to leverage information from a dozen databases, including country-specific and test databases, and perform multiproject management—including opening and comparing projects with thousands of activities—to drive more cost-effective and on-time projects
  • Enabled RWE Technology, RWE Power, and RWE Innogy to ensure construction quality and better meet project deadlines with optimized power station construction planning and monitoring.

Read full list of solutions here

Why Oracle

Oracle’s Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management is the only project management software capable of handling tens of thousands of simultaneous activities in multiple projects without using excessive computing time. It offers complete security and has the industry’s most advanced scheduling functionality. With the next Primavera release, we anticipate the introduction of advanced scheduling features, such as taking meteorological information into account when planning construction activities,” said Carsten Jung, applications corporate solutions, RWE IT GmbH.

Tuesday Oct 08, 2013

Explore the Fundamental Connections Between Stock Value and Project Management

Senior executives are today more accountable, even vulnerable, than ever before to poor share price performance. There are numerous reasons for this, but the increasing negative impact for organizations means that senior executives need to take a more active role in making the right decisions throughout business operations. According to research conducted by the global consulting firm Booz & Co.1, over the last decade the average tenure of a global chief executive has dropped from 8.1 years to 6.3 years. This analysis of the world’s top 2,500 publicly listed companies found that executive turnover had increased from around 12% in 2000 to 14.3% in 2009, with more than a third (36.7%) of departures in 2009 being dismissals rather than part of a planned succession. project and portfolio management on share price and stock value

For project-intensive organizations, there is even more intense pressure on executives to deliver forecasted returns on investment (ROI). With the current economic climate, shrinking margins and increased global competition, the impact of huge capital investment projects extending beyond their scope and budget carries significant consequences. This places even greater emphasis on capital planning, a core business process that remains fraught with difficulties. In a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit in October 20102, only 11% of companies could claim they delivered expected ROI on major capital projects 90-100% of the time, and 12% reported planned ROI delivery less than half the time. These results highlight that organizations – irrespective of industry sector – are still struggling to manage risks, accurately predict levels of ROI and consistently deliver bottom line growth from their major capital investments. Bad investment decisions can lead to huge financial losses, which serves to place the spotlight firmly on the capital planning process. It also places greater emphasis on executive decision-making capabilities to determine which potential investments deliver the greatest value and reliability, as well as providing the financial stability to attract funding.

The danger of poor evaluation can quickly lead to a significant reduction in the value of the organization’s overall portfolio and compromise long range capital planning goals. From here, it is a short journey to poor share price performance.

Click here and read this full complimentary paper that looks at the intrinsic connection between long-term capital investment and short-term market performance, and how this can in turn affect the profit outlook for project-intensive organizations. Discover existing research undertaken in this area, and highlight case examples where project management performance has impacted – whether positive or negative – the stock price and, in turn, the overall image of both the company and those in the C-suite of these organizations.

Read here and share with your colleagues.

1Favaro, Ken et al, CEO Succession 2010: The Four types of CEOs. Issue 63 2011. Booz & Co

2“Prepare for the unexpected: investment planning in asset-intensive industries,” Economist Intelligence Unit, January 2011

Thursday Oct 03, 2013

Wrap-Up: Construction and Engineering Summit @ Oracle OpenWorld 2013

By Garrett Harley, Director of Engineering & Construction Strategy, Oracle Primavera Best practices for global construction and engineering projects

It's hard to dispute that this year's Oracle OpenWorld was anything short of spectacular. Oracle Team USA staged an unprecedented comeback to defend the America's Cup, and the first Construction and Engineering Summit at Leaders Circle @ OpenWorld was attended by more than 80 C-level attendees from many of the industry's leading global owners, contractors, and engineering, procurement, and construction firms.

Mike Sicilia, Oracle Primavera's GM and SVP, kicked things off with a compelling review of how Oracle technologies continue to strengthen and service engineering and construction (E&C) work across the globe. Mike was followed by Graham Robinson from Global Construction Perspectives, who shared his findings from their recently released Global Construction Perspectives Forecast through 2025.

Leaders Circle sponsor Wipro discussed a well-received E&C integrated solution platform built with Oracle technology that helps companies continue to transform their operations and streamline execution. Oracle customers Chiyoda, COSEA/VINCI, Lend Lease, and the Los Angeles Department of Power and Water then shared their stories of how they've leveraged Oracle technology, the challenges they faced, the solutions they implemented, and the benefits they've received from their partnership with Oracle. 

What struck me about this year's event can be summarized in one word: specialization. Atul Gawande (a general surgeon and author of numerous magazine articles and several books, including The CheckList Manifesto) positions the following hypothesis: As information increases, the need to specialize is required.

What does this have to do with E&C? Think of it this way. The age of the Master Builder is no more. There is simply too much information for any one individual to intimately know. Projects, like today's aircraft, are too much plane for one person to fly.

As customers shared their stories of how they approached resolving their business issues, it was their focus on integration of these specialties and how Oracle has continued to invest in supporting these areas that made me realize not only how far technology in our industry has come, but how much more we still have left to do. And how critical adjustments can lead to extreme performance.

That's something Oracle Team USA did in the face of what appeared to be insurmountable odds. And given the forecast for E&C work through 2025, a focus on extreme performance will be required for the monuments to come. 

Monday Sep 30, 2013

Aegion Improves Operations; Gains Consistency; and Increases On-Time, On-Budget Project Delivery

Aegion Corp. is a global leader in infrastructure protection. It provides proprietary technologies and services that protect against the corrosion of industrial pipelines and rehabilitate and strengthen water, waste water, energy and mining piping systems and buildings, bridges, tunnels, and waterfront structures. It is a newly formed parent company for Insituform Technologies, Bayou, Corrpro, CRTS, Fibrwrap, Fyfe, and United Pipeline Systems.

Challenges:

  • Strengthen and standardize project management processes across the organization, starting with the company’s Insituform Technologies group.

  • Increase visibility into project schedules, budgeting, costs, and progress to identify emerging issues quickly and take action to minimize risk.

  • Improve operational efficiency and data integrity, and allow project management teams to focus on strategic priorities.

  • Standardize on a project management solution and integrate it with the company’s legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.

Click here to read all challenges

Solutions:

  • Deployed Oracle’s Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management and Primavera Contract Management, Business Intelligence Publisher Edition, and integrated the solutions with the company’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.0 and Oracle CRM On Demand applications to ensure end-to-end visibility and enhanced control for the company’s pipeline and infrastructure development rehabilitation projects—from new-business wins, through to project completions.

  • Standardized and created a single source for all project scheduling information that improved construction crew utilization, reduced penalties related to delays, avoided rush charges, and improved materials planning and utilization.

  • Gained insight into emerging issues and enabled more rapid corrective action, supporting on-budget and on-time completion of projects, including public sector construction initiatives that require granular reporting.

  • Standardized project scheduling and management processes to help support larger and more geographically dispersed projects.

  • Reduced the need for data re-entry across multiple systems to improve productivity and data accuracy and ensured that project management, ERP, and CRM systems share consistent and up-to-date information.

Click here to read all solutions

Click here to read the complete customer story

Friday Sep 13, 2013

Top Challenges, Implications, and Strategic Solutions for Energy and Utility Companies

The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts roughly a $38T capital outlay over the next 15 years for the energy sector. Global energy and utility demand is