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

 

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.

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.

Friday Nov 13, 2015

Join us for Primavera Day, coming in your area

Join Oracle for this exclusive customer briefing and learn all about Primavera’s latest solutions directly from Oracle’s executive team.

Primavera provides organizations of all sizes, across industries and regions with a global business foundation that reduces costs and increases productivity through a portfolio of rapid value, integrated and industry-focused solutions available on premise and in the Cloud.

Attend this event and get the information you need to actively evaluate plans for moving to the latest release, leverage the power of the Cloud and mobile applications, — and find out how  Primavera Cloud can further improve your business. 

 Find out more at   http://bit.ly/PrimaveraCloudDay

Thursday Oct 22, 2015

Swinerton Elevates Project Controls and Collaboration with Primavera Cloud

By: Yasser Mahmud, vice president industry strategy and business development, Primavera Global Business Unit, Oracle

Swinerton Builders, a construction and construction management services company operating throughout the Western United States, has been building excellence for more than 125 years. That is no small feat in the engineering and construction sector, where volatility is the norm and competition is consistently fierce.

Innovation has been fundamental to the company’s success, whether through its 100 percent employee-ownership model, focus on green building initiatives (which have garnered numerous awards), or the creation of its Center for Excellence in Project Delivery, designed to help the company adopt advanced construction technology even faster.

Most recently, Swinterton embraced innovation in the form of the cloud and Oracle’s Primavera enterprise project portfolio management (EPPM) platform to bring project controls, collaboration, and client satisfaction to a whole new level. Mike Murphy, corporate manager of project controls, Swinerton Builders, recently shared the company’s cloud journey in an exclusive webcast. There is a lot of talk about cloud and project portfolio management, and I think Swinerton’s story offers some valuable information and lessons that can help break through the noise.

So why cloud for EPPM? Based on its experience with Oracle’s Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Cloud Service, here are Swinerton’s top five reasons:

  1. Extend collaboration and project controls across the business. A single repository for all project-related data provides stakeholders with access to real-time data, supports continuous improvement and best-practices adoption across the company, and eliminates cumbersome, paper-based spreadsheets. It also enables them to establish enterprisewide standards. The company now has a complete and accurate picture of project performance and supports consistency across the firm using standards, which include codes and templates.
  2. Gain new visibility into and control over critical projects. Key stakeholders—including project owners—can instantly check the progress of active projects, accessing up-to-the-minute information from their mobile devices as well as PCs and laptops. In addition, Swinerton executives can view critical data for all construction projects in progress across all divisions from a single screen, providing unprecedented insight.
  3. Scale up system users quickly and cost-effectively to match construction sector growth and project demand. The group can add users in minutes, with the confidence that the process is managed by a world-class IT support organization, while avoiding additional on-premises hardware investment. The flexible, cost-effective model also enables Swinerton to roll out the solution to more stakeholders, such as partners and project owners, which widens visibility and collaboration while accelerating decision-making.
  4. EPPM innovation. Right now. Swinerton gets instant access to the latest functionality, empowering users with the most up-to-date capabilities.
  5. Get out of the IT business, and put the focus back on what Swinerton does best—engineering and construction. The cloud solution alleviates strain on IT as it reduces the need to coordinate support for the application with the technology that sits below it.

To learn more about Swinerton Builders’ move to Primavera cloud, check out the full webcast with Mike Murphy and Garrett Harley, director, engineering and construction strategy, Oracle Primavera. And if you haven’t already, be sure to register for a Primavera Day event in your area and get additional information about Primavera cloud, including Primavera P6 Cloud, Primavera Unifier Cloud and more.

Wednesday May 27, 2015

Transform or Die – How Organizations are Transforming with EPPM

By Mike Sicilia, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Primavera Global Business Unit

Take any company on the S&P 500 list from 1960, and you could expect that company to exist for about 60 years. Fast forward—do the same test for a company today, and the average lifespan is less than a third of what it was—just 18 years.

This is more than a stat. It’s a sign of the transformative times that we’ve entered—a Renaissance-age driven by the connective power of the Internet and the exponential increase of all the possible nodes that can connect to it, from a smartphone to an oil rig. So the message to business leaders is clear—transform or die.

But businesses don’t need to just transform what they do. They need to transform how they operate. “Planning” no longer means creating a budget and the schedules to align to it. Rather, it is now about managing a continuous portfolio lifecycle of what you have today and what you hope to achieve in the future. It has evolved from the more traditional role of managing projects to a role of improving business outcomes by leveraging the latest tools and technology to drive projects with insight, collaboration, and visibility.

With that in mind, here are three types of transformations that businesses need to be aware of, and how Project Portfolio Management (PPM) plays a role.

Subscription Economy

Tom Goodwin of Havas Media wrote in TechCrunch on March 3rd, “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.”

 Indeed, something interesting is happening. These companies have used the cloud to create entirely new businesses leveraging the immediacy and the flexibility that cloud computing delivers, and in the process, fundamentally transforming whole industries. Existing businesses should look to the cloud for opportunities to build on top of their more rigid business models for these same benefits. Cloud-based solutions allow businesses to spin up new offers, quickly scale existing ones, and doing so in a cost effective way, whether in response to a new joint venture, acquisition or just the need for organic growth. It can be done—for example, an estimated 360,000+ projects and programs have been managed in the cloud using Oracle's Primavera solutions. These solutions enable companies across all industries to get a purpose built-PPM solution up and running incredibly quickly, and consume its services via an as-needed subscription model, thereby compressing time to value and increased innovation uptake.

A Shifting Workforce

According to a report from Pew Research Center, nearly 10,000 Baby Boomers retire every day, making way for a wave of Millennials to enter the workforce. By 2020, these Millennials will make up 50% of the workforce. These young employees are hyper-connected—but not just to their smartphones. According to this same report, as more Millennials come on board, the average employee today collaborates with more than 10 employees each day.

This behavioral change is something that businesses should look at carefully. This generation of workers expect visually appealing, easy to use and easy to understand technology meshing hand-in-hand with business processes. They expect to be connected; operate socially, and to be fully enabled when mobile. Primavera’s cloud-based PPM solutions provide role-based, collaborative, mobile interfaces that are aimed at engaging the new generation of workers and making it intuitive for them to collaborate both horizontally and vertically within their organization. The end result is that businesses have the potential to create a more engaged, and therefore innovative, workforce.

The Nature of Project Work

In the past, a project might have been delivered end-to-end within a single company. Not anymore. Multi-company projects and joint initiatives and partnerships drive how projects are done, which both adds to the complexity of managing the project and increases the level of scrutiny and pressure on time to value.

Traditional project management systems are very good at making predictions, but because those systems are based on a limited (and usually outdated) set of data points from within the company and not across the full scope of outside vendors and partners, the predictions are meaningless. Again, cloud-based tools can offer an advantage. With a cloud-based PPM solution, it can act as the network for connecting the right people and information to ensure that project work is accurate and timely, ultimately speeding time to value.

We have entered a new era of project management—one that swaps rigid processes for flexibility to change in the moment and the visibility to enable it. And Oracle’s PPM cloud solutions are designed for this new world order. With a modern platform that has analytics at its core and the power of Oracle’s scalable cloud at the foundation, we are ready to help you not just survive. It’s time to thrive.

Friday Feb 27, 2015

Portfolio With A View

Published in Projects@workd 

by Yasser Mahmud, February 23, 2015

An organization’s cultural behaviors, processes and tools shape the way project information is reported, which, in turn, shapes decision-making at the executive level. In order to improve visibility into project portfolios, we must first reduce the fear of raising red flags — and then go beyond our comfort zones to start looking differently at what we see.

Read more.

[Read More]

Tuesday Jan 13, 2015

The New Face of Project Management: Are Specialized PMOs and Mobile Tech the Future?

PM World Journal - January 2015

Author:  Mike Sicilia, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Oracle Primavera

The face of project management is changing. Economic fluctuation, evolving risk, and increasingly stringent regulations are creating new challenges for project managers. To meet these challenges and ensure the success of diverse projects across the enterprise, organizations must consider new and innovative methodologies and approaches that can inject innovation into processes.

Illuminating these realities, Oracle recently brought together a group of business leaders who revealed insight into two evolving areas: the role of project management offices (PMOs) and the increasing real-time reach of mobile technology. The Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) Board – a steering group of senior executives, academics, and industry experts that looks at how C-level executives can successfully prioritize and manage the project portfolio – raised questions over the long-term value of PMOs and the way mobile technology can transform project management.

Read the complete article here.

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