Tuesday May 17, 2016

Providing Individualized Content to Clients and Employees

Civil + Structural Engineer

By:  Bob Drake

http://cenews.com/article/10344/providing-individualized-content-to-clients-and-employees

According to Oracle, modern technology has created an era of where personalized experiences are no longer just nice to have, essential to stay competitive. Oracle released a report The Era I Enterprise: Ready for Anything summarizing a survey of 300 C-level executives across 10 industries to understand how prepared organizations are to address the fact that consumers increasingly expect, and even demand, to have it their way. The report revealed that most organizations are dealing with this shift 84 percent of respondents across all industry sectors said their organization has experienced a trend toward customers wanting a more individualized experience and 70 percent have experienced this trend from employees but fewer than 20 percent give their organization an in its ability to offer those experiences.

Within the engineering and construction industry, 77 percent of respondents have experienced a trend toward customers wanting a more individualized experience; 67 percent have experienced this same trend with employees (see Figure 1). Fifty-seven percent of engineering and construction executives surveyed said this shift is a growing challenge in their ability to compete effectively.

Digital age has brought us to a point where we now expect the ability to make real-time decisions, transact, and customize options at the tap of the screen. In the new service-driven economy, innovative enterprises must focus on two things: taking care of their customers and taking care of their said Bob Weiler, executive vice president, Global Business Units, Oracle. study reveals that organizations are unprepared to manage the need for personalization in Era I, but those seeking a competitive advantage stand to gain.

Respondents in the engineering and construction industry said the greatest opportunity for the industry to take advantage of more individualized content, products, and services for customers and/or employees are the following (respondents asked to select all that apply):

  • More interactive and connected enterprise project portfolio management that delivers highly personalized information to stakeholders (engineers, contractors, project management, owners, etc.) in their preferred format (63 percent);
  • Mapping and planning the entire life cycle of a facility from design and engineering through decommissioning (60 percent);
  • Effectively modeling and communicating the impact (on cost and schedule) of specific change orders (53 percent); and
  • Building information modeling (43 percent)

These engineering and construction executives said that the biggest obstacles the industry faces in delivering more individualized content, products, and/or services are (respondents asked to select all that apply):

  • Budget/cost constraints (63 percent);
  • Experienced staff retiring/attracting talent (47 percent);
  • Inability to effectively share real-time data with clients, partners, contractors, engineers, and project managers (43 percent);
  • Security concerns (33 percent); and
  • Inability to manage and analyze project data (27 percent)

According to survey, nearly all organizations surveyed (97 percent) believe IT investments from business intelligence tools to customer experience solutions to industry-specific applications will play a vital role in improving their ability to offer individualized customer and employee experiences. Furthermore, within the engineering and construction sector, 70 percent of respondents said there is an important link between cloud-based IT solutions and their ability to offer an individualized experience.

Among benefits of cloud-based IT solutions are scalability and flexibility, said Mike Sicilia, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Primavera. Security concerns are related more to use of mobile devices than to the cloud itself, he said.

Monday Mar 07, 2016

Two Worlds Colliding

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

Bringing together the best of both worlds

Site foremen are formidable people. You don’t want to feel the force of their frustration. When someone else’s mistake plays havoc with their plans or makes them miss deadlines, it can create unbearable situations.

But you can avoid frustrating your foremen with short interval planning. It’s a technique used in Lean Construction, designed to flush inefficiency out of the system. The technique relies on frequent and open collaboration on the job. The idea is that short-term plans are created daily to adapt to changing circumstances, ensuring employees are not left scratching their heads with nothing to do.

But it has its shortcomings.

It could miss important dependencies in the project which, if ignored, could delay completion. Since the 1940s the critical path method has been developed to seek out these dependencies, showing project managers where to focus their energies if they want to avoid being late.

And yet the critical path method is often set against short interval planning as if project managers and planners must pick one method or the other to succeed. But this doesn’t have to be the case.

The tools and technologies to bring the two approaches together – and get the best from both – are available today. The reality is that an open approach can help you stay in touch with the project whatever is thrown at you at any stage of the project giving you greater control.

To discover more, read our latest business brief.

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.

Monday Jul 14, 2014

Managing Change on Engineering & Construction Projects

By Krista Lambert, Engineering and Construction Strategy Director, Oracle

As the saying goes: change happens. But the recent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Building in Change: Project Construction in Asset-Intensive Industries revealed that for engineering and construction projects, change is not only inevitable, it creates its own set of challenges. According to the report:

  • More than 60% of survey respondents blame unexpected change for at least one-half of all project overruns.
  • 55% of the executives surveyed consider their companies as average or below at anticipating change.

Clearly, both owners and EPC firms feel that they could vastly improve their ability to manage change. An enterprise-wide project management system not only provides greater visibility and insight into changes, but also improves communication across organizational boundaries, so you can quickly adapt to cost overruns, scope and schedule and quality impacts. To find out more, read the article Critical Components to Effective Project Execution in the latest issue of Construction Connection.

Thursday Mar 06, 2014

Specialization in the Capital Asset Lifecycle

Taken from the 4th edition of Construction Connection’s digital magazine

Asset-intensive projects, regardless of scope and scale, are under constant pressure to control costs, meet demanding schedules and manage risk. For E&C contractors, one large problematic project could wipe out a year’s worth of profit. The risks to owners and operators are equally bad—ranging from discontented stakeholders to lost revenues.

Yet according to the Building in change: project construction in asset-intensive industries special report[1] prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), over one-third of asset-intensive companies miss their budget (39%) and schedule targets (34%) on major projects at least one-quarter of the time; and more than 60% of respondents blame unexpected change for at least one-half of all project overruns.

No doubt, the lifecycle of a capital asset project is fraught with challenges.

Craig Larson, director of E&C Industry at Oracle, explains, “Owners and project teams need effective ways to manage projects from concept to completion and react with agility to unplanned changes to deliver multiyear projects on budget and schedule.”

Read the full article to learn more about the common platforms and standards that support the lifecycle of a project and the long-term operational efficiency of an organization.



[1] oil and gas, utilities, infrastructure (excluding utilities), chemicals, mining and metals

Thursday Aug 29, 2013

Top Strategic Drivers to Success in an Unpredictable, Changing World

Whether they are in the power or process industry, owners, operators, and their E&C partners face extraordinary demands in the next 20 years. The International Energy Agency (IEA) 2012 World Market Report estimates that a cumulative investment of US$37 trillion is needed in the world’s energy supply system by 2035.1 Of that investment, US$19 trillion will need to go to oil and gas facilities and infrastructure and US$17 trillion to meet generation, transmission, and distribution needs with the remaining targeted at other energy solutions.

The $19 trillion in oil and gas investments is expected to span the globe from U.S. shale and Canadian oil sands to Iraq’s new oil fields and Brazil’s deepwater drilling. IEA also points out that the current energy renaissance in the U.S. will have significant implications for energy markets and trade. By 2030, the U.S. should be self-sufficient in net energy needs and a net oil exporter because of its increased production of oil, shale gas, and bioenergy as well as improved fuel transport efficiency. As a consequence of the U.S. shift, international oil owners will place more emphasis on Asian markets and strategic links to the Middle East. Utilities face unprecedented pressures, as well, given IEA’s estimating $17 trillion investment in power infrastructure. Global electricity demand is expected to increase over 70% by 2035, according to IEA, with over half that demand from China and India. As well, electric utilities in the U.S. are expected to invest at least $51.1 billion in transmission projects through 2023.2 The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) estimates that more than three-quarters of the $51.1 billion will be used to support the integration of renewable resources in an effort to meet growing demand, relieve congestion, improve reliability, and support new generation sources to power grids.

Whether owner, developer, utility, or E&C company, success in the current and emerging environment will most certainly depend on an organization’s cost control, operational efficiency, and risk mitigation—read the full article in Engineering News Record’s (ENR) 2nd edition of the Construction Connection digital magazine to discover why.

Visit the microsite to read highlight articles from the digital magazine.

Monday Aug 26, 2013

NEW! Oracle's Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) Webcast Center

We have just launched Oracle's new EPPM Webcast Center, a single console where you can search and watch all EPPM related OnDemand webcasts and register to attend upcoming live webcasts.

These webcasts provide updates on new product features, best practices, customer case studies and more.

Simply log-on to the webcast center where you can filter by products and industries that you are interested in.

Click here to visit the webcast center now!

Monday May 20, 2013

E.ON New Build & Technology Increases Profitability, Reduces Risks by Streamlining Engineering and Construction Projects

E.ON New Build & Technology GmbH—global unit of the world’s largest, investor-owned utility company, Germany’s E.ON SE—is a leading engineering and construction firm. The company unites excellence in project management, project delivery, and engineering to support the entire E.ON Group with advanced engineering services and technology competence. E.ON New Build & Technology is engineering a cleaner and better future for E.ON by delivering world-class solutions that it has seen through, from ideas to reality. E.ON New Build & Technology is the central hub for research and development activities within the E.ON Group, enabling further development of sustainable, low-carbon-energy technologies and broadening E.ON’s geographical footprint with new market development.

Challenges:

  • Manage more than 100 engineering and construction projects, annually, with increased efficiency—ranging from small projects, such as power transformer maintenance, to very large projects, such as the turnkey construction of thermal, coal-fired, or nuclear power plants.
  • Facilitate proactive project management by providing actual project status information and ad-hoc, root-cause analysis to strengthen decision-making and mitigate project risks.
  • Provide accurate project performance forecasts to meet hand-over dates and avoid project budget overruns—usually caused by numerous change requests, which on average cost between US$10,000 and US$100,000 per request.

Solutions:

  • Deployed Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management to prioritize, schedule, execute, and monitor engineering projects with earned-value analysis and E.ON-specific adaptations—from the construction of entire power plants to the maintenance of power transformers, involving up to several thousand workers, across dozens of teams per project.
  • Enabled assessing E.ON-specific project management environments, as well as developing and implementing procedures that make project scheduling, execution, and monitoring more efficient.
  • Reduced dependency on engineering, procurement, and construction firms by facilitating end-to-end control over projects and subprojects, helping the company to run complex projects, such as a set of 1,100 megawatt thermal power plants with more than 50 lots, by coordinating interfaces among subcontractors and the general planner.

Why Oracle:

“We decided to implement Oracle’s Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management over Microsoft Project and Power Project because P6 proved to be an expert system, handling large data volumes much better than its competitors and offering a stable and centralized scheduling environment. The use of various layout and filtering criteria was also highly appreciated,” said Heinrich Genent, project scheduling, E.ON New Build & Technology GmbH.

Read the full customer story here.

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