Wednesday Nov 11, 2015

Stop Wasting My Time

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

Make better bids, win better work

The average engineering and construction firm only wins one in every four bids for capital asset projects. For a $1 billion company, that’s around $75 million wasted on failed bids every year.

The industry has always worked this way, and some executives will justify the waste as a cost of doing business. But there is another way of looking at it.

Given the costs, it’s no surprise that engineering and construction businesses are picky about the jobs they bid for. The question is, whether they can target more profitable work, improve their chances of winning each bid, or launch more bids with fewer resources? The answer is they can do all three.

Unlocking the value of knowledge

In geographically dispersed businesses, bids are managed autonomously by local teams. Valuable experience and knowledge is often lost to the rest of the organization. This might be based on analysis of opportunities in the marketplace, costings for materials, researching the supply base or understanding a potential client’s wants and needs. There’s a huge opportunity to pool this knowledge across the organization and improve bid quality while lowering cost.

Currently, too many organizations are comfortable with a lack of collaboration which leads to errors and omissions, increasing costs and lowering the chances of success. But tools exist that can ensure data is shared throughout the organization, and readily available to anyone who needs it. And when you’re bidding for new jobs, knowledge is not only power. It’s also profit.

To discover more, read our latest business brief.

Wednesday Feb 04, 2015

Visualization and the Digital Project

written By Garrett Harley, Director, Engineering & Construction Strategy, Oracle

5D virtual construction will transform the construction industry

 Redesign should take place on the computer, not on the construction site.

 5D virtual construction modeling, or 5D BIM (short for building information modeling) enables the various participants of a construction project—from designers and contractors to owners—to visualize and display the entire construction progress sequentially over time, factoring in a critical component: actual and forecasted costs. It has the potential to vastly transform the delivery of projects large and small.

 Here’s how BIM technology has progressed through the years:

3D: Three-dimensional design modeling that enables project visualizations, walkthroughs, clash detection, and item scheduling

4D: 3D modeling plus time, linking the project schedules: resources, tasks, etc.

5D: 4D plus cost, integrating design with estimating, scheduling, and costing

 Leveraging the data available in the 3D BIM model, 5D BIM optimizes construction project management, enabling project team members to visualize the progression of construction activities and the associated costs. Beyond the ability to maximize physical and constructability constraints, 5D virtual construction gives companies the ability to better manage budgets and forecasted expenditures. Understanding construction sequencing can help prevent problems related to constructability and optimize cash flow within the framework of construction sequencing.

 In today’s environment, many E&C companies and some owners have begun to adapt and adopt 5D into their work processes. Recent surveys predict that 100 percent of owners and 80 percent of contractors will use BIM in some way in 2014.

 Currently, there is no standard definition of BIM and many partial or incomplete solutions. Dual standards have been developed by different organizations such as the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) by the buildingSMART allianceTM and ISO 15926. The number of developers in the BIM space has also grown creating integration issues.

For visualization to drive projects from concept to completion and into operations and maintenance, developers must extend current BIM capabilities. Users need mapping and display capabilities between the embedded construction schedule and the 3D model. They need easy, effective ways to verify clearances, identify design incompatibilities, and detect clash or collision points.

 All construction contractors are currently investing in standalone, specialized niche technology, so now is the time to bring those niche technologies together in an interoperable environment.

 For more information on BIM, read the whitepaper: “Leverage 4D Building Information Modeling (BIM) to Help Meet the Challenges of Infrastructure Growth”

Wednesday Jan 21, 2015

Is your company ready to successfully execute a business transformation?

Intelligent Utility – January 18, 2015

Author: Guy Barlow, Director of Industry Strategy, Oracle Primavera

For companies that don’t want merely to succeed in the utilities industry but to lead, continual business transformation is a must. It appears, however, that actually achieving this transformation is also one of their most vexing challenges. New research from Oracle Primavera and Forbes, “Making the Change: Planning, Executing and Measuring a Successful Business Transformation,” shows that while the ability to execute transformation is critical to remaining relevant, nearly half of the 534 executives surveyed---from a number of different industries, including utilities---say their organization is only somewhat or not at all ready to successfully execute a business transformation today.

Continual business transformation is crucial for companies to stay ahead of emerging players and maintain a competitive edge. From bringing new offerings to market to embarking on major capital expenditures, business transformation can take countless forms. Many utility companies, however, are struggling with their transformation efforts. Despite strong agreement that business transformation is fundamental to success, 48% of total executives surveyed say their organization is only somewhat or not at all prepared to successfully execute a business transformation today.

Beyond the preparation, it’s the execution of the business transformation initiatives and projects that make or break its success. The most often cited cause for failure in the rollout of a business transformation initiative is inefficient execution (41%), followed by resource and budget constraints (35%). Additionally, top reasons for successful initiatives include support from leadership (51%) and strong, competent execution (48%).

When it comes to tools needed to ensure successful business transformation, respondents from utility companies say that having a summary of all costs associated with transformation initiatives is the single most critical capability (55%). More than half of utility industry respondents (55%) cite inefficient execution as the top reason for transformation failure while noting that the top reason for transformation success is support from leadership (48%). And, those who have successfully implemented transformation initiatives in the last three years say that business transformation met their expectations (47%).

Transformational change in utilities is needed. Given, among other factors, the volatility of commodity pricing, heightened regulatory scrutiny and diminishing talent, boards and executives realize the need for a step-change in their business. And it often depends on the successful planning and execution of strategic initiatives – that is, projects. (…)

Read the complete article here.

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.

Monday Dec 08, 2014

Litmus Test: 86% of Large Enterprises See the Value of Business Transformation, Yet Nearly Half Are Not Fully Ready to Execute

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

 Today, “business as usual” simply does not, and will not, suffice for large enterprises seeking success. New competition is emerging, existing competitors are upping their game, and the legislative regulation is challenging organizations to reach new levels of transparency. The landscape is dynamic, and for those businesses that strive not simply to compete, but to win, the need for business transformation is urgent. However, while the majority of executives agree that business transformation is vital to maintain a competitive edge, nearly half (48%) are only somewhat or not at all prepared to successfully execute a business transformation today.

 Oracle, in partnership with Forbes Insights, explored what drives business transformation initiatives both internally and externally for a company, and what determines the success or failure of such initiatives in the study, “Making the Change: Planning, Executing and Measuring a Successful Business Transformation .

[Read More]

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.

Tuesday Jun 17, 2014

Why Time-to-Market is Critical for Today's Automotive Suppliers

After years of slumping sales, the auto industry is rebounding at an unprecedented pace. Auto parts and components suppliers, who were equally battered, now face the challenge of quickly retooling and re-staffing to regain status with OEMs.

This White Paper looks at the current trends and how automotive suppliers can get back on the fast track.

Learn how automotive suppliers can position themselves to help OEMs meet their new model goals.

Friday Feb 07, 2014

University of Utah Uses Oracle’s Primavera Unifier to Save US$11.5 Million in Budgeted Construction Project Costs

Maintaining and constructing new facilities to support a modern education and research institution requires a commitment to continuous improvements and tight management of complex project portfolios. So to improve project visibility and implement better financial controls for capital projects totaling US$900 million, the University of Utah in Salt Lake City replaced its in-house database for tracking construction projects with the cloud-based Oracle’s Primavera Unifier project management system. The result: the university recently completed two large-scale projects on or before their deadlines at a total of US$11.5 million under budget. Paul Bender, Oracle’s director of public administration strategy, explains how the university achieved these impressive outcomes. University of Utah Uses Oracle's Prrimavera Unifier

Q: One of the projects was the 156,000 square foot Huntsman Cancer Center Phase IIB expansion. What was the impact on that project of having improved financial controls and better collaboration?
A: That project came in two months early and US$9 million under budget. The university attributes a good portion of the savings in time and cost to the project management system. The solution helped school officials reduce the number of electronic RFIs required. It also shortened workflow response times among project team members from a previous maximum of eight weeks to a few hours. In addition, officials benefitted from the elimination of a significant volume of paperwork. The system also helped external partners, including more than 90 consultants and contractors, collaborate more effectively through access to the system for day-to-day project management.

Read the full Q&A here and discover how organizations using Primavera Unifier have the tools necessary to maintain fiscal discipline in day-to-day activities.

Read a complete case study of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on page six of Construction Connection and download an in-depth white paper about Oracle’s Primavera Unifier.

Thursday Jan 30, 2014

The EPPM Board Weighs In on Top Industry Controversies

A new report from Oracle’s Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) Board in North America directly tackles two critical issues that have divided the project portfolio community for years. The first is whether organizations are best served by a central project management office (PMO) or by a decentralized approach that distributes project management responsibilities among individual business units. The second flashpoint is the rise of mobility among EPPM professionals and whether senior executives should encourage this trend. The EPPM Board Weighs In on Top Industry Controversies

Discussions of these issues are included in the report, “The Changing Face of Enterprise Project Portfolio Management,” by the Oracle EPPM Board, a prestigious international steering group of senior executives, academics, and industry experts.

Read the full report and learn how a balanced approach to mobility can help organizations address both the benefits and risks of this important issue. “A failure to embrace [mobility] could have serious consequences for the delivery of successful projects,” Board members say. They added that evidence shows that when projects fail, many people know well in advance but are worried by what the disclosure could do to their careers. “Smart devices, apps that deliver real-time data straight to the C-level, and dashboard analysis were all viewed as positive ways in which to combat such cognitive, but very human, behavior,” the report explains.

Monday Dec 23, 2013

Unlock the cash trapped in your contingency budgets

It is generally accepted that more companies fail due to lack of cash flow than for want of profit. This is an inevitable position because whilst profit is a vital indicator of performance, its generation does not necessarily guarantee an organization’s growth, development, or even in some cases, survival. For the C-level executive, cash flow also has a particular impact in the planning of short or long-term investment strategies, where decisions are more often focused on anticipated funding requirements rather than projecting levels of profitability. Capital budgeting is the process for managing cash flow, where the basic unit of analysis is the investment project. From a finance perspective, projects and programs represent a series of contingent cash flows over time, whose amount and timing are only partially under the control of the executive. The amount of expenditure these consume directly influences the level of available working capital, which is the primary benchmark for measuring a company’s operational liquidity. The eternal challenge for organizations is keeping this liquidity in the positive position needed to support day-to-day operations – i.e., to service both maturing short-term debt and upcoming operational expenses – and for maintaining the flexibility to respond to emerging opportunities. 

Read this complimentary paper and explore the ability of organizations to augment cash flow in their operations by addressing a key area of stagnant cash reserves – contingency budgets. It will argue that the collective pot of contingency monies is conservatively estimated at between 5-10% of total project operating costs across the portfolio. To free up even a small portion of these budgets can therefore enable organizations to expand their portfolios to decisive effect. Finally, it will also detail the way forward, and how a more flexible approach to setting contingency budgets requires the adoption of a portfolio approach to risk management.


Information and insights on project portfolio trends and best practices, including cloud project management.

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