Thursday Jun 09, 2016

2: PLAN – planning across four levels of smart city

Written by: Werner Maritz, Director Public Sector and Infrastructure Strategy

Paris, 1852. Emperor Napoleon III has just commissioned Haussmann’s bold remodeling of Paris, marking the birth of one of the most famous and radical modern city planning projects. Between 1853 and 1927 Haussmann’s renovation transformed the space within the city – replacing overcrowded streets with wide boulevards and green space. Haussmann ushered in an era of modern city planning – imposing regulations on building façades, public parks, sewers and water works, city facilities, and public monuments that would meet the demands of a growing metropolis.

Fast forward 160 years and attention has turned to the opportunities of Smart Cities.

The success of a smart city project relies on the commitment of all stakeholders and economic support - whether it’s public or private – to see the project through to completion. That’s why half the battle of getting such a project off the ground is to plan thoroughly. When presenting a convincing, workable case for a smart initiative, you need to win over the hearts, minds and wallets of supporters.

 To give a project the best chance of winning funding it’s important to consider all four layers of a smart city and how they will run alongside each other. Planning must consider how every layer of the smart city project will be technologically supported, how the people involved will be kept informed and how they can offer robust controls and deliver ROI.

 4 layers:

  • The user layer (all stakeholders)
  • The service layer (what’s offered by a smart city)
  • The infrastructure layer (the network supporting the deployment of smart services)
  • The data layer (securing and harvesting all the information gathered)

The EU has even laid out a formal overview of the funding options for smart city projects up to 2020. It includes thematic objectives for smart cities seeking support, from low-carbon initiatives to social inclusivity projects, which can be useful when examining what your city or project wants to achieve.

 A truly smart plan – be it for an online public service or a manufacturer’s fully automated cooling system – needs to complement existing urban facilities and planning processes. In the same way, urban planning regulations will have to evolve to accommodate the often complicated architecture of a smart city project.

 For example, when Milton Keynes in the UK wanted to implement super-fast broadband, it was discovered that the main hurdle was the existing phone network where the cables have a high aluminum content rather than the required copper. This was a major and costly implementation hurdle discovered during the network build, which should have been identified earlier.

 In such a competitive market it’s also a huge bonus when projects can engage all stakeholders in a single vision, with a comprehensive information center that can give multiple parties visibility of real-time project progress and problems.

Planners need to demonstrate how the project will be managed, how risks will be mitigated and ultimately how a project will deliver ROI. The more real-time information stakeholders can access the better – it helps keep everyone informed but also helps a smart city project integrate with more traditional urban infrastructure plans.

Oracle Primavera’s SMART City Projects solution helps cities manage these challenges using modern collaborative, social and mobile tools, backed with disciplined project management and analytical applications at the core. To find out more, visit our discussion paper on minimizing waste in smart city project planning and execution: here: https://goo.gl/ZtWQNv

Tuesday May 31, 2016

Setting the Stage for Lasting Success with Project Portfolio Management

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

Process improvement (PI) and process excellence (PEX) initiatives, stalwarts of the modern enterprise, are increasingly under the corporate microscope. Starting in the C-suite, expectations are rising as organizations – facing a challenging economic climate and growing regulatory burdens – embrace continuous improvement as an essential element to securing a competitive advantage.

PI and IT have a complicated relationship. Enterprises undertake IT initiatives to improve business performance. In many cases, however, the technology ends up driving process change – for better or worse. Insufficient alignment between business and IT is often at the heart of this growing issue.

Ultimately, leadership wants to ensure that these initiatives align optimally with and support broader business strategies, and are flexible enough to adapt to a web of ever-changing regulations. As important, they want to better predict, measure, and optimize the impact of their PI/PEX initiatives. Speed is also essential in the age of digital transformation as enterprises seek to accelerate insight, action, and outcomes.

These competing requirements can be a tall order for many enterprises as they work to achieve a new level of maturity for their PI/PEX programs. Increasingly, organizations are finding an answer in an unexpected place – project portfolio management (PPM) – a domain traditionally associated, in many enterprises, with IT initiatives.

Selecting the Right Tools

Many PI/PEX initiatives are, in fact, complex projects. As such, it’s logical that PPM methodologies and tools can help to ensure their success.

A McKinsey & Company report found that organizations that actively manage their initiative portfolios can create significantly more value – up to 30 percent more. Further, organizations that formally manage the OpEX initiatives as a portfolio report that projects are always aligned with business strategy 62 percent of the time. These are promising proof points for PI practitioners focused on integrating strategy and action.

It’s important to consider that not all PPM solutions are universally suited to all types of initiatives. Many were designed to support traditional projects, such as capital improvements or IT installations. Line-of-business managers responsible for PI/PEX initiatives have a distinct and often broader set of requirements. For example, PI/PEX professionals must not only manage execution of the project, but facilitate its integration with larger enterprise strategies and goals and then measure its ultimate impact on operations.

When evaluating PPM solutions for use in P/PEX initiatives, it is important to consider multiple factors and requirements, such as:

  • Does the solution enable strategy mapping and tracking to promote alignment between business priorities and PI/PEX initiatives?
  • Does it support continuous improvement over time – enabling migration from one area to the next – from business transformation to continuous improvement?
  • Are you able to identify, track, and manage costs – direct and indirect, capital expenses and operational expenses, real time vs. historical?

The Road Ahead

The PI/PEX landscape is changing, spurring organizations to turn to PPM methodologies and tools that help ensure success while juggling the balance and intersection of IT and PI. PPM offers a clear and strategic path forward – enabling PI leaders and professionals to overcome the complex strategy-execution gap of PI/PEX initiatives and continually sustain change and build on success. PPM solutions, like Oracle’s Instantis EnterpriseTrack, provide organizations with the tools needed to improve strategy execution and drive successful business transformation initiatives.

Check out our white paper, “Process Excellence Re-Imagined,” to learn more and get ongoing insight and practical advice on effectively managing process improvement in an upcoming blog series from Mike Metcalf, director services industry strategy, Oracle Primavera.

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.

Wednesday Apr 27, 2016

Shared Insight: Utilities Power Up with Lifecycle Approach to Capital Projects

By: Mike Sicilia, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Primavera


Today’s utility executives, along with their colleagues in other asset-intensive industries, face formidable challenges. Growing business and regulatory complexity are constants. Layer on continued economic vulnerability along with an aging infrastructure and workforce retirements, the latter of which utility execs cite as their top two challenges – and enterprises are left at a significant disadvantage when managing capital projects.
In this precarious environment, utilities must ensure that their investments drive enterprise value, while reducing costs and improving operational efficiency. Mismanagement of capital projects can result in high cost overruns, delayed initiatives, and regulatory compliance issues ‒ further compounding present-day business hurdles. The stakes and hurdles are high – but far from impossible to surmount. Utilities that cultivate effective enterprise project portfolio management methodology and consistently embrace proactive strategies that address all stages of an initiative’s lifecycle are well positioned for success. Many of these same strategies apply and can be replicated across a wide spectrum of asset-intensive industries, such as communications, oil and gas, and engineering and construction.

A Challenging Outlook

Utility executives face a perilous balancing act when planning, building, and operating assets. While it’s vital for projects to continuously deliver results, many face an upward battle from the start, well before they become operational. For example, an Accenture report found that only 39 percent of utilities capital projects were completed on budget, and less than half on schedule.

Several factors are at work – each of which underscores the compelling need for careful management and precise execution at every turn:

  • Limited Capital: Limited availability, through either the markets or internal funding, means that capital for major projects is not only scarce, but also costly and requires close management to ensure an acceptable return-on-investment (ROI)
  • Aging Infrastructure: In the United States, the power delivery system – like many other types of national infrastructure ‒ is based on technology developed and installed decades years ago – resulting in an increasing number of power disruptions and heightened vulnerability to cyber attack
  • Regulatory Uncertainty: The regulatory environment continues to grow more complex, causing some utilities to err on the side of caution by stifling potentially innovative capital projects
  • Constrained Workforce: Thirty-two percent of the utility workforce will retire in the next 10 to 15 years, according to the 2014 Aging Utility Workforce report by Interactive Intelligence Group Inc., and many utilities are struggling to recruit new talent to replace these valued resources. The oil and gas as well as communications industries face similar realities. The highly skilled workers exiting the workforce will take 30 to 40 years of institutional and subject matter knowledge and expertise with them. Most of this knowledge has not been captured and operationalized in modern systems ‒ leaving enterprises at risk
  • Costly Raw Materials: As economic, regulatory, and environmental factors exert upward price pressures on many raw materials, utilities find it harder to acquire them at reasonable costs

Embracing All Aspects of the Project Lifecycle to Drive Success

So, how can a utility, and other asset-intensive organizations, overcome these challenges and ensure capital project success?

First, it’s important to consider the complete project lifecycle at the start of an initiative – from planning and execution to operation and maintenance, and ultimately, decommissioning ‒ and involve all key internal and external stakeholders throughout the process. Securing early input from employees, who will be responsible for infrastructure maintenance and ultimately have ownership of the asset, is crucial. Their insight and knowledge can reduce the long-term costs of operating the asset as well as the risk of decommissioning the project down the line.

There is no question that adopting a complete lifecycle approach to capital projects is a complex undertaking. It requires real-time enterprise-wide insight, sophisticated “what-if” modeling, and knowledge capture that traditional spreadsheet-based project management models cannot deliver.

That’s where enterprise project portfolio management (EPPM) methodologies and solutions enter the picture. In addition to automating and operationalizing processes, EPPM solutions equip utility executives to evaluate and prioritize projects across the enterprise. They also provide full visibility into the project lifecycle, enabling organizations to track performance and costs, model and mitigate risks, and manage people and resources across the organization to streamline processes and optimize available assets.

As utilities executives continue to face a vast array of challenges and scenarios, EPPM solutions have a distinct and essential role to contribute at each stage of the project management lifecycle:

  • Planning: Effective planning is particularly important when choosing the capital projects that will deliver the greatest value. A solid portfolio solution uses repeatable governance processes and consistent evaluation metrics – helping to ensure an enterprise is equipped to choose investment proposals, fund strong business cases, perform “what-if” scenarios, and analyze performance progress
  • Execution: EPPM solutions enable staff to review construction progress in various regions and on multiple projects, improving communication between all parties involved on a project, while helping project directors manage incoming demand and prioritize projects and activities based on the organization’s overall objectives. By providing these capabilities, an EPPM solution can successfully link people, teams, and projects – offering complete control of a capital project’s lifecycle
  • Operation and Maintenance: The tools a utility uses in the planning and building stages are just as essential during the project’s ongoing maintenance. A project’s profitability depends largely on scheduling and deploying resources in the most efficient manner across all maintenance activities. When an asset is offline for maintenance, it’s not generating revenue – but an EPPM solution can help a utility to plan, schedule, and manage maintenance to optimize resources, asset value, and uptime
  • Decommissioning: The decommissioning phase of an asset lifecycle is the last thing that a utility project manager wants to consider during the planning, execution, and even early operational stages. This mindset, however, can create additional expense and risk in the future. EPPM solutions can play a vital role in capturing and operationalizing information that is vital to the distant decommissioning phase. When it’s time for decommissioning, EPPM methodologies and tools are essential to a managing on-time and on-budget initiatives, just as they are when bringing a new asset online.

Set the Stage for Success

While EPPM solutions can drive success across the end-to-end project lifecycle, they can also have significant impact on asset optimization during individual phases.

For instance, a large utility in Canada uses EPPM methodology and solutions to manage its resources. In the past, the company filled service orders for construction and maintenance work via multiple manual processes and a series of highly customized and poorly integrated software systems for workforce management. The company, which deployed Oracle’s Primavera solutions, has improved its ability to plot work activities and determine what resources will be required to supplement existing resources. It can now also easily consolidate requirements for the peak project season by specific geographies. The utility has increased efficiency by shifting dispatching of resources to schedules in local offices and has gained the ability to effectively coordinate and manage resources based on local conditions and constraints – yielding greater efficiency and value from assets.
Utilities – as well as other types of asset-intensive enterprises ‒ have witnessed dynamics business transformation in recent years to a much more volatile and competitive marketplace. Now, more than ever, these organizations depend on EPPM solutions to propel capital projects forward through a gauntlet of challenges by improving collaboration and communication, better managing resources to ensure the right people are on the job at the right time, and mitigating and managing project risk.

Friday Mar 18, 2016

Five Competitive Killers in the Manufacturing “Engineer to Order” Process

Call it a streetcar not desired. In September 2015, Seattle, Washington’s Department of Transportation issued penalties of nearly $800,000 against Czech company Inekon for failing to meet deadlines in delivering new, customized street cars to the city after a series of software glitches, propulsion problems, water damage in six out of seven inverters, and unfinished items like way-finding graphics and the customer information system. As of year’s end, the first street car was scheduled to arrive two years late -- not a glittering endorsement for the company.

#1 Making the customer wait – not to mention the penalties that come with those delays -- is just one of several competitive killers that manufacturers face in the Engineer-to-Order business.

ETO projects, those highly customized, small volume designs that require unique materials and sometimes last months or years, are perhaps the most vulnerable to competitive killers due to their very nature. Designs change, delivery of specialized materials could be delayed, technology updates, things could go wrong. Manufacturers that venture into ETO projects must be ready to slay these competitive killers.

#2 Rework and failures

Changes in design are inevitable in ETO projects, but lapses in transparency and communication between customers, partners and the manufacturer are not. The need for unnecessary rework hits the bottom line.

Boeing knows this all too well. In July 2015, the aerospace manufacturer took yet another charge against its USAF aerial refueling tanker program, the KC-46A. This time the price tag was $536 million after taxes, bringing the total charges to date to more than $800 million, according to one report. The KC-46 tanker is being designed, developed and tested under a fixed-price Engineering, Manufacturing and Development contract.  

The additional charges, according to Boeing’s president and CEO, reflect higher estimated engineering and manufacturing costs to complete development, certification and initial production of the tanker aircraft, while holding to the program schedule for initial production deliveries in 2017. While Boeing had improved its processes after producing similar tankers for Italian and Japanese air forces, the fueling system is new to the USAF and different from the previous tankers.

#3 Overproduction

Even when an ETO project appears to be running smoothly, there are other aspect of ETO projects that can go south. Companies that manage more than one ETO project at a time can face overproduction due to a lack of oversight and coordination across projects. For instance, project managers arbitrarily set a pre-define margin of safety, but smaller ETO projects can tolerate a smaller margin of safety. Another pitfall to avoid -- if production starts too early, designs can change and require further production – adding to the waste.

#4 Too much inventory

Multiple ETO projects can also lead to unnecessary inventory. Procurement specialists sometimes buy larger quantities than they need to meet minimum order quantities, or they want to take advantage of quantity discounts, but in reality the true carrying or holding costs can often be greater than what was originally saved.

#5 Not automating the entire ETO project management process

Manufacturers need visibility across their entire project portfolio to determine optimal bid prices, better estimate delivery dates, reduce lead times, and be better able to accommodate change orders without compromising margins or delivery schedules. Updates should also be communicated regularly with the client and suppliers to keep inventory and production on track.

Oracle Primavera’s enterprise solution addresses the challenges of the ETO process. It can help ETO businesses make changes quickly, collaborate with stakeholders easily, understand where they are in the process, manage resources so they’re ready when needed, and ultimately deliver the product on time and on budget.

In highly specialized manufacturing, customer satisfaction is key. Oracle Primavera allows manufacturers to build tighter relationships through open transparency and repeatable success. Check out our White Paper, “Building a Profitable Engineer-to-Order Business,” to learn more.

For more information on Primavera’s Engineer-to-Order Solution visit www.oracle.com/goto/eto

Monday Feb 29, 2016

Solve the Decommissioning Dilemma

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

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

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

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

Roadblocks on the Path to Success

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

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

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

Last, but Certainly Not Least

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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 Nov 24, 2015

The Benefits of Moving to Cloud PPM

To stay ahead in today’s competitive landscape, business units demand access to innovation. They want it fast, and they want it now. But increasingly, IT groups can’t keep up with rapid advancements in technology. In fact, the No. 1 problem facing IT departments today is nonstop demand, according to research firm Gartner. Demand for more capabilities, faster connection to the Internet, more computing capability, storage, networking and human resources is increasing at a rapid rate, with no let-up in sight.

Businesses that want a competitive edge today are moving to the cloud to keep pace with innovation. Right now, more than 360,000 projects are being managed in Oracle’s Primavera cloud, representing $250 billion in project budgets managed each year.

These companies know that moving software to the cloud can bridge the growing gap between current software and the newest versions while raising the bar on performance. Overloaded IT personnel have the help of trained professionals and can focus on keeping the business satisfied. Updates are regularly scheduled, all the newest capabilities are available and handled by the service provider, and security is ensured as partners and contractors access systems to collaborate on projects.

Cloud computing yields substantial economies of scale and skill, while lowering costs, according to The Hurwitz Group. The total cost of ownership of running software in the cloud can be 77% less than on-premise, according to the Yankee Group.

Still not convinced? Oracle’s Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Cloud Service offers even more benefits to moving to a SaaS model.

A Platform for Business Agility

Cloud services allow companies to take advantage of world-class infrastructure and a much more robust IT environment than what most currently have in house.

The cloud infrastructure supports high speed, load balanced environments, which means companies can quickly scale up or scale down without over- or under-utilizing their investment spend on servers. It also guarantees system availability of more than 99%.

Primavera spends over a million hours of development effort every year to quickly bring new capabilities to users. Of course, it would be nearly impossible to consume all those updates in house while tackling other IT responsibilities. With cloud services, you can upgrade seamlessly to make sure you’re always on the latest version and can take advantage of new capabilities.

Primavera schedules two releases every year for its flagship Primavera P6 PPM suite -- in the fall and spring – so you can plan on innovative functional enhancements being introduced at a regular cadence. If you’re in the middle of a project or a critical issue and want to hold off, Primavera’s cloud team can schedule the upgrade to match your schedule.

Enhanced Support and Best Practices

Cloud services take a lot of pressure off IT departments when it comes to break-fixes, uptime and best practices. In the cloud, Oracle is responsible for your success. Subscription models replace upfront license fees, so Oracle’s entire business model of recurring revenue is dependent upon customers’ satisfaction and usage. They’ll work hard to make sure you stay.

Companies can also keep up with best practices by taking advantage of the cloud’s staging environment. Here they can test new software before moving it into production.

Taking the Plunge

Moving to the cloud may seem daunting, but Primavera’s team of professionals can do most of the work for you.

Scalability – When you’ve decided on Primavera P6 EPPM as a service, a team of Primavera’s most seasoned developers is the first to start work. The team’s highly skilled pros are responsible for sizing and configuration options to ensure you’re going to get the optimal solution.

Security – There’s always some nervousness when thinking of moving corporate data to the cloud. The Primavera cloud uses a single tenant model. That means only a single instance of a software application and supporting infrastructure serves one customer. They set up an environment that is solely used for you.

Security extends to third-party interactions, even using mobile devices. Projects almost always involve stakeholders outside the company, and information is constantly imported and exported into systems. With cloud services, you don’t have to worry about giving access to third parties into your network. In the cloud, project leaders can confidently roll out mobile solutions and give third parties access to networks because Oracle is managing the security.

Cost – When considering a move to the cloud, companies often compare only the costs of a cloud subscription fee with the cost of on-premise software, but there are other costs to consider. When calculating costs, think about annual maintenance costs of on-premise software, yearly costs for maintenance on databases and middleware, hardware and networking costs, and floor space for hosting servers.

The Primavera P6 EPPM Cloud Solution

Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Cloud Service includes Primavera P6 Professional - the desktop client, Primavera P6 Web Interfaces for project and resource management, Primavera P6 Team Member -- the solutions that lets staff enter status updates via mobile devices from the field, Oracle BI Publisher -- the reporting engine embedded in the Web, and Web Services.

Also enabled with Primavera P6 Cloud Service are Oracle BPM for workflow requirements, and Oracle’s AutoVue for in-depth collaboration with technical and business documents without the need for CAD tools.

Companies can also add on Primavera Analytics for deep reporting. Cloud functionality with this solution is identical to on-premise functionality, with no difference in the interface.

Conclusion

Today’s business pressures have IT departments overwhelmed and make it tough to keep up with software upgrades. Updating requires time, purchases, resources and money that many IT departments don’t have. Some have even settled into the status quo and have postponed upgrades to avoid disruptions or maybe even failures.

As the years go by, that gap widens between older versions and the newest software features – making updates even more elusive – at least until something major breaks, and you can’t avoid the problem any longer.

Moving to the cloud can solve these problems. Leading companies already know that moving Primavera P6 to the cloud gives them access to Oracle’s world-class infrastructure, guarantees timely updates, provides all of the features of Primavera P6, frees up IT staff and saves money.

Don’t fall into the upgrade void. Bridge the gap by moving to the cloud.

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.

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

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