Why Digital Transformation for Capital Projects is a Must and not a Choice?

No one can deny that capital projects are the least in adopting digital transformation compared to other industries and practices. This lack of digital transformation is not only wasting the opportunities that organizations could have from improved efficiency in doing everyday project related processes but increasing the high-cost risks associated with lack of transparency and accountability, access to reliable and timely projects’ big data, faulty projects performance reporting, make misinformed decisions and repeated mistakes.

Digital transformation for capital projects delivery should at least address the following areas:

Project Management Information System. This is an integrated platform like PMWeb where the organization will use to automate all project management process, analyze the performance of those processes, share projects performance details with the stakeholders, support the project-related decision-making process and capture the reuse the knowledge gained from performing the project management processes.

Planning and Scheduling. Applications like Oracle Primavera P6 will be used to develop and maintain the project’s implementation schedule. This can also be improved by using Oracle Primavera Risk Analysis to identify the impact of risks on project’s confidence level in meeting the target milestone dates.

Cost Estimating. Applications like Nomitech CostOS will be used to develop the project cost estimate regardless of the level of detail. Cost estimates will be linked to cost database that can be specific to the organization or use third party cost database application.

Building Information Modelling (BIM). Applications like Autodesk Revit will be used to develop the project design scope of work and drawings. The BIM 3D data can be integrated with the project schedule to create the 4D and cost estimate to create the 5D. BIM 3D data can be also integrated with the PMIS when issuing RFIs, Submittals, Change Orders among other project communications.

Digital Signature. Applications like DocuSign will be used to digitally sign project documents to enable using them in formal communications instead of having hard copy of project communications.

Internet of Things (IoT). RIFD sensors which will be used to capture labor and equipment movements and details, tagged to procured material and equipment assets, gas and temperature sensors, air wind and other type of sensors.

Video Recording. Drones and fixed site cameras are used to capture details of projects’ performance, site security and site conditions. The captured videos and still pictures can be further used to for quantity takeoff, site analysis among others.

In this article, we will only focus on the Project Management Information System (PMIS) and how an application like PMWeb can help those involved in delivering capital projects to drastically improve their current practices that lack this digital transformation. The assessment will focus on the five-areas that digital transformation will add value to the capital projects delivery. Those are data capturing, data analysis, data visualization, decision making and knowledge management.

Data Capturing

PMWeb PMIS allows the organization to automate the processes needed to manage the project’s delivery. Those could be processes that relate to project scope, schedule, quality, human resources, communications, risks, procurement, stakeholder, health and safety, financial, claims, sustainability among others. For each process, there will be an input form to capture the right data along with all supportive documents. Although PMWeb comes ready with most forms, nevertheless the custom form builder allows creating any needed additional forms in any desired language. Each form will be assigned a workflow to map the resources who are assigned to submit, review and approve the process in accordance with the set roles authorities’ levels. For example, a change order that exceeds certain amount might requires additional approval level.

Data Analysis

The real-time data captured by the PMWeb forms will become available for the authorized project team members to review and analyze to identify performance trends, data correlations, transactions growth and transactions exceptions. The data can be visualized in tabular or graphical format to improve the analysis and communicating the results of the analysis. The analysis is also used to forecast the impact on at completion project objectives based on actual performance achieved to date.

Data Visualization

One of the key objectives to achieve project success is engaging the right stakeholders in the project delivery. Those stakeholders are keen on being informed of the single version of the truth of the capital projects delivery status. The need of what to visualize vary depending on the stakeholder role, interest and influence on the project. Therefore, dashboards are the best method to communicate projects’ performance status with stakeholders. Dashboards could be designed to report on projects’ portfolio performance, program or strategic initiative performance or just a single project performance. For some stakeholders, their interest might be limited to the project’s financial performance or other specific aspect of a project.

Decision Making

Having the insight to make better and faster informed decisions could be to a large extent what will make a project delivery to succeed or fail. The real-time data analysis provides the decision maker with the needed information needed to make the best decisions as well as assess the impact that this decision could have on the project’s objectives. In addition, an application like PMWeb provides the decision maker with process to capture those decisions and the actions identified to implement the taken decision. The action management process provides the platform for those assigned resources to collaborate and communicate the status of their actions until all have been executed. This will enable the decision to have real-time tacker of all decisions made and their status.

Knowledge Management

It has always been said that 70% of knowledge management is achieved when it is recorded. Having a PMIS like PMWeb, the content of all project management processes captured become immediate knowledge. In addition, by enforcing lessons learned process, the knowledge gained by the project team members can captured and shared with the project delivery team. Many organizations would have the contribution of lessons learned as an integral component of project team members performance appraisal.

Conclusion

Organizations who have started adopting digital transformation on their capital projects delivery understand more than any other organizations the value of this decision. The risk of incurring the high cost in terms of inefficiency in managing project processes, misplaced project records and documents, project fraud and unauthorized actions, disengagement of stakeholders, wrong decisions, lack of accountability and collaboration, wasted knowledge among many others could be drastically reduced when proper digital transformation is implemented.

It is well understood that for some organizations, digital transformation could be an investment that might not be considered as a priority, nevertheless if the massive savings of digital transformation is taken into account, then the digital transformation decision could have the return of investment (ROI) that far exceeds any other investment that the organization might be considered. Actually, it is an investment that could be for itself in few months compared to others.