Quantifying the Benefits of Digital Transformation in Managing Capital Projects Delivery

For some organizations, investing in digital transformation when it comes for managing their capital projects delivery might require quantifying the benefits of this investment although for many, those benefits are so obvious. Actually, one should be surprised on why the engineering and construction are so much lagging behind compared to other industries when it comes to adopting technology to improve the delivery of their projects. Especially when it is known that Projects carry the risk of high cost of failure. What is even more surprising is that when this technology adoption is mainly focusing on managing everyday events and activities of projects for which executive leadership should be endorsing rather than objecting.

Categorizing Benefits

Since the focus will be limited to the benefits that digital transformation will be bring for managing capital projects delivery, the analysis will only focus on the benefits of automating the different processes that are needed to manage a capital project. The analysis will detail the benefits that this automation will bring for the organization when they are able to capture their projects BIG DATA for which they can analyze, visualize, support better and faster informed decisions and build their knowledge base.

Savings That Are Attributed to Improved Data Capturing

Regardless of the size, type, location or the organization role in delivering the project, on the average a project would have between 50 to 200 formal communication records per month. Those include correspondence, meeting minutes, transmittals, site inspection, daily reports, non-conformance reports, issues, safety incidents, submittals, permits, potential change orders, change orders, progress invoices among many others. Most of those forms are either created as hardcopy, MS XLS, MS Word or PDF file format. The completed forms are usually manually distributed, or sent via email as an attachment as per the pre-defined project’s responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) which details who should be receiving the document. The recipient of the project communication will usually decide if other reviewers need to be also involved in the review process based on his/her knowledge or understanding of the approval authorities level and the roles of those reviewers. Some organizations might also consider using collaboration applications to pre-define the workflows to distribute the PDF version of the document, nevertheless this will fall short in identifying possible variances in the workflow routing usually driven by the content and values of the record attributes which are embedded in the document itself.

Improved efficiency and quality of captured data

PMWeb have all those forms available online that can be accessed by the authorized project team members from the different organizations involved in delivering the project. Access can be limited to specific fields within a form. For fields that have pre-determined values, lists can be made created to pick those values. The default PMWeb forms comes ready with the some of the best practices in capturing project records such as WBS level, Schedule Activity, Specification Reference, Location of Works, Priority, Phase, Category among many others.

Knowing that it is almost impossible to have all needed input forms readily available by any software vendor, PMWeb custom form builder provides an easy to use solution for creating new data capturing forms in any desired form or format. The form can be English or any other language, Latin or Non-Latin like Arabic. Since PMWeb is a zero-foot-print application, it means that all those forms, whether default or custom created, will be accessible from any mobile device using the web-browser. This eliminates the need to have different applications to capture different types of project documents that are not supported by a given application.

In addition, all supportive documents that are referenced in the project communication can be uploaded into PMWeb document management repository and then attached to record. Of course, if there is no need to upload to the repository, then they can it cab uploaded directly. All those documents can be viewed and red-lined using PMWeb redlining tool as well as Bluebeam Revu for those who are looking for advanced redlining and document collaboration features.

Further, all relevant other PMWeb records can be linked to the project communication to provide immediate access to all those referenced communications. If the option of importing emails into PMWeb is activated, then all referenced email communications can be also linked to this project communication.

Improved speed in distributing and sharing captured data

Predefined workflows will submit the document to the intended reviewer in the right sequence. Audit trail of all workflow steps and comments are automatically captured. PMWeb allows delegating and replacing reviewers when they are on vacation or not assigned to the project anymore. Workflow steps can include conditions for multiple reviewers such as all must approve or anyone can approve. The workflow also includes the conditions when the submission is rejected or returned.

Eliminate the High Cost of Lack of Governance Associated with Non-Abiding with Set Approval Authorities Levels

PMWeb workflow allows adding conditions depending on the document attributes which could be financial value or any other attribute. This will enforce the workflow to branch to comply with the preset approval authorities’ levels.

Savings That Are Attributed to Improved Data Analytics

MS XLS logs are usually created for each type of project communication. For example, those could RFI log, Changes Log, NCR Log, Risk Register, Issues Log, Submittal Log, Transmittal Log among others. For each log, columns will be created to capture the specific date fields of each form. Those logs will be eventually used to analyze the data captured from the different project communications as detailed above. The content of those logs is usually limited to the main attributes of those project communications, otherwise it will take very long time to capture all details plus the increased chance to make entry mistakes. Of course, those logs are one direction only which means that the viewer cannot drilldown to the data source and have to trust what is been reported in the MS XLS log.

Eliminate the effort, redundancy, mistakes and delay associated with extracting, loading, associating, reviewing. verifying, blending, analyzing and presenting the captured data

PMWeb BI reports, tabular and graphical are created once when PMWeb is implemented. The content of those reports will be always displaying the real-time data captured in the project communication unless the report includes a filter to set the reporting time periods. The data in those reports can be grouped, sorted and filtered in any desired format. In addition, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and other metrics Calculations will become part of the designed report. In other words, those tabular and graphical reports will become immediately available for all project management processes managed in PMWeb and for which access can be given to the authorized users.

In addition, interactive business intelligence and analysis tools like MS Power BI, Tableau, Qlik and others can have access to PMWeb database to provide the needed analysis. Those applications also allow associating and blending the captured PMWeb data with other applications to provide advanced business analysis. The use of such tools is growing as they provide the business user with the ability to run his/her analysis on the same real-time PMWeb database used by others.

Savings That Are Attributed to Improved Data Visualization

Reporting the projects status and performance for the different stakeholders who are either involved or affected by the project delivery is a must and not a choice. Those stakeholders would usually have different reporting needs depending on their level or involvement and the role they play in delivering the project. The multiple MS XLS logs created earlier need to be combined to create the tables needed for the dashboards. Those dashboards are usually done using MS XLS as well as data visualization tools like MS Power BI, Qlik among others. Those dashboards, and similar to the MS XLS logs created earlier are one direction only as the viewer cannot drilldown to the data source.

Eliminate the effort and delay of presenting the data in the desired format

PMWeb BI reports are used to create multi-level dashboards in the desired layout and format. The content of those reports will be based on the real-time data captured in the project communication to eliminate any delay or data manipulation. Those dashboards can be created to meet the reporting requirement of every project stakeholder. For example, there could be a projects portfolio dashboard, program or strategic initiative dashboard, project dashboard or specific management area like cost, risk, procurement, documents, schedule among others even specific to a project life cycle stage like Selection, Design, Procurement, Construction and Defects Liability. PMWeb BI Reporting also allows the stakeholder to drilldown form one dashboard to another depending on his/her reporting requirement.

Build Credibility with Stakeholders with Improved Transparency

All of the BI reports and dashboards created within PMWeb are based on the real-time project management processes captured in PMWeb. In addition, it can include data imported to PMWeb from Oracle Primavera P6 or MS Project where PMWeb has a built-in interface for both. The stakeholder can drilldown to the data source where they can view the project record along with all attachments, links to the other PMWeb records and imported emails and workflow details. This requires having the right permissions.

Savings That Are Attributed to Improved Decision Making

To certain extent, the success and failure of a project depends on the quality of made decisions and the timely execution of actions defined to implement taken decisions. The decision maker will usually depend on his/her team to provide the documents and records needed to support the decision to be made. This requires searching the project files for those records and documents which is not only time-consuming but might be incomplete. When the decision is made, regardless how good it is, the decision maker needs to ensure that the project team assigned to implement the decision are effectively collaborating to implement their assigned actions. The decision maker needs to depend on the document controller to maintain the MS XLS log used to keep track the taken decisions. Due to the confidential data that some decisions could entail, the decision maker might decide to maintain the MS XLS on their own.

Eliminate the High-Cost of misinformed Decisions

The decision maker can have access to all PMWeb records. The search option allows searching and locating all project records that could be relevant to certain topic. Records can be related to relevant records to allow tracing all related communications for a specific topic before taking a decision. There is no lag in providing the latest data and information to the decision maker.

Eliminate the High Cost of non-Implemented Decisions

PMWeb Action Management allows capturing all decisions along with the specific tasks assigned to each project team member to perform and when. In addition, the assigned project team will be invited to collaborate on the decision to report the progress and actions taken to implement the decision. Similar to other PMWeb records, the project team member can attach all supportive documents as well as create links to other related PMWeb records and imported email.

Eliminate the High Cost of Manual Tracking the Status of Executed Decisions

PMWeb Decisions Report will be based on the real-time data of the status of every decision made and update provided by the project team members. Business Analysis visualizations cab be added to the report to improve the reporting analysis. Similar to all other PMWeb logs and dashboards, the decision maker can drilldown to each specific decision and review the particulars of that decision.

Savings That Are Attributed to Improved Knowledge Management

Only data captured electronically like the one in MS XLS logs can be made available for knowledge management. This data might not be complete and might not have the right attributes to better categorize and classify the gained knowledge. In addition, data captured in MS XLS for each project will be in different silos that is not easy to relate and consolidate. This will even become worse when the organization has many projects for which we will have data islands each contain data silos. This could be make the captured knowledge of very little value and use specially as it will not be easy to query, update, maintain and share as well as not much trusted.

Eliminate the High Cost of Wasted Valuable Knowledge Gained from Projects Execution

All real-time data captured for the different project management processes in PMWeb including the lessons learned process will become available for knowledge management. BI Reports can be designed to better organize and present the gained knowledge. In addition, PMWeb custom forms can be used to create lesson learned template to proactively capture the gained knowledge. Project team members and other users can access the data captured in PMWeb by using query language, structured or non-structured to support their decision-making process. They can also request for BI Reports to present the data they need to make a decision in the desired form and format.

Conclusion

No one can doubt the benefits and savings that digital transformation can bring for delivering capital projects. To quantify the value of the many benefits of this digital transformation, for which some where listed above, depends on the organization who understands the positive impact of this change. Having said so, change is never easy even if it will bring a lot of benefits whether those are financial benefits or benefits the will enforce governance.  Nowadays and more than ever, organizations have the obligation to be transparent and curb actions or lack of actions that encourage project fraud.