For about 20 years now, project managers have used the best information technology available to help with the construction of massive, multi-billion dollar industrial projects.
Legacy IT systems have moved capital project management out of the pen-and-paper era. Project teams are more flexible and efficient today than ever before. But there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Most projects still come in late, over-budget, or both. That is only getting worse as complexity soars and productivity plummets.
The good news is that the Information Technology used to manage your biggest projects is evolving to meet these challenges.
Part of the solution you need is related to improving the current information technology infrastructure serving capital project teams not only in the design and engineering scope but also in managing the rest of the non-engineering scope (planning, collaboration, execution, risk, supply chain etc.). The Cloud is one piece of this infrastructure.
Moving to the cloud will save money, help you train and maintain high-performance project teams, and make sure your entire project is running on-time and on-budget through continuous integration of information and people. This sounds simple, yet the secret is in the formula linking all the project pieces together. A cloud-based platform purpose-built for capital projects embedded into Advanced Work Packaging principles will enable a seamless connection of people, information and practices. Your team will work better and faster than ever.
The secret to project performance acceleration is in the formula linking all the project pieces together
Consider what you’re probably doing now. You’ve got an in-house IT department that’s busy maintaining an expensive client server network and keeping all the fat and thin clients running effectively with your existing project management environment. You might occasionally bring in a contractor, but your in-house developers are primarily responsible for building and maintaining the internal IT systems that support everything from project management and human resources to accounting and email.
Then you break ground on a new megaproject. Your project team effectively becomes a separate organization. You bring in a third-party company to set up a project-specific IT application. Why? Because the third-party company specializes in supporting application-specific project functions, and your in-house IT team is busy enough doing general IT support.
You know there are downsides. Third-party staff and software licences are expensive. Hiring outsiders to manage project specific applications means you’re spending money to train their staff, not yours. Historically, it hasn’t been clear who is actually paying for the project technology. Is it coming out of the corporate budget, or the project budget? Because everyone is fuzzy on who is paying, nobody has an effective strategy for calculating your return on investment.
Because everyone is fuzzy on who is paying, nobody has an effective strategy for calculating the technology return on investment.
Is your Capital Project IT infrastructure investment really working for your company?
Or are you being held hostage by moribund legacy software, limited choices or unwarranted loyalty to the way things have always been done?
Consider what you could be doing instead.
You could be investing in a technology that evolves with your team and supports remote diverse cross functional teams. You could be moving to the cloud.
What is the cloud? The best way to understand is by using an example.
In the past, you bought accounting software and installed it on your computer. It took up lots of space on your hard drive. When the accounting software company updated the program, you had to download the update and install it. That took up space, too. Getting support was expensive and time-consuming, because the computer guy had to come to your house.
Today, the accounting software is in the cloud. You buy a monthly or yearly subscription. You don’t need to download anything, so you don’t use up any space on your computer. Updates happen automatically. As long as you have internet access, you can use it from any device -- a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop -- anywhere in the world. Your subscription buys you ongoing technical support from professionals who know the software inside and out. They can fix issues remotely, because everything is in the cloud.
Now, your capital project technology and expertise is also moving into the cloud. You’ll buy a monthly or yearly subscription. You won’t need to download anything. So you won’t need expensive company servers and expensive IT departments that keep them running. Updates will happen automatically, and you’ll be able to access the information on any device, -- a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop -- anywhere in the world.
We manage the servers. We update the software. We fix the problems. We know the technology inside and out, and we’ll help you use it.
What you do with it is up to you.
You could start by taking all the money you save on servers, licences and other peoples’ staff, and invest it instead in your own project team. You might start breaking down silos. With cloud-based IT, the project team in Texas will have access to breakthroughs made by the project team in Alberta in real time. Communicating, collaborating and sharing, on the fly.
Proactive monitoring of the cost of equipment, material and labor is important in any capital project. But what about the unseen cost of low productivity and poor collaboration? How much time do your engineers spend navigating your IT Network for the right tools and information? How much time do you spend wrestling with interoperability demons introduced by the very IT companies that have promised to make your life easier?
How much money could you save if you consistently invested in your team’s ability to focus on building a major capital project instead of grappling with internal IT issues? What if you didn’t have to start from scratch every time? What if your information technology environment made it possible to overcome your internal IT issues and just focus on building your major capital project?
TeamConcord™ (T-CON™) is the solution a complex project team has been looking for. T-CON’s proprietary cloud-based project delivery acceleration platform™ is expandable, knowledge-driven and people-centered. It is a game-changing project performance acceleration platform that will redefine the approach to industry best practices and upend business as usual.
This article is part of a series on accelerating complex project performance with cloud computing technologies.
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