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THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION EXPERIENCE : Episode TWO

Decmil and Chemex Global: Design and Construction

 

11/10/2021

52 Min Watch Time

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Brad Barth:

All right. Welcome everybody to our conversation today on digital transformation. My name is Brad Barth. I am chief product officer for InEight and really lucky to have a couple of great folks to talk about digital transformation with us here today from a couple of InEight customers. We’ll give them a chance to introduce themselves here first, before we get into our question and answers here. But guys, thanks for being with us here today. Let’s start with you Damian. Damian Kelliher, chief commercial officer for Decmil. Why don’t you to tell us a little bit about yourself, your role, as well as maybe what Decmil’s up to, what kind of business is Decmil?

Damian Kelliher:

Yeah, so I joined the organization in October 18. As you pointed out, chief commercial officer. Decmil as a business operates 40 years plus. We’ve been in the industry operating over infrastructure, construction, energy in terms of the sectors in which we operate. Diverse in terms of multi-discipline organization. And in terms of my role, I’ve got custody of the pre-contracts through to operational support.

Brad Barth:

Sounds like that’ll keep you busy.

Damian Kelliher:

Yes.

Brad Barth:

Perfect. Thanks for being here. Steven Ciancio, project controls director from Chemex. Same thing, maybe tell us a little bit about yourself and Chemex.

Steven Ciancio:

Been 20 years in the industry, primarily in project controls and project management. Unlike most of my colleagues here at Chemex, I actually started in the mining industry in projects throughout South America and in Canada. And I made my way back home and now in the oil and gas industry. Chemex is a full service EPC/EPCM with a lot of modular experience, primarily within the renewables, which has been very strong lately. And we’ve been around for about not as long as Decmil but about I think 40 years, give or take in different roles, in different positions. But it’s been interesting times.

Brad Barth:

And Steven I’ve heard some of your colleagues refer to Chemex as a boutique EPC. What does that mean to you guys?

Steven Ciancio:

It’s been a different approach. When we started with the Chemex, the boutique approach to things is we cater more directly towards the needs of our clients. To the extent of we work closely together with the clients, helping them understand exactly what it is that they need, especially in the renewables realm. Whereas your legacy projects within upstream or even within mining where the understanding is there, there’s a lot of new technology and also integrating the client with the project, within project controls, what is exactly project controls? Well, what are the stages of engineering that we have to go through from inception all the way into conclusion? What are they looking for in terms of the maturity of the process of the maturity of the engineering phases that we go through? And we integrate our clients a lot more than usually your legacy engineering companies, your big engineering companies would integrate. Our clients are not just another project, we bring them in as part of the team as well.

Brad Barth:

Active participants in the projects.

Steven Ciancio:

Correct.

Brad Barth:

Well, that seems to be a trend. And then speaking of trends, I guess certainly InEight, as we do our capital projects outlook, we do a survey out to just recently up to 300 capital project owners and contractors. EPC is kind of the whole mix. One of the trends we certainly see is the increased, I guess, the advancement, acceleration of digital transformation in our industry. And really just adoption of technology as a whole. Used to be our industry kind of had a little bit of a bad mark in terms of our willingness to adopt technology. And like you guys have been in this industry for about 30 years now, and for sure can see a major change even going back just a few years ago.

But my question for you guys, let’s start with you, Damian, one of the things that came out of that survey that we just recently did was that digital transformation has now actually risen to the top in terms of the number one opportunity for both owners and contractors that mark that as kind of the top business opportunity, even more so than the economy and other things. That digital transformation, I think, has a tendency to mean different things to different people. Damian, I’m kind of curious, especially with your background, what does digital transformation mean to you? And kind of how have you guys approached that from Decmil’s perspective?

Damian Kelliher:

From a Decmil perspective, what it means for us to move into digital transformation was more, I’ll use the term a common platform standardization. When I arrived in the business and I share this example, being that it was sort of the catalyst to move us into that digital transformation space is we look at say document control. Document control across the business, we operate in multiple states and effectively it’s fair to say when we did the reconciliation and looking at where we were as a business at that point in time, we were adopting nine separate systems in respect to document control. Now a number of them are influenced by clients and that will always be the case. But what we looked at in terms of our digital transformation journey is how do we get a uniformed approach across the business and try and leverage that common approach the Decmil way, if I can call it that, utilizing a common platform of which in fairness, as we’ve evolved on this journey, we’ve seen a greater uptake from clients in the same platform, in InEight.

We’re now finding that not only is it a common internal platform but effectively a lot of our clients are adopting the system, which has meaning as a business, we can have sort of a common approach, a Decmil which is then being sort of catering for the client’s needs in terms of their transformation. Effectively that’s the way that we sort of see that digital transformation, everything from document control to BIM management and having that common platform across the business.

Brad Barth:

Sounds like there’s a good amount of kind of standardization and consistency and getting that business process kind of digitized. Sometimes we hear, it’s hey, digital transformation we’re already doing things digitally. We don’t have much left in pen and paper but it’s really more about standardization and business process. Would you agree?

Damian Kelliher:

Yeah. Yeah. From a technical perspective, that’s quite right. Yes, you get the added benefit that you can use the iPad in the field. You can really automate the process and eliminate that administration burden, if you want to call it that. But no, for us as a business, it was more about how can we adapt digitally to get that common user platform but ensuring in deploying the system, we could do it in a way with the fact that InEight is modular in its approach, do it in a way that having been established for 40 plus years, we could do it in a progressive basis rather than sort of adopting a system at day one and changing everything historically. We can sort of not only go on a transformational journey digitally but we can do it in a fashion that sees us progressively doing it without sort of hindering the business in terms of future growth.

Brad Barth:

Got it. Got it. I’m curious about the nine document control system so we’ll come back to that one. I want to probe a little more on that one but before we get too far into it, Steven, how about you? Digital transformation and certainly in your role there as project controls director, I would imagine you get faced with a lot of systems, a lot of requests I would imagine from the folks on your team, looking at, hey, we should be using this technology. What does digital transformation mean to you? And kind of where are you guys at on that journey I guess let’s say?

Steven Ciancio:

I think to me the most important thing, the word that comes to mind is silo. Project controls or project services however you would define used to be, like Damian put quite wisely, you would have document controls working in its environment with its software. And then you have your planners and schedulers working with P6 and then whatever project controls tool you’d use and those tools will never connect. They would sometimes say they would but it would be so burdensome that you never use. Generating your dashboards and trying to control information was really time consuming and it was really prone to mistakes because it was a lot of interactions between different tools. And I think that what InEight brings, and we’re heavily invested in InEight because of that is again, like Damian said, the modularization approach that InEight has enabled us to have a proper repository, not only for the project controls but for cost, for our earned value management and then transitioning that into reporting our dashboard to the clients, which is really important.

And I think it’s safe to say that, InEight is truly on demand, true time information where you don’t necessarily get with any other platform out there. And so my team has been highly involved throughout the different disciplines and it’s been very easy for us to have full visibility of not only project per project but throughout the whole portfolio of projects that we have currently in Chemex.

Brad Barth:

Well, I like what each of you touched on it because I think there’s some really key elements there around digital transformation, business process standardization, consistency but then also that, it sounds like I think Steven, one of the things you’re recognizing there and seeing is a digital approach and a standardized digital approach can connect people together. It’s not just connecting the data, it’s connecting the roles you mentioned.

Steven Ciancio:

People and processes, you’re integrating the whole dynamic of the project. You’ve got control of all the documentation flowing in and out so you’ve got control of that. You’ve got control of all the cost. We went through the extent of tagging our InEight for RP Assist. There’s communication between disciplines within a project, as well as outside within the corporation where other areas are able to tap into information that they require and much to InEight’s capability of providing that.

Brad Barth:

It sounds like you’re eliminating some redundant effort then as well, you’re not having to type things into two different systems or three different systems.

Steven Ciancio:

Yes, yes.

Brad Barth:

Good, good. Back to you, Damian, you mentioned the many document control systems that you were using. We see that kind of thing quite often in terms of whether it’s document control or estimating or work planning, just different systems kind of pop up and we tend to want to respond to the business and put technology in place but sometimes that leads us down a path where all of a sudden, we’ve got a whole bunch of different tools that we’re using. Sometimes as you mentioned, it’s out of requirements for particular contracts but maybe talk a little bit, Damian, about kind of what led you down this path towards digital transformation and kind of maybe just touch on, how did you kind of go about getting started on that? And where are you on that journey do you feel? You still early? Or are you in the middle of it? Or kind of where do you feel like you’re at on that journey?

Damian Kelliher:

Yeah, no problem. If I start with the reason why, I sort of I touched on the document control system and that was one example. Historically, when the business has been operating for some time and it’s made acquisitions along the way and in that brings again, a magnitude of different systems through multiple different regions. But also one of the things that I experienced when I came was basically the adoption of purpose built systems. Decmil is an organization through from 2012 onwards, basically adopted an approach of building their internal systems to care to for the needs and requirements. And in that there was nothing wrong with them systems but the upkeep of them systems and keeping them live, relevant and basically keeping up with the industries and the sectors that we were operating in and the difference in requirements, as Steven said, from daily cost planning on an infrastructure job versus say an SMP type of job that the requirements whilst are similar, they’re not necessarily identical.

Where we started on arrival, where we did a bit of a look across all of the systems in terms of what we were actually trying to achieve to ensure that we could have an individual developed within Decmil but not necessarily be sector focused. What we had is and Brad you touched on it, it is about the people and connecting people. We wanted people that could be trained in the Decmil way, but then put their skillset, whether it be a resources project, infrastructure project, energy project, without the need to adopt multiple different systems and training. Late 2018, early 19, we went out with an RFQ to basically the market, to understand the systems that were in place in the market that would allow us to do them three key things.

One, develop a common platform, i.e. service all our sectors. Two, lend themselves to a progressive modular approach so that we didn’t turn things off and turn it on and flip the organization on its head straight away. And three, as with is often the case basically was cost effective and met the requirements of the business more holistically. We ran the RFQ process, basically had multiple returns through that process and wiggled it down to the InEight software and made that selection on the basis that that actually satisfied a high component of our criteria in terms of what we were looking for.

Where we are in deployment, we have been actively engaged with InEight through this process. They’ve been basically working with Decmil to I’m going to call it Decmilize the InEight components. There is a lot of collaboration. There is a lot of modifications that have been made to adapt the system, not wholesale, but the little tweaks and nuances we need for managing industrial agreements and various other things within Australia and InEight have been fantastic on that journey.

Where we are, we’re now in multiple stages across the modules, if I take document control, InEight Doc, that’s basically throughout the organization. Some are in their infancy. We’ve took a progressive approach in rollout for new projects coming online. We’re basically adopting the software, the suite in full. All projects, legacy projects are running off under the old system and our next big hurdle in terms of an organization is to roll out the InEight Estimate, which will then allow us to have the full compliment implemented in the business and really yield the fruits of what we’re trying to do. And look, that’s not been a small journey. We’ve been at it for 18 months. It’s not overnight but we’ve adopted approach of doing it in that progressive, organized and linear fashion to make sure that we’ve got people coming on that journey rather than disrupting an organization where we’ve got employees that have been within the business 12 to 12 plus years, understand the old way of working. It really has been a process of change management that sees us where we are but that’s effectively where we are on our digital transformation journey.

Brad Barth:

Good, good. That’s interesting. We’ll come back to kind of the implementation and maybe some of the challenges you faced as you’re rolling it out but I want to back up to, you talked about, and you’ve been there, what three years is that right? Three, four years now at Decmil?

Damian Kelliher:

Yeah. It’s just coming up to three years. Exactly right.

Brad Barth:

And you mentioned when you got there, you kind of as you sort of surveyed and sort of came across the challenges that you’ve discussed and kind of ventured into this journey, any kind of lessons learned in terms of just the evaluation stage? As you went through, trying to kind of figure out hey, who’s the right vendor for us to partner with on this digital transformation journey? Any advice you have for other folks out there that might be thinking about kind of going down the same path?

Damian Kelliher:

I think the advice would be actually meet and interact. Many times an RFQ for a tender process doesn’t lend itself to interaction but I would say when you actually close the door on the tender and you’re through the evaluation process, one of the major things that was the tipping scale from Decmil’s perspective with InEight was actually meeting with them and properly understanding the advantages and disadvantages and being taken through the system, rather than trying to evaluate it on a submission that is marketing material, whatever you want to call it, but effectively engaging and understanding what you want to achieve and having them discussions was a real difference in terms of how InEight engaged with us in that journey.

Brad Barth:

I think that’s a great thing to touch on you, you mentioned kind of the tweaks that you’ve gone through, whether that’s configuration options or modifications around the fringes, just to make it work the way Decmil works. It’s probably important for people to understand that it’s a big decision and there’s no system out there, I would imagine, that can meet every one of your requirements as you went out and looked at the vendors out there. I would assume, finding one that’s going to work with you that you feel like is going to be a good partner is probably right up there with the functionality, I would imagine.

Damian Kelliher:

Yeah. A 100%, 100%. And you’re quite right in terms of the modifications. We’re not talking wholesale changes but the way that we capture hours in our industrial agreements work even in the west coast to the east coast. They’re very different by nature so it’s just the tweaks we’re talking about more refinements rather than wholesale. But definitely having the right partner to enable that to occur in a timely fashion and to meet the requirements is critical.

Brad Barth:

Steven, back to you. When you went through that evaluation, you kind of decided to, hey, it’s time to kind of upgrade our systems and advance along that sort of digital path. Was it kind of similar to, it sounds like what happened in Decmil, similar on your side in terms of there was a moment where we said, “Hey, time for some change. Let’s kind of survey our business and look at our requirements, look at the systems we have and then go out to vendors.” Or did you do it more kind of, sort of piece by piece or business process by business process? How did you guys approach that?

Steven Ciancio:

With Chemex it was a little bit different because we didn’t have a legacy project controls tool that we were using. We did for scheduling, for planning for estimating but like I said, there was nothing integrated. It was a different approach to where, okay, we know what we don’t have and we know where we want to be. And I think that that was the mindset that we had at the time. And like Damian said, pointed out we had this very similar experience where once we decided to go with InEight, it wasn’t just a approach where you would set up the system and okay, here’s a number and good luck. It has been throughout every module that we have implemented in InEight, it has been fully integrated with the InEight team whereas Chemex also underwent some tweaking to how we do certain things internally, especially very heavily involved within InEight Estimate.

How we integrate InEight Estimate’s processes into our own WBS hierarchy and how to evolve that in the scheme that ties into how use, especially with other tools such as our ERP and other estimating tools that we have. And now we’re heavily involved with InEight Estimate and it’s quite frankly, becoming our go to tool. The same went with controls, where we evolved from one module to going down to basically all the modules. And now in the final stages of implement to Change, the Change module. And again, it was the involvement InEight team had throughout the whole process, we never felt that we were alone. It was the attention that the team had to what we had to say and how we wanted to do things and the ability for them to react was impressive. Our experience has been great. It’s been an ongoing process and it’s been very positive.

Brad Barth:

And sounds like you’ve kind of taken a sort of module at a time currently focused on Estimate. Whether it’s InEight related or not, just looking into the future, what’s next for Chemex on that kind of digital transformation journey? What do you see as the big next steps?

Steven Ciancio:

I think that, so the interesting thing that we’ve done, that it’s been very successful in our experience is not only the integration wasn’t only between my team and InEight, was the project management group as well. Just how we approach our projects, where project managers and project engineers have full ownership of their projects so they’re highly involved within the stages of estimating the project or planning the project, putting a schedule together. At the end of the day, they have full ownership, both project schedule and the cost structure is then transferred to the project where my team now actually has oversight. And with that being said, I think that’s very important how we approach and how we use the tool and going back to how the tool enables us to integrate every aspect of the project or every group, every discipline within the project from cost, to planning, to change, to document controls. Our next approach is to fully implement as we’re in final stages now with the Change module and all our projects are already running on this platform.

Brad Barth:

That’s excellent. That’s great. That modular approach, which I think is another nice bit of advice in terms of sort of, you don’t have to, I think some people tend to think, well, we’ve got to boil the ocean if we’re going to do this thing and bite off a whole bunch of stuff and a lot of change all at once. Where if you can kind of compartmentalize it, but with an eye towards the future, certainly it helps with that change management.

Damian, back to you. In terms of that change management, as you were going down this path, either during the evaluation or during implementation, as you started to roll this out at Decmil, what kind of resistance did you run into or enthusiasm? I guess one or the other or both but there were likely I’m sure obstacles you had to get over kind of organizationally and internally to get people behind the change.

Damian Kelliher:

Yeah, no, quite right. And I think you are right. We did have multiple pockets. We had people who had basically inherited and developed the systems that were being operated historically. And they were not necessarily opposed but there was a different change management piece to bring them on the journey. Whereas we had people join the organization within the past two years that had experienced sort of external systems and the knowledge of where we potentially wanted to be. We had this vast spectrum of adoption. But I think in all of it that the hurdles, we never really hit a hurdle. What we always subscribe and I’m a very strong advocate for is the way that we’ve used to genesis of the system is one source of the truth. Single point entry, one source of the truth.

And I think through that journey and that promotion, what we’ve been able to do is get everybody to that point where they actually see the benefit of the system, what we’re trying to adopt. And I think you used a good analogy there of boiling the ocean. What we tried to promote to people is we’re not necessarily here to boil the ocean but when it’s boiling, this is what it looks like in terms of really promoting the benefits of the holistic system right through to what Steven said in terms of linking cost, planning and risk, but more actively, living the experience of how the estimate is getting the benefit of what has actually occurred on projects being fed back real time so when they’re pricing the next job, they don’t necessarily have to chase the information. We’re not trying to avoid people not communicating but effectively that real time information means everybody is best placed to do what they need to do when they need to do it. And I think that once we’ve got that message to land, the adoption in the system is getting better and better.

Brad Barth:

That’s excellent. It sounds like there was a recognition and it sounds like you did a great job of kind of painting the picture of here’s what that sort of master vision looks like. We’re doing this piece, this piece, that piece but when it all comes together, the puzzle gets filled in because sometimes people don’t really understand why are we changing this one thing? We already do this thing. We have a way to do it. Why are we changing that? Sometimes it’s not about that one thing. It’s about the benefits to the organization as a whole, right?

Damian Kelliher:

Yeah. 100%.

Brad Barth:

We’ve focused kind of so far on kind of how the changes and the digital transformation, things that InEight is a partnering with you on, how they kind of affected you internally. How has it affected your ability to deliver on your customer’s expectations? Damian, I’ll stay with you on that. But to some degree, I would imagine the evolution that you’re going through has been to position yourselves effectively, obviously to deliver on demands your customers are putting on you. You seen a change in that?

Damian Kelliher:

I think what we’ve found is it’s actually aided from a client perspective, transparency. In our operations, generally speaking, a system or otherwise, we’re managing our operations day to day but through modules such as Change and or planning under the Schedule risk analysis we’re unable to do but we’re now enabled to do through the system, we can have them more open discussions with clients as to some of the critical decisions, whether that be a design review turnaround or whether that be a direction or an approval to progress with an alternative option. We’ve been able to adapt to new license system to provide a better client solution in that it’s ready, it’s accessible. We can sit down with them in a room, put the Schedule risk analysis on the screen, model a few different scenarios and give a real time sort of vision as to, well, if we actually fail in approving or making a decision on this by next Tuesday, the program slips a month or comes back a month.

Really we’ve used it as a more tool for collaboration. That would be the best word, sort of say from my perspective, the client experience has changed. Before you couldn’t necessarily, and Steven alluded to it well, you had one system in terms of where we had procurement captured, another system in terms of where direct labor were captured, then you had P6 and never would there meet. Whereas now we can jump into one common platform and have that information readily available to take our clients on the journey as we sort of progress through projects.

Brad Barth:

Well, and then that’s a great point. And I mentioned at the beginning, the survey that we did recognized digital transformation as kind of the greatest opportunity to drive improvement in the industry. And I wasn’t surprised to see that coming from contractors. I was a little surprised to see that coming from the owner operator side but it sounds like maybe Damian, what you’re saying is there is a recognition may be more and more because of those interactions that owners are having with organizations like yours, recognizing that the risk is less, we can model things faster, we can make decisions faster and ultimately that if we can move more work through the pipeline, less contingency sitting on the sideline, we can do more investment. Are you seeing that kind of, I guess, change from the clients you work with in terms of their expectations around what technology can do for them?

Damian Kelliher:

Yes, we are. When you look for it as well, post the COVID recovery in Australia, a lot of the clients are adopting alternative procurement models that are more focused on that collaboration, accurate, more appropriate risk allocation and contingency applications. Effectively what we’ve found is that the adoption of this digital transformation is just a way and a tool that they can facilitate that revised procurement model through the works that we’re doing. In a recent example, down in Victoria, the client was heavily involved right through the estimate, through to the Schedule risk analysis. And in fact, a number of the things that the system can now generate were mandatory requirements through that procurement process. Whereas historically, it was, we want a tender submission in a closed sealed envelope. Now we’re working on a 12 week journey with a client using the system as a platform to basically inform how things are procured.

Brad Barth:

Doing more back and forth, more what ifs, more scenario planning. That’s great. Well, and having a history and historical data from which to benchmark those things I would imagine is a handy thing as well, to help validate some of the numbers.

Damian Kelliher:

Yeah. And look, they’re they benchmark equally as we do but if we can point to our past two jobs or norms that we’re currently achieving or a job down the road, here’s the dashboard or the productivities that we’re currently achieving for these reasons, it really, it makes for an informed decision making process rather than a theoretical and that’s where we’ve really seen the benefit in the system.

Brad Barth:

Yeah. That drives confidence, I would imagine. Steven, your clients, if I understand right, a lot of your customers are private developers that are in that alternative energy space, garnering private investment that funds many of the projects that you guys do. I would imagine there’s a unique element to that in terms of making sure that well, two things, would I be correct in assuming that maybe some of those private investment, maybe consortiums or individual private investment groups, perhaps don’t have a long history of project controls expertise on their side and are therefore really looking to you and your firm to kind of provide direction. I’d like to hear your thoughts on that. But then secondly, are you seeing from the owner operators that you work with, a change maybe in what their expectations are around technology and how they collaborate with your firm?

Steven Ciancio:

Yeah, I think you’re correct. Our clients are becoming more and more sophisticated to the point where, they do understand that project controls is a very important requirement. I think that what this tool enables us to do and we’ve been very successful, both with internal and external clients is for us to provide our dashboard approach and show them information that helps them make educated decisions in which, okay so if we know how our indexes are, we can steer this project to the expected outcome. And that comes with the data that’s extracted in a dashboard format. One very important component of project controls is reporting. And both internally and externally.

Internally, where we can show our directors, the CEO and Cooper, our COO, how our portfolio is reacting to our management into different stages of the project lifecycle, as well as externally to our clients, to where we sit on a biweekly or monthly basis. And we help them steer the project in the way that it’s been baselined and expected. We have been seeing more and more of the clients being a little bit more educated to what they want to see, the way they expect to see, which that helps us, especially when we are able to sit with them and use the dashboards that are embedded with InEight and graphically show them. Okay, so here’s how your project versus your baseline and what are we doing in order to get this project to completion.

Brad Barth:

It’s funny, gives a little more confidence when it’s coming through a dashboard than an Excel spreadsheet or Word document or something like that.

Steven Ciancio:

It does.

Brad Barth:

It implies there’s process behind it, which there is.

Steven Ciancio:

You can’t just put the tool out there. There has to be a process in the background and it goes back to our conversation early on where integration is very important because once you’re showing that information visually in graphical format to your client, he understands that that’s pulling from this module or that module and the integration is there. Like Damian said, we’re able to go back to a module and showcase, so your change management process, here are the changes, got your change log and that’s how it’s affecting your cost. And the same thing with the schedule and same thing with plannings and document controls. You have one repository where you can just show them the whole process. And it goes a long way to build the confidence in your client as well, to go through the next stages, as the project matures.

Brad Barth:

That’s perfect. That’s music to my ears. I know one of the themes that we’ve tried to embrace here at InEight and I think we even used it as a marketing theme at one point, but it’s the, where did you get that number? We want to enable our customers to be able to answer that question, whether it’s an estimate or a forecast or any number that people want to understand, where’d you get that number that you can back up into it. It might be ending up in a dashboard but then you can back up from there and see all the way back to what were the assumptions behind those numbers?

Steven Ciancio:

Exactly. And you’re not going back to just raw data. You show it, you’re transforming that data into information that’s to them makes sense. And it makes sense to us as well.

Brad Barth:

And Steven, staying with you, we’ve talked about alternative energy and the sort of overall industry that you’re in but I’ll give you a chance to maybe brag about one of the projects that you guys have done or in the middle of doing because there’s some pretty cool projects, pretty unique projects that you guys get involved in. Tell us about maybe one that jumps out.

Steven Ciancio:

Yeah. We are actually in partnership and in the midst of a big project and heavily, heavily utilizing InEight, all the modules. We have recently finished one of its first renewable diesel in Hugoton, Seaboard. And also utilizing InEight controls. And been very successful with it. Like I said, we don’t take any projects here that’s outside of our project control system and everything flows through InEight and everything is controlled through InEight. And the fact that we’ve been very successful is, talking about a little bit of how painful change can be sometimes and how we approach and change the perception of, do I really want to use this? I think that we’ve been very successful by implementing module by module, by training, with the help of InEight on how to best utilize the tool and including our project team in the process. All of the project management group are very fluent in InEight. It’s not a dedicated tool to project controls. And I think that’s what driving our projects to success in with this recently concluded a project and a major project that we’re ongoing right now.

Brad Barth:

One of the folks on our team, one of my favorite sayings is it talks about democratizing the project controls process, where sometimes you’d look in the past and there’d be two or three experts in the system, whatever the system was. But they’re the ones that kind of managed all the systems and the data coming in. Have you seen that kind of democratization where more and more people involved in the project are into the details of the system being able to get their own answers, not waiting for someone to go get them an answer?

Steven Ciancio:

Yes. Definitely. I’m able now to change my WBS hierarchy, adding or making it functional to a given project without a project manager ever even arguing with me that I don’t understand. I have feedback, which it’s very welcoming. Where it’s said, “Okay, we need to use this process more.” It’s been a very interesting approach and it’s been very interesting to see the feedback that I’m getting from the project team. I think you put it quite well. It’s a democratic approach to all of the process. Whereas, project controls weren’t really necessarily the most liked group in any project within construction or if you’re in engineering stages. Where this shows them a little bit more of what is project control? Why do you need project controls? It gives the project management and the project team a lot more confidence to take on their projects.

Brad Barth:

Well, it kind of drives that, we hear it sometimes described as kind of self service. I’m able to do things that I need to do on the spot. I can get my own answers. I don’t have to go through a hierarchy to get to where I’m going or bureaucracy. Just moves things along. Damian, maybe on that same topic, what have you guys seen there at Decmil? Have you seen that same sort of evolution in terms of more people involved in the system perhaps than you would otherwise?

Damian Kelliher:

Yeah. I think that the biggest summary and Steven touched on it there, is that many people didn’t actually understand what the answer was so they were putting information into multiple different systems to get a different response but didn’t actually know what the output was saying. One of the things that we’re finding in the adoption through the system and in particular from a supervisory leading hand perspective, is that they’re getting that real time productivity data that means at the end of shift, they know what they’ve got to do differently the next shift to effectively maintain their forecasts and things like that. Whereas traditionally and historically the system hasn’t really lent itself to generate that real time information in a simplified format that can basically generate that real time information to enable change. We’re finding the adoption and uptake is people are still putting the same information in but they’re getting a more user friendly roadmap in terms of the results at the backend. And that’s what we’re seeing has sort of led to a greater use of the system on in particular, our infrastructure projects where productivity is key.

Brad Barth:

Got you, got you. Well, and speaking of infrastructure projects, so I want to give you the same opportunity, any particular projects that you want to brag about or highlight that the Decmil’s involved in currently?

Damian Kelliher:

Look, it’s a very hard one. We like to brag about all our projects but one of the things that we have is that diversity of we’ve got projects that are EPC through cost reimbursable over multiple different sectors. And I think when you actually look to where we sort of are sort of learning and growing and enhancing is through the use of the software. We’re doing major road infrastructure projects throughout Australia in particular, well Queensland, Victoria, Perth. We’ve been involved in renewable farms in terms of wind farms, solar but effectively in terms of the commonality of the platform, we really see that the system we now have can adapt yourself to any particular project that we work on.

Brad Barth:

That is great to hear. As we’re coming down to the home stretch on this, I want to take advantage of while we’ve got you guys. I’d like to ask you both, as you look back on kind of where you’ve been over the last couple of years let’s say, as you’ve been on this journey, is there something that sticks out at you as either something you would do differently if you were doing it over again? Or a piece of advice maybe that for somebody that’s kind of following down that path maybe a few years later than you guys started but any advice or things that major takeaways that you want to call out? Steven, we’ll start with you on that.

Steven Ciancio:

I think that if, to give an advice would be to really know your project controls or project services. Implement a solid system with processes that make sense, processes that work. Communicate and integrate, that’s very important and not often done where your project, like we spoke earlier on, where you’ve got team members working in silos and not really communicating. I think that project controls has evolved to a point where we have a lot more knowledge today of what we need to do in order to make a project successful or help a project be successful. And I think that’ll be my advice is just know what do you need to implement? Know your project, know constraints, know your baselines and integrate your team and work together.

Brad Barth:

It’s thinking through that business process before you try to visualize that business process.

Steven Ciancio:

Yeah, definitely.

Brad Barth:

That kind of comes first. I think that’s great advice. Sometimes it’s, I think people rush to the software and the solution before they really kind of know what are our requirements? What problems are we trying to solve before we go start implementing?

Steven Ciancio:

You need to understand what your pain points are and only when you understand them, you know exactly what you need to implement. What’s going to take priority? Is it going to be documents? Am I low in cost? I’m not controlling costs and I’m over running my projects on costs. Is it schedule? And I think that if you’re successful in knowing your pain points or your constraints and then applying tools and processes that are inclusive of the whole corporation, I think that goes a long way for your success.

Brad Barth:

Excellent advice. Damian, over to you, same question. What’s a big takeaway from you or advice that you would have for others going down the same path?

Damian Kelliher:

Firstly, fully agree with what Steven outlined there. I think that is critical, understanding where you want to get to before you jump on the journey. I suppose the extension from me with personal learnings is don’t underestimate the need for somebody necessarily to act as a project manager. We’ve been in and out of this process, the difficulty we all experience are, we still got day jobs. We still have to be in the business and on the business.

We’ve sort of the learning that I would take away is it would make sense to have a project manager responsible for the deployment of the system because whilst it’s easy to sort of isolate and say one module, that one module may actually talk to Stevens point, three or four different silos in the organization as to information they necessarily need or we need to feed the system, whether that be the finance department through to doc control. And I think the learning that we’ve taken away, which has sort of not hindered but definitely slowed down our rollout is that lack of adoption of a dedicated project manager, which is where we’ve now moved to. And we’re seeing that in doing that, we’re already seeing a sort of a hockey stick in terms of progress in rolling out the systems. Effectively, that would be my addition to what Steven outlined.

Brad Barth:

All right. Well, perfect. I can’t thank you guys enough for joining us here today on this topic. Like I said, that capital project survey, that global project survey that we’ve just recently published indicates that digital transformation is high on really everybody’s list as an opportunity to improve in this industry and deliver more projects with less risk. Great advice all the way around for other folks that might be going down this path and I thank you both for your insights and your wisdom here today and appreciate you guys joining us.

Steven Ciancio:

Thank you, Brad.

Damian Kelliher:

Thank you, Brad.

Brad Barth:

And that pretty much wraps it up here from InEight and for today’s discussion. Really appreciate everybody joining us here today. That survey that I mentioned is available for download at ineight.com. Like I said, having been in this industry for 30 years or so, I’m always surprised at how surprised I am every time I look at that survey. There’s a lot of great data in there and some really good insights in terms of kind of some trends and where the industry’s heading. Great reading. Free download for everybody that’s participated here today. Hope you guys enjoyed the talk and thanks for joining us today.

Damian Kelliher:

Yeah. Thanks Brad.

Steven Ciancio:

Thank you, Brad.

Brad Barth:

Thank you guys.