Good afternoon, and welcome to this webinar, using project management information systems to better manage of the project life cycle. This event is brought to you by Engineering News-Record and sponsored by InEight. Hi, I’m Scott Seltz, publisher of the ENR and your moderator for today’s webinar. And thank you for joining us.
The trends and challenges impacting the construction industry continue to grow. Climate change, sustainability productivity, resource shortages, supply chain issues and financial constraints all must be addressed. Traditional methods while comfortable need to be reevaluated to meet these new challenges head on. How can contractors not only succeed in this new project climate, but reach a higher level of project certainty in the process? Today, we’ll discuss the advantages of project management information systems and how it can help you harness the full power of digitalization.
Please join me in welcoming today’s presenters, Brad Barth, chief product officer of InEight and Jonathan Robinson, research director of power and energy at Frost & Sullivan. InEight’s chief product officer, Brad Barth, is a member of the company’s executive leadership team and a key architect of the company’s product, vision and strategy. Prior to InEight, Brad spent 20 years in a similar role at Hard Dollar where he helped define the project cost management category of software that later became the foundation of InEight. He has driven many industry innovations and project controlled software, most notably in the area of CoSchedule integration.
Frost & Sullivan’s research director of power and energy, Jonathan Robinson, develops thought leadership for the company’s subscriber client base with a focus on providing actionable data led insights that drive future clients’ growth. Bringing 15 years of research and consulting experience to his role, he’s been involved in the delivery of over 200 client and syndicated insights to global OEMs and solution providers, including utilities, private equity firms, plus government and enterprise agencies.
Now, I’m going to rejoin the panel at the end of the webinar when we start the question and answer period. So please don’t forget to enter your questions in the webinar council, during the presentation. And now I’m going to hand things over to Brad Barth. Brad?
Thank you, Scott. I appreciate that introduction. And thank you for hosting this webinar. Really excited to talk about today project management information systems. As you heard in the introduction, this is a journey that I personally have been on for quite some time going back to a company in the early 90s, when we just started creating digital versions of project management information systems. Before that, it was all paper and binders. But we’ve come a long way and really excited to talk about some of the trends that are happening in the project management information system space.
But before we get to that, before we start talking about some of the trends that are really increasing the demand for a PMIS, let’s talk about what is a PMIS. So project management information systems historically have been focused on a place to store critical project management information as the name would imply. We want to have a centralized place to store that, reference it, perhaps use it on the next project and use it to check the boxes as we go along on a project to make sure we’re doing the right things and collecting the right information.
Over the last couple of years, we’re starting to see that trend more towards not just having a place to store information, but also a place to manage process and manage business process and control workflow and things like that. And there’s a lot of technologies, just general technologies, not the least of which is the internet, but things like smartphones and other technologies that are coming to bear on a PMIS and making expectations rise in terms of, hey, we want something that’s more collaborative and something that connects people and not just connects information.
So we’re seeing the definition of PMIS change, but the essence of it is really around if you boil it all the way, any project is all about scope, cost and schedule. So you see how InEight looks at PMIS and that scope, cost, schedule, those three dimensions of the project controls triad are really where InEight is focused. So InEight is a global provider of integrated project control systems or PMIS systems. We are 100% focused on connecting the data that you see around that pyramid.
And I want you to think about a little bit as you look at those call outs on each of those three dimensions, scope, cost and schedule, whether it’s things like models, documents, cost information like estimates and budgets and forecasts, or scheduled type information, CPM schedules, work plans. Most organizations that we run into are using… It’s not uncommon for a different system, a different vendor, even to come into play on each of those call outs. So large capital projects, complex projects, easily have 10, 12, 15, 20 different systems that are being used to manage all of this information. And so the essence of a PMIS is to let’s bring all of that information together and increasingly let’s bring the functionality that can address each of those different types of project controls information, bring that under one roof. And that’s what allows us to connect the dots between the people and the workflows as the project evolves.
And so big part of what we’re going to talk about today is, like I said, some of the trends that we’re seeing that are increasing the demand for these types of systems, but also how do we connect the project life cycle. So these projects, many of them have a three, five, even 10 year planning horizon before we get into design and construction. So what role does a PMIS play in that whole life cycle? That’ll be another big topic for us today. So with that, let’s turn to the next slide here and talk about what are some of the trends that we’re seeing in the industry. Over to you, Jonathan.
Yeah. Thanks a lot, Brad. If I start by considering digital transformation, in research carried out, 71% of respondents basically said that they felt this was a key enabler of growth. And obviously it can bring higher productivity, the solutions within this are getting more advanced and more people in the industry are using still approximately a ton of waste basically from a demolition project, for example, is recycled. So there is still a great deal of challenge really around sustainability in the industry, but it’s becoming a priority.
If you stepped back a decade ago, maybe even five years ago, you would argue that it was more of what people called greenwash. But now we see it as being much more vital in a lot of corporate strategies at the highest level. Increased industrial demand with the COVID recovery. And we’re not necessarily 100% through COVID, but certainly we all hope we’re through the worst, but we certainly sought a big uptake in the economy in most nations last year recovery, a lot of projects given the go ahead and that has certainly led to much stronger demand.
And also probably another of the positive ones has been government funding. I know there’s significant funding coming through the US stimulus packages, but we’ve also seen in the EU hundreds of billions of euros have been unlocked for different projects within the member states. And infrastructure has been a key aspect of that. Now, on this moving on the challenge side, logistics. So logistics has become tight. Trucking, moving has been a big issue. Getting the truck, getting the stuff to the right place has become a big issue. Inflation is something that I’m sure everybody is very aware of. I know that oil and gas prices are a key driver behind this, but inflation is not exclusively to those areas. And across the board, we’ve seen fairly strong growth in commodities, which poses a big challenge for large infrastructure projects.
Supply chain issues. Obviously we’ve had some issues with securing key components. Semiconductors is the famous one that stands out that’s maybe not so relevant for the building space, but there’s an awful lot of other areas where we’ve seen significant supply chain issues. Labor costs, significant pressure on increase in labor costs across. This applies globally as well, but the US and Europe are areas where we’ve seen, I think, particular pressure there. And finally, labor shortage. 21% of the global construction workforce is over 55. Approximately 40% of US laborers are expected to retire in around the next decade, maybe the decade and a half, depending how long they can go. So the pyramid of employment in the industry is extremely out of whack with where it needs to be. And all of these cumulatively are certainly having a big impact and are going to influence the things that we’re talking about later on in this briefing.
Brad, I don’t know if there’s anything you want to add for color on this? Any you particularly would like to pick up on that stand out to you? And then we’ll move to asking our audience.
Yeah. Thanks. Thanks, Jonathan. Yeah. From InEight’s vantage point, certainly the digital transformation theme is one that we see all the time now that’s to some degree caused by those other themes around the horn there that are creating the need to collaborate more, work remotely, have contingency plans to deal with some of these issues. So that digital transformation is certainly on the upswing. In fact, InEight does a global capital project survey every year where we survey 300 owners, contractors, CMs. And in all regions that we surveyed, digital transformation came up either number one or number two in terms of opportunity. And yeah, so that theme just continues to rise.
Lovely. Thanks a lot, Brad. Maybe we can now move on to our poll. So let’s throw it open to the audience and see what you guys think. So the poll is open. I please ask you to submit your votes. We slightly slim down the options there. So we have six options coming in. So we’ll open the polling now and please get voting. Okay, we’ll leave that open for a little bit longer. So we have the poll results in. We have an edged lead for labor costs and shortages. So 36%. Supply chain and logistics are close second. And then it’s quite a gap to digital transformation. I think given the obvious issues that we are finding with shortages, and particularly we are seeing a lot of inflationary pressures, I’m not surprised that we see some of these ones really jumping to the top.
So while I think sustainability is a long running issue and I think digital transformation is an issue, the things that are definitely top of mind are really getting things for getting the equipment components, getting the materials for the industry. So I’m not surprised to see that one coming in. So thank you to everyone who voted on that one.
Moving forward then, we’re going to move this on. Our next area that we’re going to discuss is we’re going to give some ideas on the different types of contracts that are used within the process. So there’s five we’re going to outline. So design-bid-build, design-build, construction manager at risk, integrated project delivery and public private partnership. I’m just going to very briefly introduce these. I’m suspecting that the majority of our audience is fairly well versed with all of them to a degree, but just for those people that maybe aren’t so aware.
So obviously the bid-design-build, the risk really is whether the designer has got it right, because ultimately you are there putting it out for tender. And then ultimately, obviously it’s going to go in for construction. And if the designers got it wrong, then the designer has almost moved out of it. And it’s the bid and the build in the middle where the problem comes. The design-build is obviously a more seamless process in the sense that the designer and the bidder is the same. So we have a single point of responsibility, I suppose I would describe it as.
Construction manager at risk really, obviously this is specialized project management is in here through the entire process. So some may view this as moving towards a more safer position given some of the cost challenges that exist within the industry. Integrated project delivery: I think this one really for me, is where technology really comes into play. So this is really bringing together and balancing all the different parties and all the different priorities into a single structure of control. And I think it’s quite an interesting delivery form. And finally, public private partnership, which is something that has gained a lot of prominence, certainly in the UK, but I know also in the US. Towards the end of the 90s and into the 2000s was very popular with governments as a way of minimizing public expenditure and keeping things off the books.
To my mind, has become a little bit more challenging because certainly we saw the public sector, the public purse effectively building, carrying quite a lot of cost through that later on. So I would say maybe that one has had some challenges. But Brad, maybe over to you to comment a little bit more on a few of these and maybe where you see these linking to the use of PMIS systems.
Yeah, for sure. This is so certainly an area that’s changed a lot over the 30 years that I’ve been in the construction technology world. And you really see the evolution almost going clockwise around your diagram there. So starting with design-bid-build, moving away from that type of model to more of shared risk models, the rest of them are either intended to accelerate, get to construction sooner or share that risk across the different stakeholders in the project. So still seeing a lot of design-build. That’s really a trend that’s been increasing for several decades now, actually.
But those shared risk models, like you said, Jonathan, those integrated project delivery and those public private partnerships where you’re really seeing a need for all the stakeholders to work with more visibility, more transparency in the projects and be able to get a feel for risks on a more continuous basis, on a more timely basis. And that’s driven the need for the type of technology that a PMIS can provide.
Technology. Let’s keep moving here and let’s talk about the project management information systems and how digital versions of those technology driven versions of PMIS can help really cover the entire construction life cycle. So I mentioned at the beginning, one of the trends is particularly starting with the owner, how do we create just a continuously evolving set of information that moves with the project from the early days, all the way from early inception of the project through design and construction and the startup and operations.
Probably everybody on this call has a different graphic that you use to represent that project life cycle. This is one that InEight likes to use. And we broken into three big chunks here. Pre-planning, everything that happens before we start doing detailed design and getting into construction. Then that big design and construction stage, very intense stage, where a lot of the money’s being spent. And then into startup and operations, where we’re getting ready for that handoff of that asset back to the owner and getting ready to really begin its life, the life of the asset itself.
So one of the really nice things about a PMIS is it can provide that common repository and that data fit. So as the information moves along through those stages, you’ve got one place to store the critical information there. And one of the challenges is projects evolve as you typically have these two steps forward, one step back, two steps forward, one step back. And that one step back often happens at the interface point. So either as the owners get an engineer involved, engineers getting contractors involved, and then back to the owners. So those interface points certainly come with those efficiency challenges and knowledge transfer and handoff.
But also just internally, within a particular stakeholder on the project, within a contractor, you might have that same challenge in terms of handing information off between the different roles, estimators to schedulers to work planners to procurement managers. And so PMIS can really be the glue that ties all of that together, that facilitates that handoff from one stakeholder to the next, from one role to the next.
So one of the things that InEight’s focused on is really trying to extend the PMIS construct if you will to the left. So getting involved earlier in the asset life cycle. So we do see now that PMIS need extending all the way into capital planning. So obviously before we go manage a project, before we take it through the stages you see on the screen in here, we have to prioritize our projects if we’re sitting in the owner’s chair, which ones are we going to do, which ones tied to our business strategy, which ones can we fund based on our funding sources and maybe the strings that are attached to those.
So we do see that capital planning process is a key element of PMIS that’s a relatively new trend, but that just sets the foundation. As we approve projects, we put together some information that’s going to continue to evolve as we go all the way through pre-planning design and construction and startup. And so a PMIS is really geared towards the ability in that pre-planning stage to be able to do high level estimates, high level schedules, but the most important thing in that stage is defining scope. That’s one of the biggest risks to any projects is did we properly define the scope? And secondly, did we properly define the risk?
One of the challenges we have as an industry is how do we properly identify those risks so that we can have realistic budgets, realistic schedules and realistic plans. And so a good PMIS can really help you in the early stages of the project. Let’s just start defining scope and think of scope as we go into the digital world, think of scope as just objects. We’re pulling scope into a project. Well, those objects of scope should bring along what risks have we seen with this scope in the past, what resource assumptions, what durations, what sequence assumptions might we have as we’re pulling that scope together?
And that’s the proper foundation, just like a building. We want to get that proper foundation in place in terms of the scope, what risk do we need to look at. And then as we evolve through the rest of the cycle, we get our design quantities, we get into construction, and we get a lot more fidelity and a lot more color in those early stage assumptions that we use to at least fund the project. So there’s a lot of benefit, a lot of goodness to tying all of these life cycle stages together.
Let’s go into really some of the key things that we wanted to cover here around the specific challenges in each stage of the project life cycle. So in that pre-planning stage, I touched on this a little bit. This over here. But the need to be able clearly defined scope, that was a key factor and it’s really a critical factor in the success of any complex project. We need to make sure we know what we’re building before we get into obviously design and construction.
So that is always a challenge. How do we do it? Who’s involved? What level of detail do we want to go do in defining that scope? This is an area, by the way. And we’ll talk about this here as we talk about how a PMIS can address some of these challenges, but the scope itself is always an issue in terms of where do we bring that from? We have a lot of historical data. Most folks that are involved in this industry have previous projects that we can draw from. How do we do that? And how do we bring that stuff current? We might have historical data, historical schedules or Asbuilt schedules.
So there’s a challenge as we’re defining the scope, which is sometimes more of a creative and even artistic approach. How do we match that up with the data that goes along with it? And then I mentioned risks. As we start to define the scope and we get more clarity around what is it that we’re building here or at least what is that we’re trying to get approved to go build? At this stage, we might still be in the funding approval stage. How do we make sure that we’re properly assessing the risk? We want risk adjusted budgets, risk adjusted schedules, and that’s where that historical data can come into play. We’ll talk about that here in just a second.
And that project prioritization challenge that I mentioned is another challenge in and of itself. Put your owner hat on. We’ve got lots of competing projects for funding. Some of those funding challenges might be driven by, hey, we’ve got regulatory issues we need to reply to, we’ve got business growth, maybe we’re building new facilities, entering new regions of the world. So that project prioritization. And that’s why I mentioned, I think we’re seeing a lot more interest in the capital planning becoming part of the PMIS ecosystem. So that project prioritization, figuring out how are we going to spend our capital? What’s the return on investment we’re going to get as we take projects through the funding, those gating steps, how do we make sure that those projects are properly aligned to our business strategy and organizational goals.
So let’s talk about how a PMIS can address some of those challenges. So when we talk about clearly defining project scope, one of the big things, and again, this is a just what’s going on in the world today, relative to the pandemic has really created this need to work more collaboratively, use technology to help connect people. And that’s particularly important during the scope definition stage. There’s a lot of… You’re going through scenarios, you’re going through what ifs, you’re doing analyses, you’re doing surveys, scenarios. And so having a place to store all of that in a common environment where everybody can participate, you can keep track of comments, you can route things around for approval. A PMIS can can handle all of that, really provides a nice predictable place and environment to have that collaborative scope building exercise as well as make sure that you’re having a place to store it.
During this stage, you start to develop maybe some conceptual designs, maybe even some conceptual budgets in terms of cost breakdown structures, and even conceptual schedules. So work breakdown structures. The PMIS can give you a place to store all that information. So both the structured data like budget schedules, models, but also unstructured data, which could be everything from sketches on the back of a napkin to photos of related scope that we want to use for reference. All of that could be brought into one place.
And then accounting for risk. InEight uses the term, which I really like. It’s time to democratize risk assessment. And a PMIS can really help you do that. And by doing that, we can also move that risk assessment earlier in the life cycle. So as we start to define scope, we start to do some early stage budgets and schedules. A PMIS system with a risk component to it can start to look at, hey, based on those scopes that we’ve done in the past on other projects, as well as even some machine learning or some official intelligence that can come into play at this stage, can start to be more predictive about those risks. As we hone in on the scope, we should be honing in on the risks. And whether you’re doing that proactively or reactively, start to get a good risk register and understand what are the risks that we need to think through.
And that’s going to carry all the way through some of those risks might be relative to the design, some to the construction, some to the startup and commissioning. And so we want to identify those early and track them all the way through. And then, like I said, the project prioritization, a PMIS with the capital planning component to it can really do two things for you. Number one, help you as those project ideas are coming along and all those potential projects are coming into view. You’ve got a place to prioritize them, bounce them against your business strategy. But also as those projects get funded and they get executed, now we can start to track, okay, well, we approved it based on this schedule or this budget.
That’s what our ROI was based on. Let’s look at what actually happened as we get to the end of the project. And that gives us the ability to do those lessons learned. And that alone, just, hey, what did we think it was going to take, what did it actually take, the difference is risk that we didn’t properly identify. Let’s identify those the next time around when we have similar scope. So a PMIS really in this pre-planning stage can make all the difference in the world in terms of creating a nice foundation on which to execute the project.
So let’s go to the next stage as we get into design and construction. And challenges here are probably more obvious. I imagine most folks that are watching here today have gone through this life cycle many times. So controlling the cost and schedule of our deliverables. Design deliverables, construction deliverables, quality to deliverables in terms of inspection and test plans, those sorts of things, all of those deliverables make or break the project. We’ve got to deliver them in accordance with our expectations. We had certain expectations around cost schedule.
So a PMIS, and this is really where the beginning of that trend that I mentioned in terms of it’s not just a place to store information, it’s a place to control business process. And that’s where a PMIS can come in, help you manage those budgets, help you manage those schedules, help you manage those risks as they come along. And it’s really the intersection of those things that I think a PMIS is most compelling where we start to look at things like change management, one of the big changes as it conspires against us as we’re trying to control our budgets and our schedules.
So as those changes are coming along, let’s have a good place to at the very least track those changes, but even better, let’s turn those into potential change orders. And ultimately, through a whole change order management process. That’s a role that a PMIS can play quite nicely, even involving across those stakeholders. We’ve got maybe an issue that happened in the field, we’re not sure whose issue it is yet, but let’s track it, we’re going to route it around some commentary, some discussion’s going to happen on it. It may raise to the point where, hey, this is something that needs to be surfaced with the owner. And ultimately we need to get a price for this and submit it through for approval. So that whole change life cycle is a key part of controlling any complex project, making sure we’re on top of that.
Stakeholder collaboration and visibility, that last one. And I’m going to go ahead and bring up how PMIS systems come into play here so we can see it all on the screen. But managing issues and changes, we talked about that one already in terms of having that change control process, and then that stakeholder collaboration and visibility. We mentioned at the beginning, the trends in terms of the contract models is more towards shared risk, more towards more transparency not less, more visibility not less. A PMIS is the foundation to do that. So being able to have a system secured operating over the internet, where the various stakeholders, owners, engineers, CMs, contractors, can all collaborate and have visibility to those risks, have visibility to trends, have visibility to things like earned values and performance.
And obviously, each of the stakeholders has their role in the contract with different objectives sometimes. So certainly a PMIS you want to make sure that you can control those roles, who gets into what and make sure that things are compartmentalized in terms of what data certain stakeholders own and have visibility to. So those roles are a key part of that whole process. But certainly coming out of design and construction, the key is to make sure that we’re tracking the work, we know what scope we are working towards and we’re managing those deliverables. And that starts in design, like I said. So it’s not just construction.
A lot of times, PMIS starts with construction. What we’re seeing again, is more of a trend in line with these shared risk models and more design-build. Let’s bring that PMIS into play as we’re managing those design deliverables, not just the construction deliverables. And then as we get into startup and operations, this is that critical last mile as I call it. We sometimes had this notion that when we’re planning, we’re planning to delivery of the work. So some of the things that happen after that can tend to be forgotten or at least not provided enough emphasis. So QA, QC, quality checks, inspection and test plans, compliance, all those types of things. How are we going to make sure that the facility and the equipment inside of it is ready to go. There might be startup activity that are part of our contract, depending on the stakeholders.
And third parties often get involved at this stage as well to manage quality and make sure that we are signed off and got the proper sign offs, I should say, as we go through those checks. So, again, collaboration comes into play, lots of stakeholders involved at this stage, lots of contractual, and even local regulatory issues that we need to make sure we’re checking off. And then ultimately, we need to make sure that we’re collecting all the information that the owner needs to basically satisfy the contractual requirements of the project.
And I say it like that as if it’s a step that’s just to check that box in the contract, but the reality is the owner, if we’ve all done this right and that PMIS plays its role, all that information that’s collected along the way as designed, as planned, as built, all of that becomes a nice repository for the owner to reference during the next 50 years, 100 years that, that asset is being operated. And one of the new trends is digital twins, relatively new. And that’s taking that common repository of that information that was collected along the way and giving it a context of marrying it up with physical properties of the project itself.
So think of taking a 3D model, updating that with Asbuilt, and then connecting all of this other information to that 3D model. So an owner could go in five years after completion of the project, click on a concrete column or a piling or whatever it is in that model and see when was that work done, who did it, show me the warranty documentation, who signed off on it. All of that information that’s being generated by somebody along the way, let’s use a PMIS to bring all that into a common environment and make it accessible through the model. That’s really a nice trend that we’re seeing in the industry.
So I think those are really what we wanted to cover here today in terms of the challenges that we typically see in the life cycle of a project as the project evolves. And hopefully, you’ve seen how a PMIS system or at least heard how a PMIS system can address some of those challenges that we quickly run into. I think we’ve got another polling question, and then we’ll open it up for questions from the group here. So let’s go ahead and do our final poll, our final survey. Implementing or improving our PMIS is a high priority. So how many of you out there would agree with that notion is this need to implement a PMIS system, is it a high priority? Is it something that is high on your list of priorities as you think about the things you’re focused on?
I like seeing those answers so far. So far, I have the strongly agree or agree. That’s great to see. I jinxed it as soon as I said that. One disagree. Give it just another 30 seconds or so here. Okay. Well, I think we can probably call this one. I think we’re definitely seeing the trend there. So vast majority of the audience here either strongly agree or agree. What is that? 97% really strongly agree or agree that a PMIS, either implementing one or improving what you have is a high priority. Music to my ears. I love seeing that. And so hopefully, the conversation here might help as you go down that path and think about what are some things that we want in our PMIS, how can we address some of these challenges that we’re seeing. So with that, I think let’s turn it back over to, Scott, our host and see what questions we might have from the audience.
Thank you, Brad and Jonathan. That was some great information that you shared with us today. And I want to thank our viewers for bearing with us through our technical difficulties. Before I have Brad and Jonathan address the questions that you’ve sent in, I’d like to remind you that we’d love your feedback. To take a few moments to complete our webinar survey, which will be presented to you now out and at the end of our presentation.
So, Brad, the first question that I thought of and I’m going to give our audience some time to formulate and send us their questions. But for InEight’s PMIS, can you implement the system in phases or modules?
Yeah. Boy, that’s a great question, because we didn’t really have time to weave in. One of the other trends that we are seeing relative to PMIS is the movement of them from an on-premise system, what’s called on-premise where it’s installed on the customer’s local hardware to a cloud based solution. Most of the solutions out there today are cloud based as InEight says. And what that means is directly answers the question. It’s a lot easier to implement these solutions now than it was even just a few years ago. So one of the things particularly that InEight has done is to try to take advantage of that ease of implementation and take it to another level by saying, well, let’s modularize it, let’s make sure that… Certainly, one of the things that we hear from potential customers is, hey, we love the idea, we see all the value, but man, it’s a lot to take on and we’re trying to run jobs at the same time.
So the modularization, I think is another key attribute of a PMIS and that does allow you to do it in phases, do it in chunks. But I think the key is to know where do you want to be? Where do you want to get to? What is your business process? What do you want it to look like? And then a modularized PMIS like InEight’s, we can work with folks to figure out, okay, here’s the logical phases to get there. You can take in bite sized chunks. And again, the beauty it is that you don’t have to bring in a whole bunch of IT folks every time you’re ready for the next chunk to install things on your local servers and put things on people’s computers, all they need is a browser and they’re ready to go. So it’s just a heck of a lot easier to implement a PMIS than it used to be.
Well, a long those lines how long does it typically take to implement a PMIS?
Yeah. That’s an interesting one. We see companies that say, hey, let’s go full on, let’s implement the entire solution, all the different modules. Let’s do that all at once. And for large organization that could take a year or more, because it’s a matter of, it’s not just, hey, turn on the technology. InEight particularly puts a lot of emphasis on how do we handle that change management, organizational change management. And that means let’s make sure we’ve got a good business process defined, we’ve got the system configured to match that business process. And then let’s make sure people… The easy part now is what used to be the hard part, which is say, now, make sure people can get to the system. The training is so much easier now than it used to be. You can do it virtually. We have a ton of information to help do that.
So yeah, it touched on the one end of the spectrum, the more complex, let’s do all of it. On the other side, so for example, you could start with document management, you could start with estimating, you could start with scheduling, any of those can be implemented in a matter of weeks. And by those weeks, I mean they turn it on, that takes about five seconds, but the rest of it is just, hey, let’s make sure our folks are ready to go, make sure the system reflects the business process that we want to enforce. So it’s, like I said, a lot easier than it used to be, and you can be really getting value out of it in a matter of weeks.
Great. Toward the end of your presentation, you mentioned digital twins and a viewer is asking what is the better or best time to use digital twins?
Yeah. Digital twins, pretty exciting trend. I think really the essence of it is… Particularly, let’s do it from the owner’s perspective. We want to be able to, from the early earliest stages of that project, start to have a construct where we can provide context to all that information. So I think one of the nicest things about a digital twin is that it’s not just a whole bunch of information without content, it’s not a bunch of information in a file system, for example. With the digital twin, we can relate all that information to essentially the geospatial aspects of the facility through the model. And that’s what makes it the most exciting. To me, if we break it down digital twin, digital, okay, that makes sense. Let’s make sure all that information is captured in digital form. We can reuse it, pass it around, all the things that digital brings. It’s the twin part that I think is the most exciting.
And so the answer to the question I think is really, the best time to really think about a digital twin is at the very beginning, because if you’re going to end up at the end of the project with a usable digital twin, a living breathing thing that is going to continue on with that asset through the next big maintenance project or the next big expansion project or even just to facilitate doing regular inspections of that asset. If that digital twin is going to be useful at that point, you’ve got to plan for it and even make it part of the contract that all the different stakeholders that are involved are delivering their information along the way in a way that facilitates that digital twin. So otherwise, you’re left at the end with a whole lot of information, and then you’re spending a lot of time trying to organize that and bring it into a digital twin. You start it from the beginning, it just builds up over time and it just becomes, like I said, a living breathing thing that just continues to evolve.
Right. Another question that occurred to me. For the contracting models that you discussed at the beginning, which modules are recommended for which types of projects?
Which contracting models for different types of projects? Got you.
Yeah. So it’s probably not so much what types of projects as it is, what relationship do we want? How do we manage the risk? What’s our tolerance for risk? So the decision obviously made by the owner typically comes into play factors like what’s our timeline. Do we have a timeline to get dirt moving. Maybe we’ve got a funding source that says, hey, we can’t spend two years going through design and then start to get to moving the dirt and starting the project in construction. So, for example, in that scenario where we want to get to construction sooner, things like design-build, that type of model makes a lot more sense, because we can iterate our way through it. Design some, go build it, design-build.
The more of the shared risk models, like I said, are more a function of what’s our tolerance for risk, and also what expertise do we have. So if we, again, put our owner hat on, if we’ve got a sophisticated design organization inside where we’re going to handle the design, maybe a design-bid-build makes sense, because once we’re out of design, we award a contract for the build and the risk moves to the contractor. If we are relying more, maybe we’re a leaner organization on the owner’s side, we’re going to do outsourcing engineering, outsource the construction. And maybe we don’t have a mature, sophisticated construction management organization in house. That would tend to take you towards the direction of, hey, let’s use more of a shared risk model in that environment, where as the project evolves, those risks are coming up and we’ve got a model for mitigating those and sharing the cost ultimately of those risks.
So I think a lot of it is a maturity level thing, it’s a time to market a function as well in terms of how quickly do we want to get going through the process. Those are some of the factors that come into play as those contract models get deliberated.
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