Turning chaos to control: Five elements to achieve connected decision making on your next capital project

Posted: August 03, 2020

The world of capital project execution can be chaotic and unpredictable. As a former engineer, I know how much my peers like control and perfection yet complex project execution, particularly during the procurement and construction phases, can be anything but.

For decades, the industry has been derided for what has been seen to be weak project control and, when you expect chaos that’s what you get. Now, as the industry embraces modernization – leveraging digitalization and new processes - teams are becoming better connected, reducing errors, duplication and costly rework while project owners are gaining complete visibility throughout the entire project.

The aim of any digitalization program is greater project control and optimal performance. That can only be achieved through connected decision making, when the right decisions are being made at the right time by the right people based on the right information.

A culture of connected decision making in capital project execution, based on trust, transparency, and collaboration is the holy grail of a digital transformation project that begins by embracing a data-centric approach followed by moving data onto the cloud and creating a single platform of trusted project data encompassing engineering, procurement, construction, handover, start-up information, and training information. This truly unified approach ensures everything is connected from the smallest asset to internationally diverse stakeholders.

A culture of connected decision making in capital project execution, based on trust, transparency, and collaboration is the holy grail of a digital transformation project

Where to begin?

There are five key elements to transforming the capital projects industry to ensure it breaks the bad habits of the past to streamline working, deliver projects to schedule and within budget, and ultimately empower people to better decisions, faster.

    1. Leverage data-centricity to become decision centric

While a data-centric approach is critical to the optimization of project execution it is the vehicle to what truly unlocks transformation change – a decision-centric focus. By creating a single platform for trusted data for all stakeholders everyone has a clear line of sight throughout the lifecycle of the project and can make informed decisions earlier to mitigate against potential risks and drive-up performance.

    2. Leaders need to step-up to deliver cultural change

A lack of senior buy-in and proactive leadership to shape and deliver the digital vision is one of the biggest hurdles facing the transformation of capital expenditure projects. Companies should not underestimate the importance of the people factor during their digital journey. It can be all too easy to focus on the technology at the expense of the people who will be using it to make the decisions that will determine whether the project will succeed or fail.

    3. Technology to achieve efficiencies and breakdown silos

Finding the right technology partner to work together with you to deliver transformational improvements is crucial. There is little point in moving your current siloed data as it is to the cloud. A unified data management platform on the cloud, breaks down silos and provides end-to-end visibility, control, trust, and collaboration is the only way efficiencies will be achieved.

    4. Identify sustainable methods to capital project execution

Sustainability is a recurring issue as we look ahead to the future of capital projects. From identifying opportunities for repeatable design from one project to another. We need to question what more we can be doing to reduce maintenance and limit environmental impact.

5. Modernization

Perhaps, at the center of achieving a culture of connected decision making in capital projects is a modernization mindset. The capital projects industry has gone largely unchanged for decades but now more than ever it needs to embrace new processes such as Advanced Work Packaging during the construction phases, new technology to enables greater collaboration and a renewed focus on excellence across every stage to project delivery.

A connected decision-making approach to capital project execution will turn chaos into control – ensuring the successful delivery of projects and giving both Owner-Operators and EPCs a competitive edge. If you're interested in learning more, view the latest webinar I hosted alongside my colleague and AVEVA's head of engineering & Design, Maged Selim, on how to leverage an EPC 4.0 strategy on the cloud to or click the link below to connect with me on LinkedIn.

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