Elizabeth Manning is the managing editor of Construction Business Owner magazine.
Commercial construction and construction management company Swinerton Builders deployed Oracle’s Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Cloud Service to strengthen project controls and collaborate more effectively with internal and external team members and partners. CBO recently spoke with Murphy to further understand how Swinerton Builders has benefitted from implementing Primavera. Read Murphy’s comments below.
CBO: Why did Swinerton switch to a cloud-based system, and why was Oracle your top choice?
MM: It was really about the fact that P6 EPPM is an enterprise system. What does that mean? All the data is in one spot, making storage and access by our partners easy. Once you have a solution like that, you can really begin sharing information and engage in data antalytics.
Swinerton has the ability to scan thousands of schedules that are actively going on at any one time. As an example, we can look at what projects are more than 10 days behind, compare them and figure out what we are doing wrong or begin the steps to resolving time extensions. The software allows us access to develop a quick snapshot of which projects have the potential risks for exposures or going over budget and change directions before unnecessary money is spent.
CBO: What was the biggest improvement from the Oracle solution for Swinerton?
MM: There were many. By standardizing your practices, it allows you to follow certain processes. A challenge from the past includes the fact that different divisions had different systems and/or processes—every project was customizing the software structure and coding, so if you tried to bring someone from Job A to Job B, there was a lot of research that had to take place to get up to speed.
The reports we are able to generate compress a lot of data into one simple report. Some of the computer processes take two minutes—whereas an employee manually doing it might take half a day or almost a full day. For example, we have what we call a matrix report that rolls needed information into a single page. The report provides start and finish dates for work in a spread sheet format. Our teams can hand out the report, which allows our trade contractors to condense 30- or 40-page schedule reports into a single page easy-to-read schedule for any current project. Anyone without detailed schedule knowledge can read the matrix report and see all the information they need in simple spreadsheet format. It gives the general contractors a workflow to follow. By summarizing that information into a spreadsheet, we are simplifying processes so much.
CBO: How is using a cloud system changing other areas of the project for you?
MM: There a couple different areas. The subcontractors we work with can now participate in real-time scheduling, where in the past, they would have always been slightly behind in the scheduling process. The solution allows us to engage and solve potential issues sooner than we would have in the past. Oracle’s P6 EPPM has all of the robust scheduling power that the previous products did, but yet easier to get rolling in day to day work. It can be complex on the back end, but it rolls up into a very simple, user-friendly format. Being able to work across the entire corporation is revolutionary. We have developed a very robust, 10-hour training program that Swinerton runs all of its employees through, so they are well-versed with the product. It’s important to consider training carefully—standardization is important and so beneficial, but you can’t get there unless your employees are comfortable with the software solution you are using.
Overall, Swinerton has used the cloud software solution to:
- Extend collaboration and project controls across the business.
- Establish enterprise-wide standards.
- Gain new visibility into and control over critical projects.
- Ensure more-predictable IT costs.
- Access the latest EPPM technology in real time.
- Scale up system users quickly and cost-effectively to match construction sector growth and project demand.
- Connect more stakeholders.