The role, development and deployment of collaboration tools and integration platforms in the project management sector have accelerated during the past six months, says University of Pretoria (UP) lecturer and Construction Industry Institute African Chapter director Dr Giel Bekker.
“The technology has always been there, but lockdown regulations have forced organisations and individuals to extract the salient embedded values of these tools,” he points out.
He attributes the acceleration to the need for remote application availability in the project management sector owing to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Additionally, an application “shake-out” and consolidation are also emerging, with big companies buying smaller, niche technology companies and supplementing their core applications with project add-ons.
“The project world is embracing the virtual environment, and technology advances in this space could only benefit project teams,” enthuses Bekker.
“Two notable examples would be comprehensive software solutions provider
Bentley’s takeover of construction scheduling software developers Synchro 4D, as well as multinational software corporation Autodesk buying construction productivity software company PlanGrid,” he points out.
In a recent study conducted by Bekker, in collaboration with University of Johannesburg Professor Carl Marnewick on the projectification of South African organisations, it was found that about one-third of all organisational expenses are related to projects.
Organisations are also becoming more project orientated with an increase of 10% over a 10-year period. The information suggests that, at this rate, project-related work in organisations will reach 43.5% by 2023. Project-orientated work is becoming more popular and will increase in future, says Bekker.
The study provides useful information about the functional and operational activities of organisations in different sectors – especially regarding their capital expenditure on project-related work – with its findings providing valuable input into the budgeting, human resource development and organisational structuring of various organisations.
Bekker suggests that the biggest potential for growth in the project management sector lies in the public sector. The level of competency and skill in the public sector is currently at a very low point, “owing to a multitude of factors, which include overregulation, a paralysing bureaucracy, loss of experienced and skilled project managers and malpractice”.
The revitalisation of the economy will materialise through projects, and for that to happen, a strong project-oriented public sector is required, he concludes.