Real-time data essential in project management

17th July 2015 By: Donna Slater - Creamer Media Staff Writer and Photographer

Real-time data essential  in project management

MANAGING RESOURCES Integrating KEY360 with access to the Internet and cloud-based servers enables companies to interface with each other without firewall restrictions

Real-time data gathering, reporting and sharing are key components in ensuring project coordinators are kept abreast of the latest developments, enabling them to take quick and decisive action, says Pretoria-based project consulting company SSG Consulting.

CEO Steven Golding says a project can become “totally bogged down”, owing to in-house and client reporting requirements.

“Many project teams spend weeks developing reports during each reporting cycle. This information, when produced, can be up to six weeks old and, therefore, totally ineffective in the proactive management of the project,” he says, adding that, at best, this serves only as a record of what transpired.

Golding says even weekly reporting meetings contain data that is up to seven days old, which makes it essential for projects to be supplied with real-time information, enabling companies to exercise proactive management. This, he notes, significantly increases the effect of management decisions and mitigates risk and issues from impacting on the sustainability of a project.

Golding says out-of-date data and reporting means management acts reactively, instead of proactively; hence, unresolved issues impact significantly on a project by the time they are reported to management. “Serious and urgent risks can be left untreated, which impacts dramatically on projects,” says Golding.

He adds that gathering and storing documentation are also deemed vital when managing and implementing a project. He describes documentation as the lifeblood of any project, especially megaprojects.

“Documentation is used as proof of completion of each step of the project, as it controls various aspects of a project, such as specifications, scope, quality and project drawings.” It is also used to sign off and manage handovers and facilitate invoicing and payment processes, he adds.

“Apart from it being a physical asset, documentation is one of the fundamental deliverables for any project.”

The effective control of documentation saves significant time during a project and facilitates easy and structured commissioning and handover of the asset, explains Golding.

Formalisation of Data
SSG Consulting’s KEY360 software suite enables multiple companies working on the same project to be linked, thereby allowing processes to run effectively. This includes interfaces for several project parties, including clients, design consultants, vendors, contractors and any other stakeholder.

Integrating KEY360 with access to the Internet and cloud-based servers enables companies to interface with one another without firewall restrictions.

Secure data encryption and role-based access limitations add value to ensuring data is securely stored and available to relevant and authorised parties only.

Project management efficiency can also be enhanced, owing to KEY360’s measurement of cycle and turnaround times of every process. “These average times have been . . . reduced from months to hours in many cases,” states Golding.

Meanwhile, the concept of a project control room, although not a new concept, can accomplish much to ensure the smooth implementation of various stages of a project. “One would not consider building a modern facility without a control room,” says Golding.

He notes, however, that most megaprojects are executed through spreadsheets and monthly reports.

Golding explains that KEY360 provides the platform and technology for companies to integrate all project management processes into a single dataset, in real time, which is required to build an effective control room.

SSG Consulting’s vision is to build control rooms for all its major clients, enabling them to have real-time control over every key performance indicator on every process of their projects. This, says Golding, will dramatically improve project-execution throughput ability and change the way projects are executed globally.

When

exploiting the information provided by KEY360, managers need to proceed carefully when processing the information and taking decisive action, notes Golding. “KEY360 will provide the information, but managers need to be risk sensitive and react aggressively to any deviations.”


Golding notes that KEY360 has been designed specifically for use on megaprojects, owing to their complexity, as they are multiphased and multidisciplined, and have the additional complication of requiring technical solutions, being located at remote sites. They also take a long time to complete.

“The data load is huge on these projects,” he tells Engineering News, adding that SSG Consult-ing has become a specialist in megadata manage-ment through KEY360, which is able to integrate all processes into a single solution, helping to facilitate complex interfacing with ease.