Comprehensive Guide to Expanding Digital Project Delivery Across Your Organization
by Byron Manuel Valle | December 1, 2022
If you’ve used a digital project delivery tool to manage a construction project, you know it can help you control costs, improve efficiency, and increase transparency. But did you know that the same tool can help you extend those benefits (and more) to construction projects across your entire organization?
By implementing the same solution for capital improvement projects across multiple business divisions, you can streamline operations, boost efficiency, improve collaboration, and improve business outcomes. You can also avoid the frustration and expense that comes with using disparate project management systems across multiple departments.
In this comprehensive guide to expanding digital project delivery solutions across your business, we’ll explore four key challenges facing organizations today as they look to manage their capital improvement projects:
- Standardizing data to improve reporting
- Enhancing transparency across projects
- Improving cost tracking across the organization
- Reducing time and stress during implementation
We’ll show you a better way to manage projects so you can overcome these challenges with digital solutions designed to deliver trusted insights across project lifecycles and empower project delivery before, during, and after the build phase.
Using the same digital project delivery solution for construction projects across your organization can improve consistency and make it easier to extrapolate data from across divisions.
Challenge 1: Standardizing data to improve reporting
If your organization is like most, you probably leverage different types of technology across divisions and departments to manage, evaluate, and identify necessary improvements on construction projects — and those teams don’t always share data. As a result, data collection and analysis can look different from one division to the next, which makes it difficult to compare and track overall performance.
Using the same digital project delivery solution for construction projects across your organization can improve consistency and make it easier to extrapolate data from across divisions. This allows you to more easily produce reports that show constituents and other stakeholders how you are performing. For leadership tasked with executive-level reporting, having a unified digital project delivery solution can also be a big confidence booster. Its real-time analytics closely monitor project performance and budgets, providing leadership with valuable insights and the ability to make quick course corrections when necessary.
Case in point is the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), which has witnessed unprecedented student growth over the last several years. The university currently has 43,000 students and employs 38,000 staff. As a result, the university is constantly building to keep up with the demand for student housing, classrooms, and other spaces.
UCSD’s leadership realized that standardizing project data among departments could help them improve reporting and better understand how different construction projects were performing across the entire campus. However, the university’s previous project management tool was highly customized, which made it difficult to extend to other areas. In 2010, UCSD adopted a new digital project delivery solution that could be more easily shared across the university. Since then, UCSD has expanded the solution to construction projects in several new divisions on campus, including Facilities Management, Housing and Dining Hospitality, and its medical center. The new digital project delivery solution has improved project management consistency across the organization. It has also simplified data collection and reporting, allowing internal and external stakeholders to better analyze and understand project performance.
Challenge 2: Enhancing transparency across projects
When different business divisions use different digital project management solutions to manage construction projects, there’s no way for stakeholders to view who in the organization is handling the different stages of a project at any given time. Implementing a cohesive digital project management solution enhances project visibility from end to end and across projects — and provides a single source of the truth for everyone involved.
Duke Health implemented a digital project delivery solution in 2009 to improve accountability and transparency in the wake of the 2008 economic downturn. At the time, the organization had a $725 million project underway to double the size of its main hospital and add a cancer center. After completing a project management pilot solution involving 13 projects, the solution was expanded to the Facilities Planning Design and Construction departments and to vendors. In 2018, Duke Health expanded the solution to its Engineering and Operations Department and several other campus departments to enable mobile-focused construction inspection reports.
In 2019, Duke’s Engineering and Operations Department launched its own digital project delivery solution focused on work order management. Today, Duke Health uses one digital project management solution to manage 230 projects and $2 billion in projects underway throughout the North Carolina Triangle.
Challenge 3: Improving cost tracking across the organization
Using the same digital project management tool across your organization allows you to gain valuable, business-wide insights and improve your overall cost tracking. When you can see the big picture, you can better evaluate how your vendors are performing across projects and if they are staying on budget — and you can pinpoint places where you are saving money and identify opportunities for reinvesting that money. You can also remove costly tech redundancies across your organization by expanding your existing digital project delivery system, which is much less expensive than implementing a new one from scratch.
Take Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health systems in the United States. The organization averages $1.6 to $1.8 billion in active construction projects and has up to 190 projects ongoing at any one time. It previously used a variety of disparate systems to manage project delivery. As a result, it could take the company up to three weeks to consolidate information from various project sites. In addition, the organization could not accurately gauge financial and schedule performance across its portfolio. Its data was buried in outdated spreadsheets and differing reporting methods, and it had limited visibility and cost control between construction management and accounting practices.
Using the same digital project management tool across your organization allows you to gain valuable, business-wide insights and improve your overall cost tracking.
Banner Health recently consolidated its departments on one digital project delivery solution to align construction management and reporting practices. The new system handles project accounting, documentation and issues, and schedule management across all project teams. As a result, Banner Health can now view and accurately track spending, forecast savings, and mine money from active projects to fund new work. In fact, the organization recently leveraged $70 million in savings from active projects to fund a new cancer center and identified and reallocated an additional $22 million. Consolidating all departments on one project management tool also increased efficiency, enabled simple and accurate real-time reporting, and gave the organization the confidence it needed to meet its ambitious growth goals.
Challenge 4: Reducing time and stress during implementation
Once you’ve implemented a digital project delivery solution in one area of your organization, leveraging it in other areas can result in a lower-cost implementation and reduce the time it takes to get up and running. That’s because the first division to use such a solution can guide other divisions by sharing experiences and demonstrating how the platform works.
In addition, you can leverage workflows already in use and proven to work, reducing the time required to build new workflows in other departments. And trimming down the number of in-use digital project management solutions to one lets you simplify processes across your organization, so you can customize business process management, enhance access to information via mobile offerings, and seamlessly integrate with other key tools and solutions.
Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) has learned this firsthand. It manages approximately $250 million in capital improvement projects. In 2015, BES adopted a new digital project delivery solution because the software it was using at the time met only a portion of the bureau’s needs. BES initially used the new project management tool for construction and capital project management but recently expanded the solution to manage capital improvement projects from initiation to closeout.
Seeing this success, Portland’s Bureau of Transportation (PBoT) adopted the same project management tools. PBoT has nearly 1,000 employees and manages $16 billion in assets annually, including $100 million in capital improvement projects. After adopting its digital project management solution in early 2018, PBoT worked closely with BES to capture lessons learned and to speed up adoption time. PBoT now uses its digital project management solution to manage capital improvement projects from initiation through warranty.
Get more out of your existing digital project delivery solution
Nearly every facet of project management can be improved with the right digital project delivery solution — and the value of extending that solution across your organization can be exponential. Can you benefit from expanding digital project delivery across your organization? Ask yourself these questions:
- Have our stakeholders ever complained about a lack of project transparency across our organization?
- Are we wasting time juggling multiple systems and trying to reconcile them during and after project completion?
- Have we ever experienced delays, cost overruns, or frustration due to a lack of consistent and available data across our organization?
- Are we reluctant to improve our project management approach because it means implementing new, unfamiliar project management tools that require training?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, extending your current digital project delivery solution across your organization may be what your business needs. Watch our recent webinar to find out how three major organizations successfully expanded e-Builder into their other divisions or departments.
Key Topics Covered: digital project delivery