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Reducing Risk of Digital Infrastructure Project implementation
December 18, 2020 | Robert Bergman
More than half the cost – and thus most of the risk of capital projects can be in the implementation. As such, fear of unpredictable cost and disruption of a capital project is causing some companies to delay the benefits of digital transformation because they don’t believe their existing infrastructure will support it.
Much of their concern has been valid, given what McKenzie & Company refers to as an “unenviable record to a project-delivery model that has remained largely unchanged for a quarter of a century or more.” They cite a survey of senior project executives in capital-intensive industries that found, on average, that industrial projects overrun their budgets and schedules by 30 to 45 percent.
In contrast, their recent report calls out the following six changes now underway that could reduce project cost and time by 30 to 50 percent:
- Ecosystem of partners who collaborate to drive end-to-end value, aligned with functionality for end customers
- Industrialization, (standardization, reuse, and modularization for repeatability and innovation)
- Agility, flexibility and resilience coupled with stability in project delivery and responding to change
- Sustainability capability building and redesigned talent pipelines foster collaboration across the project
- Data-driven operating model enabled by digital technologies
- Futureproofing of projects by ensuring sustainability and planning for potential opportunities, constraints and risks
Bedrock could not agree more. We see examples of these things every day.
Partner ecosystems. Collaboration has been hampered in the past by stove-piped proprietary technologies and skill sets. With open standards-based engineering environments, your automation contractor can assemble the best team for a project at the lowest possible cost.,
Standardization and modularization. Similarly, modern projects increasingly use universal I/O. So rather than be forced to specify your I/O protocol and counts early in the process, you can order technology closer to commissioning and get the most advanced technology at lower costs. Re-use of modularized designs also drives lower costs.
Agility, flexibility and resilience. Open standards and universal I/O work together to give your implementation team maximum flexibility to adjust delivery of projects to optimize availability of components. Building templates and libraries with open standard tools such as 61131 further enhances engineering efficiency and ensures application longevity.
Optimizing talent pipelines. Traditionally, if you needed a specialist on site for only a few hours over a few days, you would have to fly them in and put them up in a hotel. Today, with online conferencing, they can be looking at a screen across the world.
This is also very valuable at FAT and SAT. With the travel and in-person limitations imposed by COVID, Bedrock recently completed a virtual FAT using Zoom and extra cameras with the customer team halfway around the world. A similar approach was used by another customer in a SAT, with a small critical team on site while several other team members “Zoomed” into the event to add their expertise and ready the system for cutover. In both cases, dramatic cost reductions and efficiencies were realized without compromising quality or safety. In a post-COVID world, these techniques can become the norm.
Data-driven operating model
Cloud-based project management software provides a single point of entry for all project data, from anywhere. This gets everyone on the same page in real-time.
These factors are blending and reducing capital project risk significantly, both today and tomorrow. This goes a long way to reducing costs and schedule uncertainty as a barrier to creating a digital infrastructure that will pay for itself many times over.
For more information managing lifecycle costs in automation projects download our White Paper on Life Cycle Cost Analysis.