The Hidden Cost of Collaboration
Lisa de Greef
Find out what makes optimizing project profitability so hard – and learn how to avoid the hidden cost of collaboration by leveraging the cloud.
Global economic uncertainty, fluctuating oil prices and the high cost of resources put pressure on owner operators to assure and improve the competitive performance of the assets used in their projects. As capital and change projects grow in scale and complexity, so project teams are extended to get the best global expertise for the lowest price. The logistical challenges of connecting internal and external teams may be obvious, but the direct and indirect cost of collaboration all too often remains hidden.
Collaboration Can Be Complex
Both owner operators and engineering contractors face significant logistical challenges when embarking on a project. Project team members such as contractors, suppliers, regulatory reviewers, internal and external stakeholders all need to be able to access information, regardless of their time zone or location. They must share and collaborate on documents during the project in order to achieve reliable and complete handovers.
Managing the flow of information and deliverables between project entities is time-consuming and complex. As a result, the administration, validation, distribution, reviewing and approval of project deliverables forms a significant part of the total project cost.
These information management processes are complicated because typically the external collaborators of the project teams cannot be granted access to the corporate systems.
The Risk of Losing Control
Internal project members may have developed or adopted alternative methods to share documents with the outside world: costly and inefficient ways that are unreliable, insecure, uncontrolled and not approved by the organization’s IT department. As project members resort to manual processes that are straining under the pressure, it results in spreadsheets and shared files everywhere.
When non-approved and unreliable methods of sharing data and information are used during projects, further manual processes to verify, correct, validate and approve the data that is being exchanged become necessary. This leads to additional costs and delays – costs that were not included in the original project budgets and delays which were not anticipated. These manual handover processes may fail to ensure the quality and completeness of data, leading to loss of data integrity, rework and potential disputes.
What is needed is a collaboration solution that provides all project stakeholders with easy access to accurate information. The solution must give full control and visibility over all exchange processes and lead to reliable and complete handovers at the lowest possible cost.
Collaboration in the Cloud
Cloud technology is a great enabler for extended project teams. Working in the cloud allows global teams to collaborate online in a unified system independent of their location.
Cloud solutions also offer further benefits such as quick implementations, scalability, high security levels for enhanced data protection and lower costs. The transition to the cloud can represent a shift from CAPEX to OPEX as infrastructure costs move to the cloud.
BlueCielo has developed a new cloud-based solution that enables effective collaboration between owner operators and their project networks. It simplifies the management and control of engineering documents used in projects.
It’s called Meridian360 Portal.
Meridian360 Portal is a single solution for managing capital, expansion, overhaul and change projects, including brownfield and greenfield projects. It increases efficiency through time saved on document control, project management, review and validation of project deliverables, and by eliminating lead-times due to offline or paper-based communication processes.
Meridian360 Portal helps to avoid the hidden cost of collaboration. This contributes to the efficiency of business processes as well as the performance of revenue-generating assets. Communication and data exchange are optimized to keep projects on specification, within budget and on time. With Meridian360 Portal, plant changes can be partly or fully outsourced for the best possible price.
Meridian360 Portal works with the on-premises BlueCielo Meridian environment to connect maintenance and engineering, support concurrent engineering and improve data handover.
Plant modifications – large and small – are initiated from Meridian and assigned to a project in Meridian360 Portal.
Meridian also provides the on-premises environment where project deliverables received from contractors are validated and ultimately handed over from engineering to the operations and maintenance environment.
When moving to the cloud – be it public, private or hybrid – high security levels for enhanced data and intellectual property protection are essential. Meridian360 Portal runs as an application on Microsoft’s global Azure cloud platform, so security and continuity is warranted by Microsoft Azure Compliance conformity.
Meridian360 Portal enables true global collaboration by supporting a wide range of authentication mechanisms, including Office365, Microsoft and Google accounts. It is further extensible to other third-party authentication providers.
Significant gains are achieved with the effective management of multiple concurrent engineering projects. Projects can be quickly set up with stakeholders from different disciplines by using the role-based distribution matrices available in Meridian360 Portal.
Dashboards and reporting capabilities further increase efficiency and productivity by identifying overdue tasks and deliverables and pinpointing project bottlenecks.
You can easily identify which exchanges are causing delays by consulting the extensive audit trail.