The Value of Transparency: Informed Decisions vs. Best Guess

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ORACLE BUSINESS BRIEF
THE VALUE OF TRANSPARENCY:
INFORMED DECISIONS VS. BEST GUESS
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report Closing the Gap: The Link
Between Project Management Excellence and Long-Term Success reveals an
urgent need for improved business processes and best practice execution in the
area of project and portfolio management.
IBERDROLA RENEWABLES WORKED
TO OVERCOME SEVERAL ASPECTS
OF ITS TRANSPARENCY
CHALLENGES, AND IN A SHORT TIME
WAS ABLE TO GAIN QUANTIFIABLE
BENEFITS THROUGH A CAREFUL
EVALUATION OF ITS PROJECT
MANAGEMENT PROCESS AND
SOLUTION FRAMEWORK.
BY CENTRALISING INFORMATION
FOR THE ENTIRE PIPELINE OF
ONGOING AND UPCOMING PROJECTS
STILL IN DEVELOPMENT, IBERDROLA
RENEWABLES WAS ABLE TO:
 Reduce the time needed to pull pipeline
reports from two weeks to four hours—
including collecting and consolidating up
to 45 different spreadsheets—while also
improving data accuracy for a 95%
reduction in time
 Accelerate monthly report development,
provided real-time access to
performance data, and reduced paper
use
 Benefit from role-based layouts that
enable users to easily display and
update project data the way they want to
see it
If we analyse the challenges that project-intensive businesses face, it is startling to note how
many opportunities exist to cut costs and increase productivity in the project management
realm. This brief will highlight some of the challenges and opportunities that project-intensive
organisations face in terms of the flow and availability of information for project and portfolio
decision making.
Five barriers to informed decision-making
Everyone understands and agrees on the importance of good information to support sound
decision making. While bad decisions can still be made with all the best information to hand,
if there is little or no information available good decisions will only be made by blind luck.
In project management, the challenges around information availability can be divided into five
areas:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Increasing amounts of information
Multiple sources of information and information ownership
Increasing time-criticality of information
Lack of project processes
Conflicting priorities for information use
1. Increasing amounts of information
As projects become more complex, the amount of information they generate can start to
increase exponentially. In addition, in a widening project environment that frequently involves
internal and external collaboration, the ownership of that information has also become more
complex.
2. Multiple sources of information and information ownership
This complexity relates both to individuals that are the source or holders of information and to
contracting situations where entire organisations are sources and holders of information. As a
result, multiple information sources exist for most projects (both internal and across the
supply chain) and these sources are often contained in different systems that may not readily
communicate with each other. This makes it very difficult to compile meaningful, accurate
and timely project information.
3. Increasing time-criticality of information
The increase in the type and quantity of project-related information, coupled with the
challenge of multiple information sources, creates a need for a centralised project information
management strategy. However, simply dumping all project data into a single data store
doesn't address the issue of time-criticality. For effective project and portfolio management, it
is essential to ensure that the right information gets to the right person at the right time.
ORACLE BUSINESS BRIEF
4. Lack of project processes
To this end, project management and workflow processes are necessary for the timely
dissemination of information. While this requires centralisation of data, it also requires robust
security capabilities to ensure that each team member only has access to information that is
appropriate for their role on the project and their position inside or outside the organisation.
5. Conflicting priorities for information use
Finally, project managers must contend with conflicting priorities for information use. In most
project organisations, a vast amount of time is spent collecting, compiling and collating
project information in order to fulfil onerous reporting requirements to project stakeholders.
However, this makes information use an arduous collection and dissemination process, rather
than a valuable analytical exercise that can drive threat and opportunity recognition and
informed decision making. This situation could be rectified by largely automating the
reporting process, leaving project managers free to focus on analysing and using information
to secure better project outcomes.
Five steps to better project information
If we consider these challenges in light of the conclusions of the EIU report, we can see that
project-intensive organisations have a distinct opportunity to cut costs and increase
productivity through the development of clear information process and technology
approaches.
The five key steps to achieving this are:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Centralise and/or integrate project information
Secure project information at appropriate levels of granularity for access by role
Develop and capture project information processes
Automate reporting
Focus project and portfolio teams on information analysis and decision-making
1. Centralize/integrate project information
To cut project costs and increase productivity, project-intensive organisations should seek to
break down the silos that segregate data by centralising and integrating the data held in core
functional systems (e.g. ERP, EPPM, CRM). Ensuring data interoperability must be a
cornerstone of any strategy to centralise and integrate existing information silos.
2. Secure project information at appropriate levels of granularity
Different project information and data types represent different levels of sensitivity. It is
essential that information security operates at a high level of granularity to ensure that
individual team-members can only access information that is appropriate to their role and
position. This is especially true of projects where a project team is collaborating with external
subcontractors and clients.
3. Develop and capture project information processes
The project management process and its supporting technology should be geared to ensuring
the right information is provided to the right people at the right time. Once a project team
clearly understands the information and information sources required for each team-member
to perform the role, the team can develop and capture the information stream in their project
management processes. Ideally these processes are captured in an enterprise-wide project
management system.
4. Automate reporting
By automating reporting requirements completely, with the guarantee of up-to-date and secure
information dissemination, project managers and project teams can eliminate the exorbitant
amounts of time they currently spend manually collecting and compiling information.
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ORACLE BUSINESS BRIEF
5. Focus teams on valuable information analysis and decision-making
Through the above steps the full project team can now spend their time digesting information,
leveraging it to forecast potential outcomes, and ultimately analysing it to make the best
possible informed decisions to drive project execution to meet project objectives.
Success Story: Iberdrola Renewables
Organisations that have taken steps to improve transparency in their project information have
enjoyed considerable success as a result. For example Iberdrola Renewables, a division of
Iberdrola Renovables, faced significant transparency challenges in its wind turbine farm
project business. In reviewing these challenges, Iberdrola Renewables identified four
opportunities for improvement:
-
Create a central repository of development-pipeline information for renewable
energy projects
Minimise manual spreadsheet-based project management processes and eliminate
version control issues across regions
Reduce the time needed to collect and collate monthly updates
Improve visibility into project schedules and streamline schedule management from
the boardroom to the field
Iberdrola Renewables worked to overcome several aspects of its transparency challenges, and
in a short time was able to gain quantifiable benefits through a careful evaluation of its project
management process and solution framework. By centralising information for the entire
pipeline of ongoing and upcoming projects still in development, Iberdrola Renewables was
able to:
-
Business Brief:
The Value of Transparency :
Informed Decisions vs. Best Guess
Author:
Richard Sappe
-
Reduce the time needed to pull pipeline reports from two weeks to four hours—
including collecting and consolidating up to 45 different spreadsheets—while also
improving data accuracy for a 95% reduction in time
Accelerate monthly report development, provided real-time access to performance
data, and reduced paper use
Benefit from role-based layouts that enable users to easily display and update
project data the way they want to see it
(Source: http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/customers/iberdrola-renewables-primavera-ss-187982.pdf)
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