by Kenny Ingram, Global Industry Director, Engineering, Construction & Infrastructure at IFS
IDC conducted extensive interviews with IFS customers representing every region we serve to quantify this value and found our solutions deliver higher revenue, operational savings and increased productivity. The study found customers also benefit from:
- 28% more work orders completed
- 21% faster budgetary cycles
- Responding to 3-4 times more bids due to enhanced reporting
In the Engineering, Construction and Infrastructure industry, an integrated approach to information management is essential. The rapidly changing nature of the business landscape makes this paramount to these companies, who must be able to quickly adapt during the management of complex projects. One version of the truth is always the key to better governance and control, supporting well-informed decision making and reduced business risk.
In this blog, I will align the main industry challenges (identified both by myself and by the IDC study) with the business value benefits that have been professed by the IFS customers interviewed in the study.
What industry challenges have been uncovered by the study?
Recently, I summarised the main challenges faced by the Engineering and Construction industry by claiming that companies simply aren't making enough money. I put this down to several factors; low productivity, skill shortage, poorness of project delivery and the need to modernize the industry, to name a few.
IDC's study highlighted that Engineering and Construction companies are focussed on maximizing the efficiency and robustness of engineering, construction, operation and maintenance of complex assets. Projects generally involve a complex network of partnerships that must be properly managed in order to answer another of the main industry challenges, which is to ensure jobs are completed on or ahead of schedule at the lowest possible cost. This industry challenge is particularly prevalent today due to the intensifying international competition and pressures from a booming population (around 2 billion new homes are predicted to be needed for construction in the next century).
The study also found Engineering and Construction companies face a constant need for assurance that tools, systems and processes are in place to complete projects on time and on budget. Meeting the increasing and ever-changing demand from the market is critical in this industry so this is a challenge that must be conquered.
How does the value revealed by the study actually assist companies in facing these challenges today?
The study from IDC found profound improvements for IFS users in productivity and pace of project delivery and budgetary cycles. These business value benefits must, and indeed have been proven to result in huge operational savings and increased revenue for companies using IFS solutions. This proves my theory that if companies in this industry vertical modernize their processes and adopt a digital approach to asset management and more, the money shortage should resolve itself.
One of the companies interviewed cited IFS as being "a tool that facilitates possibilities for people, and our main assets are people, not the software... It's the future of our company." The focus on people in this statement is supported by one of the overall findings of the study, which showed that IFS enterprise solutions enables employees to work seamlessly and more efficiently, leading to an average 18% productivity improvement per user.
The white paper also identified the impact of IFS enterprise solutions on specific teams, including capital asset management, regulatory compliance and engineering. These teams benefited from an overall productivity increase enabling them to contribute to positive business outcomes.
The study highlighted that transparency and a holistic view of the business was valued by Engineering and Construction companies. This is also a valuable benefit that was attributed to IFS, with a customer noting "IFS is making an impact because we now have access to all of the underlying information about our work processes, whereas in the past it was difficult to find all the relevant information."
So why, exactly, are these findings relevant to the engineering and construction industry?
As we know, having a business systems landscape comprised of departmental solutions and hundreds of Excel spreadsheets results in huge inefficiency. Management often needs to make decisions based on inaccurate, out of date information or even no information.
Companies can get better control of their business with an integrated project and asset lifecycle centric business system.
We have learned that an integrated solution provides the company with a solid platform to adapt quickly to the huge disruptive trends that are now affecting the industry. This is what makes the study so important, and why industry players should take heed.