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Digitisation of project management imperative for project success

Photo by Duane Daws
MINE UPGRADES The adoption of big data, cloud, business intelligence, artificial intelligence, mobile technology and the digitisation of business will be the primary driver of successful organisations over the next five years
PROJECT DELAYS The lull in the mining industry has delayed the development of new projects

Business management consultant SSG Consulting will continue to focus on project management and execution as its core business this year, with the intent of increasing its drive to further improve operational throughput of organisations and projects by 30% to 50%, despite the challenges facing the industry.

The project management industry continues to face significant challenges, owing to the poor execution of capital projects, lack of investment in capital projects, decreasing availability of local and international skilled resources and the slow uptake of cloud-based storage, as well as the delayed adoption of business intelligence (BI) developments, says the company.

SSG Consulting CEO Steven Golding points out that the lull in the mining industry has delayed the development of new projects; however, once major infrastructure builds gain momentum globally, he expects that the resource industry will follow.

“There are several reasons for the general lack of development activity, ranging from the global economic collapse to the resultant reduction in the number of global infrastructure build programmes due to high costs,” he says.

“The lack of investment has reduced the number of projects and created an extremely over competitive project-tendering environment. This has resulted in not only lower bids but also a decline in the effective execution of projects,” says Golding.

Compounding the situation, execution systems have also not been implemented and adopted effectively, owing to slow adaption by companies, adding to poor execution results, he explains.

“There has also been a dramatic decrease in margins, placing the project execution industry under pressure and limiting innovation,” Golding says, suggesting that asset and project owners should select tenderers based on capability and capacity as opposed to their being the lowest bidder.

“Clients should be aware of not setting up projects for failure. Investors and the owners of assets and projects must apply a comprehensive, integrated approach to project operation systems, as well as the inherent capability to produce real-time BI.”

Golding points out that being able to trust the data coming from a project and then convert it into effective BI that directly influences the success of the business and project is an important requirement in overcoming the challenges inherent in the project management industry, owing to the planning that has to be done through the collected data.

Improving Old Mines
Golding says it is never too late to apply new innovations and technology to an existing project. If an older project needs to be upgraded, then that project will be assessed, each challenge being overcome on a case-by-case basis.

“The adoption of big data, cloud, BI, artificial intelligence (AI), mobile technology and the digitisation of business will be the primary driver of successful organisations over the next five years. Businesses will need to understand the macro trends driving consumerism and global economies if they wish to remain relevant.”

He points out that the company has noted growth in the application of technology and the digitisation of all businesses, including the mining industry.

There are several ways through which older mining projects can be upgraded to use new systems, and Golding points out that SSG Consulting has focused on following an integrated BI operating system approach. It comprises integrative technology, represented by SSG Consulting’s construction software KEY360, which drives operational throughput directly through adjusting human behaviour by making areas of underperformance visible.

“. . . it is never too late to apply innovation and technology, and we have achieved exceptional results, even when applying KEY360 after a project has been completed to facilitate data analysis, AI and to forensically assess a project for claims purposes,” he says.

SSG Consulting will add mobile technology to the KEY360 suite this year, which is expected to change project and construction execution “dramatically”, Golding adds.

The company was founded in the beginning of 2008, coinciding with the start of the global recession. “Since then, we have had the philosophy of never trying to predict industry growth. We address all opportunities aggressively. This has served us extremely well, as we do not react to market fluctuations, but rather create our own momentum.

“SSG Consulting will further drive our international growth model aggressively into Africa, Australia, the US and Iran during the first and second quarters of 2017,” Golding concludes.