Large-scale engineering and construction projects are complex and enormous, and they often involve experts from around the world. Simple tools like email and spreadsheets are no longer sufficient to track massive projects – often causing rework and delays – and switching between email and other programs can reduce employee efficiency by 15%. Moreover, the pandemic underscored the challenge of collaboration across time zones and geographies. Virtual operations can reduce employees’ clarity about roles and responsibilities, making complex projects more challenging to execute.
Seeking to overcome these challenges, a leader in sustainable engineering and construction was eager to improve the efficiency, productivity and collaboration among team members spanning the globe. If successful, the construction leader could better and more-effectively serve its clients that required faster turnaround times and increased automation and standardization. The company also wanted to distinguish itself in the industry by embracing digital engineering more fully and positioning itself ahead of the digital curve.
The company sought a centralized solution with the ability to digitally document and automate engineering workflows, create a catalog of guidance and historical reference documents tied to those workflows (and to specific projects), and enable real-time collection of project data to derive insights that would help it service clients more effectively and win more projects.
The company’s initial plan was to implement an off-the-shelf business process management solution. But for complex challenges like engineering and construction, there is no single commercial solution that can serve the purpose. Wipro instead recommended open-source technologies to create a new platform that would enable the construction leader to deploy a system that would deliver better user experiences and the flexibility and scalability it needed for long-term success. An open-source approach would also mean significant cost savings due to a lack of licensing fees.
Wipro proposed a scalable, decoupled architecture, open design, and a configurable workflow platform using a Microsoft Azure-based cloud-native solution. This kind of custom-built engineering work execution platform did not exist in the market, but it held great promise in several key areas.
The new platform would clarify responsibilities for professionals in the trenches and enable project managers to establish rigorous deadlines. It would also enable smoother, more timely handovers between different disciplines and supporting teams regardless of their global location. The integrated system would also automatically generate alerts about changes and deviations from the original project scope, improving visibility across complex projects and reducing rework, and ultimately improving quality.
Today, the construction leader’s entire global engineering staff uses and collaborates through the new digital engineering and business process management solution. Using its new system, the company can break down in greater detail the tasks and activities associated with engineering deliverables and track work progress precisely in real-time.
One of the most powerful outcomes of the platform was its centralized capturing of engineering work information. Now, all drawings, reference materials, and other forms of project documentation are tied to relevant tasks and activities, enabling more timely and accurate data collection. The construction leader has also been able to make better business decisions and boost project performance through this improved data collection and the ability to analyze it on the new platform. Now, the company can more easily compare execution data against plans and improve quality assurance.
The new system enhances professional skills by enabling easy access to information, learnings and better work procedures. More important, however, is the solution’s potential to become a commercial, revenue-generating opportunity for the company. Based on its early successes, the global construction company is now considering enhancements to existing features, deeper integration with legacy systems, and adding functionality to address risk management and build custom reports.