We go together like peanut butter and jelly - How collaboration connects people, processes and technologies.

Effective project collaboration requires more than a willingness to talk and a few automated processes.

Donna Laquidara-Carr, Ph.D., LEED AP, Research Director for Industry Insights at Dodge Data & Analytics sums up the need very nicely in a recent Managing Uncertainty and Expectations in Building Design and Construction SmartMarket Report1.  She says, “despite the widespread agreement about the value of increased collaboration, the industry still struggles to be collaborative, and it may take more than a positive attitude to overcome the challenges.”

The Dodge report further points to the significance of technology in fostering collaboration, reducing errors and omissions and in delivering projects on time and budget. In today’s environment, true collaboration requires a cohesive connection of people, process and technologies. 

Owners Leveraging Technology to Enable Collaboration

That’s the role of a project management information system (PMIS)!  Today’s enterprise project management solutions should do more than facilitate streamlined processes and reduce rework; they should create a forum for improved conversation.

Consider the actions of one of the nation’s top developer/operators, the Howard Hughes Corporation.  Known for its ability to complete projects on time and on budget, executives attribute their success to a strong team of industry leaders, quality processes and integrated technology solutions. Almost 8 years ago, HHC’s Preconstruction and Construction Management group implemented e-Builder to handle bidding, project communication, document storage, RFIs and all the other familiar parts of a project and integrate with their accounting system for more efficient invoice submittals and payment. In its first five years, the company completed the construction of over 3.3 million square feet of office and retail properties as well as 1,084 multifamily units and 913 hotel rooms for a combined cost of $1.4 billion.But those numbers provide just the high-level value of a PMIS.

One of top benefits HHC has realized from the implementation of an integrated project management solution is communication and teamwork.  An HHC leader recently stated, “when used properly, e-Builder provides the collaborative backbone for success on our projects.”

The Pennsylvania Department of General Services (PADGS) Public Works Bureaus realized a similar value. As part of a multi-year modernization, PADGS has streamlined the way it manages building projects for state agencies and integrated all processes from capital planning, design, electronic bidding, construction and project closeout with PMIS. One PADGS representative noted that the PMIS brings its own imperative and momentum to improve coordination/collaboration.

In summary, today’s solutions whether PMIS or some other electronic data management tool should integrate with other systems, provide tools to enable and streamline communication among owners and project teams, and become integral part of your communication workflow, essentially providing your collaborative backbone.

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