Here’s Why Your Project-Based Firm Needs An Information Management Strategy
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What Is Project Information Management (PIM)?
Project Information Management (PIM) consists of processes and software that enable project-based businesses to organise all of their financial, company and project data, documents, emails, drawings, and other assets in one central location. This gives the project team and the wider organisation the visibility and intelligence to run their businesses and projects more efficiently and profitably.
However, 21% of owners and 37% of contractors don’t have a system in place to manage their project information.
Assessing Whether Or Not Your Firm Needs An Information Management Strategy
If projects are the financial lifeblood of your organisation, the question that you should be asking yourself is, can you afford NOT to have an information management strategy in place?
To help you assess whether or not your firm needs a new strategy, start by asking yourself 5 crucial questions...
1. Are Your Emails Overflowing?
Email is an incredible thing, but it is also a tremendous burden on your time. In fact, people spend nearly 2-3 hours a day on email-related activities (e.g. searching for emails, filing emails, storing email attachments, cleaning their inbox...), consuming 20-30% of their business day. Organisations with project information management systems spend minutes, not hours, with email.
2. Do You Know Where Your Project Files Are?
6 in 10 businesses rely on network folders to manage projects, but face inconsistent file structures, accidental deletion, drag-and-drop displacement hindering productivity and negatively impacting utilisation. Organisations can proactively manage projects through the entire project lifecycle instead of waiting until the project is complete to start organising files.
3. Can You Quickly Find Critical Project Documents?
Businesses can spend hours, if not days, tracking down critical project information, wasting valuable resources and critical project time. With project information management, businesses can find drawings or documents completed yesterday, last week or last year in a matter of minutes.
4. Do Your Teams Struggle To Share & Manage Files Internally & Externally?
Only 9% of businesses have a single enterprise-wide collaboration system. Yet, 75% believe sharing documents is the most important way to improve collaboration.
5. Is Your Project Information A Liability Or An Asset?
Your organisation’s intellectual property is one of your greatest assets. The average cost of a single misplaced file is more than $100. Think of that times the number of files in just a single project. An effective document management strategy could reduce cost by 30% and lower risk by 23%. (source: IDC)
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Taking The First Step Towards An Effective PIM Strategy - Set Your Objectives
Now you have a picture of where improvements could be made in the way that you manage your project information, you can begin to shape your objectives. What are you looking to achieve by implementing your project information management strategy?
To achieve your objectives you need to identify who you need to work with internally and externally. A successful PIM strategy means having the right system and process in place. Who is best placed to support with this?
When looking at PIM systems, look to work with professionals and application vendors who understand your industry and your requirements and who can translate these into practical and workable solutions and processes. Generic file sharing and management solutions are available, SharePoint and Dropbox for example, but these have not been designed and developed with your industry in mind and so could impose limitations on how you work.
Taking the time to set your objectives and state the business benefits of implementing a PIM strategy will make it much easier to get the support that you need to run this project.
Time To Get Buy-In
To ensure that implementing your PIM strategy is a success, you need to get buy-in from the key figureheads within the business. As a major project which will result in a significant change across the entire business as a result of new technology and processes, it needs high level ownership. This should be easy to obtain if the benefits to the business and staff are communicated clearly.
Building a business case that can be easily communicated will make it easier for business executives to understand why you need a PIM strategy. Giving them the foundations to make decisions on what objectives to focus on, which technology partner to use and enabling them to provide the support you and the rest of the organisation needs.
As a major change project, your PIM strategy needs
buy-in at an executive level.
Prepare For Change
According to McKinsey, 70% of change projects fail. To avoid this, a full commitment to implementing your PIM strategy and reaping the associated benefits is needed.
At Deltek we have supported over 12,000 AEC organisations worldwide with the implementation of processes and systems that enable them to run their projects more efficiently and profitably. We know from experience that not preparing for change will lead to the failure of your PIM strategy.
To prepare for the changes that need to happen when it comes to managing your project information, you need to focus on a number of areas:
- How the change is positioned and communicated throughout the organisation: this means developing an internal communications plan and ensuring that communication is two way between the project champions and the organisation as a whole.
- How the project will be managed overall and how will you support people as they work through the change: make sure that you select a change leader, this should be someone who is passionate about why a PIM strategy is needed and the benefits that it will bring to the business.
- How you know that the project is proving to be a success? What are the project’s milestones and success/failure indicators?
Map Your Processes
Your PIM strategy should include processes for managing every aspect of the information that’s generated when running your projects. You need to consider the following scenarios:
- What happens when a new project is won? How is it kicked off and communicated within the organisation, how is the project team selected and the client on-boarded? How do you know quickly that you can resource the project and which skilled staff have availability?
- How is information and data managed while the project is live? Who is responsible for what and who has access to what types of information? How is sensitive data and information managed and protected?
- What has to happen to close off the project? What’s the process around project approval and sign off and how is information and data from that project archived?
- What happens if you need to respond to an urgent request or a claim? Can you access the right version of the document or drawing, or even the correct email in a chain, quickly and with minimal effort?
Implement Your Strategy
For the implementation of your PIM strategy to be successful you need to manage the project in the same way as you would for a client. That means developing and following a project plan to ensure that your PIM strategy and processes are rolled out and adopted effectively.
Remember that, if carried out correctly, implementing a PIM strategy will have a positive impact on the business and often leads to significant cost savings. It would be very easy to let this slip to the bottom of the pile in favour of client work, however it’s vital that a commitment is made. That means planning and resourcing the project for success and taking into account the wider needs of the business.
Monitor, Measure & Improve
Once the implementation of your PIM strategy is complete it’s important to know if it’s successful. To increase the chance for ongoing success, we recommend focusing on the following:
- Monitoring how well the new processes are being adopted and adhered to by your project managers and other staff.
- Measuring results against the objectives set in step 2.
- Bringing together a group who is tasked with monitoring and measuring the success of the strategy and identifying any gaps or changes that need to be made.
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