How to improve Project Communication with Contractors and External Project Participants
Challenges in the communication with external project parties
The contractor just called the project manager. They can’t hold the deadline for the installation of the electric wiring. They claimed that the additional work was not communicated to them in time. Actually it was stated somewhere in these long messy e-mails which also contained an outdated version of the CAD file. Obviously a lot of communication went wrong here and it is hard to figure out now the causes since project documentation and information is spread across multiple tools and channels.
Above described scenario is very typical in a project set-up which is heavily relying on contractor and external workforce. Miscommunication in such projects leads often to delayed timelines, additional expenses and overall to an increased project risk. The main reason is that many project teams and organizations lack of an integrated environment that links the operational project management with the communication process towards external project parties involved in the planning and execution phase. Some companies try to overcome this by establishing a dedicated communication team or founding extra companies who are responsible for the synchronization of project information shared with and by such external project parties. This approach often comes with significant project overhead costs and slower exchange of information.
Picture: Today’s Projects are networks of internal and external project participants
A better and more suitable approach is to facilitate the communication and exchange of project information with externals though a central public cloud based platform. With this it is possible to control on one hand side which information is specifically exposed and released for external parties but also reduce administrative and synchronization efforts as project information and feedback are directly captured in the collaboration tool and visible immediately to project owner and stakeholder.
Cloud based project collaboration by SAP
SAP S/4HANA Cloud for projects is a new cloud service in the project collaboration space that specifically supports project organizations in improving the communication process with external project participants, contractors and project stakeholder. This cloud service is provided as a public cloud solution and hence can be easily accessed by external project contractors from all around the world. Project owners can use this solution to share project plans documentation and engineering information with external contractors and communicate effectively the assignments of work packages to such externals. External contractors will receive access to the cloud service through an invitation process that can be completely managed by project managers or other business users without the need to involve IT administration.
Involved project partners have the possibility to indicate project issues or required changes during project execution directly in shared project plans and send corresponding documentation to the project owner. Deviations from the project plan and necessary extra work can be identified within the 3D visualization models which are embedded as digital twins in the project collaboration space.
Picture: Digital Twin in Projects supported by BIM (Building Information Model)
Integration with SAP Enterprise Portfolio and Project Management
A large community of SAP S/4HANA customers use today SAP Enterprise Portfolio and Project Management (EPPM) as their enterprise wide platform to manage the entire project lifecycle. It allows companies to plan and track project investments from the initial idea to planning, execution and closure, tightly integrated with the companies back office processes such as finance & controlling, human capital management or logistic & procurement.
Project schedules and operational project plans that are managed in EPPM can be loaded into SAP S/4HANA cloud for projects using built in integration capabilities. Hence this makes it very easy for project managers to share work packages and timelines with external parties who need to deliver their work aligned with the overall project plan. The integration scenario support the direct load of e.g. schedule and WBS information from the underlying Project System Project (PS) into SAP S/4HANA Cloud for Projects. Integration with PPM Project Management can be achieved through an optional add-on. Other 3rd party Solutions can be connected to SAP S/4HANA Cloud for Projects using structured ODATA APIs.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud for projects is a perfect public cloud extension to traditional on-premise and private cloud EPPM deployments enhancing such solution landscapes with modern project collaboration and digital twin capabilities. With SAP S/4HANA Cloud for projects project organizations are able to improve the communication process with external project participants and contractors and such avoid project delays and costly deviations from project plans.
Additional information about SAP S/4HANA Cloud for projects can be found here:
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud for projects (sap.com)
- Collaborative Project Management – Trial
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud for projects – Videos
- Agile project execution (blog)
- Construction Projects in O&G (blog)
- SAP Community Page