IBM: smart digital strategies for service delivery
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that perhaps more than anything else, business success can depend on being built for change. That can be especially important for the delivery of IT and business services—the heartbeat of companies’ most critical business operations,” commented John Granger is Senior Vice President, Cloud Application Innovation and COO, IBM Global Business Services.
“Across every industry, many organisations have had to rapidly respond to the crisis and shifting business conditions, while also assessing their ability to absorb shocks from future unforeseen events.”
With many organisations putting business continuity and resilience first, by shifting mission critical activity to remote working and strengthening network bandwidth and security, as well as ensuring clear communication between customers, suppliers and employees, many digital transformation projects were put on hold.
Granger highlights within his research that those who were already on a journey towards hybrid cloud were in a good position when it comes to business continuity and resilience to quickly scale up or down their operations based on their workload.
“But they recognize that may not be enough. In the “new normal” where disruption and local lockdowns could be around every corner, many organizations will want their IT and businesses service delivery to be able to accelerate digital transformation despite disruption. They will also want the ability to anticipate and adapt with speed and resilience as business conditions shift,” added Granger.
Emerging smart strategies due to COVID-19 - Dynamic delivery
For IBM, the company has seen the pandemic spur its clients to accomplish in months what they had previously believed would take years. “Our experience has been no different: Working with clients before and during the pandemic has enabled us to bring forward the next era of delivery—a more dynamic model of delivery.,” commented Granger.
The Dynamic delivery model has three core components which include: enhanced and automated processes for contactless delivery, deep thinking about how we function as humans in the network and the latest delivery foundation. IBM believes that combining these components together, provide the potential to accelerate delivery speed and scale, as well as enhance timeline confidence, improve access to expertise and build business resiliency and security.
“At the heart of the model are enhanced, automated processes tailored for contactless delivery, regardless of whether the delivery scenario is 20%, 40% or 100% virtual,” said Granger.
This component involves automation and visualisation delivery methods, as well as commercial and transparent governance. Applied to workflows, this technology can help improve employee efficiency and rapidly scale delivery, as well as provide ‘virtual garages’ for design thinking, agile principles and DevOps tools and techniques to innovate and create new methods.
However, Granger emphasis that “the model goes beyond the processes alone. It requires leading, engaging and enabling the humans in the network to work wherever they are, with virtual skills development and communities of practice. It means building in the capability to rapidly mobilise expertise via virtual squads who can quickly innovate or resolve issues. It also should include global talent standards for access to flexible and available expertise, and ubiquitous knowledge management.”
IBM also believes that the model requires a delivery foundation that firstly has a resilient and scalable infrastructure. “It should consist of a robust network that can support work from home, non-traditional locations or physical co-location at sites based on changing business conditions.” commented Granger.
Granger concludes that the model must include virtualized, pervasive and artificial intelligence (AI) enabled platforms, and tools for employee collaboration and innovation. As well as, embedded security and privacy practices and policies to protect proprietary data and reduce risk exposure.
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.