Utilities and infrastructure specialist Murphy has signed a deal to use cloud-based digital collaboration tools as part of its digital transformation strategy. Alex Jones, group head of BIM and digital construction, talks to BIM+ about the firm’s decision to invest in the technology across the business.
What’s the deal?
Murphy has chosen the entire Aconex application suite to support the business. Aconex is part of IT giant Oracle and the leading provider in cloud collaboration for engineering and construction businesses.
We employ more than 3,000 engineers, professionals, and skilled operatives around the world. The projects vary from small street works within frameworks to large-scale joint venture contracts.
These projects often involve multiple teams and are widely dispersed, sometimes in remote or secure locations. As a result, the company needed a digital solution that could bring all of this together without disrupting the business through the implementation process.
We chose Aconex because we needed a highly secure, cloud-based, common data environment that was easy to implement, could help to unify our dispersed teams as well as integrate with other Murphy systems. Also, the Connected Cost extension to the core electronic document management system provides visibility into time, cost, and field tool.
The company is in the third year of a 10-year plan to transform the business, evolving into a matrix-based organisation to deliver strong, well-supported operational performance and cementing its position as a tier one contractor and service provider.
As part of this plan, it is investing in a digital transformation programme embracing digital tools that better manage information and data across the group. The expectation is that this will bring efficiencies and build knowledge capital, which is so important to compete in the modern construction and engineering industry.
Is using Aconex a straight swap for something Murphy is already using or are you bringing in a new way of working?
J Murphy has always focused on working collaboratively and previously this has meant using an array of tools adopted over time.
As technology has evolved and functionality of solutions like a common data environment has broadened from being a document management solution to a hub for collaboration and project controls, Murphy has seen the opportunity to embrace smart digital platforms as part of a more holistic and integrated approach to managing data across its business.
The aim for Murphy is to progressively develop this digital eco-system with fewer tools to enable better integration within a company that recognises the value of reliable data and workflow for itself, its supply chain and its increasingly digital-savvy customer base.
Aconex will form a key part of the technology eco-system adopted by Murphy to help it collect, share and view information across the business using the same systems so we have greater consistency and visibility into all project details.
This improved collaboration and transparency will help us build right first time, remove waste and mitigate risk, helping teams to identify and manage any issues or concerns on a project quickly before they escalate so we can continue to deliver a best in class service to our clients.
What does ‘One Murphy’ actually mean in practice to people outside of Murphy? And how does Aconex meet this?
One Murphy is one of our core values. Murphy operates with a ‘One Murphy, One Team’ mentality and this is now better supported by consistent application of tools and processes for project planning, delivery and reporting.
We expect this consistency to bring efficiencies, provide a focus for continuous improvement and, by removing the array of tools, we reduce learning curves for teams, allowing us to be more agile in the way we resource and progress projects.
We also expect our customers and supply chain to enjoy a consistent approach and consistent standard of delivery. By transforming our organisation and embracing collaboration, through new digital systems such as Aconex, we expect to realise overhead efficiency savings, as well as supply chain gains.
It frees up project managers and the broader team to do what they do best by making it easier to capture and process information collaboratively. We must and will remove the burden, the administration from daily duties and provide reliable information at the point of need to promote best planning, delivery and end state operation.
The modern common data environment isn’t just for the document controller, it enables everyone to benefit from reliable information and that’s where Aconex fits in.
Aconex helps us deliver the “collaboration” part in terms of providing a system to bring project information together in one place. It makes it easy to collect, share and view information securely regardless what project someone is on, what device someone is using or whether they’re in the office or out in the field.
Previously, as our technology stack grew, it became more challenging to produce reports aggregating data because of all the systems and excel files storing information in different ways and in different places.
We needed to bring that together and create a consistent approach to information management to make it easier and more efficient to produce reports and identify as well as manage potential issues.
We have already started work on our transformation, by strengthening our existing teams through some key appointments, especially in our support functions.
We are committed to our self-delivery approach, so we will continue our investment in people, systems and resources to ensure the business is capable of accommodating our sustainable growth in line with our ten-year plan.
We already demonstrate excellent teamwork in the field delivering successful projects for our clients; and with the new investments in technology and training we match that competence in our back office/support functions.
This investment should reaffirm our commitment to embracing the increasingly digital demands of the industry and mean our clients can rely on Murphy to be a safe and reliable custodian of information and data.