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From Trailer to Cloud: Skire acquisition expands Oracle’s on-demand project management options.

by Alison Weiss

Whether building petrochemical facilities in the Middle East or managing mining operations in Australia, project managers face significant challenges. Local regulations and currencies, contingent labor, hybrid public/private funding sources, and more threaten project budgets and schedules.

Sicilia Headshot

According to Mike Sicilia, senior vice president and general manager for the Oracle Primavera Global Business Unit, there will be trillions of dollars invested in industrial projects around the globe between 2012 and 2016. But even with so much at stake, project leads don’t always have time to look for new and better enterprise project portfolio management (EPPM) software solutions to manage large-scale capital initiatives across the enterprise.

Oracle’s recent acquisition of Skire, a leading provider of capital program management and facilities management applications available both in the cloud and on premises, gives customers outstanding new EPPM options. By combining Skire’s cloud-based solutions for managing capital projects, real estate, and facilities with Oracle’s Primavera EPPM solutions, project managers can quickly get a solution running that is interoperable across an extended enterprise.

Staff can access the EPPM solution within days, rather than waiting for corporate IT to put technology in place.

“Staff can access the EPPM solution within days, rather than waiting for corporate IT to put technology in place,” says Sicilia.

This applies to a problem that has, according to Sicilia, bedeviled project managers for decades: extending EPPM functionality into the field. Frequently, large-scale projects are remotely located, and the lack of communications and IT infrastructure threatened the accuracy of project reporting and scheduling.

Until recently, the most common solution has been to build an onsite data center—trailers full of servers hosting the necessary software solutions. Sicilia contends that such “pop-up” data centers are inefficient—difficult to ramp up and expensive to maintain in the face of environmental challenges.

“Large and small construction projects have always required a high amount of collaboration and information sharing,” says Sicilia. “But the industry has been slow to uptake technologies that can facilitate that.”

Survey Respondents
who reported that projects did not meet original goals and business intent (Source: Project Management Institute’s Pulse of the Profession survey)

Also, by integrating Skire and Primavera solutions, management can broaden the reach of EPPM software beyond just the construction phase and into the after-build phase—actually aiding in the operation of the facilities. Primavera software can provide the owner of a building with an extensive construction record and a detailed operation plan for maintenance. According to Sicilia, this is especially important in industries such as nuclear power, where the maintenance of the facility is regulated and requires an auditable process.

“Project management is an exciting growth sector,” observes Sicilia. “Owners are looking for more affordability and value. Contractors must deliver that value but still properly manage their risk and protect their profit. This is the core of all we do.”

Alison Weiss is a regular contributor to Profit.

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