Tools & Technologies

By Daren Maynard

Integrated project viewing through the Oracle

Many companies have a portfolio of projects that they manage on an annual basis. For management, it is important to understand all of the projects from the enterprise, operations and finance perspectives. Required reporting can be difficult if the plethora of project types are managed using different systems.

Enterprises also manage facilities and real estate as portfolios of projects. They are projects in their own right from conceptualization to maintenance of the built environment. Oracle Primavera Unifier 10.1 suits this purpose as it allows the aggregation of project portfolio information from different systems and functions into one interface. Primavera Unifier has three product lines: Primavera Project Controls, Primavera Facilities Management and Primavera Real Estate Management.

Using XML Web Services, the client and project contractor information can be consolidated using the Primavera Unifier interface. The disparate systems can talk to each other using the standardized protocols, e.g., Web Services Description Language (WSDL). This publically accessible XML schema permits the user to have a secure, customizable data transfer process. Web-based access, rather than computer programming, allows the easy development of new business processes and forms used for project reporting. The Unifier platform transmits sensitive information between connected systems, as it has Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) built in.

Capital planning management happens in Project Controls, which aggregates the various project finance components to facilitate decision-making and control of budgets, forecasts and spending. The interface also provides communication, collaboration and document management in terms of workflow alert, project documentation, meetings and requests for information (RFI), etc. In addition, the projects portfolio manager can manage the cash flows, execute change controls and manage future project plans as a whole.

The Unifier’s Facilities Management module gives the operations manager a comprehensive solution for work requests, inspection, maintenance planning, facilities occupancy and related facilities activities. The interface gives the user the ability to request the services. The workflow is created to manage the initiation, approval, execution and close of the process. Case histories, space tracking and usage patterns are part of the maintenance and facilities management. Unifier supports these activities with their text and graphical interfaces.

The Real Estate Management module helps the real estate manager make strategic decisions about company properties. The work flow can be set up to manage leases, transactions, property acquisition and documentation processes. The real estate manager gets a profile view of property valuation, taxes, costs and payments for properties, and performance metrics.

Daren Maynard is the portfolio management lead for Novus Tech and He has earned a PMP certification, an M.S. in program and project management and a B.S. in industrial engineering. He is a member of IIE’s Young Professionals group.