AECOM is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government. The organisation operates in every continent bar Antarctica and has over 45,000 staff. The combined intellectual property is enormous however, accessing the collective conscience and sharing the detail has proven to be cumbersome. Collecting project information for benchmarking and lessons learnt is a continual challenge. Benchmarking occurs but is a manual process either collated by a research specialist or compiled on the fly by emailing the distribution list asking for sample plans in this sector for this building type. The key to this problem is the number of disparate, thick client applications installed on client/server type structures or as unstructured documents hidden on folders on individual PCs.

A particular area of interest for AECOM was the benchmarking of cost estimates. Cost plans are generally created in a thick client application installed on the desktop of the cost manager’s computer. The range of tools in the marketplace to do this is considerable however, few if any allow for the consolidation of plans across a portfolio that can then be averaged as benchmark pricing.

The opportunity of leveraging this massive pool of cost information to create benchmarks of cost and quantity information to better service AECOM clients was identified by senior management in Australia and linked to the portfolio capabilities of UniPhi’s project portfolio software. The key issues to be addressed were how to get the disparate cost plans that had been captured in a multitude of systems into the application without burdening the cost manager and how to then aggregate this information and present it to the cost manager in a dynamic and useful way.

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