Improving Business Performance

Nic Jacobs
Businesses grow fast in the GCC markets. How can commercial developers grow their corporate business processes in tandem?

Clients are all too familiar with issues around time, cost and quality on their capital projects, and, as their project and programme managers, Faithful+Gould provides leadership on these triple constraints on a daily basis.

However, we find that many of our Middle East clients are moving on from their traditionally commoditised approach to procuring professional services and are seeking solutions that contribute directly to business success. This change is permeating our local construction scene, based on the global best practice found in more mature markets. Delivering ‘business as usual’ services is now taken for granted, but, in the current competitive market, innovation is required to improve efficiencies and create value.

SOURCE: World KLEMS; BLS; BEA; McKinsey Global Institute analysis

We’re leading many developer clients through this transition, demonstrating significant, direct business impact. We work alongside them in a business partner model, to gain understanding of their key business issues, and to identify the most efficient solutions. Increasingly our Middle East commissions reflect this approach – a digital evolution from project/programme focus to overall business processes.

Beginning with an exploration of the barriers that need to be challenged to aid our clients’ businesses in performing optimally, we work on focused solutions that typically bring both cost and operational efficiencies. The client organisation often has fragmented IT systems that are not configured to achieve the organisation’s objectives. In many cases, although clients have some governance in place, the IT systems are not developed or built on those business rules, leaving the system incapable of supporting the management and the supply chain to achieve the business objectives. We would therefore commence the transformation journey by reviewing the client’s business rules (governance) to ensure these are in line with objectives, followed by a full technology review.

Our earlier work with Dubai-based real-estate developer Emaar is an excellent example of this business performance-enhancing support. Many parts of Emaar’s business were already very effective, but the organisation was determined to bring maximum efficiency to all its capital programmes. We were appointed to deliver a business-wide solution that facilitates this, beginning with Dubai Creek Harbour, where an ecologically responsible city is planned.

Our earlier work with Dubai-based real-estate developer Emaar is an excellent example of this business performance-enhancing support.

We spent three months exploring the pertinent issues, working in partnership with Emaar to identify areas for improvement, and looking beyond the day-to-day programme management of individual developments. We recommended a range of management process enhancements for use throughout the organisation.

We combined our longstanding relationship with Oracle Primavera Unifier with our business process consulting skills, to embed Emaar’s project and programme practices within flexible, workflow technology. Our global partnership with Oracle and our extensive experience with the Unifier product enables the required customisation and deployment for our clients. The system provides a single solution that enables more informed investment decisions as well as day-to-day efficiency.

In the implementation phase of a project, we roll out the Unifier solution across the development and provide training and support to ensure optimal use of the system. We then lead the change management programme required to bring about a culture change in the client organisation. The new processes will expedite management of data and support decision-making, creating swifter progression from property launch to sale and handover. The development lifecycle will be faster, smoother and more cost-effective.

The development lifecycle will be faster, smoother and more cost-effective.

Dubai Creek Harbour is an especially exciting project for the application of these new business processes. The development includes nine distinct districts, with a yacht club, marina and harbour, 22 hotels, residential space and retail provision. A network of waterfront, eco-resorts and landscaped gardens frame the area, which is linked to the city via the Creek Bridge. A centrepiece tower development will be the world’s tallest structure.

This digital solution helps to streamline more transparent business processes, with greater visibility of problems and successes, and fewer delays. Over time, net procurement efficiencies can be quantified, with operational and overhead cost saving figures available for analysis.

For clients, these changes mean a greater level of transparency and control over the whole of the development, enabling structured reporting from management level to the board, whilst allowing the programme management team the ability to look at early warning signs for the schedule and budget. The standardisation of systems, tools and processes on a programme will ensure the teams delivering the scheme maximise their efficiency as work is not duplicated nor is it required to be entered on multiple systems. This added value approach is increasingly of interest to our Middle East client base, and is acknowledged as a way of bringing global best practice.