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Project Controls Software Trends for 2023

2023 is here! And with a new year comes new opportunities to improve the way you plan, manage and execute your projects and portfolios. To do this, organizations rely heavily on project controls software to ensure their projects are performing as expected… and to move swiftly to make fixes when they’re not. Just as organizations work to continuously improve upon their operations, so do software providers on the solutions they offer. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore recent trends that are driving consistent project success and what you should expect from your project technology in 2023 in light of them. At the root of these trends is an effort to broaden the perspective of controls, from project planning and execution into an enterprise-wide effort.

Top project controls trends for 2023 include: 

  • Establishing an integrative digital ecosystem to achieve greater control, 
  • Enhancing predictive analytics to improve confidence,
  • Improving scalability through platform configuration, 
  • And boosting user adoption through improved user interface and experience. 

Let’s explore how each will help you reduce project cost and schedule overruns and achieve project and business objectives. 

Establishing An Integrative Digital Ecosystem To Achieve Greater Control 

So many facets of an organization have a role to play in ensuring project success. Simply put, project success doesn’t stop at project controls. Instead, success is upheld by every department or process area that touches the project.

Considering this, organizations in 2023 are evolving from the digital twin and instead incorporating their project controls systems into a larger ecosystem that takes all their business operations into account. This ecosystem is called the Smart Digital Reality™ . The Smart Digital Reality is a unified, role-based, real-time view of the physical and digital realities across an organization’s project and asset portfolio. The level of connectivity provided by the Smart Digital Reality accelerates data velocity across the asset lifecycle to enable improved collaboration and smarter decision-making. 

As an integral part of the Smart Digital Reality, the project controls system works cross functionally with other vital systems to ensure complete visibility throughout the project life cycle. This connects all data sets so that project professionals can confidently measure, predict and improve project performance while also informing and strengthening other areas of operation in 2023 and beyond.

Enhancing Predictive Analytics To Improve Confidence

In the past, executives have been blindsided by project variances at a point when the chance to affect meaningful change has already passed. CII reports that, on average, variance reporting only starts at 65% into project completion. But why is this? 

Traditionally, organizations have struggled to achieve real-time analytics regarding progress performance. Often, progress performance data was acquired in preparation for monthly reporting. This meant all key performance indicators (KPIs) were calculated with old data that had generally become irrelevant, leading project teams to lose confidence in the utility of their efforts. 

In 2023, project professionals are striving to change this by adopting project solutions that combine project management, project controls, forecasting and more in a connected and automated environment. This way all progress data is acquired and relayed in real-time and goes on to better inform predictive analytics including a living forecast. As a result of this trend, project teams will be equipped to confidently identify variances and inform their superiors of the information needed to take quicker and more effective action. 

Improved Scalability Through Platform Configuration 

In 2023, project controls software users are taking matters into their own hands by emphasizing configurability over customization. In a customization scenario, implementing a new feature, extension or modification to an organization’s software requires coding or some form of special implementation. Customization essentially creates a completely new software branch and doing so requires deep technical and product knowledge that often only the software provider possesses. This can limit the ability to upgrade in the future. 

In contrast, configurability within a cloud-enabled environment allows organizations to easily change the software to fit their needs without required help from an outside source. In a configurability scenario, organizations can more easily influence their project controls software so that projects of varying sizes, types and industries co-exist in a single platform even when their standards differ. This allows organizations to meet different project needs creating full enterprise visibility that management requires.

Configurable systems are becoming popular due in part to their ability to adapt as organizational needs grow without the need for the business to “rip and replace” what they’ve already achieved. Organizations are relying on configurable software over customizable software to support the processes they have developed over the years and the processes that they will continue to develop as they scale. Simply put, high-performing organizations in 2023 are seeking software that aligns to their operations, not the other way around.

Boosting User Adoption With User Interface Enhancements 

While functionality and capability are top of mind when selecting a project controls software, another factor has become a high-priority for many organizations. That factor is software usability. Usability has become increasingly important as the next generation of professionals enter the workforce. Unlike their predecessors, these professionals have grown up with constant access to user-friendly technology. To attract and retain young talent, it has become imperative for organizations to implement technologies that offer a more modernized experience. In light of this, project-focused organizations, in 2023, are seeking project controls solutions that enhance the user experience and promote user adoption through improved user interface/user experience (UI/UX) including role-based, contextual access and localization. Let’s explore each of these three methods below:

  • UI/UX Updates
    UI/UX updates improve the look, feel and structure of the project controls platform, making the platform easier to navigate and control for all users. Software providers conduct research regarding how users interact with their solution on a daily basis. After identifying common user trends, providers implement changes to their solution’s ergonomics, aesthetics and back-end configuration to enhance its ease of use, improve efficiency (e.g., achieve the same task with fewer clicks) and boost user productivity. 
  • Role-based Interfaces
    Role-based interfaces allow project leaders to create dashboards and workflows specific to each user instead of operating in a one-size-fits-all platform where users must do the work to navigate the complexity for what they’re looking for. Role-based interfaces allow users from any discipline (executives, portfolio managers, project managers, capital planners, estimators, schedulers and more) to access the data most relevant to them. As a result, the level of clarity supported by role-based interfaces enables users to become more efficient and make better decisions. 
  • Localization
    Localization equips users with a project controls platform that dynamically displays the system in their local language. This is especially critical for global organizations seeking to standardize processes across project teams from varying geographies. It also decreases the potential for confusion and empowers teams to become more efficient as they no longer must translate verbiage as they interact with and navigate through the solution. 

Put simply, these three methods allow stakeholders to easily utilize their project platforms, stay informed with constant access to the data most important to them and understand that data more easily. Organizational leaders must remember the importance of bolstering user adoption of the software they invest in. After all, if their team is rebelling against the software, the organization will not reap the intended benefits of their investment. 

Top software providers understand this and are taking measures, like those discussed above, to emphasize solution usability in 2023. Organizations will empower users to focus on more high-value tasks rather than manually understanding and relaying project portfolio data. As a result, organizations can expect improved productivity and reduced rework in 2023. 

Meeting Your 2023 Goals with Enterprise Project Performance (EPP)

When it comes to unlocking these benefits in your own organization, there is no better way than leveraging an Enterprise Project Performance or EPP solution. An EPP solution is project portfolio management, project controls and project management software all in one platform. It provides the enterprise-wide view needed to support true connectivity, predictability, scalability and usability. With a broadened perspective of full lifecycle project data in 2023, organizations will empower their teams to work collaboratively and confidently to ensure consistent project success throughout the year and beyond. 

To learn how Hexagon’s EPP solution, EcoSys, can help you maximize project performance in 2023, request a demo today