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Construction : Interaction | February 2016 | Source : CW-India

There are tools that are making a lot of the construction documentation process digital.

- Warren Kudman, Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Turner Construction Company, Greater New York City

Turner Construction Company has earned recognition for undertaking large, complex projects, fostering innovation and embracing emerging technologies. The role of information technology (IT) in executing projects plays a huge role to reach this level of recognition. Responsible for developing and executing Turner's IT strategy and delivering solutions that support continuous improvement in Turner's core construction business and support functions, Warren Kudman has joined the company as Vice President & CIO, Turner Construction Company, Greater New York City.

He shares more on the IT solutions that benefit the company and its projects.

What does the scope of work involve and what advancements do you intend to bring to the company's operations?
I am responsible for Turner´s core enterprise IT systems, which involve the core ERP for financial management procurement and the project management systems tools used by our construction team. We have an important collaboration platform built on Microsoft Sheer Point and we support other tools and spot functional solutions for different aspects of the construction process. In addition, an opportunity to leverage is to improve how we use information for management purposes. We will soon start a significant investment in data warehousing and business intelligence. The further leverage in Sheer Point in Microsoft Office 365, particularly the cloud-based solutions of Office 365, will give our project teams more flexibility and easier access to the knowledge that we develop and share information more easily across our project teams and clients.

You are on the advisory board of IT Central Station, a social network where IT professionals share their experience and expertise on a wide range of IT products and services. Any experience you would like to share?
If we look at business intelligence and analytics base, there are amazing tools available today to an end user who is not an IT professional. For construction, there are tools that are making a lot of the construction documentation process digital. This includes workflow, the ability to digitalise architectural drawings, to share them and make annotations on drawings; this allows everyone to look at the most current view of project work and collaborate within the company as well as with subcontractors and third-party consultants, architects and clients. These cloud-based solutions have a significant ability to shorten the amount of time.

Some of these tools are already in practice in Turner; in fact, we have thousands of engineers who are IT-savvy. Over a thousand of our project teams are potentially innovating, experimenting and helping us identify, which solutions can add the most value.

How do you implement innovative IT solutions that benefit Turner´s projects?
Speaking about project management, it´s within these individual construction projects. There is the ability to have electronic workflow, so that the information moves much faster within a project team and across everyone involved in the project. The construction industry, traditionally, was a late adopter of IT solutions, but I do see that changing quickly now. The sector has been waiting for cloud-based solutions and infrastructure that is now more readily available than it was five years ago. 3D modelling is another important development in the construction industry and is becoming more prevalent.

When it comes to visualisation, it will take a few years to develop the augmented reality technologies that are in prototyping today, that allow the user to look at what perhaps the next stage or the end stage of the project should look like. Another interesting development is drone technology, integrated again with visualisation, as one can take aerial photos or videos of a construction site in development and can overlay it with the drawings or the models and be able to visually represent what´s on schedule or behind schedule, using different colour coding against the models.

What are the current trends in the IT sector? How do you plan to adopt these for Turner?
One important development is the concept of ´Agile´ in software development, to break projects into much smaller delivery balls and deliver quickly and incrementally, and have stakeholders or customers of the project more integrated into project execution. These are important methods that are becoming more mainstreamed.

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