INTRANET DEVELOPMENT FOR A PROJECT-BASED ENTERPRISE

By Aliyu A. Aziz

Presentation Notes

  1. My paper is based on our corporate experience in the application of Internet Technology to develop an Intranet for a project-based enterprise.
  2. The objective of a project-based enterprise centres around the collection, storage, manipulation and presentation of project information to those who need it, when they need it, how they need it and where they need it.
  3. The need to meet specific and stringent requirements of managing multiple projects drove us to consider building an Intranet.
  4. Our requirements, however diverse they may appear to be, are all related to the management of Project Information consisting of the following categories:-
  5. Scope

    - What needs to be done; the project’s end objective makes it a unique or relatively infrequent undertaking.

    Quality

    - To what standard specifications and quality of human performance to achieve the result.

    Time

    - The schedule and sequential order of tasks.

    Cost

    - How much the tasks/project will cost.

    Risk

    - What is the degree of certainty of the result.

    Human Resources

    - What kinds of people are needed.

    Contract/Procurement

    - What commitments must be procured, or what resources must be contracted for.

    Information/Communications

    -

    How do all these people communicate to perform at the necessary level, to the quality of project needed, at the cost expected, and by the date required? This is managerially complex due to objectives conflicting with constraints.

  6. Clearly, in today’s dynamic and fiercely competitive marketplace, the project manager needs the power of vision, people and technology to efficiently deliver projects in ever-shrinking time frames.
  7. Slow reaction to changes puts him at the risk of losing not only projects, but position and possibly clients.
  8. In addition, clients are demanding higher levels of customer service. In fact, service has become a key differentiating factor.
  9. To meet these challenges, the Project Manager must find ways to work more efficiently, increasing his productivity, while at the same time controlling costs. He needs people to do the critical thinking, while smart technology does the processing.
  10. The smartest technology of choice to make that possible is the Intranet. As many project managers have already found, Intranets offer robust solutions to the demands of the marketplace. They improve organisational efficiency through streamlined business processes, more effective communication and a higher level of collaboration.
  11. Extended Intranets (Extranets) broaden the Intranet Solution to key individuals outside the company such as business partners, clients, field engineers and contractors.
  12. As a result, Intranets and Extranets help tighten relationships with employees, clients, contractors and business partners to contribute to an organisation’s bottom line and increase its competitive edge.
  13. The Project Management Information System (PMIS), has made us much more productive than we ever were without it. It was a good opportunity to move to client/server; the obvious gain has been the ability to readily access information whenever one needs it.
  14. It didn’t take long before we had a lot of our own data in the system. That allowed us to begin testing the system and learning it very quickly, which facilitated rapid implementation.
  15. Involving our end users in the testing really helped our success. Our users were training as the system was being tested, so when we went live, everyone was already fully trained.
  16. Other benefits achieved through the Intranet Solution are: Greater company efficiency; Reduced cost of operations; Greater integration between departments; and ability to expand the system as the company grows.
  17. Detailed results include:-
bulletTime spent reconciling project accounts has been reduced at monthly and quarterly reporting.
bulletTime spent answering queries dropped since information is available on-line and does not require looking through hard copies for the latest update.
bulletIf a hard copy profile of a project proposal or company is required, it could be produced in less than five (5) minutes.
bulletOur organisation has transformed from hierarchical, paper-driven model to electronically based, networked and synergic.
bulletOur leaders have transformed from warriors who demand respect to facilitators who encourage self-respect. Instead of issuing commands and control, they now empower and coach us.
bulletOur attitudes have changed from power by hoarding information to power by sharing information.
  1. The following presentation will show how we optimised Internet technology towards better decision making, quicker attention to project’s needs and a reduction in costs.
  2. In order to make the chosen strategy "happen", the infrastructure must be set up. Accordingly, discussion on the IT infrastructure at APC follows the introduction to Information Management.
  3. Thereafter, the key features of the collaborative project management workflow are discussed together with the live APC Intranet.
bulletIt is 100% Internet-based Client/Server application. It uses an Internet Browser as client and constructs the servers from application specific customised middle-ware and SQL Server (Back end, transactional and document servers).
bulletPMIS is built on revolutionary technology of Internet based Object Oriented Programming, complete with Intelligent Agents, and Object Oriented Programming behaviours which create scalability.
bulletThe structure combines the power of relational database, distributed processes, and the script-based object-oriented Notes programming environment to easily access data over the Intranet.
  1. Clearly, for a good project manager, it should be a matter of hours to figure out a way to deliver key functionality in all areas of Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), and detailed cost planning, date scheduling, settlement, reporting etc.

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About Me

Member, Nigeria Society of Engineers
Member, Computer Association of Nigeria
Member, Internet Society

bulletPrincipal Consultant - Afri-Projects Consortium (APC)
bulletB. Eng. (Civil), M. Sc. (Struct) - Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
bulletProfessional Bodies

About APC

Afri-Projects Consortium, a comprehensive Project Management outfit specialises in:-

bulletProfessional Associations

Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE)

Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS)

Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM)

Council of Registered Engineers (COREN)

Four other professional associations and eight International Agencies

bulletEmploys 114 professionals and 93 support staff

Introduction

Part 1: Information Management.

Part 2: IT Infrastructure at APC.

Part 3: Project Management Workflow.

Part 4: Project Management Information System.

 

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Aim

Make Project Information available to those who need it, when they need it, how they need it and where they need it.

Specific Information related to Scope, Quality, Time, Cost, Risk, Human Resources, Contract/Procurement and Integration - Information and Communication.

How ?

Pursuing innovative initiatives using information technology differently.

                   Globally Networked Business Concept and Enterprise Computing using Internet-based Technologies on Intranets                      and Extranets.

Why Intranet?       

Allows us to manage information internally.

Offers robust solution to the demands of our business.

                   Improves organisational efficiency through streamlined business processes, more effective communication and a                      higher level of collaboration.

Extended Intranets (Extranet)
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Concept

Relating the management consultant, the project manager, contractors and clients in an efficient working relationship where information is readily available to those charged with the responsibility for timely decision making for efficient project control.

 

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Key Areas

bulletInternet/Intranet.
bulletDocuments Management.
bulletKnowledge Management.
bulletCollaboration/Personalization.
bulletWorkflow.
bulletBusiness Process Management.
bulletPolicies/Procedures Management.
bulletIntegration/Documentation.

Network

bulletPhysical Client/Server Network with fast Ethernet backbone designed around a 3-tier Hierarchical Network architecture.
bulletn-tier logical architecture with a distributed-components implementation.

Network Servers

bulletThree (3) Servers

** Primary Domain Controller (also runs SQL Server relational database).
** Backup Domain Controller (also the GroupWare Server)
** Application Server and Web Server (based on the Microsoft Internet Information Server 4.0).

Server Applications

bulletAll Servers run the Windows NT (V4.0) Operating system
bulletLotus Domino (Advanced) Server (V4.5) orchestrates the GroupWare services, the documents repository and then provides the Workflow infrastructure.
bulletMS SQL Server 6.5 is the corporate relational database server.
bulletOur applications are built as business components, which represent discrete business processes within the enterprise.
bulletA multi-threaded Project Server running as a middle-tier business service, manages all project transactions.
bulletThe HTTP server is Microsoft Internet Information Server version 4.0.

Users Interface

bulletClient  Interface:

** WEB Browsers.
** User specific interface.
** Lotus notes client, adapted to suit some user requirements, suitable for certain categories of      users.

Intranet Implementation Example

bulletDACON - Data on Contractors and Consultants

**  Database designed to capture essential information on consultants and contractors               registered with the Clients.
**  Information search engine
**  Data Entry via Keyboard, fax machine, Scanners, Internet using Teleform. The process of  creating, distributing and reading information from HTML-based forms has been automated with TELEFORM Internet Solution.
**  Certificate based access control and user authentication.

Security

bulletSecurity Features control access to the network and information through the use of :-

**  Access Control List (ACL) Authentication.
**  Public/Private Keys securities.
**  Data Encryption.

**  Digital Signatures.

Project Management Platforms

**  Automated tracking of critical project indicators.
**  Performance forecasting and trend Projection.
**  Early warning systems.
**  Information broadcast.

bulletExhaustive project planning function.
bulletDistributed Project Monitoring Concept.
bulletInformation for Project Control

PMIS Architecture

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Summary

bulletThe Implementation of our Intranet for Project Management was conceived as a result of the necessity to simplify our work processes.
bulletAs a result, we had to devise ways of using technology differently.
bulletWhat we have shared today was borne out of an overwhelming need, which eventually resulted in something different and effective for our operations.

Acknowdlement

bulletMiss Ifeyinwa Obi - my able PA/Secretary
bulletEngr. Sunny Osaje and Ibrahim Tizhe - my Resource Consultants
bulletEngr. N. A. Rafindadi - our team leader
bulletMal. Salihijo Ahmad - my mentor
bulletEngr. Abdurrahman Dahiru - my Managing Consultant (MD)
bulletAPC, who provided the environment

 

bulletFinally, praise be to Allah, who made everything possible

Intranet Development for a Project-Based Enterprise

THE END

By

Aliyu A. Aziz

aaziz@compuserve.com

 

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