As an increasingly digitally connected business, recent years have surfaced the need for increased data visibility and the intelligent use of analytics for real-time decision making in UK public service markets. This drive is focussed on achieving new efficiencies across many project metrics in the British transport and related utilities sectors.
Leading the charge in this space, British construction and engineering firm Costain Group was awarded the project to create the UK’s Intelligent Infrastructure Control Centre (IICC), a cross-industry technology platform built using SAP technology and Microsoft Azure cloud computing architecture.
Costain Group’s UK mission has centred around delivering integrated smart infrastructure solutions across the UK’s transportation, water, energy and defence markets.
Combining consultancy and digital technology services with complex project management competencies, the goal is for the IICC to be used across the construction industry to improve project delivery. The IICC will achieve this by offering greater work visibility while also making transportation projects more efficient by lowering emissions and saving public funds.
A common digital platform
Costain Group, Deloitte and SAP jointly developed the IICC, using SAP technology. The project saw this working consortium take operational data from UK national infrastructure projects and synthesise it onto a common digital platform.
Deloitte’s role as implementation partner for the IICC sees it take a design-led approach to incorporate data integration and advanced analytics capabilities across all areas of the SAP stack. This included SAP Cloud Platform, SAP HANA Services and SAP Qualtrics, plus also Internet of Things (IoT) technologies leveraging SAP Analytics Cloud alongside a variety of complex artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques.
Stemming from the UK transportation industry’s often comparatively fragmented and silo-based approach to data management, Costain Group, Deloitte and SAP realised from the start that they would have to create more alignment through this project. By bringing together previously disconnected solutions, the aim was to bring project reporting into a more unified single stream of data in order to apply analytics intelligence to it more directly.
As well as core project statistics and industry-level data relating to raw materials and their price and supply chain status, the team had to also think about infrastructure project metrics at a deeper level. This meant also examining complex asset usage levels such as the constitution of machinery and integrating this into a total analysis stack that also includes an ability to shoulder complex financial transactions such as sub-contractor invoicing.
Data is displayed across a collection of SAP Analytics Cloud dashboards combining tables, graphs and charts to present the information in a meaningful way to ensure the IICC adheres to Costain Group’s requirements. The dashboard focusses on metrics including efficiency, productivity, environment, health and safety and commercial.
Also at work here are advanced analytics leveraging SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP HANA Cloud and SAP Data Intelligence Cloud, all of which are used to monitor progress against plans to determine if performance is on track. Simultaneously, time-series analysis correlates combined cost projections and progress models against potentially influencing external factors.
Cloud-based data and analytics using SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Digital Boardroom will enable real-time mapping of construction sites that can be accessed using SAP Integration Suite. Deloitte and SAP will deploy machine learning using SAP Data Intelligence Cloud to enhance the IICC’s productivity engine and model complex project plans using external data.
A modern greener future
The IICC will lay the foundation to support Modern Methods of Construction, an efficiency-focussed technique that incorporates some off-site construction techniques, such as mass production and factory assembly. This approach is designed to save money and improve carbon footprint status without altering Costain Group’s risk profile.
Costain Group, Deloitte and SAP jointly developed the IICC to help the UK transportation industry and its closely linked sister utilities trades to achieve increased project efficiencies across the board. From decarbonisation initiatives through to safer operations and stronger project delivery timelines, the combined teams have improved cost savings to build a
better, stronger Britain.