Large Capital Projects Require Strategic Information Sharing

Information, or lack of it, can result in unnecessary cost and risk. For example, suppose you are selling your million-dollar home. There is lead paint in the house and you disclose this to one potential buyer, but neglect to tell another. Based on the information provided, the first buyer rescinds his offer, and the second buyer, blissfully unaware, goes through with the purchase. When the second buyer eventually finds out about the lead paint, not only does the sale fall through, but he also sues you over misinformation. Imagine a similar scenario on a facility costing billions of dollars in another country, and it is easy to see the ramifications of mismanaged information and how it can be financially staggering.

This was the reality in which our client found themselves while engaged in a large capital project in another country. Due to the massive scale of the endeavor, a network of investment partners was engaged. Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, our client was obligated to provide financial and technical data needed by the partners to meet their own project commitments and secure continued investment participation. Errors in the information provided could result in unraveled partnerships, loss of credibility, and even litigation.

Unfortunately, managing information proved challenging for several reasons:

  •  There was no central repository or database, making it difficult to control the information
  • There was little guidance on who was authorized to send or receive information
  • Insufficient security and access controls risked a breach of nondisclosure among the partners
  • A lack of version control could result in cost and operation decisions being made without the most current information

To address these challenges, the client contracted Access Sciences to create an information infrastructure to:

  •  Control the flow of information
  • Ensure dissemination of the correct content in an accurate and timely manner, and
  • Properly restrict sensitive information
ISSUE

Decentralized information exchange on a large capital project, risking potential project stoppage, litigation, and billions of dollars of lost revenue

SOLUTION

Designed an information infrastructure to guide and support accurate and timely dissemination of information

BENEFIT

Reduced risk, improved contractual compliance, and empowered partners to make informed business decisions

SERVICES DELIVERED
  • Communication Strategy
  • Design Facilitation
  • Policy and Process Development
  • Security Administration
  • Training Strategy and Curriculum

ENABLING THE SECURED EXCHANGE OF TRUSTED INFORMATION

The primary goal of the solution was to enable information consistency and sharing at the same time with the right people. A risk assessment of the organization revealed many of their pain points could be ameliorated by implementing policies and supporting guidelines. It was also important in designing the solution to maintain the client’s corporate agility and minimize any impact on existing work practices.

We developed a communication policy to provide guidance on how information should be disseminated, both internally and externally. It also defined content ownership regarding information sharing, clarifying when information requests should be fulfilled and when they should be funneled up.

To provide a support system, we designed a new function and role to coordinate the exchange of project information and manage the information access rights of the partners. A functional mailbox facilitated communication between the new role and project staff and served as a central collection point for relevant email communications. Documents were managed in a central repository to control versions and reduce duplicates.

The breadth and many moving pieces of the project required all involved to be comfortable and confident in the process and comply with their responsibilities regarding the exchange of information. To facilitate their desire and ability to comply, we communicated the importance and value of the new process and we provided training materials.

INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTS AND LEVERAGES INFORMATION ASSETS

The combination of people, process, and tools in the newly created information infrastructure resulted in value for the client and all its partners:

  •  Users were empowered to make informed decisions, thereby protecting information assets and reducing the likelihood of lost business and profits
  • The client’s information governance program was enriched, facilitating contractual compliance and safeguarding confidential information from being inadvertently exposed
  • The client now tracks the frequency and nature of information requests and responses, analyzes data to identify trends and variations, and uses this information to identify and make improvements