Your Construction CPM Conference 2012 was quite a success.

Well beyond expectations, we had 263 attendees. (We had only printed or purchased 275 booklets, 275 badge neck wallets and 275 duffle bags).

Next year will be in New Orleans (January 27-30) where we expect 300+, and then back to Disneyworld in 2014 where we expect 350+. Highlights included a fire alarm evacuation during our Tuesday Keynote address by Rocco Vespe, P.E., F.CMAA, V.P. of Hill International, where he was persuaded to continue in the outdoor courtyard. 


But perhaps even bigger than the conference are several of the industry changing ideas floated by our speakers, sponsors, volunteers and attendees.

Analytics to assure that the logic behind the pretty bar-chart picture is sound were discussed by our premiere sponsor Acumen Fuse’s Dan Patterson, day-one volunteer and sponsor Schedule Analyzer’s Ron Winter, and several others.

The proper appreciation of risk (often discussed in this blog) was discussed by Oracle Primavera (whose flagship P6 R8 has added risk functions previously only in its Primavera Risk Analysis, aka Pertmaster software), Deltek (Open Plan,) Tony Welsh (whose firm Barbecana is rolling out a new product, Full Monte, which seamlessly applies risk to Microsoft Project,) and several others.

The marriage of CPM and BIM for 4D and other applications was touted by both Autodesk and Bentley representatives, and how location based scheduling provides an alternate means of leveling project activities between early and late dates to maximize productivity and minimize demobilizations of craftspersons  and other resources was discussed by speakers from Synchro and Vico software.

But other big news announced and discussed at your conference may be a game changer and bring our industry full circle.

Dick Faris of Oracle Primavera touted the virtues of cloud computing which may shape the industry of the future. Dick noted that several partners now offer a cloud solution for Users of P6R8. Because P6 R8 may be remotely viewed and controlled via the web and does not require software on your computer (other than a Java Virtual Machine), the actual software and license may be hosted by a third party vendor, such as Critigen, DRMcNatty, Accuture, Loadspring and others.

Eventually, you may be able to run future versions of P6 without even owning other than a tablet, and especially without having the need for 24/7 servers and a dedicated IT department. A new model of a flat monthly fee per license format enabled by this new delivery system was announced by Critigen (an Oracle OPM partner) and may be offered by Oracle in the future. 


We have come full circle.

In last year’s opening keynote, Jim O’Brien explained how he and others in the 1970s had “coded” the logic network to 80 columns per line sheets of paper, then keypunched to cards, and then delivered (by sneakernet) to a large firm in center city who “processed” to printed output again delivered (by sneakernet) back to OKA’s offices. SmithKlineFrench purchased or leased the hardware from IBM and software from McDonald Douglas Automation Company.

In the years up to the early 1980s the delivery segment of this model was improved by teletype and modem delivery of the input/output stream. But this entire business model quickly fell once the PC (personal computer) was introduced and firms such as Primavera developed personal and user friendly software.


The growth of the internet and intranets, consolidation of many industries including those of engineering and construction firms (from mom-and-pop size to having several thousands of employees), and associated needs of sharing data across departments in the 1990s and 2000s led to yet another business model, enterprise computing.

Even in the 1980s, I found several of my mid-sized clients needing enterprise solutions, providing each project manager maximum flexibility on running his job while creating enterprise coding so that corporate assets, such as cranes, could be scheduled over the next several quarters.

While I (and others) could and did build such tools using P3, when P3e (predecessor to P6) was introduced, I had several clients hire or train internally to have a full time Scheduler / System Administrators to fill this need. And yet, to this day, I have many smaller clients who do not need (or cannot afford) this luxury and now struggle with outdated software or the need once again to go to outside consulting for their scheduling requirements.


One of the limitations of the new P6 license pricing model is that an entity still needs to contract for a minimum of 20 licenses for at least one year.

While provision of a named license to another legal entity is tolerated (such as a construction company provides the owner’s resident engineer one license instance, or a consultant provides one or more license instances to its small mom-and-pop contractor clients,) and some sharing of a minimum size pack is known to occur, subleasing and sharing are not permitted by Oracle.

This is a business (not technical) issue that will need to be addressed before the true power of this new technology may be experienced to it fullest amongst the many small construction and consulting firms that cannot afford a twenty-pack.


Examples of the new uses of the cloud were not limited to Oracle’s announcement. 

Acumen revealed how the cloud may leverage the power of their flagship product. 

Today when a user runs a Fuse analysis, they get very detailed, insightful results but these results are in isolation from other projects. Acumen’s new cloud product captures key information about the project being analyzed and then permits benchmarking by comparing your score with thousands of other project scores. If fully implemented by its users, this may then lead to how one’s score compares with how other projects with similar scores actually fared.


These are only two examples of the new means and methods that may be brought to our industry through the collaboration occurring at your Construction CPM Conference and international and local conferences and meetings of our technical societies such as AACE, PMI and Planning Planet.

Reviewing the theory behind our profession is important. Learning the features, benefits and keystrokes of three or more software products is important. Looking at our problems from new angles is priceless.