Level : M.A.Sc.

Developing a strategy to ensure the interoperability of various information systems deployed at the project, asset, and enterprise level

Abstract

In the construction industry, achieving seamless information exchange across the project and asset value chain is a significant challenge, resulting in complex information management and collaboration issues. To tackle this complexity, establishing interoperability across various information systems is essential. Moreover, aligning Information Systems (IS) with business functions and capabilities drives the need to proactively identify essential elements for transitioning to more interoperable information ecosystems in new project settings. This study introduces the Interoperable Information Environment Framework (IIEF), a tool recognizing interoperability across different levels, spanning from information silos and manual data sharing at Level 0 to the revolutionary impact of digital twins at Level 7. The framework identifies enterprise-level integration gaps and barriers through Enterprise Modelling (EM) techniques, offering a holistic view of an organization’s as-is state. By considering broader contextual factors and emphasizing the role of Common Data Environments (CDEs), the research sets the stage for a more interconnected, efficient, and boundary-blurring construction and asset management industry.

Project results

The efficient functioning of any organization hinges on the structured communication between all its information systems. This communication is vital to extracting maximum value from these systems. The ongoing development of a framework in this research project incorporates two critical aspects: the enterprise dimension and the level of information sharing across the asset’s lifecycle. On the enterprise front, it delves into the business capabilities paradigm and the components that bolster the execution of these capabilities. Simultaneously, the interoperability aspect focuses on the level of information sharing through the lenses of the Common Data Environment (CDE) and the enterprise-level information systems paradigm throughout the asset’s lifecycle. The proposed framework aims to shed light on a complex phenomenon: information systems interoperability across both temporary and permanent organizational boundaries. It does so with the intention of supporting business capabilities during specific construction phases. This framework empowers owners and operators by providing them with the insights required to consider various elements before initiating a new project.
The outcomes of this research project hold profound implications for the construction and built-asset industry. By mapping the current state of an organization’s information systems, this research identifies critical challenges and complexities inherent in the exchange of information across the project and asset value chain. The development and application of the Interoperable Information Environment Framework (IIEF) enable organizations to conduct a comprehensive assessment of their current state of interoperability. Recognizing the varying levels of integration and data exchange, stakeholders can pinpoint areas that require improvement. This, in turn, streamlines data exchange, reduces manual interventions, and yields cost savings by minimizing errors, rework, and project delays. Establishing interoperability at higher levels, such as Level 5, Level 6 & 7, equips organizations with data-driven insights and the ability to harness smart technologies for predictive maintenance and performance optimization.

Project contributions

This research project significantly contributes to the built-asset industry by addressing the pressing need for enhanced interoperability. The current challenges in achieving seamless information flows within organizations are recognized by the development of a comprehensive framework. This framework assesses and enhances interoperability, offering practical applicability for organizations of all sizes, from small construction firms to large real estate developers and government agencies. By advocating for the adoption of industry-wide standards for data exchange and integration, this project promotes consistency in the use of information systems, fostering stakeholder collaboration and communication efficiency. Consequently, enhanced interoperability ensures that the right people have access to the right information and tools at the right time, streamlining communication across the asset’s lifecycle and creating substantial value for the industry. Furthermore, this research contributes to breaking down information silos commonly found in various industries, thereby improving project outcomes, reducing costs, and enhancing the industry’s competitiveness.

Team

The project team

Erik Poirier

Partners

This project was supported by :

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