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In November 2002 we discussed the collaboration between Optus and ten leading Construction Industry companies to establish a construction industry trading exchange. The business driver for this initiative was that the establishment of a standard for project delivery, within the construction industry in Australia, would benefit the industry through lowering costs and increasing revenues. This exchange, Optus InCite, has been in operation for nearly twelve months now and this article assesses its progress to date.

The worldwide recession in IT spending is, by most accounts, about to end. However, our discussions with technology buyers show that the demands to ‘squeeze more out of less’ are still common. With most IT budgets forecast to show percentage growth only in the single digit range, demonstrable ROI from new IT initiatives is essential.

A few weeks ago an organisation, with whom we have had previous dealings, contacted us about a technology that they had developed for use on hand held computing devices. While the use of hand held devices on construction projects is not new, this technology is somewhat unique in that it consists of a number of associated products which facilitate the building of formalised software applications on devices that use the Microsoft Pocket PC operating system. These applications can be developed, documented, deployed and supported efficiently across the organisation in the same way as other, more complex enterprise computer applications. In the past such systems have generally been built in a somewhat ad hoc fashion.

Software licence compliance is something that many will have to achieve during 2004. The risk of a licence audit by any of your software vendors has increased greatly during the last 6 months; many audits have been done and a high proportion of those auditees have found themselves to be in violation of their agreements. It’s time to consider your position and plan a course of action.

The need to more efficiently manage the enormous volumes of documentation which construction projects produce has been acknowledged, within the industry, for some time. With the increasing complexity of projects and the different models for project delivery this volume is increasing significantly and, along with this increase, the need for more efficient systems becomes even more important.

Leighton Contractors recently made a significant decision in choosing to continue with in house development to upgrade core modules, in our enterprise applications suite, rather than going down the path of package acquisition and third party implementation. It has been an interesting exercise arriving at this conclusion which, at face value, appears to conflict with the generally accepted way of implementing such systems these days. I would like to take time to tell you how and why we chose to take this path.

This month Optus announced the development of a trading exchange specifically for the Australian Construction Industry today. The exchange, named InCITE, will be built, owned and operated by Optus E-Solutions and is planned to be launched in early 2003.

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