Is the end goal BIM + ERP integrated?

BIM is driving us all towards an integrated data-driven digital world. So where does ERP fit in? What type of solution do you need to support this new digital-driven world?

Traditional ERP has a poor track record in the construction industry so what is the answer?

BIM is the hottest topic in town!

The focus on BIM so far seems to be mainly about the asset handover process and providing a standards-based handover of consistent data to the asset owner or operator. While there is a lot of pain being felt at the handover stage of the asset’s life there seems to be little discussion about how BIM and your other business systems should interact.

If the real BIM objectives are to deliver projects faster and at a lower cost we need to integrate all stages of the project process with BIM and move to the vision of implementing a 4,5, and 6D implementation of BIM.

This means changing the way we work and implementing new integrated processes and systems. 3D models such as BIM models are only one element of this story.

So maybe the question is – how should BIM work with ERP?

By ERP I don’t mean simply a back office solution for Finance and Human Resources. True ERP is a fully-integrated process covering all the business processes and functions involved in building or maintaining assets.

For example, how should your other business processes integrate with the BIM model such as procurement, project management, project cost control, sales and sub-contract management, variation control, estimating, bid management, material control, plant and equipment hire, construction management, asset and facilities management?

The 3D model data should be the master asset data source to drive the project lifecycle process before we reach the handover process as well as a major piece of the story for the ongoing operation and maintenance of the assets.

One of the big questions here is where would the BIM data go in a traditional ERP solution?

Most ERP solutions have no natural home for this data.

Perhaps the problem here is that most ERP solutions have only been implemented as a corporate finance and human resources solution in the construction sector. Why is this the case?

One view is that most ERP solutions are based on a manufacturing concept and therefore are a poor fit to the construction project and asset lifecycle process.

So perhaps we need to start with making sure we have a set of business systems that match the needs of the industry that properly support a project and asset lifecycle centric business.

Without this solid foundation reaching the real end goal is going to be very difficult or impossible to achieve.

Discover more about what to consider in our complimentary white paper.