PwC survey: Industry needs better project management, adequate tech

The survey titled, Middle East Capital Projects and Infrastructure Survey, was conducted from February to April 2020

Middle East Capital Projects and Infrastructure Survey calls for need to improve technology adoption.
PwC
Middle East Capital Projects and Infrastructure Survey calls for need to improve technology adoption.

International auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCooper's (PwC), in its latest Middle East Capital Projects and Infrastructure Survey, found out that uncertainty caused by Covid-19, and lower oil prices addressed long-standing issues including lack of project management and inadequate technology.

During the survey, PwC found out that more than half of respondents identified risk and change management as one of their organisation’s five most pressing internal challenges.

Meanwhile, the survey stressed that companies in the region need to develop better business cases for projects at the pre-investment stage and ensure a clearly defined scope is agreed and detailed planning carried out before procurement starts.

In regards to the finding, nearly 50% of respondents said that poorly defined scope or inadequate design was the main reason for cost overruns, while 31% pointed at project schedules as one of top five improvement priorities for current and future projects.

Meanwhile, 52% of respondents identified risk and change management as one of their organisation's five most pressing internal challenges.

Additionally, a total of 40% of respondents said that financial performance was a major internal challenge, while 37% of respondents said funding and financing remained an issue.

A graphical representation of key external challanges experienced when working on major projects [PwC]

Digitalising is the key

The survey found that upgrading the pandemic led companies to push the envelope when it came to digital technologies and operations as well as digital innovation.

Of the respondents, 67% collectively believed that digital innovation will either transform or effect significant change to the infrastructure market over the next two years.

Meanwhile, 66% or two-third of the respondents surveyed in the post 3 March, 2020 period identified artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in their top five new technologies that will have the most disruptive impact on the industry in the next two years.

Alternative financing

Both, the impact of lower oil prices and the economic collapse due to Covid-19 has called for the need to change the project financing landscape.

A total of 83% of the survey’s respondents agreed on the importance of private sector funding, in line with PwC’s 2018 survey.

In the past two years companies have witnessed a swirl of government initiatives to attract more private finance to bridge the funding gap and start-off projects.

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