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Suffolk Construction im Rampenlicht

Doug Myers, EVP and CIO at Suffolk Construction, was recently a finalist to receive a Boston CIO of the Year ORBIE Award for Large Enterprises. For over 20 years, the CIaO ORBIE Awards have recognized technology executives for leadership, innovation and excellence in this rapidly growing, CIO-led national professional association. It honors chief information officers who have demonstrated excellence in technology leadership.

Myers is CIO of Suffolk’s IT organization, which is comprised of more than 35 employees in Boston and in regional offices in New York, Florida, Texas and California. The organization does more than $20M in annual spending including O&M as well as capital investment.

Suffolk IT’s primary objectives are driven by the company’s vision, which is to transform the construction experience by building smart. To help achieve the first piece of that goal, IT routinely partners with other teams to identify opportunities to deliver value along three key dimensions:

  1. Run (reliable/cost-effective delivery of IT services to both office and field)
  2. Grow (proactive identification of technology enhancements that position Suffolk to scale with quality)
  3. Transform (targeted allocation of resources toward technologies/capabilities that Suffolk can deploy to disrupt the construction industry)

To deliver on its value proposition to clients and trade partners and help the company continue to “build smart,” IT has achieved the following:

  • Increase employee productivity by building a mobile app that delivers Suffolk’s glossary of terms and standard operating procedures to a growing employee base. This is a relatively straightforward but critically important capability for a firm that competes on quality and relies on company-specific processes such as “plan and control” to do so.
  • Drive innovation in the industry by being early adopters of new technologies. Suffolk is working with vendors to evolve their offerings and is utilizing cloud construction-management software to better integrate financial-management and forecasting capabilities. They are also engaging developers to build an image-recognition-based tool for safety observation and pre-task planning.
  • Design and implement industry-first SmartLabs in each regional office. This allows Suffolk, its trade partners and its clients to collaborate earlier and better on design options by using technologies that can identify conflicts (and avoid re-work) before construction and determine the optimal sequence of tasks given cost, design and schedule constraints.

IT is furthering Suffolk’s transformation objectives by working with the Data team to identify MarkLogic®—never before used in the construction industry—as a NoSQL platform that can scale with and enable Suffolk’s ambitions. Suffolk is using MarkLogic to provide a 360-degree view of its projects and to ingest and harmonize with structured, unstructured and previously siloed financial, customer, project, scheduling, estimating, modeling, employee, vendor, survey and contract data.

“The progress we are making with technology at Suffolk is all about our people. The collaboration between IT and groups across our company has been integral to our success,” said Myers. “Being named a finalist for this award is gratifying because it recognizes what our organization as a whole has been able to achieve.”

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Kate Ranta is a Solutions Marketing Manager at MarkLogic. She is a communications and marketing professional with a focus on digital content strategy, inbound marketing, social media campaign management, SEO, and project management.

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