Strengthening Contract Management Through Systems Integration

This article explores how the use of systems integration (SI) principles and techniques can shape a holistic approach to devising procurement plans, commercial models and contracts for successful rail program delivery.  

By necessity, rail programs are split into discrete smaller elements for delivery through numerous supply chain contracts.  How then can these contracts be brought back together to deliver a singular integrated system—a working railway—for the program owner and for end users? Bringing a systems integration approach to the overall program execution strategy, in particular for the contract and commercial aspects, is key to developing technology, engineering and program management solutions that work through all stages of the delivery lifecycle.

 Systems integration through SI:D3 provides program leaders with practical methods for advancing contracts and other processes integral to complex rail programs. 

SI can address the following main challenges for effective contract delivery:

  • Creating and disseminating accountability for overall SI:  How are the requirements, interfaces, functionality and capability of the system shared among the supply chain?

  • Delivering a complete operational system: How do all of the assets come together progressively through the lifecycle to deliver a working system for the end users?

  • Coordinating the multiple contracts that make up the overall large-scale program: How are the various layers of management, interfaces, schedules, designs and construction logistics coordinated among the contracts?

  • Accommodating different types of technology, delivery models and lifecycles in a single framework: How is technology development risk mixed with the software development process and aligned with more traditional mechanical, electrical and civil infrastructure, which all have their own standards and lifecycles?

  • Dealing with a wide array of stakeholders: How can the differing and often competing requirements of the parties involved with programs be understood and addressed?  How can collaboration be encouraged to bring stakeholders together?

  • Handling uncertainty and change: Due to the inherent complexity of programs, disruptive events, internal and/or external, will happen. How will the client and supply chain react and come together to tackle change effectively? 

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To explore WSP’s systems integration (SI) approach, continue to the SI hub page.