Business Outcomes through BIM

If we’ve unlocked the potential in the CAPEX and OPEX world by being able to make smart decisions based on well-structured and easy to locate information then to unlock the next step change in savings we’ll need to connect business systems with their goals, KPI’s and objectives into our Digital Twin. This will allow us to see the impact of change in the way we run our assets on the business outcomes, so we can start to adjust how we design, build, maintain and operate to maximise the business objectives.

Desired business outcomes are the highest-level objectives of an organisation. There are two categories of desired business outcomes, that of the company and that of the company’s customers (the end user). Whilst these are different, they must be looked at together and not prioritised one over the other. Concentrating too hard on one or the other will not allow you to achieve either!

Examples of Customer business outcomes could be:

  • Total cost reduction

  • Time between maintenance

  • Complete Trust

  • Enable innovation

Examples of company business outcomes could be:

  • Profit

  • Customer value

  • Shareholder value

  • Customer retention rate

To measure and monitor this, information around the following KPI’s is essential:

  • Sales

  • Gross margin

  • CSat and NPS

  • Productivity

  • Employee retention

  • Employee training

  • Accounts receivable

  • Vendor suggested cost reductions


Monitoring these should be part of your business, but by linking them to your asset information in a Digital Twin, you will start to understand how they impact on each other and by making small tweaks to the physical environment you can have significant benefits to both categories.

Business Information Modelling – delivering OIRs, Outcomes and business strategy

Show me the money! Which is sadly one of the main requests that goes unfulfilled when we talk to C level executives about BIM and Digital Twins.

One of these executives will have written a fabulously worded strategy, telling the world how amazing things will be and the targets they mean to deliver to their end users and shareholders. But how does this document setting out their dreams for running their existing assets or delivering the latest major project translate into sold information requirements that we can measure and monitor. Information that will allow that C level author to know that the organisations charged with its delivery are on track to meet those promises is valuable to them and your leverage to persuading them that they need to invest in information modelling.

So how do we get from a high-level document down to an Organisation Information Requirements (OIR) or Project Information Requirements (PIR) package, whilst supporting smart digital contracts based on Outcomes?

Thanks to some great thinking by some very clever people, its actually not as hard as it sounds!

Firstly, you are going to need a good strategy document!


The example we will talk through is for the great new infrastructure project being started in Poland to deliver a brand-new Airport, High Speed Railway and Transport Network Upgrade.

3 Column Deduction method

To properly extract information out of a document, I have always used the 3-column deduction method, which basically asks the question “So What?” twice over!


In the first column you will extract out the main paragraphs from the strategy document. These are word for word, broken up into manageable chunks. Each of the main points is given a reference number and it might be worth if it is a large document to note down the page and paragraph they were extracted from.

You’ll notice everything has a unique identification number, so that when this data is placed into a database, we can track what links to what and start to use machine learning to automatically generate things in the future. Start your ID with the letters MP.

3 column 2.jpg

Now ask the question: So, what does that mean in plain language? As an engineer, you will be a practical, straight talking person, so your job is to translate that marketing flowery main point into something plain language. You may find that there are multiple of these per main point, which is fine.

When you write these plain language outcome statements keep the principles of SMART in your mind:

  • A Specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal

  • Establish criteria for Measuring progress toward the attainment of each outcome

  • Check to make sure its Attainable and not something that will never be possible.

  • Check to make sure it is Realistic with current technology, materials, skills, timeframe and economic climate.

  • If at all possible, the Outcome should have a Timeframe in which to achieve it or during which it needs to be upheld.

Give each Outcome statement a unique ID starting with the letter OS. From this outcome statement, craft a plain language question that will help to test this outcome against the information requirements and you Project Information Model/ Asset Information Model. These questions are used at the C Level to ensure their strategy is being carried out. Once you have all your Outcome Statements, it will be worth assessing them for priorities, to make sure you concentrate on the more important ones. Use a simple Very High to Very Low, but don’t give the option for moderate, as it will not encourage a good thought process for the assessment!


Now ask the question on more time. So, what Critical Success Factors do I need to complete to fulfil this outcome?

Doesn’t be afraid of Critical Success Factors, they really are a just simple high-level goal that is imperative for a business to meet, a good guide is that they must be:

  • Vital to the outcome’s success.

  • Benefit the organisation or project as a whole.

  • Synonymous with an Outcomes goal.

  • Link directly to the business strategy

There may be many of these but try to limit it to 5 per outcome statement and make sure once again that they have a unique ID, so we can track them back to the main point in the executive strategy document.


Create a plain language question to be used when commissioning your digital asset. Can you answer the question and trust the answer? If yes, then the digital asset is fit for purpose.

Your final job is to think how they could be measured and monitored.


These pieces of information that will help you measure and monitor the performance of the Critical Success Factors will come in various types:

  • Technical

  • Financial

  • Operational

  • Customer

  • Maintenance

  • Reputational

  • Human Resources

  • Health and Safety

Each piece of information probably being managed from a different business software which could be:

  • Enterprise Management System 

  • Financial Management System 

  • Facilities Management System 

  • Equipment Management System 

  • Employee Management System 

  • Information Management System 

  • Customer Development System 

  • Product Development System 

  • Supplier Development System 

  • Operations Management System 

  • Service Management System 

  • Improvement Management System

As you can see each of these pieces of information that will make up the OIR, has a unique ID that reflects the type of information it is.

function info req.jpg

The leap from an OIR to an Asset Information Requirements package is daunting to say the least and understanding what piece of information against individual elements in your portfolio will take a considerable amount of time and resource to work out.

So, a good middle step is to look at Functional Information Requirements (FIR). Whereas you might have hundreds of thousands of individual assets in your portfolio, you will have under 100 functions, under 1000 primary functional units (PFUs) and functional units

An example is that heating is a function, whereas all the individual HVAC systems are primary functional units, and the electrical control system for the HVAC is a functional unit.

Defining the business information at functional level will help you to measure and monitor the completion or compliance with your Critical Success Factors.


We then move further down into the asset breakdown structure (ABS) defining the information required in the Asset Information Requirements package that will help to ensure these organisational or project outcomes are met. If necessary, keep working down the ABS until you reach element level.


Until you finally get down to the element level, defining the individual pieces of information that will need to be monitored and measured at element level with perhaps a sensor embedded in the product, equipment, material, service or person fulfilling that elements function.


You now have a database of interconnected outcome statements, critical success factors, functions and pieces of information that will measure and monitor these all the way through the lifecycle. These should form the basis of your smart digital outcome-based contract, taking you to the next level of procurement performance!

The final thing to think about is that every few years your C Level executives will move around and a new strategy will be written. It is imperative that there is a process that will allow new and old outcome statements to be swapped and checked against existing information requirements and redundant ones removed.


Just by doing a small amount of this interdependencies work it could accelerate your organisations adoption of digital practices.

Your CEO and CFO set the high-level business outcomes, guided either by the owners if the company is privately owned or by the shareholders if it’s in the public domain. Demonstrating how one of those business outcomes is linked to the performance of a specific asset and what information will allow it to be monitored and potentially tweaked to maximise its financial impact on the business will quickly win you support to buy, sell and collect high quality linked information.

Whether you believe the 300% part or not I think you’ll agree there are some significant benefits to be had!