U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
A contractor out in the San Francisco area has developed a methodology designed to enhance the effectiveness of communication in a business environment. He calls it Communications Metrics, and it involves archiving electronic text/documents and linking them with hypertext in an "intelligent relationship."
The bottomline objective of the approach is to intelligently link text information to be able to retrieve and manage information more effectively, and in turn use this "intelligent" information to better manage work - whatever it may be.
The approach is not tailored toward any particular business or functional area, but is aimed at enhancing any complex, communication-intensive work effort.
San Francisco District had hired the contractor, Rod Welch, to apply his Communication Metrics product/process to the Oakland Harbor dredging project. Per the contractor and some San Francisco District staff, the approach was used for a portion of the Oakland Harbor dredging project, but not all of it. Apparently, there were some very sizable claims on the contract, and the Communications Metrics capabilities were instrumental in helping prevent the claims settlement from being even more expensive than they turned out to be.
Understandably, Rod Welch, the Communications Metrics contractor, is convinced that, based on this one application of his product, there is a high potential benefit for USACE to consider a broader application of this technique. I agree with his fundamental assessment of the communication problem (i.e., nearly overwhelming volumes of data (numbers and text), people who are not always well equipped to manage these data/communications effectively, and the subsequent negative business impacts (lost business leads; inadequate planning, design, assembling of contracts and management of contracts; lost claims, etc.).
I am also sure that his communications metrics technique/technology can effectively help make these volumes of program or project communications more valuable to the overall business process. However, I do not know enough about the details of the technique, its costs, etc to judge its broad scale applicability or efficiency. Bob Gordon of my office did a short review of Communications Metrics and he can forward you the information he developed. Our front office has forwarded this to the IM Directorate for their possible consideration.
Since Communications Metrics has this track record with the Oakland Harbor dredging project, Mr. Welch is suggesting that HQ USACE should consider a HQ-led review of its potential benefits and applicability, based on the Oakland Harbor experience. I informed him that any review of this technique on a dredging project would have to be done by the Civil Works Directorate, since this was "out of my lane." It is also "out of my staff capability" and functional area.
My recommendation to you is that you consider taking a look at the applicability of this product on the Oakland project, and see if it is something you would see as a tool to improve the communications of any of your large, complex dredging projects. This is not an alternative to any of our existing "systems" such as e-mail, PROMIS, RMS, CEERIS, Internet web sites, etc. but is reported as an enhancement to any written or electronic communications. I would be happy to try to answer any questions you might have of me regarding this concept, but Mr. Welch's is the proper person to speak with directly. His phone number in San Francisco is 415-781-5700 and his e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org