Winner of the Management of Innovation award for 2017, category for medium enterprises

Project overruns need not be the norm

Project overruns are notoriously common in South Africa, where power stations and high-speed trains have been built at significantly higher cost and over longer timeframes than originally planned. But it’s not just in South Africa that infrastructure and construction projects often drag out and cost more. Globally, overruns in costs and time range from 27% to 200%, according to Steven Golding of SSG Consulting.

“The software used is obviously ineffective,” says Steven, a mechanical engineer (and triathlete) who, after observing time and cost overruns on virtually every project he encountered in his 20 years in the construction industry, decided to do something about it.

He founded Pretoria-based SSG Consulting in 2008 – smack-bang in the middle of the global financial crisis – and started developing KEY360.

In a nutshell, KEY360 is a cloud-based and web-enabled platform for managing large-scale projects, on time and within budget, which it does by neatly integrating 140 different business systems and processes, with unlimited global access, data validation and real-time reporting.

It wasn’t long before SSG Consulting was doing well enough to move out of Steven’s Land Rover (“That’s where I started”) into proper offices and later into a Pretoria East property that is also a horse farm.

“We do things very differently from the norm,” he says. “Ever since we started out as an organisation, innovation has been part of what we do. We have a passion for developing new stuff and for helping organisations to develop their own innovation programmes.

“Although we started in project management as a core business, and this indeed still is, KEY360 has so many Enterprise functions that we now service many other industries.”

Recent innovations include the KEY360 app, called KEY30 10X, which provides mobile access to the KEY360 platform from a phone or iPad and speeds up business processes by 10 times. “We have the data to prove it,” Steven says.

He adds that it’s “easy” to innovate in an industry such as project management, precisely because there are so many problems to deal with.

One surprising aspect of SSG Consulting’s approach to innovation is that patenting innovations such as KEY360 and the KEY360 app are not priorities. Steven’s explanation is simple: “We’re not worried about anybody being able to do what we do. Our approach to challenges and to the required tech solutions is so unique and often subtle that it is not necessary to patent – thousands of ideas and innovations are built into the system. We are fundamentally different.”

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