Interview with Frank Matthewson of Bechtel

We recently conducted a brief interview with Frank Matthewson, Corporate Engineering and Technology Engineering Manager at Bechtel Corporation, to better understand how Bechtel is using ISO 15926 and iRING.

Tell us a bit about Bechtel Corporation
Matthewson: Bechtel is a privately owned EPC company with headquarters in San Francisco.  We have offices around the world and approximately 53,000 employees and revenues in excess of $27 billion. Bechtel services a diverse portfolio of industries that encompasses energy, transportation, communications, mining, oil and gas, and government services.  Bechtel has enjoyed record revenues for the past five years, and Engineering News-Record (ENR) has named Bechtel the top U.S. construction contractor for 13 straight years.

Does Bechtel have a current iRING and/or ISO 15926 project under development or a project planned?
Matthewson: We have been using reference data and interoperability based on ISO 10303/15926 for several years and are migrating to an iRING deployment model. The primary focus is internal implementation, but does include external elements where supported by business partners and suppliers.

Where is Bechtel in the deployment process?
Matthewson: All new projects are using iRING. We expect roughly 30% of all Bechtel projects to be using iRING by the end of this year. It could be slightly higher.  We anticipate that all Bechtel projects will be running on iRING by the end of 2014.

What were the specific business drivers to fund and initiate the project? To what extent was the NIST study relevant?
Matthewson: Our journey towards standards based interoperability using a reference data library began well before the NIST study was published. The study reinforced that we were on the right path and that our vision was correct. Although we have not yet developed a specific ROI model, we are continually evaluating the cost/benefit and justifying the continuation of maturing these solutions.

Who is sponsoring the project in your company?
Matthewson: These initiatives are sponsored by our functional organizations supported by the CIO. Governance of expenditure and business value is provided by corporate and business unit oversight.

Many people assume that ISO 15926 is only applicable to oil and gas facilities. Is that the case at Bechtel?
Matthewson: Interoperability solutions are used across our entire project portfolio and is independent of a business unit.  Dependencies are around application interfaces and information mapping.

Is your company involved in defining publicly accessible Reference Data through POSC Caesar or the JORD project?
Matthewson: Bechtel is an active PCA member and founding partner of the JORD project.

Are you requiring your contractors and suppliers to deliver standardized data based on iRING/ISO 15926 now?
Matthewson: Not at this time. However, we work with selected partners and suppliers and broader adoption will occur over time as the industry capability matures.  It is premature to mandate participation now. We see the biggest challenges to getting broader industry participation tied to creating rich reference data services and configuring internal legacy systems to support the standard.

Has Bechtel adopted a strong methodology to govern your capital projects processes and your approach to interoperability?  
Matthewson: We are a Six Sigma company and use this methodology for process improvement. In specific areas, such as for supplier information exchange, Six Sigma has been directly used to improve those processes including leveraging iRING/ISO 15926 capability.

To what extent is Bechtel proactively involved is establishing ISO 15926 and iRING as an industry-wide data definition and interoperability standard?
Matthewson: We are very active in Fiatech, PCA, and other organizations, and work closely with software suppliers to demonstrate the viability and benefit of standards based interoperability through the iRING User Group. We contribute significant resources to this effort and create reference data for our deliverable requirements.

, , ,

2 Responses to Interview with Frank Matthewson of Bechtel

  1. ISO Man November 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    I know little of iRing but have worked in engineering data management and ISO 15926 for a number of years, mostly with leading owner operators. I’m a strong advocate for class library driven methodologies, and it seems obvious to me that EPCs and owners really need to knuckle down on their data.

    I’ve worked with a number of clients, and standards such as ISO 15926 is always beyond them. Other than being on the lips of many an engineer, I’ve never seen much practicality with it. So is it of use? I’m not sure… and yes it is too generic.

    I’d love to know of projects that have adopted the standard successfully, and if so what were the how/what/whys? And at what cost?

  2. Robin Benjamins November 5, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    The practicality of ISO 15926 was realized with our initial project deployments and usage starting in 2001. Our priority was to use ISO 15926 to facilitate our internal data flows. Today, the spread and standardization of our systems, data flows and configuration have experienced significant reuse since 2001, which has greatly reduced the level of effort to establish a rich interoperability platform for our projects. The iRING concept was established in 2009 to accelerate wider adoption and to take advantage of newer capabilities of the standard. iRING is an upgrade to our existing ISO 15926 system. The fact that it is an ISO standard positions us to extend the reach of our reuse and investments with our partners. The generic nature of ISO 15926 enables that extensibility.

Leave a Reply