Mott MacDonald launches ‘SOART’ to unlock AI in project planning

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SOART, Mott MacDonald

Mott MacDonald has announced the launch of a new scenario testing and schedule planning service to help support clients to make informed strategic decisions and reduce risk when planning and delivering major projects

The Scenario Optimiser AI-powered Recovery Tool (SOART) is the result of a new partnership between Mott MacDonald and Nodes & Links Ltd.

By combining Nodes & Links’ state-of-the-art AI technology platform, Aegis, with Mott MacDonald’s extensive project and programme management experience, SOART helps make the key data-driven decisions on the scheduling and configuration of complex major projects that will give them the best chance of success.

SOART is a diagnostic health check of project delivery plans, conducted through a five-step assurance process. First, there is a thorough data quality assessment that uses at least 80 checks.

Next, it conducts rapid scenario testing using artificial intelligence to test the robustness of the plan; making re-planning recommendations based on the findings to mitigate risk and increase the optimisation of opportunity.

During the course of the project there is efficient and real-time monitoring via automated reporting, and ongoing access to expert support whenever needed.

The power of AI means the exercise can be run remarkably quickly, allowing agile re-planning and quality decision-making to take place collaboratively, saving both time and cost.

The service has already demonstrated its value through a proof of concept pilot with HS2 Phase 2 and it will be deployed in support of the forthcoming HS2 Phase 1 Review. The service also builds on the learnings of the £1.4bn A14 Highways England project, producing demonstrable benefits in the areas of reporting and risk analysis.

The assurance capability provided by SOART is particularly timely for major projects which need to be re-planned, reinvigorated or reassessed in the light of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Combining people and technology

Greg Lawton, CEO of Nodes & Links, said: “SOART is a launchpad for new ways of thinking on the delivery of capital and infrastructure projects.

“We are operating in a time where we are asking project managers and planners to do more with less: more demands with less time, and greater resilience with less clarity.

“It is exciting to be working with the project experts at Mott MacDonald to redress this balance. By combining people and technology in the right way we will enable project managers to make the critical and timely decisions needed to ensure project success and give peace of mind to their most important stakeholders.”

James Dowle, Mott MacDonald’s head of infrastructure advisory, added: “SOART is a new and unique opportunity to support clients in configuring and driving complex major projects that historically have been blighted by a lack of insightful data and informed decision-making.

“SOART unlocks the complexity of major project problem-solving with an unparalleled level of intelligence and results-driven success. The key objective of SOART is for clients to recover, grow, prosper and succeed.”

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