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Transforming Data Management and Analysis in the Construction Industry

Posted on Sep 3, 2018

The construction sector is one of the largest in the world economy, with about $10 trillion spent on construction-related goods and services every year. In 2017, the industry alone contributed 6.36% to the United States’ GDP—that’s more than 444 billion U.S. dollars.

 

Huge amounts of resources and work go into major construction projects, generating large volumes of data. And since 35% of construction project expenses comprise material waste and remedial work, efficiency, analysis, and accountability are paramount to financial success.

 

Data analytics in construction has lagged behind industries such as retail and finance, where cloud analytics platforms enable stakeholders to access and interact with data assets in real time. As a result, only 25% of construction firms matched productivity growth within their overall economies over the last 10 years.

 

Introducing New Solutions for Data Management

 

In 2018, construction enterprises have a need for new, core solutions for collaboration, data management, and analysis. But they face an industry wrought with inefficiencies and deterrents to business growth.

 

The MGI 2017 Construction Productivity Survey and Report found that transforming contractual frameworks, infusing data management and analytics technology, and improving on-site execution could drive a 50% to 60% productivity growth in the industry. This transformation would remedy disparate design and on-site project operating systems, misaligned tender processes, and poor data management, among other issues.

 

That’s why construction firms are investing in holistic, cloud-based solutions that involve all stakeholders. They facilitate improvements to the most troublesome processes in the industry.

 

“Construction firms are starting to move into arenas such as real-time, cloud-powered analytics of large and unstructured datasets,” says Forbes. “Such methods have the potential to redefine the traditionally fraught relationships between the interested parties.”

 

Such solutions go beyond improving high-end business decisions. They streamline construction project management processes, including resource scheduling, tracking resources and performance, equipment maintenance, and collaboration between departments. They can integrate communication channels and empower on-site teams with mobile connectivity.

 

Now, data management and analysis technologies are lowering barriers to productivity otherwise unmovable by smaller construction firms. Larger firms are discovering how cloud-based project management technologies can reduce the cost of a $60 million civil construction project by double-digit percentages.

 

Transforming the Whole Construction Enterprise

 

Here are the details of how next-generation solutions are transforming construction:

 

New Contractual Frameworks

 

Today, tendering processes overlook the best value and performance options, focusing instead on cost alone. New collaborative technologies are simple to execute and can minimize misalignments during the bidding process.

 

This may come in the form of a desktop solution with configurable templates for bidding, and access to information and analytics on previous bids. Buyers can plan bids, track bid statuses, and analyze the results.

 

Unified Data Resources

 

Construction firms struggle to manage internal gateways to data even as they attempt to empower the teams that need it. A unified platform provides a seamless flow of data and interconnectivity between all units of the enterprise. This may involve a web application that mines data from a large database with touchpoints at all levels of the organization.

 

In this case, teams have access to all types of information—equipment information, lists of suppliers, contracts, warranty information, and others. The platform provides access for the right team members in real time, optimizing their productive output.

 

Document Management and Approval Flow

 

Dustin DeVan, CEO of Building Connected, observes that “before the hammer hits the nail, hundreds and sometimes thousands of businesses communicate with one another to set budgets and decide who’s working on what." Project collaboration tools are transforming these operations using seamless communication between parties and offering centralized storage of all project related files.

 

New solutions help construction teams create work orders, repair requests, and purchase orders using simple drag-and-drop elements accessible to everyone. Data from the field in the form of text, photos, videos, attachments, e-signatures, calculations, GPS locations, timestamping, and more are easy to incorporate. Teams can create multiple purchase orders with one click.

 

Inventory and Performance Tracking

 

Collaboration technologies allow teams to track performance and inventory with detailed descriptions of the condition and stage of work planned or completed. Teams can take advantage of work status reports, map views of equipment locations, and automated parts ordering while taking existing inventory and logistics into account. With collaborative maintenance scheduling, the right employees can track the use of critical resources.

 

Business Intelligence

 

Gartner identifies Business Intelligence as all applications, infrastructure, tools, and best practices that enable data access for the purpose of improving decisions and performance. Historically, BI includes dozens of platforms and applications. Too often, business leadership will turn to IT teams—often the only teams familiar with all aspects of their BI assets—to execute intelligence strategies that should be in the hands of operations.

 

Using a holistic model, team members can seamlessly access operations management components from any platform, even mobile devices, without IT oversight. BI components enable employees to generate sophisticated reports and dashboards, providing users with on-screen analysis of performance data, field logs, accounts, and other information.

 

Next Generation Mobility

 

In addition to applications for project management and Big Data analysis, mobile productivity software is closing the accuracy and performance gap between the office and the field.

 

In a holistic solution, this represents a cross-platform mobile application for employees doing fieldwork. Employees can work from the field on their mobile devices—both online and offline—to create work order, purchase, and repair requests; track inventory; manage their schedules in real time; and respond to issues within seconds.

 

It Comes Down to Performance

 

A holistic solution allows firms to take up more complex projects and complete them promptly and efficiently. It enables them to achieve project benchmarks and business goals without disparate systems and communications.

 

According to McKinsey, “these trends could mean that the potential downside from not moving to a more productive [construction] model is more severe and could increase the potential upside for those who move quickly.” There is an opportunity for the construction industry to boost productivity tenfold. Those firms ready to adopt a single, holistic solution have the greatest likelihood for success.

 

Developing Your Custom Platform

 

Artezio’s experts develop all of these features as individual solutions, then integrate them with your business environment. They can also construct a custom unified platform from the ground up to meet your specific business needs.

 

You have needs that aren’t being met. Our technology helps you realize success in these areas, with the exact solutions you need to get there. Contact us for a free consultation and discover what your team is missing.