5 Biggest Benefits of
Smoothing Data Transfers
July 25, 2023
Put simply, data transfer means moving information from one place to another.
In construction, it can take on more distinct meanings — migrating capital project information from one software program to another, transferring data from the jobsite to the back office or sharing project data from one construction phase to another.
Sounds straightforward, right? But the actual process is often anything but.
Certainly, construction companies are making a solid effort to become more data-driven and apply that data to the decisions and actions that directly support hitting owner-specified project outcome targets.
But a different challenge has cropped up that is thwarting those efforts: accumulating multiple software technologies. Adopting too many digital point solutions has unintentionally traded one data transfer-related challenge (the costly tediousness of manual processes) for another (having to copy data from one digital solution to another).
Integration makes data transfer a more straightforward process — either building a tech stack using components that blend seamlessly with each other or going all-in on a single-vendor integrated platform.
Is this approach really worth considering? Absolutely. Because regardless of how anyone defines “data transfer,” the benefits of smoothing the process are ultimately the same.
Let’s first acknowledge the initial and perhaps most obvious reasons why a construction company would take steps to make their data transfer processes less convoluted: risk reduction and improved workflow.
Reducing administrative-based risks
When reconciling siloed information, reducing the incidence and frequency of manual-based data transfer risks may be the most immediate of the benefits. No doubt you are already familiar with the impact of keystroke errors when entering and re-entering information in multiple places.
Connecting the software solutions found in office-based and mobile-based devices takes data transfer digitization to a different level. Because digitization is more than just replacing handwritten and hard copy information; it’s about cutting back on all the duplicated keystroking of data.
And that translates into a corresponding decrease in the administrative costs associated with what is essentially documentation rework: adjusting, copying/pasting and re-entering data. Think of how much money will no longer be thrown away (and risking the bottom line) on these corrective and duplicated documentation efforts throughout a long-term capital project.
Expediting workflows and collaboration
The effortless push and pull of data is a sign of an unencumbered workflow.
Consider the extent to which disconnected data — whether it’s incomplete, outdated, incorrect or misleading — is slowing down the data transfer process and the decisions that depend on it.
Curbing the frequent stop-and-fix efforts with an integrated solutions approach optimizes workflows from bidding through to commissioning and all the RFIs and change orders in between.
Freer access to and exchange of information — from one individual or team to another, one job function to another and one phase to another — keeps everyone apprised of what they need to know and when they need it. And that helps open the communication lines, a vital component of a smoother workflow. The natural byproduct? Timelier, more sound decisions that directly benefit the project.
And what about the less obvious benefits of a smooth data transfer process?
Gaining valuable project insights
Having copious amounts of data is one thing. Being able to glean insights from it is quite another.
Valuable insights come from reliable data; that is, data that is accessible, accurate, current and connected. Turning it into something understandable and usable requires analytics. Many construction companies rely on earned value management (EVM) metrics that measure project progress in terms of cost and schedule.
EVM standardizes the interpretation of each individual sliver of data being entered out in the field and the back office so that together, they can give a more in-depth, real-time understanding of a facet of the project — the what that is happening and the why behind it. It provides a solid foundation upon which the appropriate stakeholders can universally grasp, discuss and act on what they’re seeing.
Improve reporting to project stakeholders throughout execution
A completed construction project is the sum of all the decisions and actions that have led up to it. How can contractors and owners be confident they’re managing in the best interest of the project? Their time is better spent interacting with the data — not with multiple software programs, uncertain which one has the information they need to make decisions in the project’s best interest.
Analytics plays a key role here. Often taking the form of online dashboards and customizable daily reports, they can be automatically produced via an integrated platform using the latest details inputted from site crews, giving stakeholders visibility into the true status and performance of the project to that point.
The free flow of information in a seamlessly connected platform facilitates just-in-time decision-making and actions. This wouldn’t be possible without optimized data transfers.
Streamlining the turnover process
A seamless transfer of data at this pivotal stage is more than just making the turnover process more efficient. It’s about ensuring that data will live on to find new value and use to keep the structure functional in the operational phase. Again, having an integrated platform or tech stack, as well as a digital twin, facilitating continuous data transfers throughout the project is key.
Of course, it will dramatically reduce the amount of arduous documentation that has typified the process. But more importantly, the risk of incorrect or incomplete information making it into the final package (due to copious rekeying and updating data) is much lower. That means owners and facilities teams will be working with more accurate, reliable data to help maintain their built asset.
Smoothing the data transfer process can give you and other stakeholders more confidence in the validity and currency of the data used to assess and guide the project. As with other facets of capital construction projects, technology has a central role in integrating all the disparate pieces of data — and the transfer processes — into something manageable, understandable and actionable.
Find out in a one-on-one conversation with us about how integrated technology can deliver the benefits you and your projects most need.
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