Benefits of Data Dashboards for Your Capital Projects
January 18, 2022
Construction data dashboards have become an indispensable tool in managing the immense amount of information capital projects produce. Deceptively direct, these dashboards pack a lot of information into a small space. They sift through the noise of all the data your project generates and distills it into easily digestible screens that are visually formatted to organize and convey the key information you’re looking for. What you’re presented with is real-time data that keeps you, the project team and other key stakeholders informed of your current project’s progress, performance and risks.
If your portfolio consists of similar large-scale, structurally and/or technologically sophisticated projects, but you haven’t yet incorporated dashboards or realized their full benefits, let’s take a look at what you stand to gain from them and what they can actually help you do.
Key benefits of construction data dashboards
Access all key data in one place, in real time. Having real-time visibility into insightful and actionable project data is what makes all the other benefits possible and is the first step in being able to effectively manage overall project health. You could liken a dashboard to a mini single source of truth in which all the latest, most critical information is collected, consolidated and organized for easier consumption and tracking.
Easily assess progress, performance and risks at a glance. Dashboards capture a moment in time of how your capital project is performing. But it also can couch that data within the context of your project’s continuum to that point, so you have a window into the trends, spikes or patterns you might not otherwise see. What would you typically see on a construction data dashboard? You can include any combination of items including but not limited to: the number of outstanding change orders, flagged risks, the number of job tasks behind schedule, and earned value management (EVM) metrics that serve as proof points of ongoing schedule and cost efficiency and progress.
Delve deeper into data as needed. Making the most efficient use of your time and presenting only the most relevant information up front are what dashboards are designed to do. But what if you need to dig a little further into the metrics? Let’s say you want to pinpoint the possible source of a developing risk that has been flagged. Their interactive format allows you to pull back the curtain to see the details you need to evaluate and address that risk factor.
Focus attention and time more efficiently. With time being in such limited supply, dashboards make the most of the hours you do have when it comes to managing and interpreting the mountains of capital project data. They take on the arduous task of sifting and sorting through the already-calculated details and instantly serving them up for you. Yes, it amps up your productivity, but more importantly, it frees you up to concentrate your energies on what the data indicates is most pressing.
Make better, more timely decisions. The above benefits collectively inform the countless decisions your capital projects depend on throughout their life cycle. With dashboards reflecting the latest, most accurate data, you and the appropriate project team members and stakeholders are able to more confidently collaborate and decide where to focus attention and what best courses of action to take when necessary.
Features that amplify the benefits of construction data dashboards
Certain features found in more robust dashboards help extend the value of the above benefits.
Customization. The whole idea behind dashboards is to serve up and organize key project information where and when it’s needed. But not all types of stakeholders need or even benefit from being presented with the same details.
Customization capabilities allow you to tailor construction data dashboards unique to the different user groups that will access and act on the data presented. For example, you can define the level of detail that makes the most sense for their needs — because decisions and actions will be made based on those details. What do they have to know? Owners may be more interested in a bird’s-eye view of how their project is progressing according to the established schedule and if costs are being held in check. Contractors and project managers have to monitor not just schedule and costs, but the internal and external risks as well as resource availability and productivity that may impact them. Site crews and individual craftspeople can benefit from having a view into their own productivity and how it impacts overall progress.
Taking it a step further, consider what format will be the most effective in visually depicting the data each needs: graphs, charts, lists or timelines? How about color coding to help guide the eye or draw attention to critical points?
How you present that information to each group can make a big difference.
Intuitive design. How construction data dashboards are structured directly influences how the broader project team will use them. By design, dashboard interfaces are intended to be simple, organizing key information into logical, easy-to-follow formats. The more user-friendly they are, the more quickly they can be understood, interpreted and navigated by anyone on the project team — with minimal or no training required, regardless of any levels of customization.
Mobile accessibility. Accessibility in and of itself is a top priority. But where dashboards are accessed is equally as important when project teams are scattered across the jobsite, back office and remote locations. Mobile access extends the accessibility to the latest performance metrics and other chosen data from anywhere. So performance metrics can still be monitored in real time. Alerts can reach those who need to be aware. Collaboration is easier among project team members in multiple locations. The information doesn’t change — dashboards are configured into mobile-responsive formats for easy viewing on jobsite mobile devices, and feature the same data presented on desktop dashboards.
If your portfolio consists of similar large-scale, highly sophisticated projects but you haven’t yet incorporated construction data dashboards or realized their full benefits, we invite you to look at our dashboard solution, InEight Explore. You’ll be able to analyze data from across your current project, and across your portfolio, so you can leverage their insights for the best outcomes. Schedule a demo to take a test drive of this invaluable tool.