Connected Analytics: The Next Game Changer in Construction Projects
March 18, 2020
The need for a technological approach to information sharing and connected data, otherwise known as connected analytics, has been around for a while. However, studies have consistently shown that construction ranks near the bottom compared to other industries when it comes to the adoption of new technologies to improve efficiency and increase collaboration. In fact, a recent McKinsey study found that the construction sector has recorded the lowest productivity gains and profit margins of any industry in the last 20 years, and more than 90% of capital projects experience cost and/or schedule overruns.
There are some obvious reasons for this, including: the fragmented nature of the work, the way projects are traditionally executed, and the unique challenges encountered with each new project. The introduction of multiple project team members further reduces project visibility and contributes to a sense of disconnectedness, which can directly impact profit margins, cost and productivity.
Due to these and a host of other obstacles that prevent reliable data sharing, contractors often reinvent the wheel on many projects, and fail to benefit from previous lessons learned.
It’s clear that by failing to embrace technology, many contractors suffer from a communication and collaboration gap, because valuable project data is isolated and the complete picture is obscured. This raises some rather important questions, such as: How is this gap impacting project profitability? When information isn’t being shared and disseminated, how is that affecting a contractor’s bottom line?
Several companies are bridging the gap by moving away from paper spreadsheets and disconnected software systems and increasing their technology spend on more integrated systems and connected data. Embarking on a technological revolution of sorts, they are discovering faster and more accurate ways of ensuring that analytics are used to improve current and future productivity.
A company-wide cost coding structure is a critical first step in any overhaul, as it can be used to more effectively calculate productivity across the entire organization. By having standard cost codes, contractors can track past project performance, improve estimates, compare projects and understand whether or not they should even bid on a project.
When possible, all project team members should use the same platform and follow the same processes to facilitate quality data and improved visibility. When that’s not feasible, there are reporting tools available that enable a contractor to blend data from various sources to get the metrics they need without requiring the expense of a fully integrated project management system. Once processes are standardized, a contractor can leverage data in a manner that will impact future outcomes.
Portfolio “dashboards” are another helpful tool, as they provide improved visibility into single or multiple projects and save time when running multiple reports, hunting down information or finding answers. By using a dashboard that aggregates all projects into one view, a contractor can easily access the information needed to identify predictors of project failure (e.g., productivity, safety and/or quality issues).
This is particularly helpful when changes in scope occur. By accessing all of the necessary information through an easy-to-navigate view across all projects, a contractor can fully comprehend the impact of such changes. This information is also rich with insights that help predict issues on future projects and provides an opportunity to make adjustments on a project before it’s too late.
In the end, improving the way data is presented can enable a contractor to make better decisions faster, understand issues more clearly and employ the necessary steps to keep a project on target.
Learn more about InEight’s connected data solutions.