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How Using Analytics Takes the Bite Out of Cost Overruns

 

Originally aired on 09/02/2020

43 Min

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Cost overruns on capital projects occur regularly. Studies indicate that as many as 6 out of 10 major construction projects experience cost overruns. Could this onslaught of cost overruns be due to a lack of data during the pre-construction and construction execution phases of the project?

In this webinar, two of our veteran thought leaders explore how data within the InEight project platform can easily be surfaced to identify trends, ensuring that projects stay on track and under budget.

John Klobucar:

Hello, I’m John Klobucar with InEight. I’d like to welcome you to the latest Webinar in our series titled, How Using Analytics Takes the Bite Out of Cost Overruns. Our presenters today are Catie Williams, Director of Product Management at an InEight, and Rick Deans who is the Executive Vice President of Industry Engagement also of InEight. Before I tell you more about them, I first want to encourage you to ask any questions you have about the Webinar in the chat box located on your screen. Then Catie and Rick will do their best to answer them following the events. Also, this presentation is being recorded and we’ll be sending you a link to the video in about a week’s time.

John Klobucar:

Now back to our presenters, Catie Williams leads as Director of Connected Analytics at In Eight focused on solving challenges for contractors, owners, and engineers with data and analytics. Prior to joining InEight, Catie worked for Kiewit for nine years, where she began her career as an application developer. Her passion for reporting and data was quickly realized in 2010 when Catie was part of a company wide initiative to move to a centralized ERP system. In 2015, she led the implementation of Kiewit’s enterprise data warehouse helping the company to achieve its goal of being a data-driven organization.

John Klobucar:

Rick Deans has worked with InEight customers in more than 35 countries to help identify innovative solutions that address their biggest project management pain points. As Executive Vice President of Industry Engagement, he leads in its efforts to engage with its most strategic customers through the industry advisory group or IAG. Rick works with IAG member companies to evaluate InEight solutions before they’re put to work on projects, and also to identify industry best practices. Once again, we’re glad you’ve joined us. Now let me hand things over to our presenters, Catie Williams and Rick Deans.

Rick Deans:

Hi, this is Rick Deans with InEight. I serve as our EVP of Industry Engagement, and what that really means is I spend a lot of time out in the field talking with our prospects, our customers, folks in the market in general that are leaders in the construction industry. One of the things that has come to our attention is that a lot of these capital projects are experiencing overruns in terms of cost and scheduling. Some studies say as much as 60% of capital projects experience some sort of cost or schedule overrun. What we’re going to do today is we’re going to look at ways that analytics can provide some helpful insight into us. I’ve got my colleague, Catie Williams on the line. Catie, why don’t you introduce yourself?

Catie Williams:

Sure. My name is Catie Williams, and I am the Product Director for Connected Analytics. I currently oversee our analytics products, as well as data integrations, master data, all things data, and I’m really excited today to talk to you about our goal of having a connected data platform, and providing ways that you can reduce cost overruns and highlight risks issues through analytics.

Rick Deans:

Well, that’s great. And for the folks that don’t know, InEight provides an entire suite of tools that really cover every phase of a project’s life cycle. We’re really going to be focusing on the execution phase of capital projects today. Catie, one of the things that I always hear customers say, especially larger organization, multiple divisions or business units, is that what they really would like to see is a holistic view across all ongoing projects, and then if they had a magic wand, they’d be able to identify maybe a project that needed some attention or some course correction without necessarily asking people to go on a seven-day research project together.

Catie Williams:

Yeah, I’m glad that you brought that up. To give some context, I started sharing my screen and we are looking at a dashboard that we provide. It’s really meant to provide a portfolio view. I know there’s a lot of information on here. I’m going to walk through it. It’s not too overwhelming, but the goal of this dashboard is that you take a look at it and within seconds, definitely not longer than minutes, you have pieces of information about projects, so you know where you should focus your attention. For example, we’re providing some high level metrics, like how many projects that you have, total number of employees, how much equipment you have, and then you can see some of those financial metrics, right?

Catie Williams:

So your total cost to date across your portfolio of projects, what you’re forecasting. If you’re forecasting to lose money, which you can see in this portfolio view, we are forecasting that we’re going to have a loss right now. This provides the mechanism to drill down deeper into more information to figure out what’s going on with your projects. Right here, I’ve got this filter. What’s really neat about this is I can select between organizations. Right now, I’ve got all my orgs selected, but let’s just say I want to look at org two, for example. I can quickly see I’ve got a $20 million loss showing here. I can see how this is filtered down to those specific projects. I did that a little fast, so let me show you one more time.

Catie Williams:

I click org one, you can see it filters down to the projects that are in that organization. At any time, I can select on an individual project as well. Down here, I’ve got this project schedule. I’m going to go ahead and go back to all of my projects. I could filter if I only wanted to look at active, for example, versus those that are finished. But here I can see the schedule of information that’s going to tell me right when a project is starting and when it’s ending. I can actually make this bigger, so I can get an idea right of where I’m at today, which is this dotted line, and understanding work projects are at in terms of their overall percent complete.

Catie Williams:

Over here, I can see from a visual perspective where I’ve got projects geographically located, and then down here is where I can really start to get into that detail. I mentioned that I’m showing a $22 million loss. I can see really quickly because I have this chart down here formatted by forecast variance, which project has the most issues right now. You can see Wind Energy, it’s showing a loss of nine million, or it’s showing it’s going to be over budget by $9 million. That would mean I’d want to start to drill into that in my next pages. Before I go any further, Rick, did you have any comments or questions before I move to the next level of detail?

Rick Deans:

Well, you mentioned this earlier. I see some visual representations on the screen, like you say, the map and I can see the schedule. Then the tabular data down below, you’ve got some different data fields there. Did I understand you correctly, that you could sort those in ascending or descending order?

Catie Williams:

Absolutely. I cared a lot about the forecast variance to figure out where I want to focus my time immediately. But I could also look at just today total costs, and truly any of these dashboards are editable, so I could add another pieces of information that might be more relevant. Another good example might be to look at percent complete, because I’m not going to care necessarily about those projects that are already completed, or maybe they’re way too far past being able to make any adjustments to. But I could see here’s some projects that are in that sweet spot, that I might actually be able to make some adjustments and hopefully fix the outcome.

Rick Deans:

Sure. If I were a leader of one of the orgs or one of the business units, I could come in, take a look at the projects by quickly clicking on the column headings there and really just rearrange them based on some of the criteria that was important to me. Sounds like it.

Catie Williams:

Absolutely. I didn’t show it, but selecting any project will also specifically focus down on that project. As we move into the more detail, I can also use these filters to make every tab display with the project that I want to look at, which would reduce the amount of time in my analysis.
Rick Deans:
Well, I think you’re onto something there. Why don’t we explore this Wind Energy project and see if we can get a closer look as to what’s going on?

Catie Williams:

Yeah. Before we look at more of the cost information, just really quick I want to call out we also have the ability to look at any demographic information about the project. Maybe I need to look at how a certain market is doing. Am I having greater success in a specific market? Maybe I’m losing a lot of money in a different market. I could also look by client and determine am I doing better with certain clients? How much money overall do I have with one specific client? And understand maybe I’m going into a client meeting, and I want to make sure I know how my projects with that client are doing. We’ve got lots of different capabilities to look at … slice the projects based on different information and metadata about those projects.

Rick Deans:

Well, that’s great.

Catie Williams:

If we wanted to take a look at Wind Energy, that’s an org too. Again, all of these dashboards are going to give you that capability to either start at an org perspective, select one or multiple projects, I can select all of them. They’re really flexible in terms of rolling up the information to that portfolio level. So here when you look at this project, and I’ll just talk really quick and then I’ll let you jump in, Rick, if you want to call anything out. But we can see that from …

Catie Williams:

It’s hard to tell because of the way the decimals are on this, but we know from looking at the other page, the other tab that they are forecasting, right? That they’re going to be over budget. We can see here though that they’ve got some budget moves. When we go into more information about issues that they’ve had, potential change orders, right now they have about $9 million in overall budget moves, which could be an indicator of why we’re showing that we’re going to be over budget.

Rick Deans:

I noticed those graphs are showing us some trends. It looks like some trends over time. Can we spend a little bit of time talking about those?

Catie Williams:

Yep. Right here we’re showing your earns versus actual cost and man hours perspective. You can see how you’ve been doing if you’re making or losing money here. This information that we’re looking at is going to be more based on your period ending. For example, this data is probably monthly results. When we take the next step down in terms of detail, we can actually start to go into the daily and weekly metrics to understand now how are we doing day to day versus if I came in here, this would tell me how I did last month, and maybe I want to see am I doing any better in the next month, for example.

Rick Deans:

Well, that’s excellent. When I interview and talk to customers, one of the things that always seems to enter into the discussion is the competitive nature of the men and women in the construction industry. How could this information be leveraged to, for instance, identify an over-performing or underperforming crew?

Catie Williams:

That’s a great question. Right now I’m going to select on one project. Let me go ahead and open it up. So maybe I want to look across the organization. This dashboard we’re looking at is going to show us the results for the time period I’ve selected, either by productivity factor or gain loss, which projects are doing the best and the worst as well as the people, so the executer, or the foreman that’s managing the crew, how they’re doing for my gain loss or productivity factor perspective. At this nice toggle here, I can see for the last 15 days Wind Energy actually has been doing pretty good for my gain loss perspective in man hours.

Catie Williams:

As I mentioned before, maybe you we’re having some issues on change orders that are coming in, maybe it’s not actual execution, but we’ll continue to investigate that as we go through the tabs. But here I can see Wind Energy has been doing okay. Medical Center, not so much necessarily. If I switch to the productivity factor, I can also look at the information in the same way. Here the PF doesn’t necessarily get called out based on this date range that we’re looking at, but I can also see individuals that are doing really well from an execution perspective. Then again, if we look at PF, which projects are doing the best and which are not doing very well.

Rick Deans:

So if we’re looking at these terms, PF and gain loss, we’re really looking at the earned values or the burn values, right? How are we performing relative to the way it was budgeted?

Catie Williams:

Exactly, and we’ve … This is a scorecard. You mentioned, maybe I want to be competitive. Well, I could narrow it down and not look at all orgs. I could just look within one organization and figure out who’s doing the best, or again we could go company wide. On this view, we’ve really tried to give this similar information, but in a lot of varieties of way to look at it, so that you can get to the information faster. For example, maybe you like this tree map view, where you can see scale. From a scale perspective, how many more hours Wind Energy has over some of these smaller projects?

Catie Williams:

So the fact that they’re doing well is really good since the scope is much larger. Whereas that’s kind of hard to tell here on this bar chart that’s showing the same similar information, but you don’t necessarily get that same scale of just how much more work that project has versus the ones that we’re comparing it to.

Rick Deans:

Catie you’ve explained to us how you could look at a group of projects and identify a project that needs some course correction, and you’ve shown us how within that project, we can identify things like gain loss, performance factor. Could we take it down even a level deeper and take a look at a performance, for instance, by discipline, and see how we’re doing Concrete versus Earthwork as an example?

Catie Williams:

Absolutely. We have this view right here that we’re looking at. It’s called our operations account code. It could also be a discipline, for example. Right now I’m looking at it from a overall org perspective. I can see by discipline or how am I doing from a plan versus earned, and then I can also see top five, bottom five account codes. That bottom five is going to tell me where I should focus my attention. What’s going on with that code? Why are we having so many issues? The other thing though I could come and select a specific project. We’ll stay with that same one, Wind Energy.

Catie Williams:

Here I could then focus specifically on a project. I can see that they have a lot of concrete in terms of hours on this project. Overall from a game loss it’s doing pretty well. I could switch to PF and see is that the same case? Yes, it is from a concrete perspective. But I can see I’ve got some of these orange colors, which would indicate maybe a problem. I’ve got this really tiny one right here, which right now it’s showing as a blank account code but it’s not doing very well. Then I could use this to drill into more information specifically on that account code and see over time how has it been doing.

Catie Williams:

If I switched to the next tab, this tab is actually going to tell me by daily plan. Each of is a daily plan. Am I doing okay in concrete on all my daily plans? As I scroll over, I’ll start to see some that maybe I’m not doing that well on. Again, you can see by daily plan and I’ve got this right now spread out for 30 days. You could bring that in and look at a week’s time, for example. But this is again going to show the volume of concrete work by daily plan, and then how it’s doing. This box up here has the most concrete work, and then I can see that it’s doing well. That’s good that we’re looking at a good example.

Catie Williams:

Then down here, I can actually see a trend of how it’s doing. This is a trend of how concrete has been doing on this specific project for the last 30 days. I could also look at it to date, and see … I mean, we’ve got a lot of variability here. Widening or shortening that date range is probably the best way to look at that right now for concrete. Then I can even see specifically how someone has performed from an executer perspective on each daily plan here as well, as it pertains to that specific account code.

Catie Williams:

I can get pretty deep on an account code, and then what’s nice is I can start to compare projects on account codes and maybe I need to go talk to someone that’s doing really well for a specific discipline account code. Maybe they have a suggestion that something I could do differently or how did they get a productivity factor so good on that account code, and then I could start to learn from them and make some adjustments on my project.

Rick Deans:

That’s super interesting. One of the things our customers tell me all the time is that they really expect to run into some sort of issue in the field. But they always say that the sooner we can identify it, the better off we’re going to be. How long does it take for this data to be processed? What sort of dependencies are there in the data from the point at which the work is performed to the point at which you can analyze it looking at these dashboards?

Catie Williams:

Sure, that’s a great question. From how I would define real time, I would call all of these dashboards real time, meaning minutes versus hours versus days, and worst case some people don’t get reports except on a monthly basis. All the information that we’re looking at, you enter something into the system. For example, an issue gets logged, that’s going to be available in this dashboard minutes after it’s done. You’re not waiting days upon days and then have to wait for a monthly report to come out. Nothing like that.

Catie Williams:

They’re all in what I would call real time or near real time. It makes it very timely, right? When you’re looking at these and consuming the information, [inaudible 00:17:26] looking at a scale issue, for example. If you’re seeing it there, maybe it just happened, it’s likely got a very accurate status. That means that you can drive decisions off of very up-to-date information.

Rick Deans:

Excellent.

Catie Williams:

I’m glad you brought up issues because we do have a really cool tool that allows us to track those in a system, and then from an analytics and dashboards perspective … Again, we talked about that ability to compare projects. What you’re seeing here right is that org view. So I can compare how are projects doing in comparison to others and the number and the [inaudible 00:18:00] issues. Just to call out, when we’re looking at this color right here, this blue, that’s saying that an issue has been identified. But it doesn’t indicate that a change order is necessarily required yet.

Catie Williams:

This gray indicates a potential change order, and then this teal color indicates that the actual change order with the contract adjustment has gone through. We know that cost overruns are impacted by having lots of changes on a project, and so this gives us the … You can see really quickly the volume of changes that our projects are experiencing and the potential financial impact that it would have on those projects.

Rick Deans:

A lot of our customers are convinced they’re doing extra work in the field. They just don’t have the time and the manpower, the people power if you will, to really track those down. What we’re looking at here is there looks like there is an opportunity to turn some of those pending change orders to have some discussions with the client reps and turn those into actual change orders then.

Catie Williams:

Absolutely, and all of these … I won’t go into each tab, but each of these, you can go into more detail to see what’s the value, what is the issue, where is that from a status perspective? How often is this happening? The potential value to the project. If we just go back to this actual … where it’s actually been approved, change order with a contract adjustment of the CCO, I can select that Wind Energy again and we can see the value of these actual approved change orders. So right now, we’re sitting at about a million dollars, almost a million dollars, in change orders that this project has experienced, which definitely impacts schedule impacts overall cost. It’s definitely got an impact.

Rick Deans:

That’s excellent. I also know from experience that cost overruns, they can certainly be managed in the execution phase, but sometimes those trace back to the estimating phase. We’ve got many customers that put together longer term estimates for projects as the design, as the engineering is happening. Is there a way to compare the evolution of an estimate over time? Many of our customers, for instance, will go through a class five estimating process, two or three years before the actual execution begins, and as they’re getting more information, they’ll continually refine that information.

Catie Williams:

Yeah, and I’m hoping everyone’s noticing that I’m clicking on these tabs, and all the information is right here, which is really need the … Rick asked me a question and I can quickly switch to something he’s interested in looking at. If I were coming in for the day, I have the ability, right? To go through that entire life cycle of a project, and see, what are some of the things that I should be focused on? We’re just taking minutes, right? Going through these tabs. It does take a little bit to get yourself familiar and acclimated with the information that you’re looking at.

Catie Williams:

But then you can see how quickly it would become of this process of these are the projects that I worried about yesterday, or last week, and now I need to see how they’re doing and I can quickly iterate over these tabs to drill into more information and find out where I need to go and make some changes. Maybe I need to go adjust some crews, things like that. On estimate, we are able to bring that same information into this dashboard, look at it all at the same time. Just like you mentioned, Rick, you can see this estimate has had some growth, right? Going from the class five to the class two.

Catie Williams:

The way I have this visual right now, as you can see all of these different disciplines, so civil and contingency, electrical instrumentation, they all are aligned. But this one really stands out to me, which is piping. If I hover over this, or if I click on piping, let’s just drill into piping really quick, I can also get some more information about why it’s happening. So when we see this class two, how it grew this much from the class three, I’m at 90% design, which would have an impact on why we’ve had so much growth. Again, if I go to the class three, again I can see more information. I can get that detail to have a greater understanding of what’s happening within my estimate.

Rick Deans:

This is the sort of thing that our customers might spend a lot of time looking through spreadsheets, or again turning into that research project, right? If they didn’t have the availability of the data at their fingertips. It also looks as if an executive or a leader of a company could come in here and not necessarily require people to present reports to them, but they could do as you’re doing, clicking through and doing the drill down, identifying things that are important to them and identifying projects or activities on projects that might need some additional attention.

Catie Williams:

Yes, absolutely. An executive could come in and have a very tailored view for them. I will show an example here after we work through this dashboard of how a dashboard could be edited so that you can see the metrics that you care about. Maybe you don’t like these metrics that are up at the top. You can throw those out and start with something different. Maybe you want different thresholds to change the colors, so if it goes over a certain percentage it turns into a certain color. All of that can be built into this tool.

Rick Deans:

Even though we are talking about a cost overruns, I am curious to know what additional information might we be able to capture and report on using these analytics and dashboards?

Catie Williams:

Sure. One thing I want to call out is probably our contract overview tab that we have here. So this will let you see any vendor change orders, the number of contracts that you have. Again, it’s not necessarily directly related. In some cases it could be related to the cost overruns that we’re seeing, but it’s another view of being able to see the information. If you have a lot of contracts, you can figure out from a status perspective. If anything’s waiting for a response. Right now the view we’re looking at, I have all of the projects selected, so I can just see again that the ability to see the scope that a project has. So you can see Wind Energy’s at the top again in terms of number of contracts that are in approval status.

Catie Williams:

If I click into here, so I’ll go into Wind Energy and let me drill all of these. There is this bar at the top that it’ll allow you to go another level of detailed down. So you saw it was that project, and now I can click into this specific project and now I’m getting type. So I can see I’ve got 520 contracts that are rental agreements, got 74 that have service agreements, and I can do this on each of these visuals. So I can see now the contracts by status.

Catie Williams:

I’ve got several that are executed and then we’ll just keep going down. But you have this ability to start at a higher up level, and then if I activate the drill down, now I can see another layer without having to go anywhere else. Yeah, I had to click that again. Again, I can see the approved, 557, and then I can also switch it to value. So I’ll drill these back up really quick. If I switch to the value, now I can see not just counts but the dollars associated to each of these contracts by contract type, the status, and start to understand where I might have some potential risks or issues.

Catie Williams:

We’ve got several. So each of these has more of an aggregated view of information, and then I have several other abilities to drill down into more information. So we talked about the vendor change orders. If I wanted more information about that, I could come in specifically and see how many vendor change orders are created and executed each week. Again, I’ve got that toggle ability where I can go from account to a value really quickly. But I really shouldn’t have to leave this tool. I shouldn’t have to go back into the application to get more information. I should be able to stay here, see something at a summary level that catches my attention and then go down and get more information without ever having to leave the tool.

Catie Williams:

Again, I don’t want to go into each of those tabs. Rick, you also asks about some nonfinancial impacts potentially. We also have the ability to track safety, quality, environmental information within our application. Right here is an example. I should back up. The tool that we have allows you to create a form to collect information that could be very specific to your business. Maybe you have a site spreadsheet, you have a Smartsheet, and you’ve got this process that you’re following to track the information and you would love to bring it into the rest of your data, you would love to include it as a data source to provide you insights.

Catie Williams:

Well, we have the ability to let you create this form that then you could bring into your other analysis. So for example, we’re all impacted right now by COVID. A specific COVID form could be created that allows you to see how many people do I have on site? How long have I been shut down? What are some of the issues that we’re having? So it’s very easy and quick to create these forms that can be very specific and customized to your business that you can create and then that information is available. If you’ve got a lot of issues right now with your job being shut down, or people being quarantined, that definitely has a cost impact. Yes, it’s harder to directly relate it in terms of dollars, but you can see that it would have an impact and it is a risk and an issue that you should be watching.

Rick Deans:

Catie, are you seeing people in the field actually using these forms as part of their daily routine?

Catie Williams:

Yeah. Our goal would be … When you have data in a spreadsheet and you have data on a Smartsheet or SharePoint, you can’t … the history of it dies, right? When you’re done. There is no tracking along with it, there’s no sharing of that information, and so what’s really neat about the tool is once you create this form, it’s memorialized and we have the data and now you can share it with someone else to use it and collect the same type of information. So yes, we are seeing a shift from having to track everything in an Excel or a Smartsheet, and then create a form.

Catie Williams:

Now you can track it through this form. It’s got a mobile capability, so you can enter data from the field. Then we have reporting that’s available out of the box. I think that’s typically something that drives someone to an Excel sheet, is they want a very specific form format and an output. But what’s neat is that, by us providing the data through this tool, you can make the information look however you want to. Now we have this nice cover page that you could send to the owner, for example, or provide your client that says, “Here’s how we’re mitigating the risks that COVID’s presenting us.” So, yes, absolutely.

Rick Deans:

Well, you’ve mentioned it before, but I want to go back to it. It’s really important to understand, I think that … For instance, when you were showing us the progress of those contracts, how many contracts have been issued, no one was sitting there tallying that stuff up and entering it into the back end of this tool, right? That was just part and parcel of operating the contract application, and it was generating those values as those contracts were being pushed through that application.

Catie Williams:

That’s how all of this works, right? With the exception of when you create a custom form. But yes, as you’re doing your business process, we’re able to scrape information about the trends as you saw on some of these where I would show the curve over time. So if we go back to the issue summary, I didn’t talk specifically about this chart. But you can see the running totals over time of how many issues are being tracked, how many are turning into an actual contract change order. You’re able to see that information and it just comes out of the tool. There isn’t anything you have to do to enable that. We can get the value. Any of those fields that get put … they are entered when you’re creating an issue become available in reporting, and then for analysis.

Rick Deans:

One of the things that I’ve certainly noticed, and you’ve touched on it a bit there with the COVID graph, is that having been in the industry for over 20 years, the focus on safety is really key. Most of our customers will begin their day with a safety talk. Certainly beginning meetings with safety talks. Can you show us maybe some graphics that have to do with safety metrics and measuring?

Catie Williams:

Yeah, absolutely. I have this tab and then I’ve got a really cool one that I’ll show. But based on how you would set up the form, I’m going to just … This is more of a standard form. You could determine what type of incidents are you having and by those orgs or the markets or the vertical, for example. We can see right here that we’ve got a lot of personal medical conditions is the cause of the injury. So that would mean that somebody already had something underlying and that was why we had a safety incident, for example.

Catie Williams:

I can see the type right here. Again, we can see a strain. Or sprain and a strain is the most common, all the way down to this hearing impairment that’s been logged, for example. Down here, I can see the category of incident, and then up here I’ve just got some high level metrics. How often are incidents happening? How many days in between? Usually in safety, the incident is going to have a severity level. So I can see are we having small things or are they really significant potential life threatening issues that we’re having?

Catie Williams:

It gives me this information that I can quickly slice. If I just go to first aid here, I can see that energy has the most big first aid, and then infrastructure would be next, for example. As you’re building a form, and you could choose to use the standard form, which would have lots of these fields, but you could include additional pieces of information that you wanted to be able to track and then report on. If we go over to this next one, I think this one’s fun. You can actually physically see where an injury is occurring.

Catie Williams:

We can see that the hand and finger is the area where we have the most issues. Then you could also see by role, where are you having the most issues, which then would lead to training opportunities, right? Maybe we have a business, we have a process or an operation that needs to be adjusted. We aren’t having these issues.

Rick Deans:

I like that.

Catie Williams:

The possibilities really are endless, right? I think I’m hoping that is coming through that. If you take the time to create this form, you can do all kinds of trending and all of that data is available within this connected analytics tool.

Rick Deans:

Now do you have to be some sort of programmer to be able to create these graphs? What else is involved in being able to add visuals to these dashboards?

Catie Williams:

Yeah, I think that’s a great … I will switch to another dashboard just because I think it’s a good example of how I can edit really quickly. So I’m going to change over here to this dashboard, and I’ve got these three dots and I’m just going to hit edit. You can see I have a few other options here. I can edit, I can change my navigation, I can set it as a default, which means when I come in here that’s the first dashboard I’m going to see. Then we have prints, which you’d be surprised, but we’re asked to print dashboards all the time.

Catie Williams:

But we do have the capability to print, which it would give you a nice view of what we’re looking at right now. It’s not super fancy in terms of what you can do with print, but you can print these dashboards. If I hit edit, what’s really neat about this is it actually opens up the Power BI tool inside the applications. You can see I haven’t left the suite. If I close this to give myself a little bit more room, I have this visualization thing that becomes available to me. To your question, do you have to be very technical to make changes?

Catie Williams:

No, absolutely not. You can see how quick it is to just make a simple adjustment to change the type of chart. What is a little bit more complicated is just understanding the data. So you can see here I got a lot of fields that are available to me. But over time, if you spend a little bit of time, how I like to go about creating a dashboard or my process for getting over that is there is this table that you can create here, and we’ll just go ahead and delete these. I can start to drag some of the data over. So we’ll do discipline name, we’ll do component name. Oops, I didn’t get it clicked.

Catie Williams:

Component name, component description, and you can start to see what the data is, and that will help with the ability to modify this to include the things that you want to look at. Then it would be very easy. Let’s just say, I want to remove … We’re going to just leave discipline. I could turn this into a chart pretty easily. So I’ve got count of work plans by discipline. Now I could change it into a bar chart, for example. So you can see it’s pretty flexible, it’s very easy. Then I can save this as my own view. So we’ll just call this material tracking Catie.

Catie Williams:

Then now I can take it a step further, and let’s just say that that metric I just added to this dashboard was really important, and I wanted my team to look at it, I can also share it with my team. So I could hit the sharing button, and now I can choose an organization, a project and a person. I think we recognize that there is no one standard for information. Lots of people have different preferences in terms of how they interact with it, how they want to view things, and so we want to provide flexibility. So we provide a standard that you can use, but then the flexibility, right? To make some adjustments based on your organization’s needs, or even your industry, your market.

Catie Williams:

Then you could share it with people within that market or industry, and you could have them look at what you’ve created. In addition, we’ll just add Rick here. I’m going to share it with him. I could also let him collaborate on this dashboard. If I checked this box, what that means is he would get a copy of the dashboard and then we could work on it together, which is another way of making sure that you’re maximizing your use of the information that’s here, and that end-to-end integrated system. Now we could together work on something and then maybe we share it with our entire project, for example.

Rick Deans:

Visualizations aside, obviously visualizations provide a ton of value. It’s very easy to identify trends and identify, for instance, with the chart we’re looking at right now, that first block is so much bigger than the others. It jumps right off the screen at me. However, having said that, I still see a lot of tabular reports out there. Can you use the drag and drop editor to use to create a standard row and column laid out report?

Catie Williams:

Yes. I mean, if we were going to do it in Power BI, we would just remove everything and then we would make this larger. Now that could be your entire screen. I also didn’t mention, but on each of these visualizations, you do have the ability to export the data so that you could bring it into a tool like Excel. Then what we also provide is our APIs that you can connect to outside of the application. Let’s just say, I haven’t gotten used to why compliance is so important to create these forms, but you could then bring your other data sources together into to combine with your InEight data.

Catie Williams:

So we do have … and I’ll show that really quickly. I’m going to show it in Power BI versus Excel, but you could then create a very tabular looking report by connecting to our APIs inside of Excel or Power BI and really any tool. I mean, we have the flexibility to let you analyze this information in any tool of your choice.

Rick Deans:

APIs are great. They make for really seamless integrations. Application Programming Interface is the acronym. What if I didn’t have the resources to hire a team of people to interact with the APIs? Can I use the good old Excel spreadsheet as a data source within this reporting tool set?

Catie Williams:

Absolutely. You could definitely use Excel. You could use Smartsheet, SharePoint, any of that could be used. Again, you could then, right, try to blend it with some of the InEight data, and then once you did bring that … We do have the ability to let you bring that actually into the tool. We have this external content ability which lets you add something that you’ve created. Again, like your scenario, you’re saying if you had somebody that didn’t have necessarily the technical skills or didn’t feel comfortable to interact with the tool we have or using the API, you could also pull something into this window and it would display.

Catie Williams:

I think I actually have the website here. I can show you an example of how this would work. You can see we’ve embedded the website. Now that’s not necessarily a great use case, but it’s showing that you could put something here that way from a navigation perspective. You don’t have to go all over the place. You have one location to come for the things that you care about, and yes, that could be a source that you’ve built on your own.

Rick Deans:

Yeah. It could be a project website or project specific website or a SharePoint, something similar.

Catie Williams:

Okay. You can connect to the APIs through a tool like Power BI or Excel. So to do that, I would come over here and I’m going to go to the old data feed. I’m going to put in the URL that’s specific to each environment. Then what this is going to do is pull up all of the APIs that have all the data that I just showed you across the end-to-end project life cycle. So I could connect to these and then build my own dashboard here, and then I could connect to, like Rick mentioned, the Excel. I have an Excel that has information, I could bring that in here as well so that I could see those two sources together.

Rick Deans:

Well, you bring up an excellent point. From my perspective, no organization is out there with absolutely no data. I see data everywhere, spreadsheets, SharePoint sites, three ring binders, information in people’s heads whether we want to admit it or not. But it seems like this set of tools really helps folks organize and make some sense of the data and look for those trends to be able to look for those areas that might need some course correction.

Catie Williams:

Yeah. I do think … I’ve shown a lot of tabs, that could be a little overwhelming. But if you take the time and just take that use case we walked through, where I see a project that has some issues and now I can go process by process and see where might it be? Who are the people I maybe need to talk to? But you should really have a solid base of information walking away from that analysis that took less than an hour in this case, and we added additional commentary, right? But you can see how quickly it would be to say this project, then I look at my next project that’s not doing very well and get a really good understanding of things they’re facing.

Catie Williams:

Then since it’s real time, I know that I’m asking them about something that’s very relevant and current, and I’m not asking … They don’t tell me, “Well, that was last month.” We don’t have that issue anymore. It’s resolved. That timely nature of it is also really important, and then the ability to compare in the past, how you’ve been doing also is really important.

Rick Deans:

Well, and I think you bring up a good point, even though we have spent close to an hour going through this information, we’ve spent 100% of that time analyzing the data and 0% of the time preparing or presenting that data, right?

Catie Williams:

Exactly. Yes. That is definitely our goal, is to make it so that it’s very easy. Yes, you can customize it if you don’t like our colors and you don’t like our chart, maybe you want to flip it on its side. But the information is there and it should require very little time to start getting really important and rich data about your project.

Rick Deans:

Well, thank you, Catie, for taking us through that. That was sensational. Just as a summary for the folks, we’ve talked about an organizational overview, we’ve talked about how to identify specific projects in which we want to drill down, we’ve talked about contract and vendor performance. We even talked about comparing different versions of an estimate as we learned more information putting the estimates together. We talked about compliance reporting, health, safety, environmental. Talked about combining data from other sources and other systems, as well as being able to create tabular reports and having users edit the tools. We thank everyone for joining us, and if you have any questions, go ahead and put them in the question box in the chat and we’ll get right back to you on those.

Catie Williams:

Thank you.

John Klobucar:

Thank you, Rick and Catie. To learn more about InEight as well as our connected analytics solutions, visit ineight.com and click on the request a demo button. If you’d like to see a schedule of upcoming webinars, visit ineight.com/webinars. Thanks for watching today. This concludes our presentation.