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Increase Efficiency And Mitigate
Risk With A Single Source Of Document Truth

 

Originally aired on 6/7/2020

14 Minutes

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This webinar dives deep into how a single source of document truth can increase overall efficiency and help drive project success.

We explain how having every team member sharing the same documents maximizes productivity as you minimize document search time.

Transcript

 

John:

Hello, I’m John Klobucar with InEight, and I’d like to welcome you to the latest webinar in our Path of Construction series. Today’s webinar is titled “Increase Efficiency and Mitigate Risk With a Single Source of Document Truth.” Our presenter today is Dave Wagner, who is Vice President of Industry Solutions at InEight. In this role, Dave serves as a voice of the market for InEight’s document management and capital contract management solutions. He has more than 20 years of experience developing and marketing construction project management software solutions with a specific emphasis on construction document management. David provides the necessary insight and expertise to develop strategic solutions that help InEight customers succeed in a highly competitive industry.

John:

If you have any questions as you watch this webinar, please enter them in the chat box located on the left side of the screen and following the webinar, Dave will do his best to answer them. Also, this presentation is being recorded, and we’ll be sending you a link to the video in about a week’s time. And now without further ado, let’s get this event underway.

John:

And back to our topic at hand, one that I think anyone on a job site has struggled with, increasing efficiency and mitigating risk by means of a single source of truth. That single source of truth, we hear that a lot. What exactly are we talking about when we mention that single source of truth?

David:

Well, John, here’s the definition I like. It’s when certain data has only one official source to be used by data consumers for the true current version of that data. Let’s unpack that a little bit. One of the key parts is that one official source. That’s that single source piece. It means you have a single location that you can go to [in order] to find data on your project. The opposite of that, of course, is multiple sources of truth, Outlook or network drives or SharePoints. With a single source, you don’t have to worry about that. It’s one place.

David:

Another key part is this idea of data consumers, that it’s not just the humans, but it’s also the other systems that are connected to this single source of truth who can find the data they’re looking for. And then of course, the third critical part of that definition is it’s giving you the most current data. The old data is certainly available, but the current data is the data that you really want to make sure you’re building off of and is made available and it’s the easiest to access.

John:

Okay, so now that we have that single source of truth spelled out, what are the types of problems that project teams are encountering when they don’t have that single source of truth?

David:

Let’s take a typical environment that isn’t built on a single source. As I mentioned earlier, you may be using Outlook for all of your emails. Maybe you have a network drive, your proverbial project P drive, where you’re storing some of your plans and specifications. Maybe you’re using SharePoint or Dropbox or some other web hosting solution for sharing some of your other documents. Your photos, maybe they’re out on local people’s iPhones and iPads. Maybe they’re on their own network drive.

David:

The point is you have all of this wonderful information, but it’s all in different places. And that creates a variety of different problems. For starters, how do you find it when you go looking for documents? Which system do you even start with? A 2018 study from FMI indicated that on average, a construction professional spends five and a half hours every week just trying to find the information that they’re looking for. Well, a lot of that comes from not even knowing what system it’s in. Single source of truth can help eliminate that.

David:

The other issue that you have is that pieces of project items are not maintained completely independently of one another. They have relationships. The RFI that was initiated based on an email that’s tied to a couple of photos that relate to the question, which also relate to a plan that applies to the RFI itself, there’s that relationship of information, and to make the best and most timely decision, you need to be able to access that information. Well, if you don’t have a single source of truth, you have no way of easily tying that information together, no way of really seeing the complete project context of everything that you’re doing, so that’s another major.

David:

Another area, or problem, that people have is they create a very risky environment. They create an environment where they actually can’t always prove what they’ve done in the past. Same reasons that we talked about before, it’s when all the information is put in a different place, how do you know when something happened, who did it, when they did it? You can find it. But now you’re, instead of looking in one location, you’re having to look in many, many locations.

David:

What this all boils down to is without a single source of truth, A, you’re not going to be terribly efficient. You’re not going to make the best decisions because you may not have access to all the data and see the relationships between the data and you’re putting yourself at risk because you don’t have easy access to everything that’s occurred in the past.

John:

Okay, so those are the two big questions I had for you is ‘how does a single source of truth make me more efficient, and also at the same time, I’ve got all these documents, how will it help me mitigate risk?’ I think you’ve covered that. Anything else you want to add about those two efficiency and risk questions?

David:

John, to go into this in a little bit more detail, let’s actually take a look at InEight Document, which is the InEight product that delivers this document management and control capability, to explore a little bit about how we handle it and deliver a solution based on a single source of truth.

David:

Right off the bat, what you’ll see when you go into a product like this is that all the information that you have is stored in one place. Your documents, your emails, your transmittals, any forms that you’re processing, certainly your photos, are all stored together in a location that you can access. Earlier when I talked about how one of the key problems was that it’s difficult to know where that information is, you immediately become a more efficient organization because you get rid of that. You don’t have to guess what information it is. It’s in your single source of truth. If we, for instance, look at our document register, you can see every single project document now is in one place, one location that you can access quickly and efficiently. That’s one element of efficiency.

David:

The other element that we talked about briefly before was this concept of answering questions, being able to make the right decisions by understanding the full project context of what’s going on in your organization. This is this idea of being able to link information together. Now, it’s not that this is impossible if you don’t have a single source of truth, but think to yourself, how do you link your emails today to a drawing on your network drive, to a photo that’s currently sitting out on someone’s iPad, for instance? How do you bring that together to create a single environment that everyone can understand and use to make efficient decisions? Well, that’s obviously not easy to do.

David:

What we’ve done is create a system that allows you to link that information together, and here’s an example of one such document. Here’s some of the basic document details, but what we can do is we can also link a specific document to other project items. In this case, these are the mails that it’s linked to, maybe some additional documents that it’s linked to, a package that you used to send out information on this document at a past point in time. You’re starting to get that total project context so you’re able to make those decisions in a much more efficient fashion than you would have ever had been able to do in the past.

John:

What about … Dave, I want to hit more on that risk topic and I think of punch lists and maybe something gets installed or constructed in the wrong place and maybe there was an email that came through that said, “Hey, wait a second. We need to put the door here as opposed to there,” but then someone might say, “Well, I didn’t get that email”? Can you talk more about that?

David:

Sure. Within risk, there are really two primary advantages you get from a single source of truth. One is making sure everyone is working off the right, most current document. Think, if you’ve ever gone through that situation where you are pretty sure that you sent the most current documentation out to the project team, but a few days later you get a call basically where someone’s saying that they just got done building something and it used an out-of-date document. What do you do? Well, someone’s going to have to pay. Someone’s going to have to deconstruct it, demolish it, potentially rework it. There’s a cost associated with that and it’s a risk to the project when you don’t have those most current documents.

David:

With the single source of truth, not only do you have all the information in one place, but because you do have all that information in one place, it becomes much easier to keep track of the revisions in the system and which one is most current, and then you can use that single source of truth as a distribution hub for making sure everyone on the project team has access and visibility into the most current documents.

David:

Another major component of risk, of course, is what happens when you have a situation where you made that send, but somebody is still swearing to you, “No, I never got it. Never got it.” Well, what do you do today? Do you go out and search through your emails, look at your FTP site to see what you’ve sent out there, look if you’ve made any hard copies? Again, you’re having to look at multiple locations with the hope that you have evidence that you actually submitted that information.

David:

Well, with a single source of truth, again, you have a single distribution point, but you also have a single point where all of that history is being stored and maintained that you can reference to prove what’s going on. For instance, we can look here and see a transmittal history of every time that that information was distributed, who it was distributed to, what company, what the package was, what revision of the package. You have that information at your fingertips. You also have a detailed history of everyone that ever touched this document, when they viewed it, when they sent it, when they downloaded it, when they commented against it, that full detail.

David:

You can even control the access to make sure from a single source of truth that the right people have access to the right information. This all becomes not necessarily impossible without a single source of truth, but becomes significantly easier, mitigate your risk and also creates a much more efficient operation. When you layer all this information into a single system, you can now track all this information very easily.

John:

That’s some great information on becoming more efficient and also mitigating risks. But now it’s that part of the show, Dave, where we take some questions from those watching online today. Our first question is, “Dave, I understand the whole concept of a single source of truth and everyone having the most up-to-date documents when they need them. But can I control who sees what document?”

David:

Yeah. That’s a great question, John. And it’s funny because if you look at the screen we’re looking at right now, it’s really about user access. And think, again, back to those environments that aren’t based on a single source of truth. How do you determine what emails are allowed to be sent to what people? Well, you really can’t. How do you determine what FTP sites are set up and who has access to them? Well, you can certainly set that up, but you have to configure that.

David:

Similarly, if you give someone access to a Dropbox account, you have to configure that. Again, you may have lots of different systems and you’re having to secure them each individually to make sure the right people are getting the right information. Single source of truth, you have one system with all your information where you can define who has access to what, what they can see and what they can’t see.

John:

Okay. Our second question, “I often worry about the chance of litigation if there is some dispute over a change that may need to be made. Tell me again, please” … He really wants to know, Dave … “How a single source of truth protects against that litigation.”

David:

This gets back to that risk discussion we had a couple of minutes ago, John, and I guess I didn’t take it far enough in terms of the worst case scenario. I mean, we discussed the conflict that you can get into when you’re basically saying you’ve distributed information to someone, got them the most current documents, and they’re saying they don’t [have them]. Well, worst case situation is there is no agreement and now you’ve moved into a litigious situation. Now think of the money you’re spending, A, just spending with lawyers, analyzing the situation, researching out all the various forms that you may have distributed that document to see if you actually did and then if it actually goes to litigation and you lose, then you have that cost as well.

David:

What you’ve really described is sort of that final unfortunate step that does occur relatively frequently within our industry that the two sides can’t come to an agreement and there is no proof, there’s actually no proof that you can come to that says, “I sent this document. You viewed it on this date. You downloaded it on this date. I know that you had it prior to making the changes that you did that were incorrect.”

John:

Fantastic.

John:

Well, that’s a wrap for this webinar. We thank you so much for tuning in. Again, if you have any questions about the topics we’ve discussed, please enter them in the chat box on the left side of the screen. And to learn more about InEight as well as our broad portfolio of construction project management solutions, visit InEight.com and click on the “Request a Demo” button. And if you’d like to see a schedule of upcoming webinars, visit InEight.com/webinars. Thanks for watching. This concludes our presentation.