Data-driven. The term is everywhere. It’s more than a buzzword, it’s a movement that is reaching into and redefining how all businesses, including construction, function on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis.
At its best, it can turn reactive processes into proactive powerhouses, improving everything from job site safety to productivity and achieving, or beating project deadlines. But to fully benefit from this culture, you have to have the right tools and take advantage of technology. Because today, it’s not just about gathering data. It’s about leveraging your data to gain a more complete picture of your entire construction life cycle, releasing your business from past mistakes, promoting future successes, and saving you money, time, and resources.
Learning from the past to design the future
Repetition without improvement is just that; repetition. What is the value of repeating processes that could be improved without actually improving them, or worse, losing money for you and your client?
This is the crux of a culture successfully driven by data, particularly historical data. A complete 180 from the traditional thinking of simply accepting things as they are, this new culture is born out of the desire to know why or how things are the way they are so that you can adjust for a more safe, productive, and profitable future.
It’s born from the mentality of passionately pursuing continuous improvement. Why is the concrete work behind schedule? Why was that last shipment of steel subpar? How can we mitigate this in the future? Because only when you know why a project or an event happened the way it did can you really begin to understand how to repeat your successes, forecasting more accurately, and avoid mistakes. And who wouldn’t love that?
Dashboards that put you in control
One of the most in-demand software features across data-driven cultures is customizable dashboards. This is because they are pre-configured while still allowing you to make changes to better facilitate your specific business processes. They are also easy to access and use, even on-the-go with a mobile device.
Customizable dashboards give you a place to start but allow for the flexibility to answer your own questions as well. For the construction business, they can be paradigm-shifting, allowing your organization to consider a rich variety of metrics before making any decision or while looking for problems to address. For instance, utilizing dashboards that show change orders on your project over time can help you identify and drill down to the specific areas of your project that may need some additional oversight. And that’s just the beginning, think about earned value and productivity analysis as well. The possibilities are endless!
Accessibility is key. Are users able to manipulate and share their own dashboards to individuals, or to a wider audience across the organization? Is there one hub that is well known for users to get to all the reporting they need? Can you think of a one-stop-shop within your organization that employees consider to be the source of truth? Dashboards help to easily identify various trends and call attention to actionable items much quicker than merely reviewing a traditional Excel-type report consisting of simple rows and columns. So, it is important to ensure that the company-designated reports are easily accessible to promote adoption across the organization. The ability to rely on one source of the truth that is well known and easily accessible is essential to embracing a data-driven mentality.
Customization can help you draw insights from your data and let you visualize it in a way that is often not possible in a standard tabular report. With the ability to customize pre-built dashboards, you can access industry-proven or company-approved metrics and make small changes on the fly. This saves you from having to develop requirements and/or desired enhancements generate the typical work ticket within your IT team or having to contact your software provider for help, freeing up your team’s valuable time better spent on planning, managing, and executing the work.
Experience still matters
If you’re thinking at this point that embracing a data-driven culture will replace human input, don’t worry. The truth is, making decisions in a vacuum of pure data can prove just as costly as making them without the correct data. Solid field knowledge will always be vital to lend precious context, allowing you to find that sweet spot where the best of technology and humanity converge. Calling on intuition from years of experience is just as important now as ever.
Remember, adopting a data-driven culture is a significant shift, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Take the time you need to do your own research and find providers and solutions that fit your unique needs.
When you’re ready, InEight’s intuitively designed construction software will be there to get you where you need to go. Request an InEight demo today using the enquiry form on this page to get started.