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From Under-Digitized to Under-Utilized

by dominicc | April 11, 2018 | posted in Data | No Comments

Kris Lengieza, VP Operational Excellence, Stiles Construction

Construction has been plagued with a productivity problem for the last 50 years. We are often pegged as one of the least digitized industries in the world. While no one will dispute these facts I believe things are changing, and changing quickly. Over the last five years I have seen significant changes to policies and procedures within construction firms and the amount of data which we are collecting is immense. As we have moved away from paper-based processes towards software solutions the amount of data we are capturing has grown exponentially, but does it really matter?

Some would argue that we are surrounded by data. My company utilized our previous project management system for 20 years up until recently. Trust me there is data – but what are we doing with it?… Unfortunately, not enough. Collecting data and information is not enough we have to put it to good use.

Connected Data is Good Data

Maybe now you are starting to think to yourself, “We do have a lot of data, don’t we?” We have financial data, project management data, BIM data, and a slew of other silos that these data sources live in. But, until we can start connecting them they don’t mean much on their own. When we start to link together these data streams, both new and old we can create a forward thinking data strategy. This strategy will help us future-proof our enterprise. Identifying trends and key indicators within that data will give us a strategic advantage over the competition. Many companies are now employing data scientists within their organizations or even working with companies specializing in data analytics in the construction industry such as ConstructionBI. Pushing the bar even farther companies such as BuildingSP are using deep learning, machine learning and dashboard tools to analyze industry data to identify key data trends. These companies will help construction firms separate themselves from the herd in the future. The ability to identify predictive indicators within data sets will allow them to identify potential risks and rewards earlier in the project.

Looking at the data you already have

You don’t have to be a data scientist to learn from the data you already have though. Tools have become increasing easier to use and data even easier to connect, and so by utilizing your industry knowledge, you likely already know the questions you want to answer.

Begin by connecting up some of those existing data silos in one of the available data visualization tools such as PowerBI, Domo or Tableau; these easier to use interfaces allow users to quickly transition data to information and derive action plans from it. Once we start to better utilize our data we can truly understand it’s power and move away from being such an under digitized industry.


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