Trends in Construction Data Management That All Contractors Should Consider

Better decision making, deeper insights into operations, and the ability to anticipate outcomes are all results of a good construction data analytics strategy. But the choices you make today about pursuing a data strategy should be informed by a sound mission and methodology.

Here are three important trends that all companies of all sizes should consider.

1.     Choosing the right problems

The goal of data analytics in any organization should be to solve problems. This may seem bluntly obvious, but it is not uncommon for organizations to lose the forest for the trees. In other words, are you asking the right questions of your analytics strategy? Are you toiling over the creation of spreadsheets and dashboards when all you really want is a more accurate forecasting on your project margins? Why are you building and investing in these systems? Do you know what questions your data strategy is meant to answer?

Having a clear, guiding principle with a data strategy is the key to success. If you aren’t choosing the right problems to solve, you’re going to waste time and money. You can’t make what you don’t measure, so be sure your team is looking at the right metrics.

2.     Building for tomorrow, not today

Many contractors have been building an analytics platform internally for years, perhaps a decade. If you are wading into the build it versus buy it territory, be sure to check out our take on that strategy (hint, we don’t recommend it for everyone!).

More than likely you’re going to have some hybrid approach. You’ve started to build some sort of system internally, and while it isn’t perfect, it can meet some of your requirements today. But deep down you know there are shortcomings, and if you’ve made it this far in this article you must be interested in what technology might be out there.

Another obvious conclusion: you’re probably not leveraging all the technology you could be. Whatever data analytics mechanism you built 5 years ago is already obsolete. And whatever system you’ve built today will be obsolete in a year. We’re moving towards a world of services– where compute, storage, and predictive power have all been democratized and are available in the cloud. Briq will run your data strategy at half the cost and in half the time and ensure that you are using the latest technology to build your company for tomorrow, not today.  

3.     Embracing analytics everywhere

Earlier this month, Nike purchased a data analytics company to understand how to better distribute inventory at certain retail locations (and thus improve margins). McDonald’s bought an analytics start up this year to predict what consumers may order in their restaurants depending on the weather and time of day (and organize supply chains accordingly). Analytics is everywhere these days, not just buried in the IT basements behind hardware and server racks.

If you are in the IT department, your responsibility is to ensure that the data is accessible to power these analytics. You become the stewards of insights, and your job is not to build the models and manage the servers, but rather to ensure that the business challenges are represented in the analytics systems and that the data pipelines are built out to answer them. 

Ellis Talton