In today’s digital world, data is king. Big data is changing the way we make decisions and giving us a more stable platform for making difficult, yet informed decisions in just about every industry. The construction industry, in particular, is responsible for some of the largest, and costliest projects on the planet!
Because a huge amount of capital, resources, and labor goes into making these projects a reality, the typical construction project creates a huge amount of data. Number crunching has always been a major element of this industry because of the scale of capital, and scope of work involved. While “Business Intelligence” (BI) has been extensively adopted by most sectors, in the construction industry, it is in the growth stage.
By utilizing business data as interactive visualization, construction firms can identify new growth opportunities, offer outstanding customer services, maximize margins, optimize processes, and create space for genuine innovation within the industry.
Let’s define BI within the construction industry, look at some of the major benefits, and consider how the analysis of business data is changing the industry.
What Exactly is “Business Intelligence (BI)?”
In its simplest terms, BI is the gathering of data produced largely through construction management and project management software, then sorting and analyzing it to assist in making intelligent, informed, business decisions.
Surprisingly, although the construction industry creates tremendous amounts of relevant data, studies have shown that the industry is one of the last major North American industries to adapt and embrace business intelligence practices. Companies that have been early adopters have gained significant benefits.
The Practical Benefits of Business Intelligent Work Processes
BI can provide many benefits to smart firms who have the data to analyze and utilize. For example, BI can readily identify areas where opportunities for increased productivity are possible. By examining the past, firms can more accurately bid and scale future projects. Analysis of past data can also allow you to spot consistent problems across multiple projects and then develop strategies to solve them.
With business intelligence you can effectively use economic conditions, data on industry trends, materials cost, and building patterns, to better plan projects. By streamlining labor, and adjusting workflows firms can maximize overhead costs. For example, with proper predictive analysis of materials ordering needs, crews in the field can benefit, ensuring that the proper materials are on-site when needed. BI allows project managers to streamline project planning by having material orders built directly into workflows.
When business data is available to every team member in the office and the field in real-time, data-driven decisions become fast and efficient. Centralization of the data makes it accessible on any device via the cloud and reduce administrative work needed. Cloud solutions have proved to reduce the workload and significantly boost productivity.
BI can help construction firms to refine existing business processes, automate tasks, and better organize and prioritize work. In the construction industry, an abundance of data can be an asset, however, data sources are often siloed or stored in different locations making effective integration challenging. BI can help you to gather and represent data that is ready to be analyzed and turn it into actionable information. This includes historical information which can be difficult to track over time. BI reports empower the users and firms who adopt it with the information they need to become experts in their area of the industry.
In the coming years, business intelligence will radically change and transform the construction industry. The companies that adopt data analytics and the related technologies will become the innovators if the future staying one step ahead of competitors.