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Construction Companies Can Leverage The Potential Of Big Data

As the construction industry rides the wave of the technology revolution, one of the biggest challenges is big data management. There is no doubt that big data is king. It is the catalyst for growth and productivity. It is rife with potential, helping companies complete projects on time, bid more accurately, and build more efficiently. But big data dependence goes hand-in-hand with certain challenges like security. Here’s what contractors need to know for better big data management practices.

Understanding Analytics

Big data is everywhere. It starts with collecting all the information and figures that are plugged into bidding software. CAD designs and 3D models add more data to a project’s digital footprint. This digital footprint expands further once a project begins. It includes text from all communications, updates to designs, sensor reading from equipment, input from labor crews, etc. What good is all of this data if a company doesn’t know how to interpret the reports that provide detailed analysis? Understanding analytics is key to tweaking operations for greater efficiency, productivity and ultimately, profitability.

Simplifying Analytics

It may seem overwhelming to try to manage and analyze all the information produced by an automated digital process. By breaking data down into the three-part life-cycle of construction projects, it becomes easier to apply the adjustments that will make a company perform better:

  • Design Phase: Modeling can help a company determine the best site to build a particular project. By gathering environmental information, better designs can be engineered to make the most of a particular location’s geographical features. Patterns and probabilities can be generated using historical data that can assist a company make better decisions and avoid costly mistakes.
  • Building Phase: When a contractor enters the active phase of building construction, there are so many variables that can disrupt schedules. Disruptions most often prove to be very costly. Minimize disruption with big data that can predict weather patterns, effects of local traffic, and impact of local community activities. Take advantage of equipment and tools that use sensors to track the viability and integrity of the equipment. This helps a construction company avoid delays with equipment suddenly in need of repair or service. Optimize fuel usage with improved logistics. Manage crews better with effective scheduling software that reduces downtime.
  • Management Phase: Once a project is complete and a building is ready for operations to begin, property management is enhanced by big data. Integrated building sensors monitor structural and systems operations 24/7. Smarter buildings are more energy-efficiency, have better security, and fewer maintenance issues.

New Territory

For many construction companies, big data management is new territory. More than half of operating contractors want the advantages big data offers. For many, however, uncertainty with understanding and applying the information is what holds them back. What is a contractor missing out on by not embracing emerging technologies?

  • Advance warning of project issues.
  • Forecasting of best/worst case scenarios in project modeling.
  • Up-to-date financial information in real time as a project progresses.
  • Analytics of project details that affect profitability.

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Leveraging Potential

For firms that are interested in leveraging the potential of big data, the answer may lie in a strategic partnership. What a construction company needs is a team dedicated to the technology side of their industry. The right professional relationships are key to the success of any business. Stay focused on what your company does best, building construction. Team up with an organization that does what it does best, technological enhancement of your business. Such a partnership can solve business technology problems, allowing a contractor to leverage the potential of big data for their projects. Here’s what the right professional relationship can do for a construction company:

  • Custom Software: Why pay for an expensive off-the-shelf software package that doesn’t meet all of your needs? Why pay for fluff you don’t need and won’t use? A technology partner can customize a software package that will enhance business operations exactly where it’s needed most.
  • Consultation: When it comes to emerging technologies, many businesses are interested in what it might offer their company. Filled with questions,  many businesses are left scratching their heads over the answers received. When a construction company has a technology team committed to their needs, a company stays current on the best solutions for their business. Dedicated consultants answer all of those questions in language that is easily understood. With a technology team, a contractor enjoys the benefit of having a consultant already familiar with how their business is run, what their project scope is, what the company’s capabilities are. That means a technology team is always examining which new technologies are perfect for your better business strategy.
  • Analytics: A busy construction company focused on growth may be loathed to take the time to read all of the analytical reports generated by big data. A technology team not only does this for you but has the expertise to guide the best business decisions indicated by the data. With everyone working within this kind of professional relationship focusing on their strengths, it’s a win/win.
  • Compliance: Compliance is a serious issue when it comes to designing a structure. An architect understands this with regard to local building codes. But does a construction company understand the importance of data compliance? There are standards and codes that also apply to all that information a company is collecting. Rather than manage your big data simply hoping for the best, put the skills of technology professionals to good use protecting your company by assuring that you are maintaining compliance. Keep your project, client, company and employee data secure.
  • Support: Who doesn’t need support? Personal and professional lives all need a solid network of support. Instead of wasting valuable time trying to problem solve software issues, a contractor can hand the problem off to their technology team. Run your business effectively by delegating tasks to those best suited to deliver.

Big data is the answer for growing a construction company. Technology helps companies perform better, operate safer and reach higher levels of profitability. To get the most of big data, contact skilled professionals with the expertise to know what to do with all that information.