Between architectural firms, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, on-site staff teams, and other stakeholders, construction projects generate a huge amount of operational data. This data can be used by construction companies to provide meaningful insights to optimize construction processes, evaluate risk profiles, and mitigate risks. However, as much as 80% of this data is left unutilized and unstructured, and is termed ‘dark data.’ But to drive greater efficiency across the construction industry, this scenario must change.
In today’s blog, we will look at how construction companies can implement an enterprise data warehouse to streamline their data acquisition processes.
Common Data Challenges faced by the Construction Industry
The Covid-19 pandemic fast-tracked the adoption of several digital tools across various segments of the construction industry. In the past two years, a plethora of construction firms integrated collaboration software, BIM systems, data analytics programs, and more into their business workflows. Each of these software tools produces a substantial amount of data. And nearly half of the construction professionals are grappling with ways to collect and process this data manually.
Here, we will look at some of the most common data challenges faced by the construction industry:
- A huge amount of data is wasted
As discussed above, the pandemic has compelled many construction firms to integrate digital tools into their workflows, resulting in massive data collection. However, most companies do not have any specialized systems to store, process, and analyze this data. It is often kept in disparate and independent spreadsheets and is seldom used. This results in a lot of time and effort wastage.
- Different stakeholders create different data structures
Owing to the massive scope of construction projects, they involve seamless collaboration between internal and external stakeholders. Now all these stakeholders leverage a different type of data structure to gather all the information they need throughout the lifecycle of the project.
When these stakeholders come together to internally gather and manage information, they feel overwhelmed due to the sheer volume of data available in varied formats. Consequently, they fail to generate a comprehensive view of the business operations.
Construction companies require a unified format to view and evaluate this data. However, it is not always easy to persuade the different stakeholders to restructure their data while making sure it does not impact the way they conduct their operations.
- Creation of data silos
Decentralization of data banks further results in the establishment of data silos, which poses serious operational issues for construction managers. If data does not move from one stage to the next, it leads to communication gaps. These gaps may cause construction companies fortunes of money in rework.
Moving on, several project managers still depend on outdated means of communication such as chat applications or emails. This creates diverse chains of communication, creating gaps that further lead to costly errors and inaccuracies.
So, what’s the Solution?
The short answer: implementing an enterprise data warehouse (EDW).
Essentially, an enterprise data warehouse is a database that stores and organizes all data associated with your organization. An inherent component of Business Intelligence (BI), these warehouses make the data available to all authorized users while also offering unrestrained support in the form of detailed analysis and reporting.
And do you know the best part? These warehouses store streams of structured and unstructured data from disparate sources (ERP, CRM, OLTP, etc.) and convert them into intuitive reports for easy analysis. And this helps construction managers optimize their business operations, enhance critical decision-making, and drive efficiency across their value chain.
Benefits of Leveraging Data Warehousing in the Construction Industry
Here are some notable reasons for using an enterprise data warehouse in the construction industry.
- Standardized and consolidated data
Enterprise data warehouse architecture is such that it can store massive amounts of data from diverse business operations. Talking about the construction industry, there is a substantial amount of data generated in the form of design models, blueprints, feasibility studies, construction plans, site surveys, project measurements, project timelines, permits, vendor information, etc. Implementing a data warehouse creates a single source of truth.
Furthermore, the warehouse not just consolidates data but also standardised it, combining the flow of random information in an enterprise. This saves a considerable amount of time that would have otherwise gone into systematically aggregating the data.
- Seamless collaboration between different departments
Construction projects involve multiple stakeholders. From the clients to the subcontractors, the amount of information is likely in the thousands for every build. With an enterprise data warehouse, construction managers can obtain a broader context of all information and determine the relationship between multiple data sets. This facilitates much better decision-making.
- Swift access to actionable data
Enterprise data warehouses in the construction industry can quickly generate meaningful insights from the entire data set in action. When all the data is kept in a unified place, the latest and up-to-date information is always available to project managers, business leaders, and the onsite team. This data can be used for querying which offers the following benefits:
- Boosting productivity for the construction industry
- Saving costs for the construction project
- Competing with large-scale business enterprises
- Optimizing costs for building system
- Enhancing sales and tapping new markets
- Keeping on top of customer expectations and requirements
- Building loyalty with stakeholders and clients
- Hiring proficient resources to mitigate potential risks
- Security and disaster recovery
In most cases, cloud-based data warehouses assist with robust data security. Such systems automatically create data backups that result in negligible loss of data. Moreover, it enables construction businesses to easily scale up and down the system depending on their needs.
The construction industry requires a high standard of safety and compliance. With effective data acquisition and analytics, project managers can reduce rework, mitigate risk, and create a more efficient job site. This is possible with the implementation of an enterprise data warehouse. It can help to create a single source of truth for all stakeholders and provide access to smart and intelligent insights that enhance productivity and optimize construction costs.