Big data is ubiquitous in many industries: We currently produce 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily. This is big news when it comes to engineering and construction (E&C), where, in addition:
- large infrastructure projects are voluminous—requiring an average of 130 million emails, 55 million documents, and 12 million workflows
- 95.5% of all data captured goes unused
- 13% of construction teams’ working hours are spent looking for project data and information
- 30% of E&C companies are using applications that don’t integrate with one another
Getting past the big data pain points
This is just a staggering amount of information to try to manage. So, most companies either simply avoid the issue or need guidance as they try to sort through their options to properly leverage their data. Getting beyond the big data glut to data-driven decisions requires a four-pronged approach:
- Get the right talent, tools and processes in place. Big data presents unique challenges for the E&C industry. Understanding which data could be useful--and how this data translates into business intelligence--requires a clear understanding of your organization’s overall goals and vision. With clear direction of how you want your data to work for you, your company can extract meaningful insights. But during this period of transition from data glut to data clarity, it’s important to clearly communicate the time frame and rollout process, so you can more easily manage expectations.
- Collect and analyze data with an end goal in mind. Big data can be used to improve performance or processes. But to accomplish these goals, you’ll need personnel who have both worked in the built environment and understand project work but also have critical research and analytical skills. Companies that don’t invest in the right people often experience failures and are slow to realize a return on their investment (ROI). But this important step can help your firm drive performance and generate strategic business insights.
- Move beyond siloed data to data integration. Like many other industries, E&C is notorious for storing data in silos or scattering it across systems, desktops, phones, tables, hard drives, and servers—not to mention cloud locations, other devices, and unstructured data like blueprints, timecards, emails, and PDFs. Data integration can be a difficult, but not insurmountable, challenge.
- Leverage internal or external skills to turn data insights into actionable insights. Data analysis is a highly specialized skill set, and frontline managers and field staff rarely understand how to implement analytical procedures or use analytical tools. Yet to make your data analysis projects effective, you need cultural buy-in. But in an industry where 35% of total costs can be attributed to waste and remedial work, this approach to using big data in the best possible way just makes sense.
Command Alkon offers solutions for Heavy Building Materials businesses that create large amounts of data. Command Alkon will help you capture the data, analyze, and utilize it so that your business not only survives, but thrives. Contact Command Alkon today.
Hero Hint: Choosing the right personnel, technology, tools and processes is an important part of effectively making Big Data a valuable resource and strategically managing your E&C business.