Unlocking the Power of Data On the Go with Mobile Construction Analytics
As the data revolution in construction continues, paper reports, spreadsheets and outdated software are quickly becoming things of the past.
In the heavy highway space, where significant growth in new projects is expected as more infrastructure and public works projects come online thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, data-connected companies will have a competitive advantage in bidding and winning government projects.
Although many contractors have adopted more data-driven construction workflows, the data and workflows, whether preconstruction, accounting, HR or project management, are often located in an ERP system or other back-office software in the organization. Before they can gain visibility into factors that could impact a project’s profitability, project stakeholders are required to initiate a lengthy process to access the data from these systems or ask someone in the office to compile and share a report.
As barriers to cloud adoption and concerns about security issues have decreased in recent years, more contractors are opting for cloud-based solutions that eliminate these time-consuming processes by making data more easily accessible by people throughout an organization from anywhere, at any time.
Through a combination of connected cloud and mobile analytic technologies, contractors can easily access and analyse complicated construction data from virtually anywhere via today’s smart, connected mobile devices. the office, the jobsite and anywhere in between. With powerful data and analytics literally at their fingertips, heavy highway contractors can quickly view a project’s progress and gain a sense of the overall health of the business, helping them drive more productive and profitable projects.
Mobile Analytics for Real-Time Intelligence in the Field
Intelligent, actionable data can inform quick decisions on everything from which labour, equipment and materials to switch out to avoid profit fade and when to bill against work, to how recruitment and hiring efforts are faring—all with a few simple clicks on their phone or tablet. Here are five reasons why this is important for heavy highway and civil contractors:
- Democratize Data and Decision Making. Mobile analytics provide real-time access to data that was once only available from back-office systems and can be applied across the organization to virtually any construction professional, whether in the back office, in the field as a supervisor, or a project manager or equipment manager. This democratizes and expands secure access to a single source of data truth for everyone.
- Self-Serve Data. Quick comparisons between reports and data sets can reveal important insights. Individuals can visualize project information, tasks and workflows and directly pull the data most relevant to their roles. In the field, instead of complicated Excel sheet management or drawn-out emails and memos, users have the power to pull up real-time metrics, reports, visualizations and dashboards that can be easily queried through self-service tools in seconds.
- Close Gaps Between the Field and Office. Back-office accountants and financial staff can make sure all of the project financial information and tasks stay on track, while project managers can see real-time job progress, adjust schedules, equipment and materials, and see the direct impact of real-time job costing and where they stand with their project values. This information can be both sourced and updated in seconds, keeping project data consistently updated for everyone on project teams. Moreover, today’s connected technologies mean that advanced data capabilities do not require complicated data science to achieve. Cloud algorithms and workflows do the heavy lifting, serving up data in formats that are easy to access and easy to understand.
- Better Streamline Data Relevant for Different Construction Roles. While democratizing data creates a culture with easy access to business intelligence for all, access and reports can still be restricted based on job role and function. For example, subcontractors need access to current project plans and material quantities, but it would be a compliance violation if they had access to employees’ personal data. The CFO needs a holistic view of the overall health of the business, whereas a project manager may only need to see how specific projects are tracking against expectations. The benefit of mobile analytics is that they can provide different construction professionals and roles with different reports that are relevant to them through simple access points.
- Keep Data Secure. Mobile analytic tools shine as they are increasingly connected to, or offered as part of connected, cloud-based construction management platforms, and are considered much more secure given the extensive security measures and protocols maintained by cloud vendors. Cloud vendors are consistently watching and planning for the latest security threats and implementing security protocols that surpass the level most contractors are able to provide with on-premise data storage, particularly given the prevalence of ransomware.
Working in a connected, cloud environment also means that data is secure should an accident, natural disaster or other incident occur. Cloud data is regularly backed up so that businesses can keep moving should an unforeseen event happen, and it has encrypted security and rich-access permission features, which make data accessible only to the sources who should have access to it.
With technology advances, the means by which today’s contractors can collect, view, segment, analyse and share the mountains of data their projects produce has improved dramatically.
Analytic solutions, mobile technologies and cloud-based software applications can provide a clear, real-time picture of what’s going right and wrong across projects and the business so contractors can make smarter decisions and tackle whatever is thrown their way.