What is the right call for collaborative data transformation?

In today’s construction landscape, data has the potential to revolutionise decision-making, enhance safety, boost productivity and reduce operational costs. However, for this to happen, the industry must learn how to unleash its potential.

Currently, construction is in the early stages of digitisation, at least when compared to sectors of a similar size. Yet, in the past few years, the sector has moved quickly, and the uptake of digital solutions, be it tools or platforms, is now critical to ensure the efficiency of building processes and project transparency. Take equipment like heavy machinery, for example, it’s now possible to monitor machinery usage and spot when equipment has been left idle. It may seem simple, but this is only a recent development, and one that is saving companies thousands in fuel and labour costs.

It’s an example of how, if data is managed efficiently, the insights it brings can facilitate huge cost and productivity benefits.

computer with stats One of the key objectives of data collection is ensuring that the same data isn’t stored in multiple places (Photo: AdobeStock)
Seeing the bigger picture

Despite the potential of data, the issue in construction is that currently, we’re seeing huge swathes of wastage. Companies tend to focus on one specific element within their business but fail to see the bigger picture. This is no fault of their own, the sector is still evolving and developing ways to showcase value here, but it highlights a wider issue – that a lack of standardisation in the sector around data exists and is holding businesses back from their true potential.

The five-point plan

However, there are ways available to ensure the above is avoided. The following steps will show you how. It’s a tried and tested system that should offer some ‘food for thought’ as to how you might improve the way you’re handling data:

Mapping data flow to automate processes: At its core, this means processing, organising and structuring data in a way that it’s useful to everyone. Perhaps your company has data on machinery fuel usage – where does the data belong; does it have a specific location, and who needs to see it? Once you have this information, is there a way to automate repetitive or low-priority tasks, making it easier for staff to focus on more strategic and value-added activities?

Data collection and ingestion: One of the key objectives of data collection is ensuring that the same data isn’t stored in multiple places, leading to miscommunication, errors and ultimately costly inefficiencies. To make sure this doesn’t happen, ingestion processes are vital – essentially how will you absorb this information into your data management system?

Creation of ecosystems: This refers to a company’s own ‘data ecosystem’ within its organisation. This is made up of different elements such as the type of people you hire, the technology you invest in and the processes that you have in place. If they all work together seamlessly, it’s possible to extract meaningful insights that, in turn, promote better decision-making.

statistics on screen Without structured and effective ways to analyse data, businesses will never see the latent benefits (Photo: AdobeStock)

Tailored analysis: Without structured and effective ways to analyse data, businesses will never see the latent benefits. Having flexible data outputs that cater to a company’s diverse reporting needs is the backbone of any tech-savvy organisation. If you’re able to tailor the analysis to different requirements, businesses can make more informed decisions that can inform behavioural changes and boost productivity. The quicker this happens, the closer you are to making real-time decision-making, which can allow rapid responses to the ebb and flow of daily operations. The timelier the decision, the greater the impact it can have.

Cultural change: This point emphasises the need for skill development and a supportive environment that values and leverages data. It’s about recognising that having data is not simply enough, it needs to be harnessed at all levels to get the best from it. This may require a cultural shift and a re-education of employees or even hiring new staff that can bring new skills to the table. Incremental gains and goal setting are also critical – pushing the entire business towards data-driven decision-making within a desired time frame. This also applies to collaboration across the supply chain, ensuring all stakeholders and project teams can access vital data and understand how it can influence their activities to improve the bottom line.

By following the fundamentals within this five-point plan, businesses can rethink how they go about digital transformation. The benefits of data are vast, and making a successful digital transformation can ensure productivity gains are maintained, which, ultimately, will deliver an increased ROI down the line.

This showcases an attractive proposition, particularly at a time of razor-thin profit margins. The industry has come a long way, but now is the time to take data collaboration to the next level, melding stats and figures into gold.

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Andy Brown Editor, Editorial, UK - Wadhurst Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786224 E-mail: [email protected]
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