Construction Best Practices

7 Key Ingredients of a Data-Driven Contractor

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The construction industry is undergoing a data transformation, as many contractors modernize to take advantage of real-time data analytic tools.

Data is the fuel that powers your construction projects. The more data you have at your fingertips and the better you understand that data, the better ability you have to make actionable business decisions — both in real time on current projects and for future work.

Even before the construction landscape was shaken up by the COVID-19 pandemic, many contractors were modernizing their operations, taking advantage of real-time data and decision-making ability provided by integrated, cloud-based software solutions. This digitization of construction management has allowed them to be agile in their operations, quickly adjusting to new working environments, better managing increasingly complex projects, and ensuring business continuity.

One contractor I spoke with a couple of years ago likened contractors modernization through technology to cooking versus baking. As most chefs and bakers will attest to, cooking is more of an art form, while baking is an exact science. For years, contractors have been cooking — mixing and matching their ingredients for construction management and operational workflows. Sometimes, the end result is a masterpiece. Other times, it’s a complete mess.

But with thin profit margins, tougher project demands and more competition, many contractors are looking to remove the chef hat and put on the baker’s apron. That means leveraging real-time data to better understand both current projects, developing true construction intelligence and being better able forecast future work. The construction industry’s data transformation is being led by a new wave of these data-driven contractors.

Does Your Organization Have the Right Recipe for Success?

Here are seven key ingredients you’ll need to become a truly data-driven contractor:

1. A Technology Commitment and Organizational Buy-In

Before any transformation can begin, there needs to be buy-in throughout the organization to embrace the technologies and tools needed.

In order to become a modern, data-driven contractor, your organization needs to embrace leading technologies. This commitment starts at the top and leverages technology advocates within your organization to work directly with end users to facilitate progressive process changes. A tech-committed contractor stays on top of the latest technology trends and researches how they can best help the organization. The key here is involvement — soliciting and listening to end users’ needs and desires and showing them first hand how modern solutions can improve their lives.

2. A Cloud-Based Platform

Moving operations to the cloud is vital to realizing real-time data.

Your data is only as good as its timeliness, accessibility and relevance. That’s why many contractors have already moved their construction management processes to the cloud to take advantage of real-time data that is fully accessible to users beyond the walls of the back office. This includes easily providing data in formats relevant to each end user and deploying data via modern communication means like mobile and web applications.

3. An Integrated, Construction-Specific Software Suite

Construction data should be standardized by using an integrated suite of solutions.

If your current construction management processes rely on multiple, disconnected software programs, you’re probably working harder and ever to make sense of your disconnected data. Having a truly integrated software suite in place provides you with a single source of data truth across all departments and functions, and makes it easy to automate workflows and streamline construction processes. And, make sure your solution is designed for construction as most “one-size-fits-all” solutions don’t provide the flexibility or specific functions you need to be successful.

4. A Sound Data Strategy

Contractors should have a clear goal in mind for what they want to achieve with their project data, and a plan for how to reach those goals.

Having all of the technology bells and whistles in place won’t mean a thing if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Start with what you know — and what you know that you don’t know — to develop a plan for what you want to achieve as a data-driven contractor. Come up with a wish list of data your users want to see; learn how each department or user best understands data; consider creating benchmarks and comparing your results with industry benchmarks; talk to industry peers to learn what data drives them; and set realistic goals and milestones along the way.

5. The Right Data Analytics Tools

Deploying the right technology tools, like Viewpoint Analytics, can open up a whole new world of construction intelligence.

A key part of your connected, cloud software suite, having right data analytic and business intelligence solutions in place can give you the power to gain powerful construction data insights in just seconds. The right solutions pair powerful data warehouses with intuitive easy-to-use data segmentation and analysis tools that allow end users to self-serve their own data queries — without having to be a data scientist, or even necessarily tech-savvy. By leveraging the cloud and uniform data, these tools put you in the driver’s seat, allowing you to visualize data virtually any way you want - from charts and graphs to automated dashboards to detailed line-item reports to geographical and statistical maps.

6. A Commitment to Data Governance and Security

Data security should be a key factor when choosing a technology vendor for your data transformation.

With great data power comes great data responsibility. That’s why protecting your data at all times is critical to your data-driven success. If you’re not hosting with a trusted technology vendor or relying on in-house hosting methods like maintaining servers, that diligence is going to be needed 24/7. However, by hosting your data with a proven cloud software vendor, you can take a lot of the burden off your plate. These companies stay abreast of the latest security threats, implement the latest protections and provide reliable automatic backups of your data to ensure business continuity. Of course, that data security commitment also extends to your teams and end users, which should be following sound data security and protocols on their end as well — at all times.

7. An Agile Vision to Scale for the Future

Your data platform should be scalable to meet future needs and consistently adding new technology features when they're available.

Part of being a data-driven contractor today is planning ahead for what may come tomorrow. Your technology commitment shouldn’t stop once you have a modern solution in place. It should be forward-looking, encouraging your leaders to continue to find new ways to operate, rewarding innovation and scaling for the future. Moving to the cloud has allowed contractors to begin exploring new data-driven processes like machine learning, artificial intelligence and more. Keeping pace with technology trends and continually developing and building out your cloud-based, data-driven solutions can provide a healthy leg up on your competition.

Bake Data into Action with ViewpointOne

The connected ViewpointOne suite of solutions includes Viewpoint Analytics, providing contractors with a single source of data truth and intelligence.

Now that you’re ready to become a modern, data-driven contractor. You should look for a technology partner you can trust will work with you every step of the way and is just committed to your success as you are. Viewpointhas been on the forefront of leading technologies for more than 40 years and built its ViewpointOne suite of integrated, cloud-based solutions from the ground up to meet the demands of today’s modern contractors.

Unlike software that solves a single need for customers or compels them to work within the restraints of a larger, out-of-the-box ERP solution, ViewpointOne provides a complete, integrated software suite that seamlessly manages your people, projects and processes. The ViewpointOne solutions were designed specifically to help you take control of your construction data and better understand your projects — in the easiest ways possible.

Our integrated Viewpoint Analytics solution lets you smartly manage and analyze your data in a centralized, secure cloud environment. Let your teams self-serve their own data needs by easily creating custom reports and dashboards, powerful data visualizations and much more with simple drag-and-drop features. Instantly share data analysis with others throughout your organization. Leverage your data analysis into direct action and processes in the field to realize greater productivity and profitability now and for the future.

To see first hand how ViewpointOne and Viewpoint Analytics can help you become the next data-driven contractor, contract Viewpoint today!

Posted By

Andy is Marketing Content & PR Manager at Viewpoint. He has worked in the construction software arena since 2011. Previously, he netted multiple awards as a newspaper and trade media editor.