Technology in Construction: The Impact of Technology on Construction Data
6 Minute Read
May 1, 2021
It’s no secret that contractors have gotten much more tech-savvy in recent years. They’ve largely moved from a collective industry that has resisted new and emerging technology to one that’s embracing it. From end-to-end, integrated construction software to electronic construction documents to the heavy use of mobile devices and apps to collect data and perform tasks in the field to moving to cloud-based solutions for their entire construction management needs, contractors are now (mostly) on the cutting edge.
Though some contractors are still hesitant to digitize their operations and move on from manual processes, much of the industry has embraced a digitized approach. Contractors have realized the benefits of having real-time information on hand to make critical decisions; the peace of mind from having electronic documents and data backups should issues arise; and the integration of technology solutions to provide one source of data truth throughout the organization. The era of the digital contractor is here.
Now, contractors are looking to take digitization to the next level, but using leading-edge technologies to help better collect, store, segment and analyze their data to better understand their projects and organizational health. This data transformation has significant legs in construction, as evidenced by a recent report by Dodge Data & Analytics and Viewpoint: Improving Performance with Project Data.
The report surveys contractors about their current means of collecting and utilizing data, where there are still data gaps and how they’re planning their own data transformations. Here are six noteworthy highlights from that report:
According to the report, 64% of contractors are reporting improvements in the ability to gather and analyze data in the past three years. This is largely due to the advance of mobile and cloud technology solutions available to contractors that make it easier to pull data from the field and share with the back office in real- or near-real time. Of special note, the report also pointed out that 12% of contractors listed ability to run advanced data analytics as a top reason for moving to the cloud.
First and foremost, contractors want to know what’s going on with their current projects, with 93% calling this a top need. Also ranking high is streamlining labor hours and payroll (76%) finding productivity gaps (75%) and collecting safety data (64%).
Construction-specific management software or ERP platforms are now the preferred way to collect, parse and analyze data, with an average of 76% of contractors either satisfied or very satisfied with these solutions. Conversely, the report also notes that while there is still some reliance on more manual methods like spreadsheets, less than half of contractors are content with this approach.
Of standard reports available via construction software solutions, project financials are still the most commonly used (93%). Also noted among top reports by contractors, were project logs (83%), safety reports (73%) and equipment maintenance and costs (52%). It’s clear that costs and productivity are of chief importance for contractors.
More and more, project leaders in the office and in the field are taking on the role of analyzing project and making key decisions. As technologies and software become more accessible and intuitive, it is becoming easier for project stakeholders at all levels to be able to analyze data in formats that are relevant to them and their specific roles. As many as 34% of general contractors and 41% of specialty contractors are now performing data analysis while in the field.
Though the bulk of contractors today are still looking at historical data to gauge what happened on a project, why it happened and help determine actions to take, more than half of contractors (55%) noted are looking at data in predictive models, leveraging information to help them better understand when and where future events or triggers will occur and how to better plan for them.
As contractors become more tech-savvy and they’ve seen what other industries have been able to do with advanced data and business intelligence solutions, there has been a growing demand for a data transformation in construction.
Enter Viewpoint Analytics, a new data platform providing self-service reporting and predictive analytical capabilities to contractors. Previewed at our 2019 Collaborate User Conference, the solution will enable contractors to track operational and financial performance of their projects, processes, people and ultimately, their business.
Viewpoint Analytics will not only significantly improve the reporting abilities contractors currently have, it will let them build and measure against new KPIs and both internal and industry benchmarks. Viewpoint Analytics is built within the Microsoft Azure Cloud platform, an industry-leading platform for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies. Viewpoint is also collaborating with Microsoft on new data science and AI initiatives.
Several of our clients are currently testing Viewpoint Analytics.
“This data evolution is going to be transformational for the construction industry,” said Vice President Meggan Krase with Kansas City, Mo.-based Garney Construction, which has been field testing Viewpoint Analytics. “We are excited to continue partnering with Viewpoint in the realm of testing new solutions. Their focus on helping develop predictive capabilities for profit fade, safety and other needs have significant impact on our company’s operations and the construction industry as a whole.”
The company is additionally working with the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) to embed key financial benchmarks created by the association and used industry-wide into Viewpoint Analytics’ data analysis offerings for contractors.
Want to learn more about how Viewpoint is helping contractors take control of their data and better understand their projects and business? Contact us today!
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