Digital transformation is slowly gaining momentum in the construction industry. There is growing evidence all around that technologies are being adopted both on-site, where the actual construction is taking place, and at the corporate headquarters and the regional offices. These technologies are increasing efficiency and productivity by streamlining workflows.
For example, workflow and project management software is used to streamline project requirements, timelines, resources, progress tracking, and risk management. Likewise, technology solutions for budget tracking, cost management, communications, and collaboration are also adopted, along with HR and payroll processing.
With cloud migration (software as a service and the shift away from the on-premise infrastructure), great strides have been made in creating accessible digitization in favor of engineering and construction management.
The Emergence of Data Silos
However, as software solutions are introduced into the construction management process, data silos and duplication begin to emerge. Data silos refer to the storage of data within different departments of the construction company that is not readily shared with the rest of the company. Data silos can occur due to poor process as well as fragmented technological implementations used by different departments, such as project management, accounting, and human resources. Though the data required by the systems should be common, it ends up duplicated across systems. This leads to confusion and chaos regarding versions of data and a lack of accurate and up-to-date data across all departments.
An example of the creation of data silos is when there are different systems for project management and accounting within the same construction company. The project management system creates and processes data generated by project timelines, budgets, and task assignments, while the accounting system may have financial data such as invoices and purchase orders. Unfortunately, due to the data silo created by each system, common information may not be accessible to all relevant modules, leading to duplicate data entry and a lack of accessibility to project financials and expenditures.
A further example is when document management and project management are different technology solutions having their respective data silos. Each requires the data of the other, which in this case does not easily happen, leading to miscommunication, duplication of data, and incorrect version control of any document.
Another instance of the creation of data silos or duplication of data materializes when construction companies use different software for scheduling and time tracking and HR software for payroll. They have to manually transfer common data across the systems, which can result in inaccuracies, errors, and inconsistencies.
Integrated Solutions Are the Solution
Integrated solutions resulting in the integration of data are required to increase the accuracy and efficiency of the technologies adopted by construction companies and drive better data-driven decision-making.
When solutions, along with data, are integrated across all the various departments of a construction company, information is accurate and consistent across different software solutions and services. This is paramount for employee data, vendor data, financial data, and project information, all of which impact decision-making and the success of a project.
Efficiency and Data Duplication
When data is integrated, there is no data duplication across all systems and software that have been deployed. By avoiding duplicate data entry, reducing the need for manual data transfer across systems, and increasing overall access and visibility into project-wide information, businesses can save time and resources and realize increased efficiency.
Once solutions across systems in various departments of a construction company are integrated, data analysis can be made to make better decisions based on complete and accurate information from across the company. Access to integrated data allows for a better understanding of project financials, budgets, timelines, employee information, project deliverables, and other such information.
Data Compliance and Governance
With integrated solutions, data control and governance are much easier to execute. Centralized data means governance compliances and protocol requirements can be implemented effectively.
Integrating data improves collaboration and communication between different departments, increasing productivity and reducing the risk of operational errors.
An integrated solution landscape helps automate various workflows of the construction process, including scheduling, resource management, and cost tracking, which can further help improve efficiency and reduce manual errors.
Visibility of Project Progress
Integrated solutions can provide construction companies with more powerful metrics for project progress and performance, allowing project managers to detect and mitigate workflow issues faster.
With integrated data, sensors, cameras, and other IoT devices can be seamlessly implemented into construction equipment and facility management to provide real-time data for improved maintenance.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a technology-enabled process that improves collaboration, reduces errors, and enhances the overall quality of a construction project by facilitating cost estimation, scheduling, and construction management. BIM is only viable in an integrated solution landscape with a single point of truth.
Integrated Solutions – The Right Choice
Integrated solutions can be of great value in the construction industry.
Efficiency improvement, cost reduction, and improved collaboration and communication are some of the prime movers.
To that end, streamlining project management, facilitating automation, and ensuring greater visibility into project progress and performance are direct results of implementing integrated solutions. Sign up for a personalized demo to learn more about how an integrated solution landscape can help drive business success.