Solving the Construction Industry’s Data Management Problem

automating construction

More and more industries are turning to data management to improve safety, operational efficiency, and productivity and to maximize profit. 

The construction industry is no different. 

Billions of dollars in funding for new software platforms are pouring into the construction industry. Each new system promises to make creating, capturing, processing, and sharing information with multiple stakeholders easier and more convenient.

There are more data management systems available now than ever.

But that may be part of the construction industry’s problem. 

Data management problems in the office

In the office, different departments often use disparate data processing systems. 

Some use cloud-based software, some use on-premise solutions, and an alarming number still rely on spreadsheets. Other departments use a combination of everything. And very few systems integrate. 

Data sits in siloes. 

Desktop spreadsheets, on-premise, and cloud storage systems all hold valuable information, but that data is segmented and doesn’t inform other departments until someone manually transfers it. 

And worse, because each construction project is unique in its resource requirements, duration, cost, and scope–the data collected on one project often retire with that project.

That means the learning curve resets to zero with every project. 

data management

Data management problems in the field 

In the field, mobile technology has become more intuitive and easy to use.

Construction teams can access plan sheets, create documents, send messages, make videos, take photos, and upload information into cloud-based project management systems.

But here is where the problem multiplies.

Over twenty different subcontractors may work under a general contractor or construction management firm on a typical project. Many subcontractors use trade-specific software in the field. And each entity uses a different set of cobbled-together software and manual data systems in the office to run its business. 

General contractors can require subcontractors to use one unified data system while on the project. But this requirement only adds to the confusion. 

Now subcontractors have yet another app on their mobile devices and another system for office staff to manage. 

And this is in addition to the platforms they’re already juggling.

Partial list of construction technology vendors from the Houlihan Lokey Construction Technology Update 2022 

Challenges to solving construction’s data management problem

It’s unlikely that one software platform will emerge as the final and total solution for all situations. 

The market is divided across solutions, many focusing on only one area.

For instance, the top accounting and ERP software (Sage) holds less than 22% of the market share. The take-off and estimating software market is equally contentious, as are the bid management and Client Relationship Management (CRM) markets.

Microsoft Project holds the lion’s share (59.8%) of the project scheduling market with Oracle’s Primavera P6 close behind.

Procore has the top spot for project management platforms, but a surprising number of firms opt for in-house solutions (13%).

Document storage and file sharing is another confusing battle, with industry leader Microsoft holding the number one (OneDrive) and number three positions (SharePoint). 

It seems that even Microsoft can’t arrive at a single solution.

Solving construction’s data management dilemma

As the construction industry continues to evolve, technological sophistication becomes more than important; data management becomes mandatory.

BIM, robotics, job site sensors, prefabrication, off-site, and modular construction are becoming more widely used, and that truth is more than a trend.

The future of the construction industry is digital, and only the most tech-savvy companies will be poised to take advantage of this trend.

Integrated Platform as a Service (iPAAS)

(iPAAS) providers solve many data management problems. 

iPAAS providers connect disparate software platforms to work in a synchronous union. That means construction firms can use the best software solutions for them in tandem with other complementary systems.

These durable connections eliminate the manual entry and data juggling that cause many organizations to struggle.

Collaborative Contracting

The success of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) systems and collaborative contract models pushes the construction industry toward consolidation. 

Whether for individual projects or long-term arrangements, stand-alone contractors can only benefit by pooling their collective resources to grow and develop to meet the growing need for safe, productive, and profitable project delivery.

data management

Collaborative software platforms

As the need for software integration grows, so does the need for collaborative software platforms built with an eye toward total integration capabilities.

Construction firms beginning to explore their options should consider how their choice of software will impact their organization’s future growth and development.

It’s far easier to start with an adaptive software platform that adjusts to your growing needs than to switch platforms later in the digital journey. 

Invest in Information Technology (IT)

Considering the wide variety of information systems and software platforms construction companies are already using, investing in IT support would seem necessary.

That’s why it’s surprising to find that so few companies (<45%) make IT a priority. 

IT investment fell over 5% from 2020 to 2021, according to the most recent JBKnowledge report.

The construction technology industry continues to expand rapidly as financial and strategic investors fund the need for innovation and progress in the construction industry.

The construction firms that integrate technology on the job site and apply predictive analytics from the data of connected teams and equipment will unlock greater efficiencies and profitability. 

Collaborative platforms lead to smarter data management

Integrated collaborative software platforms make data collection and information management easier, and more affordable. 

From better communication, interactive scheduling, detailed workflow, ERP integration, and job site management, collaborative project management platforms can help build a stronger, more resilient financial future for the construction industry. 

Get a free demonstration for yourself.

And see how the power of an integrated collaborative project management system can benefit your organization.

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