Big data in the construction industry is a highly valuable commodity, expected to be worth $10.8 billion globally by 2025.
Data analytics and digital monitoring of key performance indicators can result in a massive boost to increasing capital, preventing overspending on budgets and mitigating future issues with accurate forecasting of events, maintenance needs or expected delays.
However many building companies today still rely on traditional paper-based documents and reporting and have not yet seized the opportunities that data analytics can provide within the construction industry.
What is the Difference Between Analytics and Analysis?
Although very similar words, there is a distinct difference and analytics should not be confused with analysis.
Analysis is the evaluation of data to draw certain conclusions, taking all the available information into account and forming a summary based on that.
For example, if you wanted to perform some analysis on which football team has the best defence you might look at the data on goals conceded and how many tackles were made, compile that together and use that knowledge to conclude which team has the better defensive attributes.
Analysis therefore usually refers to things that are in the present or in the past.
Analytics, on the other hand, uses the data to predict likely outcomes that will happen in the future.
So in this example, if you wanted to work out how many goals a team would be likely to concede in a future match you could look at the data on previous goals conceded and use that to work out what the likely outcome will be based on past performance.
Analytics looks forward to the future, interpreting data to come up with forecasts on events that will happen and how likely that will be.
How are Construction Analytics Being Used Today?
Predictive analytics can forecast outcomes and avoid failures in the future, anticipating delays based on the weather, resource availability and previous performance.
With Business Information Management (BIM) software simulations, it is possible to visualise the whole project before any construction has started—from initial designs to planned materials and cost data.
With analytics building companies can monitor performance metrics for contractors and subcontractors. There can be significant data gaps with these types of workers due to low visibility on their working day and lack of oversight. Using analytics construction, firms can not only check the progress with regards to schedules and budgeting but also incentivise contractors to reach key performance indicators by offering rewards for certain targets being met.
Construction analytics can be used to manage working schedules and streamline workflows, helping to identify processes that can be automated and minimising time wasted on repetitive tasks – also cutting down on the risk profile from human errors such as those made in data entry and report filing.
Analytics in construction projects can be used to improve quality control on project deliverables whilst also giving owners better oversight into equipment management. The analytics tools can automatically identify faults in any machine and even notice whenever there is a lack of performance across all equipment being used.
This means that any decisions on potential upgrades or replacement equipment can be much better informed.
Risk analysis is another key area where analytics can lend a helping hand to the construction industry. Historical data can be evaluated easily, along with any shifting patterns in the industry or external factors that may come into play. Using data analytics it is possible to work out the probability of any potential risks and what the impact would be to the business, whilst also putting in place the correct strategy to mitigate this risk.
Construction Industry Challenges
The construction industry is one of the most challenging work environments in terms of accurate monitoring of data for a number of reasons. Whilst overall productivity has increased globally, the construction industry has lagged behind.
There are several factors making construction one of the more difficult industries to bring up to speed, including
Various data systems are used, with minimal connectivity between them, meaning that developing a coherent picture encompassing all important information can seem next to impossible to achieve
Stringent requirements for complex regulatory compliance requiring constant reporting on a number of key areas
Disjointed and unorganised data coming from a variety of sources and locations
Most reports handled in traditional formats with manual data entry and paper-based documents
How IT Solutions can Pave The Way for Construction Analytics and Resolve These Issues
In today’s marketplace, these challenges facing the construction industry are mostly resolved through the use of IT solutions and cloud data storage.
At Lyon, we provide a wide range of solutions to mitigate all of the aforementioned challenges facing the construction industry.
The issue with multiple data systems and lack of connectivity is easily resolved with cloud storage solutions using our state-of-the-art datacentres. With all data held remotely in the cloud and accessible from any location or device, this eliminates a huge challenge facing building companies when it comes to managing their data and adopting analytics-based strategies.
The need for continual reporting on compliance and regulatory requirements is no longer a problem for the majority of our clients as we provide bespoke systems and advanced AI tools along with the remote hardware to run these. These programs will automatically collect the data and file the reports themselves, taking a lot of the legwork out of the equation and streamlining the whole process.
Where data would normally be disjointed and unorganised, our remote desktop applications mean that all team members, contracts and subcontractors can share and input any data needed into one system that is all-encompassing and linked together so that any worker who needs access can update the data sets in real-time, with full visibility across all teams.
Contact our advisors at Lyon to find out how a bespoke IT solution can pave the way for analytics and help your business stay competitive.