Build a strategy to capitalize on the data opportunity in construction

April 4, 2022 | 5 minute read
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“Data, data everywhere…”

– The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Not-so-Ancient Builder

As construction organizations amass more and more data from across their projects, a growing number of builders are developing strategies to turn that data into intelligence. And while approaches vary and challenges abound, it’s increasingly clear that getting your data strategy right is the key to driving improvement in your business today and tomorrow.

So does your organization have a data strategy today? Odds are, it does―and there’s a pretty good chance someone high up is helping to shape and drive it.

Examining construction data strategies today

Let’s take a quick look at what your peers are up to on this front. According a recent IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by Oracle Construction and Engineering, more than three-quarters (77%) of respondents have had a formal data strategy in place for three or more years, with 63% noting that their data strategy is primarily driven by the C-suite.

Watch our on-demand webcast, “Turn Your Data Into a Competitive Edge,” to learn how organizations in AEC are approaching data as a strategy―and how to focus your approach for success.

A few more notable findings from “The State of Data Strategies in Construction*,” which is based on survey of 405 business, project, and IT executives at architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) organizations:

  • The top three areas of focus when it comes to data strategies are quality (45%), productivity (41%), and budget/financial improvements (38%) as these organizations look to sharpen decision-making.
  • Using data to improve construction risk management is growing in importance among AEC organizations. Respondents identified health and safety (29%), supply chain health (28%), material availability (27%), worker availability (27%), and cost overruns (25%) as the top five areas where a data strategy could help mitigate risk.
  • Virtually all respondents want to use data to predict the future to change it for the better. 29% of respondents are currently using some kind of predictive analytics tool, while another 60% plan to invest in a solution within the next 24 months. These AEC organizations see having a predictive view across projects as key to anticipating and lessening delays, reducing change orders, creating more accurate budget forecasts, and better managing health and safety risks, among other improvements.

Many respondents also acknowledged a key challenge they are working to overcome as part of their data strategy: disconnected storage. While technology in recent years has substantially increased productivity across the stages of the project lifecycle, the data produced and captured by those solutions in many cases remains locked away within different systems. This limits organizations’ ability to mine their data for new or deeper insights into project or program performance.

To help address this, 81% of respondents say their data strategy includes bringing together data silos for reporting and analytics in one project and portfolio management system. Another 60% are seeking to integrate multiple disconnected systems for seamless workflows.

Predictive intelligence: Your data superpower

With 89% of survey respondents reporting that they either have or plan to invest in predictive intelligence tools within 24 months, it’s clear that AEC professionals regard informed foresight as a critical objective of their data strategies. The ability to use past project data to sharpen present decision-making and improve future outcomes is central to the data opportunity, and advances in AI and machine learning are putting this power in the hands of project professionals today.

In a recent blog post, Garrett Harley, one of our product marketing directors and a former construction scheduler, described how AI can learn from your historical data to help spot potential risks in current construction project schedules―and empower teams to take corrective actions before a problem materializes.  

“If I have an invisible and virtually unlimited army of helpers within the schedule that are constantly exposing these locations where things might go wrong, or they just don’t look right—and even better, could help me make a decision on which option is the best alternative at that location, well, now we are talking. And most importantly, my army of helpers are always learning from my interactions, past data, and new data that is emerging on the project. Therefore, if they miss a few things today, they’ll pick it up the next time. Therefore, the more I use them, the better they get.”

The full post, which explores the value of AI-driven predictive intelligence from two former schedulers’ perspective, is worth a read. But the value of using AI to analyze project data doesn’t stop at scheduling. This technology can be applied to help manage a host of risks, including the potential for litigation to arise on your projects. Learn more about the role of AI in providing a kind of risk radar in our report, “Predictive Artificial Intelligence in Construction.”

The construction data journey

Wherever your organization is in its data journey, there’s room for refinement. Jeff Hojlo, IDC’s research vice president, future of industry ecosystems and innovation strategies―and the author of the IDC InfoBrief―offers his takeaways and recommendations from the project in a short video.

And to take a deeper dive into data strategies and how to turn your data into a competitive edge, check out our on-demand webcast. During this 40-minute session, part of a series on the Oracle Smart Construction Platform, you’ll learn more about what your peers are doing to formulate and drive their own data strategies, as well as how you can chart a course to intelligence-driven success.

*Doc. #US48269621, October 2021

Oracle Construction and Engineering, the global leader in construction management software and project portfolio management solutions, helps you connect your teams, processes, and data across the project and asset lifecycle. Drive efficiency and control in project delivery with proven solutions for project controls, construction scheduling, portfolio management, BIM/CDE, construction payment management, and more.

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