You have tons of data, but no real information. Sound familiar?
Data doesn’t do you much good unless you can use it to better understand your business and make more informed decisions. And in construction you have plenty of data to work with: contract details, job cost numbers, percent complete information, profit, losses—the list is endless.
The key is to collect and sort through the data so you have a complete view of how your business is doing, what you need to do now, and where you should steer your company in the future.
Business without blind spots
No one likes to work in the dark. Unfortunately, there are plenty of contractors who do just that. Their data is outdated, hard to get at, or in a format that is meaningless. Other contractors have a clearer picture of their business, but want even more decision-making support. Here are five main ways to use data to gain greater visibility into your business:
Construction firms wanting a clean line of sight into their projects and financial data, usually start here. These reports are primarily a look back at what has already happened and often provide a way to drill-down for more detail if needed. They can help you answer questions like what variances exist between project costs and the contract. Or what is your debt-to-equity ratio.
Dashboards, automated alerts, and the tracking of key performance indicators are some of the main tools used to stay on top of major risk areas. The information provided gives you the ability to act quickly from a tactical perspective. Use monitoring, for example, to assure project profits don’t dip below a certain level or to keep tabs on subcontractor insurance expirations.
The next step is to look at your data across projects and in different ways to better understand why something happened in order to formulate your business strategy. This can include determining which type of work is most profitable for your business or how change orders are impacting your margins.
Identifying trends to predict what might happen next is where you ultimately want to be. Using a variety of data to make more informed forecasts and what-if scenarios, you can manage projects and your company more confidently, knowing you are prepared for both best and worse-case scenarios. This is also where big data often comes into play.
Today, data also has to be mobile. Your superintendents, project managers, executives, and other employees should have secure access to the information they need to do their jobs—even when they’re not in the office or job site trailer.
How much visibility do you have into your projects and business? Are you advancing beyond rear-view-mirror reporting to setting up automated alerts, dashboards, and mobile access? Is your data being used to set strategy and prepare for the future?
Don’t let your data go to waste. With today’s technology, you can put your information to work for you and your company.
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