We all know that construction teams are capturing a lot of data. With the amount of activity happening daily on a jobsite, it’s easy to see how data can build up and become overwhelming to understand. We also know that 95% of the data generated by construction and engineering firms goes unused [FMI], which means we only have room to improve.
So how can we start leveraging our data to improve our daily decisions? The first step is ensuring you have access to all of your project data and inputting it into the right analytics tools to visualize further. BIM 360 has a great set of prediction and analytics capabilities built directly into the product. However, many construction teams use additional business intelligence tools in tandem with BIM 360, like Power BI or Tableau, to evaluate their company’s performance.
With the recent release of the BIM 360 Data Connector preview, teams can now quickly extract project data from BIM 360 for customized use in business intelligence tools, all through a single click. This saves teams time and money by giving them a built-in tool to extract data without needing expensive API’s or custom code as well as gives them the ability to improve data visualizations to make more informed business decisions.
Ted Jennings, a Senior VDC Manager at Barton Malow, started using the data exported from the BIM 360 Data Connector to understand at an account level how various projects teams were onboarding as well as to look at the specific action’s users were taking within BIM 360. By understanding these trends, Jennings and his team were able to cultivate best practices and improve overall adoption of BIM 360 across all of their project teams.
“One big win we came away with after looking into our usage data was that we noticed a lot of people were wrongly assigning subcontractors roles,” said Jennings. “We realized that the existing role tagged as ‘Field Team’ was getting overlooked so by changing it to ‘Subcontractor’ teams began to more appropriately assign this role. This is one example of how a simple categorization mistake can lead to people not being given the right permission levels or access to the documents they really need.”
Evaluating project level performance has always been a critical part of any construction project, especially when it comes to looking at daily reports or analytics. However, cross project analysis is also an essential part of ensuring companies are getting a holistic view of how they are performing at an executive level. If you imagine the amount of data generated from just a single project, then looking across tens of other projects the data just becomes harder and harder to evaluate and compare.
Additionally, many teams are also using multiple software solutions, like ERP systems, financial applications, and other project management tools. So having the ability to aggregate all of their data into a single view is essential. This is a key reason many construction firms are turning to business intelligence tools, that are made specifically to help visualize and compare larger amounts of data, to help them understand what areas of their business need attention.
“It is critical for us to see a deeper level of cross project analytics and the Data Connector allows us to better understand project trends and commonalities so we can make decisions around how to mitigate those issues."
Ted Jennings, Senior VDC Manager, Barton Malow
This was a key outcome Jennings wanted to achieve, as it was important for Barton Malow to use their business intelligence tools to evaluate their company performance across all of their projects. “It is critical for us to see a deeper level of cross project analytics and the Data Connector allows us to better understand project trends and commonalities so we can make decisions around how to mitigate those issues,” said Jennings.
Although the Barton Malow team started leveraging Data Connector to help improve their onboarding and adoption, they are now focusing on diving even deeper into analyzing cross workflow trends to improve their project delivery. By evaluating things like RFI’s, Submittals, and Issues across projects, Jennings and his team can now have a clear understanding of what actions need prioritizing and improve overall project success.
The other great thing about using the Data Connector is that any unique dashboard created within Power BI or Domo can also be viewed back within the Insight or Project Home modules in BIM 360. This means that teams can leverage the powerful and customizable analytics features in business intelligence tools, but still have a centralized place to view all of their data.
As more construction firms start adopting tools like the BIM 360 Data Connector to help leverage their data, teams will begin to see improvements in the way they do business. Whether that is better adoption of technology, streamlining project controls, or improving overall project quality, using data allows teams to learn and grow their business into the future.
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