Report Cites Major Improvements in Data Gathering

July 11, 2019

The ability to gather and analyze project data has improved or improved significantly for nearly two-thirds of the respondents to a survey of construction managers, specialty trade contractors, and design/build firms. The study was conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics and Viewpoint via an online survey.

The research analyzed five key types of data, including project progress, man hours, productivity, safety, and equipment management. In ranking the importance of these types of project data to gather, respondents cited project performance data such as schedules and costs as the most important. Equipment-tracking data ranked last. "Collection of equipment tracking data is still emerging," the report said.

The report, "Improving Performance with Project Data SmartMarket Report: How Improved Collection and Analysis is Leading to the Digital Transformation of the Construction Industry," suggests that improvement in data collection will drive the construction industry’s digital transformation, according to a press release announcing the study. The one caveat: the normalization of critical business data.

The report noted the following:

  • Contractors using commercial software to gather job-site data report significantly higher satisfaction rates than those using paper forms or spreadsheets.
  • Many contractors still have concerns about storing their data in the cloud, and in particular around how secure their cloud-stored data will be. Both general contractors and specialty trades list security concerns as the top reason for not managing data in the cloud, and among those surveyed, 65 percent still use on-premise servers.
  • Although 86 percent of respondents are relying on anti-malware software to address data security, only 45 percent of those surveyed have implemented employee compliance training.

“Gathering siloed data from across their organization to analyze and improve project outcomes is a key challenge we work with clients to overcome daily,” said Matt Harris, Viewpoint chief product & strategy officer, in the press release. “Contractors are demanding easier, better and more consistent collection of data—from the office, across their extended teams and into the field—in order to enable better measurement of project performance and drive toward greater gains.”

The report also covers gathering data via apps, cameras, sensors, and wearables.

“We think this is a critical area to watch in the future,” said Steve Jones, senior director of industry insights research for Dodge, in the release. “The smarter job site will transform the industry, but companies need their data gathering and analytics fundamentals in place before they can fully profit from all of the exciting technology that is now emerging, funded by an influx of venture capital, and directly addressing industry needs to reduce risk, improve productivity and improve safety.”

The report also includes recommendations based on the findings, including a four-step process to structure data collection, analysis, and reporting. The authors of the report also suggest that talent acquisition must change in order to support that data side of construction. "Acknowledge that data expertise is a core competency for construction companies and recruit, hire, train, measure, and nurture your talent accordingly."

The survey garnered 187 responses, including 140 prime contractors.

Source: Dodge Data & Analytics