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Jan 30 2015

How intelligent reporting reduces project risk

Reporting Dashboard

The key to the effectiveness of project teams is timely availability of accurate information, as the Big Data revolution sweeps through other industries, our industry is also seeking to use the data it generates to produce usable business intelligence.

Business intelligence gathers, consolidates and presents real time information for individual projects as well as across programmes of work, but many in the industry are not benefiting from the tools currently available.  In this post we look at the challenges around business intelligence, and the solutions and outcomes for real-time project management.

 

The challenge is getting the information 

  1. Multiple stakeholders and data receptacles means more admin – With a number of different parties involved on a construction project, gathering the required information can be challenging.  Information can be stored in a variety of spreadsheets, Google docs and/or companies’ own document management systems, requiring administrative work to collate it, which takes time and carries the risk of clerical error.
  2. Not all collaboration platforms manage workflows – Even for projects using some form of collaboration platform to handle their documents and data, interrogating this data to provide useful information can still be a challenge.  Depending on how documents and drawings are structured and named, or whether workflows and processes are handled as static documents or dynamic forms, will greatly impact the ability of the platform to retrieve and utilise data.  Many collaboration tools handle workflows by providing static documents (often a pdf) that can be filled in offline then uploaded back to the platform, making it impossible to report on the contents and status of the document.
  3. Often the end users of report data will be senior management who do not routinely use the software in question, thus creating barriers to information transfer.

 

The solution – Collect, integrate and report, in real time

The solution to the problems of accessing and integrating all data sources is to use a collaboration system that uses a dynamic form structure to handle workflows and processes, thereby ensuring all content in the collaboration system is accessed and used as a data source.

Any data held within the collaboration platform is reportable allowing analysis of commercial and contract information, in addition to design and construction management.  The user can create highly informative reports using the report designer tool.

A good reporting functionality will be able to display a variety of graphical formats, for example showing the number of drawings approved, awaiting approval, being revised etc.  Other reports include calculations showing performance metrics like average turnaround times for drawings and response times to RFIs, as well as alerts, for example flagging up all the workflows that are late, or those due to be completed within a certain time frame.  Late payments, deviation from contract terms and cost overruns are all easily identifiable allowing project teams to find problem areas and bottlenecks on the project.

Reports can also be pre-formatted and configured to run automatically and to a desired schedule. These can then be emailed as a formatted .pdf ensuring stakeholders that are not system users still receive regular intelligence.

 

Business Intelligence across projects and programmes

Being able to compare data across a range of projects allows users to learn lessons for future work.  For example the identification of bottle necks or areas of non-compliance that can inform process changes.  In addition this sort of intelligence can be used to assess supply chain performance with a view to improving future procurement.

Construction projects produce a large quantity of data and documents and timely and accurate reporting on this data is key to both the successful completion of the project and improving practice for your next project.  The CONJECT collaboration platform is unique in including a Business Intelligence module that provides the tools to access and integrate all project data, so you can produce real project intelligence to assist decision-making when and where you need it.

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About the author

Michelle Mason

Michelle Mason leads the UK and MEAP Marketing team, with far too many years in B2B marketing to mention. A CONJECT newbie, Michelle is eagerly climbing a steep learning curve.

View my LinkedIn profile:
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/michellemason04

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