Construction leaders share many common characteristics, but they are not all the same. Some have managed to grow with operational systems built around spreadsheets and paper. Some have invested in a variety of technology solutions. And a few have prioritized standardizing data and reporting across construction, operations, finance, and supply chain with integrated solutions. To learn why the third group of leaders chose integration, we will review five of the top benefits of integrated construction solutions.
Pro Football Hall of Fame member Al Davis said “Speed kills. You can’t teach speed. Everything else in the game can be taught, but speed is a gift from God.” In construction, speed is also crucial. Fortunately, speed can be increased exponentially – without divine intervention – through integration.
In construction estimating, for example, speed is a critical factor in winning bids. Companies with easy access to their past estimates and the ability to drill down into granular details can respond quickly to bid opportunities, confident that their estimates will be competitive while ensuring a healthy profit margin. Without an estimate history as part of an integrated solution, the bid process can be painful. As deadlines loom, best guesses may be made. And in those cases where guesstimates are used, organizations wind up wondering whether or not they underestimated true job cost. As Tom Porter wrote in the book Profit, Risk and Leadership, “It has been my experience that one bad job can wipe out the fees associated with ten or more normal, good jobs.”
Data surrounds us, but its mere existence does not make it actionable. Standardizing data and reporting with an integrated solution across construction, operations, finance, and supply chain enables companies to answer yes to questions like:
Data alerts are an important feature in an integrated solution, as they make the data actionable. Many integrated systems can be set to notify a person or an escalation list of people if certain events occur. For example, when a data import completes or if an error is detected, a defined group of people can receive an instant email notification.
The previous two benefits feed into this one. Fast answers displayed in colorful charts and graphs are only helpful when data confidence exists. Few things are more disruptive than two disparate data sources, each leading to seemingly valid but contradictory conclusions. Integrated data removes confusion and risk by eliminating data duplication, silos, and errors created by manual entry. Nothing builds confidence in intelligent, fact-based decisions more than a single, universally accepted source of truth.
Imagine the conductor of a symphony orchestra leading a group of talented trumpeters, harpists, violinists, and percussionists. Would it be wise to ask all of those musicians to switch to the same instrument? While it might be easier for the conductor to oversee, would the end result be improved?
In construction, this example applies to on-premise software solutions, web-based applications, and cloud services. A well-orchestrated integration strategy sanctions teams to use the tools they have already mastered. Lengthy learning curves are avoided, square pegs are not forced into round holes, and processes are automated, increasing productivity. Cloud web services can remain in place, while maintaining the goal of establishing one source of truth.
The construction industry is continuously evolving, and individual construction businesses must also evolve to remain competitive. Perhaps an organization has been focused on new construction but is ramping up services or vice-versa. Growth strategy might involve mergers and acquisitions with new tools and infrastructure. Maybe you would like to start with a limited data integration scope, with the ability to scale up later.
Seek out a platform that empowers your organization to scale up for success as it grows. Work with a partner that can integrate on-premise and cloud field tools, databases, accounting, asset management, cost control, ERP, finance, collaboration, and scheduling.
Nexus was created by Gaea Global Technologies, Inc. Founded in 2007, the Gaea team has decades of hands-on experience with construction and engineering solutions. Nexus was specifically designed to automate construction processes across applications and increase productivity. Request a demo today to see how Nexus can reduce integration time by up to 75%.