Four Ways Mobile Analytics Tools are Driving Better Construction Workflows

Mobile analytics makes advanced data easily accessible, editable and shareable on virtually any mobile device in real time, regardless of location.

More data at your fingertips means you can make smarter project and business management decisions that lead to stronger profit margins.
More data at your fingertips means you can make smarter project and business management decisions that lead to stronger profit margins.

Construction projects have no shortage of data. From jobsite data collected in the field by wearables, mobile applications and sensors on equipment, to project management, accounting, job progress and HR and payroll data, most contractors are drowning in information.

With multitudes of data on hand, many contractors are sitting on an untapped gold mine of information with the potential to help them find more efficiencies and profit in their businesses. Yet, because they don’t have the right software and workflow tools to parse and analyze the data in ways that would have meaningful impacts on their projects, many contractors are still struggling with consistent rework, project delays, data errors and other risks — all of which lead to profit fade.

Among contractors that become increasingly comfortable with more modern construction data and workflow solutions, many have yet to harness the power of the connected construction software suite, where the combination of a hosted cloud environment and a single source of shared data across the organization can open the door to advanced data capabilities. Chief among these are mobile analytics, which makes advanced data easily accessible, editable and shareable on virtually any mobile device in real time, regardless of one’s location. 

Real-world Value of Mobile Analytics

The ability to access always updated data on projects means a much more connected construction operation, with data and collaborative communication flowing fluidly between the backoffice, field and extended project teams.

Analytic solutions, mobile technologies and cloud-based software applications can provide a clear, real-time picture of what’s going right and wrong across projects. With more data at their fingertips, contractors can make smarter project and business management decisions that lead to stronger profit margins.

For contractors unsure about the benefits of mobile analytics solutions, here are four key ways they are improving construction workflows:

1. Instant Access to Data and Reports. In addition to real-time access to data, mobile analytics solutions give users the ability to compare and contrast data to gain the specific insights they need to better understand their projects and roles.

Real-time data and connected project workflows provide all project stakeholders with an accurate look at the very latest information. Furthermore, data can be viewed in formats relevant to specific end users, from comprehensive reports to simple data comparisons to visualized graphics and dashboards.

2. Democratized, Self-serve Data. Mobile construction analytics tools help democratize data and decision making by expanding access to data across the entire construction organization and making it easy to retrieve and understand. This is especially helpful for empowering teams in the field with the data tools they need to work smarter.

Instead of complicated Excel sheet management, consistent calls between field and backoffice teams or drawn-out emails and memos, project teams in the field can visualize project information, tasks and workflows and directly pull the data most relevant to their roles.

3. Stronger Data Security. One of the problems with construction data flowing through many channels and formats is that critical business data is ripe for security breaches. By operating in a connected, hosted cloud environment, today’s mobile construction analytics solutions not only deliver more powerful data insights in easily digestible slices, but the data and subsequent workflows can be securely shared and executed — all backed by the latest data security technologies.

Connected cloud construction suites and analytics solutions standardize and encrypt data while providing stronger permissions capabilities to ensure only the right people have access to the right data at the right times.

4. Work Smarter, Saving Time and Money. Access to advanced data analytics helps contractors identify areas for improvement and opportunities to automate even more processes and workflows.

With technology doing the tough math, facilitating tasks, auto-populating data fields throughout other functions and more, new efficiencies save contractors time and money. For instance, an equipment manager in the field can easily pull up data or reports on a mobile device to see the average use of the company’s fleet of dozers over the past six months and compare it to a six-month period from a year ago to discover if regular maintenance schedules should be adjusted to keep equipment running efficiently. Or use data to set up alerts when certain usage numbers are triggered, without having to manually pull the data from each machine, enter it into a spreadsheet and compare figures to uncover the same trends.

Equipment managers and many other project stakeholders in the field can do in seconds what would have taken hours or even days, allowing them to focus on other aspects of their jobs and get home in time for dinner each night instead of working late in the office.

The Cloud: A Prerequisite for Mobile Construction Analytics  

Today's projects require real-time reporting, accurate data, quicker project cycles and other demands that make real-time data and workflows a necessity. Contractors are becoming increasingly data driven and embracing the technologies that allow them to quickly analyze, compare and digest data in real time.

However, tapping into the value of advanced construction analytics applications can’t be done without connected cloud technologies that power real-time data collection, standardization, access and sharing. Those who haven't moved to the cloud will soon be outpaced as competitors with updated technology and advanced analytic tools win more work, leaving disconnected contractors behind.

Jenn Said is a freelance writer who covers the construction industry.