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If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that change can happen at any moment and the quicker contractors respond, the faster their businesses will recover. This is particularly true in construction, which has one of the slimmest profit margins of any business—where an unexpected price increase, security breach or material delay can easily put business owners on the wrong side of the profit line.

That’s why more and more contractors are turning to construction data and analytics to ensure business continuity and to stay competitive in today’s ever-changing environment. While many have made the move toward a more data-driven construction workflow, the data itself—whether it’s preconstruction, accounting and job progress, or project management data—is often located in the ERP system or in other software in the organization.

This can hamper the ability for all project stakeholders to get the full view of everything that can meaningfully impact project profitability since it requires accessing the back office ERP system or making a call to office staff to request that they compile and share a report, which takes unnecessary time and the work of additional team members.

Mobile analytic technologies are changing this landscape by making data easily accessible, editable and shareable any time and on any device, regardless of one’s location. With powerful data and analytics literally at their fingertips, contractors can quickly and easily see the progress on a project and the health of the business overall. More intelligent, actionable data can enable them to make quick decisions on everything from which labor, equipment and materials to switch out to avoid profit fade and when to bill against work to how recruitment and hiring efforts are faring—all with a few clicks on their phone or tablet.

Specifically, here are three key benefits to incorporating mobile analytic tools into day-to-day construction workflows

Easy Access To Key Data Insights

When data can be accessed and analyzed on the go, it democratizes data and decision making, empowering team members to discover and immediately use the insights hidden in the data. In the field, this means that instead of complicated Excel sheet management or drawn-out emails and memos, users have the power to pull up real-time metrics, visualizations and dashboards that can be easily queried through self-service tools in seconds.

This further closes the gaps between the field and office. Back office accountants and financial staff can make sure all the project financial information and tasks stay on track, while project managers can see the real-time job progress, adjust schedules, and equipment and materials, as well as the direct impact of real-time job costing and where they stand with their project values. This information can be easily seen through simple drop-down reports that don’t require interpretation by an advanced team of data scientists or expensive third-party consultants.

Instead, anyone can instantly compare and analyze the data in virtually any format, make quick decisions when changes are needed, and build and measure against KPIs and other internal and industry benchmarks. The key is that everyone is working from a single, shared set of real-time data and connected construction workflows. With all this information at their fingertips, contractors can more easily identify trends and get ahead of potential issues, while also better forecasting future work to help advance new growth opportunities.

Open Access, But With The Right Restrictions

Democratizing data creates a data-driven culture with easy access to business intelligence for all, yet access and reports can still be restricted based on job role and function. For example, subcontractors need access to current project plans and material quantities, but it would be a compliance violation if they had access to employees’ personal data. The CFO needs a holistic view of the overall health of the business, whereas a project manager only needs to see how specific projects are tracking against expectations.

The benefit of mobile analytics is that they can provide different construction professionals and roles with different reports that are relevant to them through simple access points. Yet, the data is presented in ways that are easily readable, understandable and shareable (when appropriate) for all users. When the CFO logs on, his or her dashboard and subsequent reports may look entirely different than those for the subcontractor, yet both are working off of the same information to help inform project and business intelligence.

Advanced Security In The Cloud

 Security is rightfully a major concern for contractors given the prevalence of ransomware and the possibility of an event impacting where data is stored, which is typically located in an office server.

This is another area where mobile analytic tools shine as they are increasingly connected to, or offered as part of connected, cloud-based construction management platforms. These solutions are considered much more secure given the extensive security measures and protocols maintained by cloud vendors. Cloud vendors are consistently watching and planning for the latest security threats and implementing security protocols like multifactor authentication that far surpass the level most contractors are able to provide themselves with on-premise data storage, particularly given the prevalence of ransomware.

Working in the cloud also means that data is secure should an accident, natural disaster or other incident occur. Cloud data is regularly backed up so that business can keep moving should an unforeseen event happen, and it has encrypted security and rich-access permission features, which make data accessible only to the sources who should have access to it.

The Future of Analytics Availability is Now

 In today’s ever-changing business environment, contractors need the right tools to help maintain business continuity regardless of what gets thrown their way. Today’s analytic solutions, mobile technologies and cloud-based software applications do that and more, while helping contractors build the technology infrastructure now to scale their business to meet future demands with ease.


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