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June 15, 2020

Here’s What Can Happen to Your Construction Firm When You Use Business Intelligence Tools

BI-3Construction companies require business intelligence to remain competitive. It’s now imperative to use automated data monitoring and report generation to manage and make sense of their mass of data.

While most companies now use digital technology and diverse applications to perform field and office operations, many construction companies still lack fully integrated systems supported by business intelligence tools. When you fully embrace the use of BI tools, you should expect the following benefits.

Better Data Quality

The first step to applying BI to construction work is to make sure that your team captures data accurately and completely when it is needed. A contractor must adopt a new approach to the process of managing data. For instance, data needs to be scrutinized to determine what data is missing, duplicated, or inaccurate.

While implementing BI, it is easy to discover where the company is wasting resources and time on duplicate data entry. Also, there will be high-quality data due to the elimination of manual data entry on multiple systems. This improves the speed of capture and provides the opportunity for faster access to real-time reports based on data that is up to date.

Smarter Data Capture

Data capture can be implemented using more accurate methods with minimal human input and errors. Contractors need data that helps them work safer, be more efficient, and improve profit margins. This data includes:

  • Labor hours spent on the job
  • Number of hours staff spent idle
  • Utilization and location of heavy equipment
  • Job progress and percent completed
  • Material and tool inventories

These can be obtained from job sites. But they are hardly captured in real-time, and they usually involve manual data entry by data clerks.

To improve the quality and timely capture of data for business intelligence and analytics, data should be captured by team members who understand them. Other data capture tools may be also be used including:

  • Internet of Things (IoT): IoT technology allows a contractor to connect devices to the Internet for real-time monitoring. This includes equipment, inventory, and clocking systems.
  • Drones: Drones are now used to take 3D scans of work in progress. These scans are compared to the 3D design to have an accurate estimate of the level of completion of the project.
  • Special purpose sensors: Internet-enabled sensors can be used to detect temperature and pressure readings or to monitor workers’ vital signs at job sites.

Effective Data-based Decision Making

BI tools allow you to retrieve information to understand past operations and see opportunities for real cost savings or revenue improvements. Essentially, this is done by measuring performance effectively against pre-defined benchmarks.

For example, if a contractor owns a fleet of heavy equipment used in highway construction, a decrease of 1 to 2 percent in fleet costs may lead to six-figure cost savings.

With the help of a BI tool like Caliper BI for Sage 300 CRE, this type of contractor will soon realize that they are using the machines beyond their profitable useful life. And they should have replaced them or leased them out. Retrieving such information on their equipment will make it easy to realize such savings and avoid losing money in the future.

More Precise Forecasting

BI tools offer users the power to see how they performed on projects that are similar to those they plan to bid for. They provide predictive analyses. Through various algorithms, they can reveal correlations between data sets that were not obvious before.

BI Tools like Sage Liberty Reports for Sage 100 Contractor also help you to see the states, counties, and projects that offered the best margins over a specific period of time. This information makes it easy for you to decide who your ideal customers are and the types of projects that are likely to give you optimum returns.

Boundless Cloud-based Applications

Cloud-based applications offer massive storage and processing power. Unlike the old and restrictive client-server systems that required significant capital investment, these systems can be deployed at a lower cost and offer information on-the-go.

With cloud computing, you are not dependent on operating systems and hardware requirements. Most BI tools are installed in data centers that offer unmatched security, backups, and disaster recovery that most in-house IT departments can’t offer.

Mobile Access and Full Job Site Connectivity

Cloud-based applications offer instant connectivity from anywhere. But it is the prevalence of powerful mobile devices like tablets and smartphones that make them so effective. Mobile devices make it convenient for workers on job sites to capture data instantly. They can use them to receive instant messages, take instructions for resource reallocation, and log any reports on equipment status accurately.

Data Integration

Effective BI solutions need to be integrated with the main ERP platform or software. Without an integrated system and a single data warehouse, it will be almost impossible to collect data to show on a dashboard. If vital databases reside in data silos on disparate systems, it will be difficult to query them and create accurate data visuals.

Better Achievement of Strategic Goals

Achieving major business objectives and goals should be the main driver of any BI process adoption. For instance, before using a BI tool to create a tracking system for a fleet of heavy machines, you need to know the data required to determine the ROI on your equipment. Then, you can use the BI tool to help you track the appropriate costs.

Which BI Solution Is Best for You?

Now that you know the major benefits your construction business will gain by using business intelligence tools, you need to know the right tool to choose.

Here are our recommendations:

  • Caliper BI: This tool integrates perfectly with Sage 300 CRE. It comes with a set of dashboards designed in line with global best practices. You may customize the report templates or create yours from scratch. The tool has modules that deal specifically with construction, financials, service, and labor.
  • Sage 100 Contractor Liberty Reports: This tool can be used as an add-in for Microsoft Excel. It draws data directly from Sage 100 Contractor software. Liberty Reports has customizable templates for creating reports. You can also use this tool to build special reports.

See It For Yourself

Join us for a webinar to learn more about Caliper BI, Thursday, June 25th at 11 am. Can’t attend on the 25th?  Go ahead and register anyway.  We’ll send you a link to the recording. 


Request a Demo Today

If you want to see how to use these tools to implement business intelligence in your company, then give us a call today. We are standing by to answer your questions and give you a free virtual consultation that will reveal the secrets to effectively using BI tools.



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