By Sarah Bogdon

For most industries, big data – the evaluation of large data sets from multiple sources– can reveal informative trends to help companies operate more effectively. Patterns and tendencies in human behavior can also be analyzed and used to create efficiencies.

Using big data in the construction industry can connect the dots, supporting companies to get a more in-depth view of their risks, see the effectiveness of cost control measures, and get a better understanding of their quality control and productivity processes. 

When used properly data can give companies a transparent view into their operations and can enable them to observe industry-wide trends. Big data can tell a construction company how to optimize business operations, determine profitability, and measure employee productivity. Big data can also help companies identify and reduce risks, analyze vendor performance, and provide support to establish and maintain budgets.

Where to Start

In order to use data effectively, construction employers need to set project goals. It’s critical to outline clear project objectives that will then clarify the next steps for the project, which in turn will reveal the data needed to complete project analysis.

For example, a construction firm competing in a large metropolitan area sets a goal: to complete an office renovation project by December 1st. This firm can use data to understand what factors might influence that timeframe and identify areas of focus for the project.  There may be seasonality to the workforce or predictable outside delays from suppliers which the firm can account for when determining timing of project milestones. The firm should also review any trends in workers compensation claims and ensure proper safety training for employees prior to beginning the project.

Through the process of gathering information and analyzing the right data set companies are empowered to set better timeframes, manage suppliers, and reduce injuries.

Utilizing Data

Data can come from multiple sources but internal records are a valuable data source. It’s important for construction employers to ensure proper tracking and record keeping of data for it to be a useful tool. If this tracking has been done properly, looking back at project history, companies can get a more clear view of the following:

  • Productivity levels
  • Overtime costs
  • Employee absences
  • Workers’ compensation costs and injury type

Insurance carriers can also add valuable data with industry insights into claims, loss exposures, frequency of claims, and emerging risks. Analyzing data from a claims perspective can give employers a new outlook into better loss control and risk management processes.

With the right data and comprehensive analysis to achieve project objectives, employers can create solutions to meet their goals and enhance the organization’s business operations.

HUB International’s consultants are available to work with you in understanding how harnessing big data can impact your business today and in the future.