The Business Intelligence Journey

“All companies are data businesses now”

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”

“Nothing worth having comes easy”

“Data Driven companies are 23x more likely to outperform competitors, 19x more likely to achieve above-average profitability.  15x more likely to deliver better value to their customers”  

The above quotes articulate the journey we see our clients undertake as they set out to create a data driven environment and embrace the tools, processes and culture necessary to be successful with Business Intelligence.

It is becoming more commonly understood that information is the currency of business and those that understand their data and make data driven decisions will be the winners today and in the new economy.    We at ATX are excited to partner with our clients to help them on that journey. It does start with a single step, and we have created a Business Intelligence tool-set in Caliper that gives our clients a world class data visualization tool, along with all the necessary integrations and data warehousing technologies, to provide an ideal and well-designed first “step” into harnessing their data.

Right out of the box, Caliper clients can aggregate, filter, analyze and “see” their core data in brand new ways. For most clients, it is eye-opening. After the dashboards and visualizations are configured to work, the journey really begins. Some visualizations may not look right because data is not being captured, or not being captured consistently, or is being captured off-line only. Processes, data flows or integrations are modified, and the data then becomes cleaner and more useful.

After getting good quality data and potentially identifying and integrating additional core data sources, many clients start to focus on unique Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and creating other “aggregation” dashboards. This process takes additional design from company leaders that understand what makes their business unique and what they need to “drill into” and better understand to gauge the direction of the firm, what is trending correctly and where the problems lie. An aggregation dashboard may focus on a single data element, for example a GC/Customer, and pull in many types of data (Bookings, WIP, Change Orders, AR) all related to the one customer. 

Caliper is a platform that easily allows for additional configuration to gain more insights. Other features that are important to make data relevant and useful – subscriptions that can “push” dashboards out to end users, specific user views of data and alerting.  All things that make the data accessible and relevant to users.

Beyond understanding what has happened in the business (referred to as Descriptive and Diagnostic BI), the journey leads into Predictive Analytics. Predictive Analytics is the future, but it is here now. The real benefit of having data is not to tell you what happened, as important as that is, but what is going to happen, so that companies can make decisions to capitalize on opportunities, minimize risk, and align resources as necessary.   There are many examples of predictive analytics in construction firms; the most obvious ones are true cost backlog burn-down and revenue forecasts. Caliper has fully developed Forecast to Complete data entry functionality, which then feeds into multidimensional cost burn-down projections. You can literally predict and visually see when all project backlog will burn (and related margin gain/fade) by time period, project type, Project manager, project, cost code, category, etc. Any data dimension that is captured, you can easily see or predict when and how it will happen. You can even see who or what “dimension” is not providing accurate forecasts in an important feedback loop to assist in your data journey.

With information like that to help drive decisions, is it any wonder that Caliper clients are over-performing from their own recent history, as well as the industry in general?  

The quote above on data driven companies is from a 2018 study from McKinsey & Company, a premier global management consulting company.    The promise and proven results of becoming a data driven company are clear. We at ATX are committed to the future with our Caliper Construction Analytics platform, assisting our clients with the technologies necessary, along with the support for processes, strategy and culture to help you on your journey.  

Author: Brendan Abbott

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