Building Industry Magazine - October - (Page 86)
A Breath of Fresh Air for Your Company
BY GARRETT J. SULLIVAN
program which allowed them to review all of their projects
onald Reagan captured the essence of the 21st century
(approximately 10 large-scale jobs) during an hour-long
when he said, "Information is the oxygen of the
conference call. The staff found this type of reporting
modern age. Without it, you will perish." In the same way
was easier to grasp and provided a greater overall underthe oxygen around us determines our quality of life, our
standing, both of individual jobs and the company as
ability to gather information correlates to our potential for
a whole. They are now well on their way to their $500
company profit, as well.
Today, business intelligence is a dynamic, money-making million goal.
Construction business intelligence takes the functionality
weapon that can help you work smarter instead of harder.
of dashboards to a new level. It gathers information from
Business intelligence is defined as a "set of methodologies,
financial statements, scorecards,
processes, architectures and techdashboards, and other key
nologies that transform raw data
performance indicators, and
into meaningful and useful informaToday, business
displays it in an easy-to-read
tion used to enable more effective
picture, graphical or numerical
intelligence is a dynamic,
strategic, tactical and operational
representation. Business intelinsights and decision-making." It's
ligence allows you to analyze a
a technical description, but one that
single project, or all projects at
can have a dramatic effect on busithat can help you work
once, while staying abreast of job
nesses of any size.
smarter instead of harder.
margin erosion, cash manageIn my previous article, "Is It
ment, labor costs, job margin by
Time for You to Start Kedging?,"
project manager and much more.
I wrote about the importance of
On most programs, information can be exported to
employing enterprise software to increase efficiency and
profitability. Most, if not all, mid- to large-size construction Excel for a deeper dive if so desired.
Business intelligence programs provide an automated Work
companies use an enterprise software system incorporating
in Progress (WIP) statement which can save a tremendous
accounting and construction management functions. If you
amount of preparation time for your accounting department.
already use these programs, you are probably familiar with
Most programs today come with prepackaged dashboards,
the various features of the system's dashboard. The data
and are available on mobile devices and the cloud.
you can glean from the dashboard are certainly helpful at a
Bonding industry professionals often find busy markets
glance, but just like the columns of a spreadsheet, they can
to be more dangerous than tight markets as contractors
only tell part of the story. Your dashboard can't provide
tend to have more opportunities to take risks. Sometimes
an overarching, global view of your company, but business
these risks don't work out. Business intelligence helps
intelligence programs can.
mitigate these risks by allowing your team to address any
Consider the following situation:
Jim (name changed) is the president of a successful main- deviations from plan quickly and keep all jobs on track.
Every construction firm has its own unique strengths
land construction company with revenue of $250 million
and weaknesses, and the same is true of construction busia year. His company prides itself on the ability to mobilize
ness intelligence systems. Before committing, make sure
quickly, reaching remote sites all across the continental
you research several programs, matching their features and
United States. The senior management team has set a goal
functionality to your needs. Speak with other firms that
of doubling the company's revenue within the next three
have employed business intelligence and find out what
years. However, their current reporting system consists of
has or hasn't worked for them. As with any new process,
an elaborate, Excel-based data sheet prepared each week
getting used to a new reporting methodology can take time,
during a four-hour-long conference call attended by all of
but it almost always leads to leaner, more cost-efficient
the project managers.
administration in the long run.
To achieve the growth goal, I suggested Jim utilize
If information really is oxygen, business intelligence
construction business intelligence reporting technology.
ensures that your company is never out of breath.
The company proceeded to deploy a business intelligence
Garrett Sullivan is the president of Sullivan & Associates, Inc., a management consultancy focused on the
construction industry. Connect with him at GSullivan@SullivanHi.com, www.SullivanHi.com or 808.478.2564.
86 | BUILDING INDUSTRY HAWAII | OCTOBER 2014
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Building Industry Magazine - October
VOLUMES OF RECOVERY
NEW CEO AT BIA-HAWAII
PACIFIC BUILDING TRADE EXPO PROGRAM
POISED FOR A REBOUND
PRESENTING THE NEXT GOVERNOR OF HAWAII
Contracts Awarded/ Low Bids
Spotlight on Success: Daniel K. Inouye Fighter Squadron Facility
Concept to Completion: Hale Kula Elementary School
Faces: Remodel It Right, Remodel It Green Expo
Building Industry Magazine - October