Building Industry Magazine - October - (Page 86)

BEST PRACTICES BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE: A Breath of Fresh Air for Your Company BY GARRETT J. SULLIVAN R 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 money-making weapon 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, or 808.478.2564. 86 | BUILDING INDUSTRY HAWAII | OCTOBER 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Building Industry Magazine - October

Departments: Datebook
Contracts Awarded/ Low Bids
Spotlight on Success: Daniel K. Inouye Fighter Squadron Facility
Concept to Completion: Hale Kula Elementary School
News Makers
New Products
Faces: Remodel It Right, Remodel It Green Expo
Best Practices

Building Industry Magazine - October