Consumers vs. Creators in Construction

In Insights, Musings by Marc Krichman

Your construction company’s data is incredibly important to how your organization runs. But how do you use it? More importantly, who uses it, and in what way?

When it comes to data, there are two different types of people in your company who deal with it. There are the data creators, and the data consumers and they need different tools to do their jobs effectively.

What Are Creators and Consumers of Data?

What’s the difference? Let’s take, for example, your accounting department. The data creators would be your accounting clerks. They keep the books and are privy to all the important financial information: accounts payable, accounts receivable, payment dates, etc. And they keep careful records of that data, so that someone who’s already paid their invoice doesn’t get billed again, or so that your company doesn’t let its own expenses go forgotten and unpaid.

The data consumers, on the other hand, are people like the VP of Finance, or the Chief Financial Officer. They need to take that data and understand what it means for the company as a whole. How many accounts receivable are there still outstanding, vs. how many that have been paid over the last month? How long does it generally take a particular client to make a payment? What are your overall profits and losses? From the data that the accounting clerks create, there’s a whole host of things that a savvy CFO can uncover about your company’s financial state.

For the operations team, this is the difference between Project Engineers and Project Managers entering data into their systems and senior project leadership or executives who monitor the progress of multiple projects. It’s also helpful to remember the operations team is a consumer of data created by the accounting team and vice versa.

Tools of the Trade

You might think at first glance that the tools needed to create data are the same as needed to consume it. It’s all going into a database, right? One person enters it, another pulls it out. But it’s more complicated than that.

are-you-a-data-creator-or-consumer

Data consumers need a specialized toolset like customers in a restaurant

Take, for example, a fine dining restaurant. The creators are the chefs in the kitchen. To make a meal, they need everything from pots and pans to chef’s knives, and maybe even more specialized tools, like a whisk or a kitchen mandolin. When the meal is finished, it’s brought out to the customer, who is the consumer in every sense of the word. In order to eat their meal, they need a very different set of tools: soup spoons, salad forks, butter knives, steak knives, etc.

It’s the same way with data. The tools needed by the accounting clerk to create data are very different from the tools needed by the CFO to consume it. You wouldn’t make a soup using a soup spoon, or eat it with a ladle.

Unfortunately, many companies try to lump creators and consumers together with a single set of tools, which works out poorly for both sides. If the system is designed for data creators, then the consumers have a hard time getting the data they need out of it. So they switch to a different system, which makes data easier for them to consume. But that means that the creators need to learn an entirely new system, that’s no longer designed for them.

Lantern provides you with a set of tools that are specifically designed for data consumption. Creators continue using their own, separate systems, and Lantern gathers that data together from elsewhere in the organization, to present to consumers. It then shows that data in the context they need, rather than the context that the creators need. Lantern makes sure that everyone has the right tools for the job.

Want to learn more about how Lantern helps companies make better, data-driven decisions? review some customer stories and contact us for a demo!