Guide to Business Intelligence for the Construction Industry

In Insights, Lantern Posts by Marc Krichman

Lantern is your roadmap to BI

We live in the information age, constantly surrounded by a deluge of data. It can be confusing and overwhelming if you don’t know what to do with it. That’s what business intelligence is for. It seeks to make sense of that data use it to provide you with a clear picture of what’s going on in your company. So how do you implement a business intelligence program in the construction industry? Here’s a brief guide.

Elements of BI

When we say business intelligence, what do we mean? How, exactly, do you gather data about your company, and what do you do with it once you have it? Let’s break it down step by step.

  • Source Data. This is the raw data that you collect. It can come from a variety of different sources within your company. Much of it is transactional data: data that describes a specific action or event. As such, it comes from transactional systems such as business development, scheduling, project management safety, and many more. Data can also come from external sources, such as government reports, industry news, and even social media.
  • Once you know where to find your data, it’s time to get it ready for use. This is done by a process called Extract, Transform, Load. First, extract the data from its various sources, both internal and external. Transform them into a single format, so that it can all be viewed at once. Then load it into a single, all-encompassing database, called a data warehouse. This allows it to be viewed together and, more importantly, analyzed together, to gain insight into your company.
  • Data Model. A data model is a diagram, flowchart, or other visual representation of the relationships between different kinds of data. Capturing all of these different possible relationships in a comprehensive data model can be rather time-intensive, but in the end it’s well worth it. A well-documented model allows users to report on all processes, entities, relationships, and data flows to their advantage.
  • After your data is analyzed, visualization tools are used to present it in a clear, easy to understand format, such as charts, graphs, scorecards, and more. This visualization helps you to see your data in context and understand better the overall state of your company.

Goals of BI

So you’ve got your business intelligence. What do you do with it? What’s the end goal? There are any number of goals of BI, but the main one is simply to make powerful, data-driven decisions with regards to your company. The better you understand your data, the better your business will run. This can manifest itself in a variety of ways, from more effective project management to improved customer service, and ultimately higher revenues.

Through all of these goals, the purpose of business intelligence is to be easy to understand and easy to use. It’s designed to process the reams of raw data about your company and in turn provide you with the information you need to keep up with the fast-paced information age and run your business more effectively. How will you use business intelligence to improve the day to day operations of your construction company?

Business intelligence can be a little daunting at first. There’s a lot of data to deal with, and it can overwhelm you if you’re not careful. But if you go in with a plan, and really understand business intelligence and the strategy that you’re implementing, you can turn that plethora of raw data into real, usable information that can grow your company. That’s where Lantern Data Systems comes in. We specialize in business intelligence solutions for the construction industry. We’re experienced in both BI and construction, and can provide the specifically-tailored solutions that construction companies need.