Published March 1, 2018 . 0 min read

I Hear that Data is the New Oil. Is that True for Contracting Firms?

Most industries are looking at data as a very important commodity and they have been doing so for years. Even the oil industry has recognized the importance of data as they look for more creative ways to save money and identify new streams of revenue. It’s hard to argue with the importance of data as you look at the top 5 giants of the tech world: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

Google can see what people search for, Facebook what they share, Amazon what they buy. These companies own app stores, operating systems, and rent out vast amounts of computing power to startups. They effectively have a “God’s eye view” of all activities in their markets and beyond.

Here’s a powerful example of how Google uses data…if you ever use Google Maps then you should know that you are sharing your location information with Google. Google combines your data with other user’s data to recognize traffic patterns. If there are a lot of vehicles moving slowly along the same street, the map can suggest a faster route. It is the data from you and your fellow drivers that enables Google to make Maps effective. You can click here to learn more on how Google uses our data.

Again, most industries understand the importance of data and are deploying analytical solutions to take full advantage of the opportunities that data offer. There has been an uptick within the construction industry, but they are still lagging far behind in their willingness to adopt analytical solutions.

To give you an example, most contractors are still managing jobs by looking at reports like the one below or taking this data and dumping it into Excel

When we launched Pronovos over 4 years ago, we took that same data above and built simple dashboards like the one below. It’s the same data, but by adding more context like PM or location it provides more perspective that evokes deeper thought. Since then, we’ve introduced much more advanced analytics.

In closing, most contracting firms have accumulated data for years. They are sitting on a treasure chest that’s waiting to be opened. I discovered this over 4 years ago and since then, I’ve become a data evangelist within the construction industry. So, to answer the question…Is Data the New Oil for Contracting Firms? My emphatic answer is YES.


About the author:

Bruce Orr is the Chief Data Scientist at Pronovos Construction Analytics. Pronovos provides affordable analytical solutions for contracting firms that utilize ERP software from Sage, Viewpoint, Procore, Foundation, SAP, Jonas, Accubuild and many others.