Digital Transformation

The Problem With Construction Data Sprawl

Written By: Joe Demski
February 3, 2023
4 min read

What is Data Sprawl?

Data sprawl happens when there are many sources of data that are siloed from one another. Fragmented data is sprawled across your organization’s systems, usually without a centralized management system in place to make sense of all your most critical information.

In construction, data sprawl comes from data spread between contractors, subcontractors, and project executives all keeping their data and workflows in separate systems. Drawing up plans, making new iterations, issuing quotes, tracking statements and invoices, scheduling transportation, assigning personnel to tasks and more are all crucial to get jobs done. But this level of fragmentation is bad news for construction organizations.

How has Data Sprawl Found its Way Into Construction Projects?

While data sprawl may sound like an IT problem, it’s a problem for any organization that uses data to define its business operations. Complex industries that manage many branches of communication to orchestrate projects, like construction, have too much data to leave to spreadsheets and siloed apps.

Digital transformation efforts have led companies to adopt an overwhelming amount of software tools without consideration for how they’ll fit together. Construction firms need an average of six or more software programs to complete daily tasks, each with its data collection and organization methods.

Communication is another way that data sprawl causes issues for construction organizations. Disjointed communication between project managers and teams creates delays and cost overruns. This is especially important when it comes to handling business bank accounts, invoicing, insurance, and compliance-related data.

What Effect is Data Sprawl Having on Complex Projects?

Fragmented data and systems are leading to project failure. Without the right data, it’s impossible to deliver projects on time and on budget. Builders are feeling the strain of data sprawl in their work every day. How is sprawl rearing it’s ugly head?

  • Too many applications to manage. More apps can mean more data discrepancies without a single source of truth.

  • Projects are delayed. Manually managed processes lead to bottlenecks and miscommunications.

  • Can't scale or solve problems quickly. It’s difficult to find discrepancies when disparate data is distributed across numerous apps and endpoints.

  • Higher risk of security breaches without a secure data environment. Data sprawl makes cybersecurity unnecessarily complicated.

  • Clients upset by cost overruns and project delays. It’s hard to manage expectations without clear insight into project data.

  • Miss out on projects to competitors with better timelines, margins, and response times. This year, more than 33% of large organizations will be practicing data-driven intelligence.

  • Struggle to onboard new employees and get them to contribute quickly. Setbacks in the field are just the beginning with data sprawl affecting your organization.

  • Tech rejected by teams in the field. Teams will not find value in technology unless it reduces the complexity and enhances daily experiences.

How are Builders Overcoming Data Sprawl?

Data sprawl impacts almost all builders and construction firms, but especially those that are keen to improve workflows and use data to make informed quotes, plans, and strategic business moves. The best way for builders to overcome data sprawl is to evaluate their current systems to find tailored solutions, rather than overhauling their entire organization.

For example, Consigli Construction, one of the largest employee-owned construction organizations, often takes on complex projects with precise requirements. Planning, resource management, and detailed reporting all create innumerable data entries every day. There’s no way spreadsheets and disconnected systems can handle manual updates and processing to manage such a large construction network.

Instead, Consigli Construction uses Quickbase as a single source of truth that enables workers with real-time access to the latest information to improve delivery times and project costs. Plus, it offers a simple, customizable platform that can be tailored to their unique needs and empower teams with actionable data.

In construction, Quickbase eliminates the frustration of relying on loaded spreadsheets and disconnected workloads. By focusing on four key areas – visibility, connection, automation, and collaboration – you can push back and halt the continued advances of hyper-fragmentation.

Joe Demski
Written By: Joe Demski

Joe Demski is an Associate Content Marketing Manager at Quickbase.

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