How can a common data environment benefit your business?
In recent years, the construction industry’s path to modernisation has benefited greatly from the adoption of various technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Drones, SMART Buildings, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality (VR/AR/VAR), Robotics, Blockchain and Building Information Modelling (BIM). The building process is now becoming simpler, smarter, faster and more seamless than ever before, but as a smaller to medium-sized business or tradesmen it may not be something that has been considered to yet be required, pricing, size and the type of work done may not seem to, on the face of it require such changes. But there is technology available that offers more value than it costs and will facilitate this change and ensure you don’t fall behind. Which with insolvencies higher than ever, isn’t something worth risking.
Alongside these revolutionary technologies come new and useful ways to collate and effectively utilise the vast amounts of data that construction projects produce, one such way being the common data environment (CDE).
Simply put, a CDE is a collaborative environment where all the stakeholders in a project share the data. It is used to collect, manage and disseminate documentation, drawings, and processes whilst managing both site and office teams.
So how could a CDE benefit you?
All parties will be working from the most recent information, in real-time, with a cloud-based system that can be accessed on any device, thus avoiding any misunderstandings resulting in expensive mistakes, and avoiding unnecessary delays. With all the data being in one place, it’s much easier to develop an overall view of how the project is progressing, with snapshot overviews of project status you can identify which aspects need attention or support and which can enable you to identify potential pitfalls much quicker than before.
Updates to a CDE are made in real-time, reducing the time and effort required to cross-check the current status of your project. Gone are the days of ‘to and fro’ emails, texts and phone calls trying to establish an overall picture of the project or decipher which information is current and which is superseded.
Saving time means saving money, as more of your own and your teams valuable hours can be spent on completing tasks rather than chasing various stakeholders for the information needed. A CDE also allows for faster, easier and more accurate tracking of building costs, timings, and requirements as all the data is easily accessible and therefore easier to digest. You can build your CDE just from features that would help your business and the way you work, it may be general stakeholder management of users, suppliers, clients, subbies; quality controls such as daily diary, snagging; financials, logistics or document control. You decide what you need, and what you do not.
A CDE can help to reduce both initial expenditure and ongoing operational and project costs by limiting the number of tools, resources, and processes that need to be set up and run. By adopting such a centralised process, expenses can be easily managed by unifying all the different methods that stakeholders utilise under one umbrella. Assigning tasks, scheduling works and updating information are all far slicker processes.
Accountability can be clearly defined and attributed; every party involved knows who is responsible for what and prevents any misunderstanding about what that is. The transparency of a CDE will allow you to understand exactly how the project is progressing. A CDE has a full audit history, at any time it can be seen who has done what within the system from marking up a drawing to viewing a document, entirely permission-based so management have full control over who does what and sees what with the ability to chose how users are notified and if said notification has been seen.
By taking advantage of the technology you make your business more attractive to prospective clients, as who wouldn’t want to work with a business that’s both transparent and efficient with its time, manages its costs well and is forward-thinking? You’re creating less paperwork, preventing mistakes and saving money for all those involved!
For more information on how a common data environment can benefit you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.