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Of Course I Want My Construction Company to be Data-Driven (maybe…)

Aedo Insites

First, the disclosures… I’ve been in analytics pretty much my entire career. I’ve worked with industry leaders, founded (and successfully exited) niche startups, helped organizations design and implement data initiatives, and been at the helm (read: “sharp pointy-end”) of analytic investments. So I’ve shilled and been shilled at.

And here is the lesson I keep learning over and over again – it’s always harder than I think it will be.

Photo of graphs on paper.

Photo by Lukas via https://www.pexels.com

Yet the promise of analytics – of companies transforming themselves in becoming data-driven – fires me up. Search for a bit “on the line” and you’ll find accounts of how every dollar spent will get you $9 bucks in return, how analytics is a top priority of CIO’s year after year, and how becoming information-driven transforms the price-performance of companies and industries. Even if these are exaggerated, the juice is definitely worth the squeeze, right?!!

In construction, an industry widely reported as a laggard in digitization and technology adoption, you would imagine that a few forward-leaning firms could dramatically outpace the competition. So, what gives?

There are many reasons for the tech adverse nature of the construction industry – some of these reasons are likely even true: low margins, risk-averse “no mistakes” cultures, comparatively small IT budgets, shallow technology bench strength, etc. I’ll begrudgingly accept user resistance and adoption, yet I believe the rationale on this one is flawed. That one is a future talk show…

Here’s is the essence of what I believe this all boils down to:

  • becoming data-driven is hard,
  • and it’s scary,
  • and it requires a shift in thinking.

Harvard Business Review delved into the topic in their recent article: Why Is It So Hard to Become a Data-Driven Company?

“Becoming data-driven takes time, focus, commitment, and persistence. Too many organizations minimize the effort or fail to correctly estimate the time which these kinds of wholesale business transformations require.”

HBR’s recommendations:

  1. Select clearly identified high-impact business problems where quick wins can create credibility and momentum.
  2. Shift thinking to treat data as a business asset. This will result in purposeful management of the data as it flows through the company, from capture, production, and ultimate utilization.
  3. Business transformation is a long-game requiring patience and fortitude. It’s not a one-and-done process but a people-focused investment plan conducted over time.

On a “bumper sticker”

Becoming data-driven is akin to investing for retirement.

It’s a choice about creating a future outcome. The investor (in both cases) decides how aggressively to lean into that future. And “do nothing” is a decision.

Becoming data-driven in construction is not about technology, it’s about shift in mindset: business outcomes, data as an asset, consistent investment in a future, the long-game.

Our mission at Aedo is to work exclusively with mindset-shifted, outcome-oriented construction company leaders. We’ve aligned our business to be the ideal partner needed for that data-driven transformation journey.

Is this you? I’m excited for the day when our teams meet!