Taming Big Data with Business Intelligence: A CM Perspective
A CMAA Emerging Technologies Committee Article
   
By Sergio Aranda, e-Builder, and Marty Turner, CCM, CH2M  /   CMAA
What is Your Business Intelligence Quotient (B-IQ)?
Television programming abounds with commercials promoting the virtues of Business Intelligence (BI). You have all seen the ads telling of “a new way to work” or “how you can make smarter decisions” or “how you can act faster and perform better.” Sounds great, but were you left wondering if Business Intelligence was really needed in the world of construction management or if the promises of mining Big Data had any useful applications in helping you run your project, your region or your business operations?


The CMAA Emerging Technologies Committee pondered these very same questions and set about to find the answers. This Whitepaper seeks to explain what Business Intelligence is, what it does and why every CM professional should be applying this technology on their projects and
in their organizations. 

   
Data, Data Everywhere…
Intuitively, you probably recognize that data drives most, if not all, of your business and project decisions. As in most industries, data gathering is a way of life for the construction industry. Data is collected to track performance, safety, quality and risk information. In a litigious environment, it also serves as a defensive mechanism against claims. All levels and disciplines of the project team routinely create, send, share and store massive amounts of source data related to a wide array of subjects and categories including cost, schedule, material data, daily reports, RFI’s, NCR’s just to name a few.

As source data is generated, it is routinely stored and maintained in files and databases. Large scale data storage and access is typically managed within ever larger cloud-based repositories known as data warehouses. Over time, the accumulation and expansion of data volume, variety, and velocity has come to be known as Big Data. As you would expect, Big Data requires larger scale and more robust tools and systems to manage the storage, access, and security of the information. Absent these tools, over time, the compounding effect of data aging and sheer volume of stored data makes it less manageable and less useful to the active professional working on the latest issue or problem. However, hidden within the mountains of accumulated “raw” source data lie patterns and trends that if properly identified and harnessed, provide the key to real actionable information that can dramatically transform decision making and operational performance.​​
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