Transforming Data Into Insight

Transforming Data Into Insight


This article was originally published on Procore's corporate blog.

Construction is changing. While paper and pencils may seem pervasive in the industry, their days are numbered as new forms of technology make capturing, reporting and managing information much easier.

But evolution brings a new set of challenges to the table, namely collecting, managing and analyzing all this newly acquired data. The scale of this challenge is even more astounding when you consider the wide range of sources for data these days. Excel and accounting systems aren’t the only culprits when it comes to generating masses of data.

This scale of data is a treasure trove of knowledge, but too often the problem is getting all of this data into one system where it can be interpreted, analyzed and then distributed to entire teams -- without having to engage in double (or even triple entry) or printing reams of paper to pass on to owners (and everyone else) who may only look at one or two pages.

This amount of data can be overwhelming, and consequently there’s a temptation to stick to old habits, but those who do so risk being on the wrong side of productivity improvements. The question is: how do we transform data into insight and in the process, create an excitement, dependence and desire for data-driven decision making?

A Single Source
One of the keys to making data easier to interpret and access is creating a single repository for data. Procore’s Construction OS is a direct response to the growing challenge posed by more data generated by various systems that often don’t talk to one another -- your ERP and your PM solution, for example. The goal with the OS platform is to create a single technology solution. The platform allows construction professionals to import data from the tools they like to use into Procore where they can interpret and analyze it using our Insights feature. As the number of integrations in our App Marketplace continue to grow, the case for making Procore the sole repository of data streaming in from across the construction lifecycle becomes stronger.

Making Data Accessible

A single source for data is great, but storing data is just the beginning. The power of data lies in the ability to analyze it. Analyzing large volumes of data may be a great way to spend an evening for some people, but the majority of the population is more likely to want to spend less time sifting through endless sheets in Excel. That’s why Procore Insights leverages the power of visualizations to make it easy to view data in an insightful way and identify patterns. Through the Insights feature, rows of numbers can turn into a trend line that illuminate a blind spot in performance, productivity, or quality and safety.

Similarly, dashboards are a great way to create single-stop sources for data that display a breadth of metrics designed to give someone the ability to monitor several metrics at once, so they can quickly check the health of projects or see correlations between different reports and take action.

Customizing Reports
Visualizations and dashboards make data easy to consume, but not everyone needs to consume the same data. This is why we created our custom report tool. Using Insights allows you to blend custom data sources to get the context and analysis that is relevant. Custom Reporting also allows for permission-based sharing making it easy to limit who has access to certain dashboards, visualizations and reports. This makes it easier to target information share. Instead of dumping information onto everyone, we can target what data would be useful to which people.

Sharing is Caring

The key though, is that simplified and relevant insights should not live in a walled garden. Information needs exposure and that’s why Insights makes it easy to share. Publish and share company level custom reports and dashboards with company level users or project level custom reports with project level users and maintain separation and privacy as needed.

Our goal here at Procore as product developers is to create tools that can be implemented easily and ultimately simplify the construction management process. Efficiency is key in a complicated, multi-faceted industry like construction and the Insights feature is an excellent representation of client feedback driving further efficiency within Procore.