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January 12, 2021

How a sound data management strategy can reduce complexity, costs and risks for construction companies

By Matt Tyrer

According to research from KPMG, 90 per cent of Canadian building and construction firms are investing in digital technology to build a competitive advantage, yet 80 per cent expect to spend less than five per cent of their revenue on digital transformation. And while construction has been slower than many industries to digitize, more organizations are now leveraging tools to simplify their day-to-day processes and are making it a priority. In fact, according to a recent survey of construction companies from Procore, a construction management software provider, nine in 10 (88 per cent) believe technology will either play a key role in the future of construction (50 per cent) or will be the backbone of the construction industry (38 per cent).

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit the construction industry hard with worksite lockdowns, supply chain issues and delayed projects, is also driving increased digital transformation. Digital solutions will be critical to the future of engineering and construction firms. Companies need to digitally transform in order to boost productivity, create more efficient supply chains and build a safer workplace by employing technologies that enable more remote working and monitoring of who is on a job site.

A key step to any digital transformation is to have a strong data management strategy and solution in place. It doesn’t matter how many tablets and smartphones you give on-site staff if they can’t access the plans, reports and other key information they need to do their jobs.

One of the biggest challenges facing construction firms is they frequently have multiple, geographically separated sites that need to be able to store and access important information. Another factor, working with subcontractors, means data can be spread across multiple companies, making it difficult to put together a complete picture of all the work that’s occurring at a particular job site.

Having a centralized data strategy encompassing the network edge, data centres and the cloud has become critically important to construction firms. Site maps, project metrics, architectural drawings and plans need to be available quickly. Delays in accessing important information can slow projects down and break budgets.

For some projects, accessing site information can have more significant implications. For example, firms doing work at military sites that are being renovated or repurposed will need access to information about stored munitions, or former practice ranges, to ensure work can progress safely. And for renovations of older buildings, site teams will need to ensure everything is up to code, including electrical, drainage and environmental factors. Access to original plans can help them determine these factors faster.

Building a data management plan that encompasses remote sites, mobile devices, applications, data centres and outside contractors may seem intimidating, but there are some simple steps companies can follow in designing an effective data infrastructure:

  • Centralize your data – this allows you to access it faster and ensures you know where it is stored. It also makes it simpler to run analysis on your data to improve business decision making.
  • Back your data up locally and at your central location. You should ensure your data protection solutions can deduplicate data to minimize your network bandwidth requirements.
  • Ensure you can store, classify and search your structured and unstructured data, including e-mail. Also, look for backup solutions that allow you to restore files at a granular level, which can help with compliance requirements. Products that can auto-discover and protect newly added data should be a priority.
  • Use a single interface for your data backups to simplify management. You should also make sure your data backup solution can work seamlessly with all your applications.
  • For security purposes, use end-to-end encryption.
  • Backup systems should be cloud-optimized to maximize scalability and mobility. You need to be able to back up data from on-premises, data centre, endpoints, mobile devices and the cloud.

Managing and protecting data has been a factor in the success of one of our Canadian customers, Clark Builders. According to Stephen Gibson, Technical Analyst, Information Technology at Clark Builders, “In addition to the impact its availability can have for onsite workers, ensuring we’re meeting all industry regulations is vital. In particular, making data backup systems a priority can help ensure there will never be a slowdown or loss of information if something ever goes wrong.”

A sound data management strategy will streamline processes on individual construction projects, while also delivering efficiencies for the larger business by enabling companies to better analyze their data and ensure they’re in compliance with regulations and customer or partner requirements. It will also reduce costs, complexity and risks for construction firms, helping them complete projects on time and within budget.

About Matt Tyrer

Matt Tyrer is the Ottawa-based Senior Manager, Solutions Marketing for the Americas for data protection leader Commvault. Matt is an IT industry veteran with nearly 20 years of experience. He has worked with teams from around the world to build and implement data management and protection solutions for customers of all sizes.


About Commvault

Commvault is a worldwide leader in delivering data readiness, enabling customers to intelligently manage data with solutions that store, protect, optimize and use data. Commvault software automates mind-numbing IT tasks and makes data work harder for customers— so they can gain invaluable insights for their businesses. Leading construction firms around the world employ Commvault solutions to enhance their data management. Commvault solutions work across cloud and on-premises environments, leveraging the digital tools and procedures already in use. Commvault software, solutions and services are available from the company and through a global ecosystem of trusted partners. Commvault employs more than 2,300 highly skilled individuals across markets worldwide, is publicly traded on NASDAQ (CVLT), and is headquartered in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, in the United States.