Project Management Information System

Construction Project Owners: Don’t Buy Another Proprietary PMIS

January 7, 2019 by Jeff Lydon

Are you considering deploying a proprietary Project Management Information System (PMIS) in 2019? Our advice? Save time and money by investing instead in a system with built-in data warehousing and reporting capabilities. That type of solution will automatically aggregate the data you need – no matter which system houses it, and whether the system is internal or external.

The Status Quo Problem

To understand the value of a data warehouse and reporting solution, it helps to look at a typical scenario, which illustrates the problems Construction Project Owners often face.

Hoping to improve the project management process, the Owner buys a new PMIS and requires each contractor and vendor to use it. However, many of the contractors and vendors want to use their existing construction project management software, which is integrated with their other company systems.

So what often happens is that contractors enter data into both systems (theirs and the Owner’s). In many cases, data will be manually processed for reporting, which means it will be exported, manipulated in spreadsheets, and imported into the Owner’s PMIS. This is costly, time-consuming and error-prone.

And, even within the Owner’s organization, each PM and team probably have their own way of managing their projects. The chances are that the shiny new proprietary PMIS won’t be flexible enough or easily customizable to meet each project team’s needs. So the various teams will probably continue managing projects their way – often with spreadsheets – and only input the bare minimum into the PMIS.

The result is blind spots and inefficiencies. There is no real-time, single source of truth for a project. And a lot of time is wasted at every level of the project, internally and externally.

All this is made more challenging because Construction Project Owners typically aren’t IT experts; it just isn’t their core competency. And most project teams don’t include IT specialists. Both these factors make bridging the gap between different systems that much more difficult for Owners.

The Solution

What to do? Simple. Don’t invest in another proprietary construction project management software system. Instead, focus on getting a system with a common data platform/data warehouse that can integrate data from all the various project management systems and applications used by your organization and your contractors.

In general, Construction Project Owners would be better served by focusing on operating a central data warehouse and using APIs/web services to connect to the allied systems that have the needed data. This kind of approach can work even if the information is in spreadsheets.

Under this system, the data still resides in the originating internal or external system. But the key project data that Owners need to manage projects is integrated into the data-warehouse solution. From there, the data can be queried and displayed as needed via a web portal, using real-time dashboards, KPIs, or tabular reports.

Why Does This Matter?

Implementing a data warehouse solution that collects all relevant project information in a central location controlled by the Construction Project Owner can improve accuracy, enhance productivity, and reduce administrative costs simply by reducing manual inputting. A data warehouse can help bring projects in on time and within budget by ensuring the right people are reviewing their deliverables and tracking overall program/project costs and progress.

And there are other, longer-term advantages to the data-warehouse approach. A data warehouse is essential for maintaining an archive of projects for audit purposes as well as lessons learned well after project completion. Data from construction projects can help Owners:

Identify trends
Address claims
Inform better design practices
Reduce costs
Expedite project delivery
Facilitate operations and maintenance long term

Because the data warehouse contains information tailored specifically to their needs, Owners must decide up front what type of information will be potentially useful and ensure that all that data is centrally stored. Owners should not rely on individual contractors and vendors who may not automatically store all the information the Owner will need.

Construction Viz

All this brings us back to the beginning when we advised you not to buy a proprietary PMIS. That, in itself, may seem strange. After all, isn’t that what we sell?

Yes. And no.

Construction Viz is a full-featured PMIS, with all the tools you need to manage your projects. This easy-to-use, customizable, and secure application has all the reports, forms, workflows, dashboards and other capabilities you need.

At the same time, Construction Viz is more than a PMIS. We designed it to be the ultimate collaboration and data-management platform. Construction Viz is one solution to manage and report on all the project data, no matter where it originated. That’s because Construction Viz is built on top of Microsoft SharePoint (the best-in-class collaboration platform) and SQL (the best-in-class data platform). Construction Viz can integrate with SQL and other common applications (e.g., Office, Microsoft Project, Oracle Primavera, SAP, ArcGIS and more). And it provides the portal needed for real-time dashboards and reporting.

So this PMIS-and-more solution can handle the data-warehouse layer and has the APIs needed to pull data in and push information out. Construction Viz provides the data warehousing and reporting capabilities Owners need to get a comprehensive dataset of needed information.

Summary

Construction Project Owners would be best served by focusing on data aggregation and reporting instead of only looking at the front-end input (e.g., a proprietary PMIS). The front-end input will change. The real value is in managing the data and exposing it for project teams to consume. With its data warehouse capabilities and portal, Construction Viz is designed to meet this need.

Learn more about Construction Viz and schedule a free demo and consultation at constructionviz.com.

 

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