How to Connect Your Project Data with Business Intelligence

Construction teams are capturing more data than ever before. With the amount of activity happening daily on a jobsite, it’s easy to see how data can build up and become overwhelming to understand. According to FMI, 95% of the data generated by construction and engineering firms goes unused, which means we only have room to improve.   

Teams don’t necessarily need more data; they need more insights that will help them leverage data more effectively in decision making. So, where do we start? 

The first step is ensuring you have access to all of your project data and the right analytics tools to visualize further. The Autodesk Construction Cloud platform and BIM 360 has a great set of prediction and analytics capabilities built directly into the product. However, we know that many construction teams still rely on additional business intelligence tools, like Power BI or Tableau, in tandem with our technology to evaluate their company’s performance.  

With Data Connector, teams can now quickly extract project data from the Autodesk Construction Cloud platform or BIM 360 for customized use in business intelligence tools, all through a single click. This saves teams time and money by giving them a built-in tool to extract data without needing expensive APIs or custom code. It also gives them the ability to improve data visualizations to make more informed business decisions. 

Curious to see how Data Connector is being used by construction teams today? Let’s explore how Barton Malow has been utilizing Data Connector in their business operations. 

Strengthening Technology Adoption

Ted Jennings, a Senior VDC Manager at Barton Malow, started using the data exported from the BIM 360 Data Connector to understand at an account level how various projects teams were onboarding as well as to look at the specific action’s users were taking within BIM 360. By understanding these trends, Jennings and his team were able to cultivate best practices and improve overall adoption of BIM 360 across all of their project teams. 

“One big win we came away with after looking into our usage data was that we noticed a lot of people were wrongly assigning subcontractors roles,” said Jennings. “We realized that the existing role tagged as ‘Field Team’ was getting overlooked so by changing it to ‘Subcontractor’ teams began to more appropriately assign this role. This is one example of how a simple categorization mistake can lead to people not being given the right permission levels or access to the documents they really need.”  

construction data solutions

Understanding Project and Company Wide Performance

Evaluating project level performance has always been a critical part of any construction project, especially when it comes to looking at daily reports or analytics. However, cross project analysis is also an essential part of ensuring companies are getting a holistic view of how they are performing at an executive level. If you consider the amount of data generated from just a single project, you understand that looking at the data across tens of other projects is exponentially challenging to evaluate and compare.  

Additionally, many teams are also using multiple software solutions, like ERP systems, financial applications, and other project management tools. So having the ability to aggregate all of their data into a single view is essential. This is a key reason many construction firms are turning to business intelligence tools that are made specifically to help visualize and compare larger amounts of data to help them understand what areas of their business need attention.  

“It is critical for us to see a deeper level of cross project analytics and the Data Connector allows us to better understand project trends and commonalities so we can make decisions around how to mitigate those issues.” – Ted Jennings, Senior VDC Manager, Barton Malow

This was a key outcome Jennings wanted to achieve, as it was important for Barton Malow to use their business intelligence tools to evaluate their company performance across all of their projects. “It is critical for us to see a deeper level of cross project analytics and the Data Connector allows us to better understand project trends and commonalities so we can make decisions around how to mitigate those issues,” said Jennings.  

Improving Project Quality

Although the Barton Malow team started leveraging Data Connector to help improve their onboarding and adoption, they are now focusing on diving even deeper into analyzing cross workflow trends to improve their project delivery. By evaluating things like RFIs, Submittals, and Issues across projects, Jennings and his team can now have a clear understanding of what actions need prioritizing and improve overall project success.  

The other great thing about using the Data Connector is that any unique dashboard created within Power BI or Domo can also be viewed back within the Insight or Project Home modules in Autodesk Construction Cloud platform and BIM 360. This means that teams can leverage the powerful and customizable analytics features in business intelligence tools, but still have a centralized place to view all of their data.  

Construction data asset dashboard

Get Started with Data Connector Today

As more construction firms start adopting tools like the BIM 360 Data Connector to help leverage their data, teams will begin to see improvements in the way they do business. Whether that is better adoption of technology, streamlining project controls, or improving overall project quality, using data allows teams to learn and grow their business into the future.   

Need help getting started with Data Connector?

Download our free Power BI template

The post How to Connect Your Project Data with Business Intelligence appeared first on Digital Builder.

Did you miss our previous article…

Top Takeaways from Fireside Chat with Microsoft Director, Salla Eckhardt

We just wrapped up the Autodesk Construction Cloud Forum where leaders shared insights about digital transformation in the construction industry. The dynamic two-hour global digital event was jam-packed with everything from in-depth master classes to live networking with leading construction influencers.

One of the most powerful sessions included a fireside chat with Salla Eckhardt, Microsoft’s Director of Transformation Services on their new Center of Innovation team in the Global Real Estate department. Salla got her start developing and researching the solutions and technologies that we know today as digital plans. As a researcher, she developed many of the BIM processes and tools that are now off-the-shelf solutions and daily routines for the construction industry.

Before joining Microsoft, Salla directed the emerging technology and innovation strategy for a major construction management company based in Seattle. Let’s take a look at the top takeaways about innovation, platform technology, and other emerging technologies in construction from our recent fireside chat with Salla. 

If you missed the session, the content will be available for a couple weeks on the event site. Watch here. You can also read more takeaways from the event here.

1: Constantly Innovate Digital Construction Programs

Salla shared some highlights with us about how Microsoft is constantly innovating its digital construction program. As a member of the internal real estate and security departments, she helps operational teams deliver future campuses and workspaces. Salla explains, “I’m a director of transformation services in our center of innovation, where I’m driving forward a new framework called the Digital Building Life Cycle. I have built the entire Digital Building Life Cycle into my own career and tested a lot of those concepts that I’m now developing further with our partners and vendors.”

To achieve digital transformation in the construction space, Salla has focused on building up Microsoft’s flagship program for the Digital Building Lifecycle and its three subprograms. The first subprogram is a BIM program. It focuses on creating BIM guidelines and processes that then support the architects, engineers, general contractors, and preconstruction teams to digitally build the physical building before it’s actually built or assembled. The next program is the digital construction program. This program enables the use of platform technologies to collect and accumulate the relevant data for a real estate owner, operations, and facility management. 

Finally, Salla is responsible for our Digital Twins program. In this effort, she looks for ways to bring all of the technologies together in a format of Digital Twins. This single source of truth is critical for inviting stakeholders to collaborate on and deliver their scope of work in the full technical life cycle of the building and continue enriching the Digital Building Lifecycle.

As for innovation across their real estate department, Salla’s team works across a spectrum. Innovation teams work on what’s known as “horizon one.” These teams view innovation as incremental improvement in daily operations and over the next two years. The horizon two teams are focused on innovations for the next two to five years while the horizon three team works on innovations in the long term, concepts that may not even be currently feasible. 

“With this approach, we are looking at things in the short term without losing sight of the North Star that we are working towards and digitally transforming our overall business,” explains Salla.

2: Fuel Collaboration and Communication with Platform Technology

To achieve digital transformation, Microsoft is adopting a common data environment to ensure that projects are delivered according to BIM standards. This initiative ensures that the teams are collecting relevant data that Microsoft then owns. As the team continues into tenant improvements, projects, retrofits, and renovations down to the decades of the technical life cycle, they can be confident they have the most up-to-date data. 

Microsoft’s construction partners are using connected platforms to extend their offerings across the project life cycle. These platforms are critical to digital collaboration, communications across multiple stakeholders, and maintaining the data as a common language that fuels both collaboration and communication. 

As for day-to-day construction site operations, platform technology enables users to not only capture data but also to refine it into information that is more consumable for humans as decision-makers. It also cuts down data fragmentation and version-controlling as everyone is always working with the latest integrated data.

Platform thinking and adoption also support delivering the Digital Building Lifecycle. As Salla notes, “With the platform, we don’t have to be stuck with just collecting data. We can really refine the data into information that then is more consumable for humans as decision-makers. You can host all of the project documentation in a single source of truth, and people can filter out the relevant data they need. There’s less of the fragmentation of the data and less need for version control.”

3: The Industry is Changing — Take Advantage of Emerging Technologies

As the industry continues to evolve, Salla highlights the importance of leading with compassion and empathy. Adopting digital tools can enable teams to communicate more effectively than ever before. She notes how having the capability of experiencing the project in digital format by leveraging extended reality or in virtual meeting platforms has proven how powerful it is to have strong communication tools and the connection between different stakeholders.

Salla also sees great advancement in the areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning, which are quite beneficial for BIM and VDC management. These technologies can automate routine tasks and processes to avoid clashes and obstacles to collaboration. They also free up time for BIM and VDC managers to focus on people and communications management. 

In wrapping up our fireside chat, Salla shared some tips for new entrants to platform strategy. “I would take the approach of looking into what type of roles you have in your organization and what kind of processes people are managing. Take a deep look at opportunities for improving the roles. That way you take the approach of people, business, and technology. Technology is the third leg of the stool, supporting the people and their re-engineered processes. When you have clarity on what your organization looks like in the future, you can start developing your own digital core and tie it into the Digital Building Life Cycle that then creates that long-term vision for your digital transformation.”

This approach delivers clarity on the future of the organization. That way, you can start developing a digital core, which creates that long-term vision for digital transformation.

Catch More Content from the Autodesk Connected Construction Forum

Ready for more insights from the Autodesk Connected Construction Forum? Don’t miss out — you can watch the event content including the fireside chat and master classes for the next few weeks on the event site. 


The post Top Takeaways from Fireside Chat with Microsoft Director, Salla Eckhardt appeared first on Digital Builder.

Always check our latest articles at…

What Construction Companies Do

Construction companies are generally created and work in different countries around the globe. A construction firm is usually responsible for constructing buildings, both in the private and commercial sectors. Construction industry sectors are broadly classified into Building construction (private and commercial), Infrastructure construction, and Building engineering. The new trend of construction companies focuses on green construction and the creation of sustainable infrastructure.


Construction of residential buildings and bridges requires a large number of financial resources and skilled manpower. These resources and manpower can be utilized in a better way by utilizing pre-built infrastructure or constructing new infrastructure based on environmental or sustainable principles. Pre-built infrastructure does not require extensive renovation and rehabilitation works. It just requires thorough cleaning and restoration of the buildings, bridges, tunnels, etc. Green construction companies offer these services and more.


These construction companies design and construct buildings and bridges, as well as sewers and drainage systems using eco-friendly materials, which is beneficial to society at large. A big portion of the waste generated in a building or bridge is used as unwanted raw material by many industries and companies. Besides, most of the raw materials such as wood, concrete, and steel, are either degrade quickly or are contaminated with heavy metals. Hence, it is important to implement effective sewage and water supply point-of-use systems that will help reduce the load of waste.


One of the most important aspects of project management is identifying the exact role of every individual or team within the organization is. Most construction companies nowadays use the RPO (project management) approach, which helps them in analyzing each and every aspect of the projects and devising the required steps, procedures, techniques, and tools. The main objective of a project is to meet the requirements of the customers, and therefore it is extremely crucial for every team member to understand and perform his task in the best manner possible. Most of the time, teams are divided into three basic functional divisions – project manager, supervisor, and engineer. Within the team, there are various levels, which further sub-divide further into supervisory roles.


The project manager is in charge of various types of activities like negotiating with the client and suppliers, delegating works to various people, evaluating the various types of work done, approving deadlines, managing resources, etc. For dealing with such a wide spectrum of tasks, he needs to have excellent interpersonal skills. Civil engineers, on the other hand, are responsible for designing and constructing buildings and structures. They ensure that the structural strength of a building is optimum, the safety of residents is ensured, and that the building functions efficiently while being aesthetically appealing. In addition to all these, they also ensure that the construction companies adhere to all governmental regulations and building codes. For getting this job, a civil engineering company can look forward to various types of accreditation, which prove them capable of delivering quality work.


Another field in which construction companies can utilize their expertise is waste management. They are responsible for creating safe waste management systems for industries and for ensuring that the sites are pollution-free and have minimum environmental hazards. These professionals also ensure that the construction sites have adequate drainage systems so that the wastes can be transferred safely from one place to another. To ensure that the various activities performed by the civil engineers are flawless, they are often trained in various types of surveying techniques and mathematical formulas.


Another area in which construction companies can utilize their talent and skills is in planning and designing various types of buildings, Pathways, housing, pavements, roads, etc. The projects usually range from housing, Pathways, commercial spaces, to private housing, retail space, office complexes, etc. Apart from large buildings, they also specialize in designing residential houses, apartments, condos, townhouses, residential complexes, flat extensions, etc. In order to design such buildings, they use several tools like software, drawings, computer, etc. A variety of such jobs are available with construction companies in different parts of the country.


Civil construction companies, as previously mentioned above, are mainly present in the construction industry for the purpose of making buildings, pathways, housing, paths, roads, etc. Nowadays, they also provide services outside the construction industry. For example, some of them also help the real estate companies in designing and maintaining residential properties and commercial spaces. Thus, you should contact a reputed construction company to build your dream house or building.