What can the construction sector learn from the public sector?

Jun 20, 2022 6:22:36 PM

What can the Construction Industry learn from Public Sector Information Management best-practice?


TEAM IM has been designing effective approaches for information management for over 20 years across a wide range of industries. We’ve seen the challenges of collecting vast volumes of information without the proper policies, processes, and platforms that enable those to be applied. Implementing those policies and processes in a single repository with the right capability has proved to be very successful, particularly for our Government customers – get the core information management right, and value-based processes like collaboration, workflows, and compliance can run with key stakeholders safe in the knowledge that information is captured, processed, consumed and managed in a consistent manner, irrespective of the people and the processes involved.

It’s also common knowledge that information management is crucial in the smooth running of construction projects. Developing and implementing a consistent approach to collecting, storing, distributing, using, and archiving information is essential to making sure the right people have the right information at the right time, enabling them to make the right decisions.

But often, that’s where the similarities end. Where a Government agency may have the luxury of deploying a single core system that manages a high proportion of their information and supports a wide range of business processes, construction companies are typically employing the traditional ‘best fit’ approach, using a large number of systems for individual functions – bid management, contract management, project management, quality management to name just a few.

And with all the rich functionality that those different systems provide and the smooth talking vendors that sell them, that systems proliferation is understandable. But that’s where the problems start. Trying to apply ‘best practice information management to that plethora of systems is tricky, and the benefits are hard to deliver. Information remains siloed, requires a multitude of management processes, and can be inconsistent, particularly between different systems or different stages in the construction process.

But is there another way? Is there an opportunity for construction organisations to take a leaf out of the Government playbook and consider a single, central system to enable the consistent application of information management policies and processes to construction information, or is the compromise of functionally best-of-breed but siloed information systems the only option?

As specialists in the information management domain for over 20 years, it’s fair to say that we’re somewhat biased towards information management/information architecture led approaches, but if we take an objective approach, can we say that the benefits of IM-led have been significant enough at our construction customers to provide a meaningful alternative to the ‘best of breed,’ multi-platform systems landscape?

We think so. Managing mission-critical information created and accessed across a wide range of construction processes in a single, central information repository has been transformational for many of our construction customers. From simple outcomes like always knowing which version of a document is the latest and only having one copy of that document, all the way to managing information from all processes across all projects in a single system and structure where entities such as sub-contractors can be related across the traditional boundaries of system and project siloes, our customers are delivering step changes in their ability to deliver to quality, time and budget expectations with new opportunities for analysis of where and why things went well or didn’t go to plan.

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