What is A Single Source of Truth in Construction?
Of all the buzzwords at risk of losing their meaning through imprecision and overuse, a “single source of truth” (SSOT) tops any honest person’s list. Don’t get us wrong, establishing a singular, central storage point for project data is a worthy goal. Unfortunately, the information systems and technical challenges of large construction projects are often too complex for a SSOT to be attainable. In our most recent Construction Cosmos webinar, we ask what is a single source of truth for construction projects? What are the benefits of a SSOT and how can they be measured?
A single source to consolidate data
When a construction firms talk about creating a SSOT, what they are really referring to is creating a single source to consolidate data. Construction projects are complex undertakings and involve many separate information systems. Each of these systems serves a unique purpose and requires access to critical project data. Because of this, there is a tendency to create silos for engineering, workforce, materials, vendors, purchase orders and other data. This can be a problem as stakeholders rely on data sources that are not reliable. By consolidating your data and eliminating these silos, you can enable better, data-driven decisions.
Minimizing mistakes and rework
Probably the single most important benefit of a SSOT in construction is the prevention of rework. According to a recent report by Autodesk and global consultant FMI, 52% of rework is caused by poor project data and miscommunication. Data from disparate sources can duplicate, lack standards, be out of date, or even conflict. This greatly increases the likelihood of mistakes, which then creates the need for expensive rework. This also reduces the chance of correcting a mistake before it creates problems later in the project lifecycle.
When project data moves from one system to another, the risk of a catastrophic error increases. For example, disconnected data systems can often be out of date. Data points are also more likely to be missing. By centralizing your project data and creating a single platform for collaboration, you reduce the risk that a team will be working with incomplete or lackluster data. It can also give stakeholders easy access and visibility to all pertinent data, which makes it easier to trust that data. With a SSOT, there is no concern over how information is collected or interpreted coming out of a different system.
A unique byproduct of having a SSOT is the ability to visualize data across more than one project. In addition to benefits at the project level, having a SSOT can serve a critical purpose at the enterprise or company-wide level. Autodesk Build, for example, allows workers to input data they typically capture on site across multiple devices and platforms. This includes site photos, project sheets and inspection forms. This data is then accessible to program managers across all projects in their portfolio. By enabling project workers to input data as part of their day-to-day tasks in a single platform, managers and executives can have a better sense of what needs their attention, based on specific KPIs.
Want to learn more about how to create a SSOT for your firm or project? Schedule a Discovery Meeting today!