Our Perspective

Data: What Does Good Look Like?

Data has become a key requirement for businesses across the world, but how does it add value? Sam Karam, Associate at Amodal gives insight.

We’re in the age of information, which means that data is one of the most important resources in our modern world. The requirement for data is growing exponentially, particularly in the construction industry where information can be leveraged to iron-out inefficiencies and streamline productivity.

Although data is hugely valuable, the industry isn’t truly reaping the benefits that data has to offer. Construction is very reticent to change, and with that comes a hesitancy to move quickly. This, in part, explains why the implementation of technology is so slow even though data’s potential for transformative development is significant.

Learning from other models

Construction can certainly look to other industries to inform its next steps and to know which data is valuable. Having a feel for which data is of worth to a business is completely crucial, as random data won’t ever be of any benefit – in fact, it can be another obstacle.

Therefore, there needs to be more of a concerted effort to push the value of good data and the wider impact it can have on a business. High-quality, accurate data is able to radically improve processes for the better.

In terms of what good, ‘valuable’ data looks like, we can take a company such as Netflix, a big player in the streaming world, as an example. Netflix uses cookies to track consumer behaviour so it can tailor film selections to the individual preferences of any given user. This exemplifies valuable data, as it is helping Netflix to sustain the user appetite for its services.

It is why for many companies such as the likes of Netflix, data collection is an attractive and valuable prospect that is making a difference where it is needed. However, these companies have invested time and effort in knowing data’s worth and understanding how best to utilise it.

Construction companies can definitely learn from the streaming world in terms of knowing which data is valuable. Certainly, Netflix had an early mover advantage as it pretty much offered a service before anyone else. This window gave them a longer scale of data collection and over time, has enabled its teams to hone the customer experience.

If we compare Netflix’s approach to a competitor like Apple the approaches are markedly different. Whereas Netflix is focusing on one area of expertise and is going to a level of granularity, the likes of Apple are doing ten things at once – I’m thinking Apple Pay, Apple TV, e-commerce, even electric cars – and are perhaps spreading themselves a little too thinly to win over customers in the ongoing streaming wars. Although Netflix had the advantage when it came to streaming, it is, nonetheless, focusing on one thing and is doing it well. 

This could be a lesson the construction industry learns from. The industry would benefit from concentrating its focus on good data and the digital agenda, and shouldn’t be afraid to spend time learning and understanding which data is valuable. Thankfully, the pandemic has put many wheels into motion, providing time for businesses to establish the foundations for a digital agenda. But, for construction to consolidate the digital technologies at its disposal, a canny move would be to take a leaf out of Netflix’s book to ensure the data we obtain is going to feedback into a business valuably.

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