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You Can Have Data Without Information But You Cannot Have Information Without Data

Sam Karam, Associate at Amodal highlights the importance of accurate and valid data in an increasingly digital world.

Data is evidently having a huge impact on our lives, particularly in the way that businesses are making decisions. This new frontier is enabling us to do things which would otherwise have been impossible in an analogue world. Although the potential it offers is unparalleled, it’s actually too easy to get lost in all the noise. This is why when there are sizeable amounts of data, each piece must have the right context, and human judgement plays a big role in this. Adopting this approach prevents data from being easily misconstrued or framed in a way to set an agenda.

Contextualising information makes it easier to formulate decisions to aid your strategy and influence key stakeholders. Raw data can be translated into information, so it is presented in a more digestible, tame manner.

This is why we utilise a common data environment. We explicate and harness data to turn it into the kind of information which benefits clients.

From a construction point of view, this is highly beneficial. Access to coherently presented information gives stakeholders a clearer understanding of where they are, whether problems are emerging and what can be done to mitigate against risk.

Data informs decision-making

In terms of information management, you can aggregate a year’s worth of information to detect which parts are missing. Data must be regularly collected and uploaded, as gaps (whether large or small) can cause confusion and misrepresentation.

Some members of the supply chain may make changes to the blueprint, but they’ll only upload the final revision online. Instead of sending the revision to the CDE, they’ll send the documents to and from the parties they are directly working with. This approach isn’t collaborative and can mean that certain pieces of data fall to the wayside. This data – i.e., comments or amendments to a design – could contribute to forming a cogent picture of a project’s workflow or process. If they were missing, and only the final revision was visible, we will not have the type of data to know which works and what doesn’t work. Even if one element in an entire design drawing is rejected, having the information to signify why it was changed informs our behaviour later down the line. If you had access to that piece of data, you would better understand why the decision took place and what the overall impact was on the lifespan of a project. Without it, it is a missed opportunity to be more efficient. 

Another example would be in terms of cost. If there was a debate regarding a financial issue, you could go back to the plan or a schedule, which the quantity surveyor uploaded, to inform your decision. Here, a small piece of data is a reflection of a dialogue produced by one constructional discipline, which can actually inform a project at large.

Access to clear, contextualised data makes for increased flexibility and transparency across construction programmes. Clients want to be confident knowing that their actions are based on accurate information that is stored on a secure, collaborative platform. And this information will only be instrumental if the data is there to set that foundation.

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