The Diary of a Construction Manger in Love with His BI Tool

June 7, 2012

Hi, my name is Bob and I am a construction manager. I oversee all aspects of managing the operations of a construction project, including budgets, staffing, and the compliance of the entire construction project.

In 10+ years of my experience, I have never had a Business Intelligence (BI) tool. I had to create spreadsheets to track daily activities, calculate risks and build formulas to measure impact. Given the size of the projects I worked on, this was extremely complex.  As a result, I would spend a lot of my time putting out fires to problems that I knew could have been prevented if I had the right information.

Recently my company introduced BI to our team. Since I’m using BI for the first time, I decided to create an activity log similar to a diary of my project.

Let me share some highlights with you:

October 28, 2011

We are 4 weeks into the project. We have the crew working on the ground. The foundation is done. The structural engineer has finished his design. We are ready to roll.

January 11, 2012

This morning I received an alert about my Preventative vs. Corrective Maintenance. My monthly work mix by type looks like this: preventative 36%; repair 24%; rebuild 5%; and modify 35%. My preventative costs have gone down from an optimal 40% to 36% and my repair costs have increased correspondingly.

When I drilled down into the repairs, I see that we are responding to higher than normal number of heating and insulation work items. I am going to talk to Edward – my HVAC contractor – about it.

February 29, 2012

I have been monitoring our electrical work. Our average Cost per SQ Foot is 13% less than industry average. This is a breakthrough thanks to the changes I have made monitoring the project with BI and making data-driven decisions. It lets me monitor these costs on an ongoing basis, so I can take preventative actions to stay below industry average to protect our funding and even justify additional headcount.

March 16, 2012

Productivity Rate is one of my favorite indicators – because it truly provides me with real-time info about the performance of my team. On average, our productivity rate stays on optimal levels. However, the plumbing trade group’s actual cost is exceeding the estimated costs. This will affect my cost-to-complete and margins, as I have to pay overtime for this contractor.

But I don’t have to worry… my BI tool lets me drill into this indicator to see whether the reason is ‘labor’ or ‘supply’ related. Drill-thru was something a spreadsheet could never let me do.

March 30, 2012

Two weeks have passed since I shifted resources for plumbing. Our productivity rates have improved since then and the project is looking on time and on budget.

With 40 more days to go, I want to make sure we deliver on time and meet our SLA with the building owners. I see no bottlenecks. Cycle Times – the average time to complete an activity – shows me that we are actually 4 days ahead of the schedule.

May 21, 2012

I’m very happy to report that we are done with the construction. The ROI on this project was greater than we expected and my client is very happy. Next weekend is the Memorial Day weekend. I have the time and money I need to take a nice vacation with my wife and son.

-As told by Bob, a fictional construction manager.

Even though the story is fictional, it’s based on reality. Business users and project managers – such as facility managers, supply chain logistic specialists, even dairy farmers – use Pentaho business intelligence to make their jobs easier and to make smarter, data driven decisions – just like our fictional friend, Bob.

Who knew BI could be so handy for construction managers?

What is your secret BI story? Drop me a line.

- Farnaz Erfan, Product Marketing, Pentaho


Building the Future of Analytics

December 1, 2011

It has been a terrific first two months at Pentaho; the excitement from our employees, customers and partners for helping Pentaho build the future of analytics has been profound.

We believe the future of analytics is all about building a modern platform that allows business users and technologists the ability to interact with their data in an easy, visual way. The consumerization of IT requires the traditional analytics functions regarding data extraction and transformation, metrics creation, ad hoc analysis and reporting to be done in a “point and click” and “drag and drop” fashion.  The latest Pentaho Business Analytics release delivers on such a premise and provides “Power to the user.”

We’ve had great feedback on how IT professionals love the visual, non-programmatic way Pentaho integrates any data source from traditional relational sources such as Oracle, SAP and MySQL, to SaaS applications like Salesforce, to non-relational sources including Hadoop, NoSQL and MPP, to analytic platforms including EMC, Teradata and IBM. Plus, the ease of all ETL functions are accomplished with a simple point and click.

Business users are free to create measures, metrics and on-the-fly reports. Deep ad hoc analysis and predictive analytical features are a drag and drop away.

Another design tenant Pentaho has built for the modern analytics platform is an open architecture and plug-in framework. We understand that our customers require freedom of choice selecting databases, plug-in end user components and web services. Pentaho’s open source heritage and extensible plug-in framework allows business users and IT professionals to easily integrate preferred components to fulfill their analytical needs.

The future of analytics is ensuring that our customers can easily gain insight from emerging technology trends including big data, Cloud computing and mobility.

Pentaho has released robust big data analytics solutions, which allow customers to truly “operationalize” big data applications. Pentaho is focused on helping customers address the biggest pain points around big data as well as the challenges of getting non-relational data in and out of Hadoop and into the hands of business users who can gain insight from reporting and ad hoc analysis. We already have several customers in the media and retail verticals who have tapped into big data for market analysis, customer sentiment and website analytics using Pentaho solutions.

Our modern technology platform was designed with Cloud computing in mind. Pentaho’s service oriented architecture allows SaaS and Cloud companies to easily embed rich analytics into their applications. Customers like Marketo, ExactTarget and Cipal have enhanced their service offerings with advanced analytics for their customers. Additionally, the Pentaho suite is integrated with common platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offerings, including Amazon Web Services and RackSpace for customers who would prefer to run their analytic applications in the Cloud.

We constantly strive to make our products more relevant. As our customers look to empower remote employees with better insight and analytics, Pentaho has released a rich mobile solution for tablets including the iPad.

The big idea for the future of analytics is allowing customers to freely move and easily integrate analytical applications between the traditional world of transactional, relational data and the new world of web, social and device data. The ultimate goal is to provide deep business insight by enabling users to easily mash-up data from traditional relational applications, such as Oracle, SAP and Microsoft, with web and social data sitting in Hadoop and NoSQL data stores.

I would be remiss not to mention that a major business design goal for the future of analytics is price performance and value. Building on our foundation of being easy to do business with from evaluation to renewal, Pentaho is continually improving its support and services. In the past year, we have added the Customer Success Team to provide additional customer service to our direct and OEM customers worldwide, created a specialized OEM services team and enhanced our support platform by migrating to Zendesk. All of this while still delivering the future of analytics at 20 percent of the cost of traditional analytics solutions from the mega vendors!

The future of analytics is here and now with Pentaho. I look forward to the journey!

Quentin


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