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Planned vs Actual Dashboards

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Use Sablono to minimise defects, get to the root cause of quality issues and streamline your workflows to get it right first time.

The better QA system

David Jung19-Feb-2020 13:36:184 min read

Construction Analytics: How to use production data to drive large-scale projects

As a product manager of an enterprise SaaS solution it’s only natural to deal with data analytics and dashboarding requests almost on a daily basis. Especially, if you are selling upmarket, data insights become a crucial part of your offering and value proposition. Most stakeholders deciding to buy your solution will need to understand the value of it even if they never get to use or see your applications themselves. What these decision makers are really after is the output of your system which other users produce while working with it. But as we all know, a dashboard can only be as good as the data it contains. Sh*t in, sh*t out. If the input data is skewed the dashboard will be just as well.

Hence, I was always struggling to decide what’s “more” important, or let’s say urgent, for Sablono’s Construction Execution System. Envisioning new dashboards to make the management of our clients happy or ensuring that the data which is being captured by their power-users and sub-contractors is as accurate as it can possibly be. Doing both at the same time would obviously be the right answer here. But in the life of a product manager reality tends to kick in and trade-offs must be made.

Our product today consists of mobile applications to collect data on site, scheduling functionality to enable (re-)planning of your project, visualizations, commercial valuations, dashboards and so many hidden gems I can’t even count them any longer. Due to the complexity of construction processes and workflows on large-scale projects, we decided early on to focus on the data input side of things first:

  • We made sure that our mobile applications are easy to use to enable construction workers to update the system regularly.
  • We created our Week Plan enabling planners to reschedule tasks on an unmatched level of detail, pushing those updated schedules into our mobile application in real-time to make sure everyone always knows what to do next.
  • We digitized QA workflows including Checklists, WIRs, Notes & Issues to offer a single source of truth for projects.

None of the above were easy tasks but the result is that the platform today holds highly relevant and accurate production data that our clients want to make use of more and more. Hence, my product backlog today includes tons of different requests around KPI’s, analytics and dashboards and my goal was to find a smart way to make them a reality.

In early 2019 I started looking into external BI tools such as Microsoft PowerBI or Looker. The idea behind this was, that we would potentially be able to create new data insights much faster without having to involve our software developers. Our first step into that direction was creating a Sablono API, which we released mid last year. Since then we have seen the most innovative companies among our clients using those endpoints to pull the data from our system into their preferred BI tool creating their customised insights and dashboards. It all worked out quite easily, and I hadn’t heard a single complain about the quality of the data provided by our API. We even saw clients resolving disputes with other project partners based on their Sablono data. How great is that!


Performance Trend - Forecasted Project Delivery - Planned vs. Actual


Beginning of 2020, I finally found the time to play around with one these BI tools and our data myself. When I started, I had no knowledge about any of the tools other than reviewing marketing material and even though I am spending a lot of time near developers I cannot code myself. Nevertheless, I was able to realize most of the dashboarding and KPI requests in our backlog in only a couple of weeks, thereby validating ideas worth of months of our development team’s effort if built on our own. The insights that I was able to generate based on the data captured on our platform are outstanding.

If every construction project out there had access to those KPIs I am sure that we would not only see faster executions, but also a higher quality and significantly improved performance in the AEC industry overall.


Quality Dashboard - Issues & QA checklists


So, I guess my message is this:

If you are already a Sablono client but not using the API yet, consider to do so! Contact us and we will happily offer assistance for the creation of meaningful dashboards for your project.

If you are not a Sablono client yet, book a webinar today and learn how our Construction Execution System will help you generate highly accurate production data to be displayed in your KPIs and dashboards.

And last but not least, I am happy to announce that Sablono will push for a seamless integration with one of the most advanced BI tools embedded in our platform in 2020.

The future looks bright for construction!