Conquering ‘Big Data’ – the KEY to successful BIM

key360_imageIdentifying the symptoms
The built environment covers all manner of engineering and construction projects, and includes many supporting sub-industries. Data is the lifeblood that keeps these projects alive, and like blood for the human body, projects need healthy data. When assessing the condition of the project we review or audit the data.


What are the symptoms to look out for when assessing a project in terms of Big Data?

  • Poor external connectivity
  • Inferior systems at all levels
  • Restrictive IT infrastructure or policy
  • Over governance restricting data flow
  • Insufficient levels of staffing to handle the data load
  • Poor, non-existent or overcomplicated workflow
  • Unclear coding, numbering and data structures (WBS, CBS, PBS)
  • Slow transactional throughput and excessive process cycle times
  • Poor understanding of the condition of data
  • Difficulty in finding documentation
  • Excessive time spent on reporting
  • Delayed production of important information
  • Disconnected and poorly integrated data

If any of these symptoms seem familiar to your project then your project is suffering from a degenerative condition – ‘Big Data Syndrome’. Projects suffering from this need to consider how they manage data in general and constructively develop strategies to rectify the problem.

Mapping the solution

BIM, identified as ‘Business Information Management’, ‘Building Information Modelling’, or ‘Building Information Management’ in various contexts, has several common aspects that need to be considered. Each of these elements is fundamental to the success of using Big Data principles to achieve the BIM objectives.

Data is the lifeblood that keeps these projects alive, and like blood for the human body, projects need healthy data.

‘Big Data’ – the volumes game

Assessing data types and volumes is extremely important in major projects and especially where BIM principles are required. Millions of transactions, data elements, electronic records and thousands of physical documents form the basis of the data load. If we know the cycle times of specific processes related to the data, we can determine how quickly the volume of data can be processed. This allows us to determine the staffing required.

This aspect of project setup and preparation is almost always neglected if addressed at all.

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Integrated systems – a fundamental requirement

Selecting the correct system or solution for your project is probably the most fundamental operational decision project strategists will be required to make. Systems and solutions are developed to manage data, processes and the human capital that need to interact with those processes in such a way that information can be managed effectively.

However, systems and solutions are generally developed with specific core functionality in a specific knowledge area. Systems and solutions are also generally developed to be company centric, and further than that, departmental by nature. In these areas they can perform extremely well. This, however, is not sufficient for BIM requirements on major projects.

A typical example of this can be demonstrated by systems which are implemented on company servers which are located behind corporate firewalls. This data protection mechanism is very effective in its core requirement, which is facilitating data management within a company in a protected environment. Major projects, however, have upwards of 200 companies all collaborating on more than 100 individual business processes. Integration between all these companies is impossible within the design of most current systems.

A key element of the BIM requirement (which is outside the scope of this article) is that data is extremely well structured and fully integrated. This integration aspect, although fundamental, is in fact directly opposed by the core nature of the design of most systems.

The KEY360 revolution

Upon review of the requirements for Big Data, effective data management for BIM success is a potentially daunting task for project strategists. KEY360 Project and Business Management Solutions was developed for this specific scenario. KEY360 creators set out to solve the problem of Big Data for projects and the result is a solution that:

  • Covers more than 100 project and business processes in 15 knowledge areas on one integrated platform
  • Allows multi-company access to data in a very safe environment
  • Is globally accessible in a structured cloud-based framework
  • Allows exceptional structure of data exceeding BIM requirements
  • Facilitates workflow between all project staff
  • Allows users ability to manage KPIs and dashboards
  • Enables managers to determine and control data volumes
  • Facilitates governance and audits at any level of data

Conquering Big Data is the key to achieving successful BIM objectives, which, in turn, delivers a major step change in project delivery success in all areas. The direct impact can be assessed in technical, quality, SHE, time and cost drivers for projects.

KEY360 has a proven track record of over 100 million transactions in a growing list of major projects for blue chip clients.

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