The Key to Construction: Data
October 16, 2012
For owners and contractors working on oil and gas, heavy/highway, and mining projects, among others, the ability to access critical data through reports and corporate dashboards can add a lot of value to the bottomline. More specifically, most of the project costs to the owner are spent in the project delivery stage, which can be reduced by having detailed data.
For example, when $1 billion is spent on project delivery, approximately $20 million of that is used to generate reports, according to executives at Hard Dollar, www.harddollar.com, Scottsdale, Ariz. Reducing that by even 5-10% would save $1-2 million. While many are generating static PDFs, it can be difficult to pull critical information from these forms. Rather, contractors need the ability to analyze data more readily from the myriad reports they are generating.
New technology will give users the ability to bring all this information together in one location via the cloud. Today, Hard Dollar announced the release of its Lasso Project Intelligence, which can be used as either a standalone product or integrate with Hard Dollar’s Project Cost Management, as well as third-party systems and even programs like Microsoft Excel. With the software, project information is exchanged among project stakeholders through secure, invitation-only portals.
Brad Barth, senior vice president, Hard Dollar, says the software is built to work with any data source and can easily exchange data, simplifying access to information. For construction companies, the first release of Lasso includes time-phased cost, productivity, actual to budget, forecasting, and earned-value management, among others. The cloud-based system also provides access to data via a PC, laptop, tablet, and smartphone.
With this release, Hard Dollar is also coming to market with its Lasso Marketplace, which includes reports and dashboard templates for engineering and construction. In this marketplace, estimators and project managers can use pre-built reports. With the software, users can also create custom reports. In addition, Hard Dollar plans to open up its Lasso Marketplace outside Hard Dollar, meaning third parties are invited to use the tools to create templates for the marketplace.
In the first release, the templates in the marketplace are primarily from Hard Dollar, but Barth says the company is beginning to forge relationships and partnerships with third parties.
The Lasso product is designed with executives and project managers in mind, meaning you don’t have to be an IT professional to be able to understand the software; Lasso is easy and simple to use. Users can access key data via the dashboards panel, create custom reports via the designer tab, and access pre-existing templates in the marketplace.
Hard Dollar has spent quite a bit of time building out its Unified Cost Control Warehouse, which stores the data and has relationships set up with other Hard Dollar systems. For companies looking to integrate Lasso with other products, the IT department will need to do a bit of mapping, but once that is done, everything is integrated.
Going forward, the construction industry can expect to see more options in the Lasso Marketplace as well as more partnerships between Hard Dollar and other providers in the industry. It will certainly be interesting to watch as the product finds roots in the construction industry, which is always looking for more ways to access and analyze data.