4 Steps to Building A Successful Data Strategy


Construction industry professionals share a feeling of being overwhelmed by the volume of project data their organisations collect. Not surprisingly, many are uncertain how to leverage their data more effectively. This four step process will make implementing a data strategy easier and attainable for your organisation.

This checklist is the summation of findings from an in-depth industry report, Harnessing the Data Advantage in Construction, made in partnership between Autodesk and FMI.


1. Select a single point of focus.

To maximise return on investment (ROI) and encourage organisational buy-in, your first attempt at data process improvement must have clear value. Decide where the organisation would benefit most from data-driven insights.

EXPERT ADVICE: Before selecting your initial point of focus, clearly articulate your organisation’s aspirations with data. Answer the following questions to understand your “why”:

  • What do you want to do better?
  • What would look different if you were able to leverage your project data and generate insights?
  • Who could you consult to ask for advice when beginning this process?
  • What tools already exist to help accelerate your data strategy implementation?


2. Get buy-in to reduce hesitancy.

Implementing data-driven insights in project decision-making is described by many as a cultural shift within their organisations. Achieving buy-in and including your project team in the decision-making ensures they will not be biased against the proposed changes.

EXPERT ADVICE: Organisations that have successfully achieved buy-in for their data strategies found these three components most important:

  • Buy-in from all potential users is a requirement because the success or failure of a plan relies on the adoption by and execution of the frontline staff. Gather feedback from end-users, and constantly demonstrate the benefits of the plan to each person’s daily tasks.
  • Buy-in can be accelerated when you explain to people how their own actions impact a colleague. Communicating the purpose of the plan and how all actions, roles, and responsibilities are connected is key.
  • Reinforce the positive outcomes from your improvements in data


3. Standardise your data capture across all projects.

One-third of respondents in our research indicated that over half of their organisation’s data is considered to be bad. As a result, many teams feel overwhelmed by the amount of data collected and are at a loss for how to improve how they manage it.

EXPERT ADVICE: To increase the likelihood of company-wide adoption, your data standards and data strategies should include:

  • Resources (e.g., money, people, and tools).
  • Metrics to track performance throughout implementation.
  • A champion empowered to lead the way.


4. Keep project data in a common environment.

The importance of storing your data in a central location—commonly referred to as a common data environment—cannot be understated. Adopting a common data environment facilitates collaboration between project team members and helps avoid creating data silos filled with more bad data.

EXPERT ADVICE: Industry leaders share three best practices on data quality to give you a head start on your strategy:

  • Ensure the data collected are accurate and in a standard format.
  • Choose a single, open technology solution that supports integration.
  • Be prepared to pivot as you implement your plan.


Get the full report:


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