The Power of Data in the Management and Delivery of Assets

Terry Stocks
Data as a stand-a-lone deliverable is a growing concept. Big Data, Open Source Data, BIM Data, Sensor Data to name a few. The harnessing of existing data combined with predictive and in use data, enhances decision making, highlighting opportunities for optimising the specification of assets and the business or service provision that the assets support.

Data is the plural of Datum – meaning facts or pieces of information. Datum can also mean a level, line or point used as a reference. Data provides a benchmark to measure outcomes or progress and to support decision making. We use data in our everyday lives, selecting a new car – what is the cost of ownership? What has the experience of other owners been? When we go on holiday we review data sets for weather patterns, the experience of others, we increasingly all provide feedback on our experiences which adds to the richness of the data for decision making for others. Applying this rigour in the strategic planning, delivery and operation of built assets should be second nature, but it is not.

The clear decision making process we exercise when purchasing a car or holiday is not, in general, followed when specifying an asset.

Since 1934 there have been over 70 reports on improving the delivery, productivity and outcomes of our built assets. The latest is the recent Farmer report. It stated key reason for poor project (and therefore asset) performance is due to client change, waste in the specification and delivery process and re-work. With key reasons being low collaboration, a disjunction between client, designer, procurer and constructor. The clear decision making process we exercise when purchasing a car or holiday is not, in general, followed when specifying an asset. As asset owners or procurers, if we had delivery and operational data sets our strategic asset decision making and articulation of outcomes could be improved, and the briefing of our supply chains clearer, resulting in outcomes that can be clearly benchmarked with lessons learned informing future aspirations and expectations.

A recent McKinsey and Accenture report found that businesses that collected and used data to inform their decision making outperformed other companies. The cost of built assets are a significant part of a business overhead. However, we can make false economies through  decisions based on assumptions or a false premise, and we don’t realise or evaluate the impact over the whole life cycle of an asset.  Decisions that have consequences far beyond the asset itself. We should therefore consider the whole lifecycle when we make our decisions on project selection and delivery timeframes.

Clients should ideally have, and articulate clear aspirational asset outcomes. Through a structured approach to strategic asset management the relative performance, importance and efficiency of assets can be compiled. Using multiple strands of data – occupier in use data, external third party data sets, open source data etc. delivered through sensor technology measuring the utilisation of spaces in buildings, the real time performance of key plant items etc. or third party and open source data on customer or asset user footfall etc. we can build a sophisticated appraisal of the performance of our assets and importantly how we can improve their contribution to our required business outcomes.

Faithful+Gould are experts in the procurement, delivery and management of assets. We support our clients to unlock efficiencies and opportunities across their portfolios or the delivery of single assets. Through an integrated approach to project and programme management and lifecycle asset operation, we have developed a suite of tools and processes that enable us to offer our clients expert advice across the whole asset lifecycle. We work with clients across many sectors helping to gather key data sets and implement delivery and operational practice that saves money and increases operational efficiencies. Our BIM services include setting up organisational standard process and templates through to capital project delivery and data into operations. Our Oracle partnership combines the power of a large multinational software provider with our own expertise in working with clients to configure a programme / project management planning and delivery process across organisations and for the delivery of complex programmes. Asset Predictor is our approach to quick and cost effective asset planning. Through our expert knowledge of sector assets we can apply our Asset Predictor approach to cut the cost for the delivery of detailed capital work programmes. Envision is a concept that underlines our commitment to research and development and focuses on adding value to our clients. Envision is a strategic capital planning and project delivery tool providing early stage decision making data sets that would normally not form part of an estimate until much later in the design development process. All our delivery software is supported by our own internal core digital data capture and  process systems, which together provide Faithful+Gould with the ability to truly leverage our market leading position in the delivery and operation of assets.

Therefore ‘The Power of Data in the Management and Delivery of Assets’ is clear. Having data backed asset management systems and processes in place support decision making through the whole asset life cycle, and informs the programme and portfolio management decision making. An integrated digital approach to data capture and analytics supports delivery of the aspirational targets set in the Government and Industry ‘Strategy For Construction 2025’ of Faster (50% faster) Better (50% less carbon) and cheaper (33% WLCC reduction).

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