Toward Data-Driven Manage­ment

Fimpec is making a significant leap forward in data-driven management. Senior Consultant Kim Hagelberg sheds light on what this entails.

In the management of large and complex investment projects, obtaining up-to-date information for project management use remains a challenge. Despite the potential offered by the proliferation of information models and their usage, an effective method for this has not yet been developed. However, the situation is now changing.

At Fimpec, we have progressed to the point where we are implementing a solution in our projects that enables true data-driven management. It is model-based, simple for users, visualized, current, and allows for the exploration and optimization of alternatives.

How do we enable data-driven management, and why are we successful?

Our solution leverages information models, integrating them with other types of data typically produced in investment projects. It closely links to our existing automatic quantity surveying service, enabling precise, detailed tracking of quantities and their changes. Thus, we gather comprehensive data on project schedules, costs, environmental conditions, contractor performance, and other aspects. By collecting and analyzing this data using our custom formulas, we gain a holistic view of project dynamics, facilitating informed decision-making.

Data management is key. Information is continuously collected, analyzed, and used to produce reports that guide decision-making. Ultimately, this data is archived and utilized in planning future projects.

Our solution recognizes that despite the use of information modeling and the abundance of data in large investment projects, existing information has not been effectively refined and used in project management. To address this, we developed a system where schedules, costs, and other monitoring data are combined into a single database, easily reportable to project management and, for example, investors.

This has always been a goal of information modeling, but progress has been hampered by issues such as proprietary software interfaces, which have now been opened up. There has been a focus solely on information modelling, waiting for it to solve everything. We, on the other hand, have taken a broader view: if the information model lacks certain data, we can import it through another route and integrate it with the model. Combining models and data provides real-time quantity and cost information that is constantly updated, resulting in useful and meaningful data.

How is the information displayed and used?

In our data-driven management solution, reporting of the aggregated data is based on real-time, precise visualization, making it easily understandable and user-friendly. The integration of BIM models and external data sources enables this, allowing us to tailor information to the needs of different target groups.

We can provide investors with real-time information in an easy-to-understand format, for example, through weekly reports, using a few indicators that give an immediate overview of the current general situation of the project and its progress regarding costs and schedules.

If desired, it is possible to delve deeper into the data, which shows in more detail what has happened in the project and the reasons for the changes of interest. This project management-directed information enables comprehensive project monitoring, for example, through the use of S-curves that track production progress and costs relative to the schedule. It also enables life cycle assessment (LCA) calculations and detailed carbon footprint reports for managing low carbon footprint over the entire lifecycle of a building.

From a data-driven management perspective, it’s crucial that the data can be examined in such detail that things can be seen down to the precision of a structural component. Project management can view the current situation, for instance, how many piles and pillars are needed according to the plans relative to the budget, their cost, what has been installed, what hasn’t been installed, and how they are progressing in terms of schedule.

What are the benefits of data-driven management?

The enablement of data-driven management primarily means that correct decisions can be made at the right time in an investment project. By collecting and refining actual performance data, deviations are quickly identified, enabling proactive measures. We can see more quickly where the project currently stands and where it will go if no steering actions are taken. Ideally, project management can focus on resolving issues before they occur.

At the same time, bureaucracy decreases with fewer reports, less data collection, and fewer excel spreadsheets to combine. In theory, we could have one report that includes different views and updates as the background information changes. When reporting occurs on a single platform, there’s no need for excels, PDFs, or software requiring investment and training.

From a learning and future project perspective, a significant benefit is also that the project can always be rewound to any desired point and the entire project deconstructed in detail afterward. This is possible because data is continuously fed during the project and collected in one place. Hence, we know precisely who did what, when, and what was billed afterward. This reduces disputes but also offers entirely new opportunities for learning. By identifying aspects of the project that have gone better or worse than expected, we can get to the root causes by accessing and analyzing the data.

Having all project-related information systematically documented in this manner provides an incredibly strong foundation for planning future projects. Continuous data collection and management enable multi-project management, where historical data is used to improve efficiency in future projects.

What does the transition to data-driven management require from project participants?

Often, even fundamentally good reforms are challenging to implement because they require changes in working methods, training, or investments. One of the starting points for our solution was that it does not require software purchases, training needs, additional work, or changes in working methods from either our clients or contractors. The only requirements are the use of an information model in the project and the systematic maintenance of data.

In this data maintenance, we have kept to formats familiar to contractors. Behind them, our own formulas run, enabling the extraction of metrics from the data for decision support. The difference is that whereas data is currently filled in, for example, monthly and forwarded, with data-driven management, it can be filled in daily, providing continuous updates on project progress.

Where are we now?

As stated at the beginning of this article, the new solution is being gradually implemented. Currently, we are at a stage where each component has been put into production, and efforts are being made to integrate them into a single package.

The author, Senior Consultant Kim Hagelberg, has played a key role in the development of data-driven management at Fimpec.

For more information on how Fimpec leads with data, contact:

Johan Appelqvist
Operative Director, Cost management
Phone: +358 50 466 0907
Email: johan.appelqvist(at)

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