;
Opinion, Products

Why context is key when it comes to document management

Construction professionals make hundreds of decisions every week but often, they are delayed or inaccurate because the decision maker doesn’t have context.

Construction professionals make hundreds of decisions every week. All too often, these decisions are delayed or inaccurate because the decision maker doesn’t have access to the full story. Critical to making the best and swiftest decisions is having a full and complete picture of all the related project documentation. Without access to relevant documents, and the insight into the relationships between them, how can someone be expected to make the best decisions? They can’t.

The concept of “project context” ensures construction professionals not only have access to their project documents wherever work takes them, but also that they can utilise the relationships that connect project items to tell the complete story. Only when this full story is available do professionals have the means to make the best and most accurate decisions.

So why don’t most construction professionals have this complete picture today? Well, there are two key reasons:

  • No single source of project document truth: Project information is typically scattered between numerous information systems. Emails are stored in individual Microsoft Outlook inboxes and project photos on people’s cell phones. Project plans, RFIs, submittals and specifications may be housed in network drives, SharePoint, Dropbox or some other document cloud-sharing service. When all the relevant information sits in completely different systems, it’s just not possible to see the big picture and it becomes far too easy to miss a critical piece of data.
  • Project item relationships are not available: Even if all the project information is stored in a single source of truth, there’s a good chance it’s not linked. For instance, if you’re trying to answer a question to an incoming RFI, can you quickly find a link to all the related emails related to it? Can you find the photo taken to help describe the situation the RFI is referencing? Can you locate the floor plan being mentioned? Maybe. Maybe not. But certainly, you’re not finding all this information quickly unless you have a solution that allows the linking of project items.

Let’s look at the RFI example in more detail. Without access to full project context what may happen?

  1. An RFI is submitted indicating if a door is installed as designed, it will crash into another opening door.
  2. You review the RFI but are struggling to understand the problem, so you go looking for some related photos.
  3. You search through a directory on the network that’s supposed manage all the photos but given most of them are named img00# you can’t find them.
  4. You send an email to the submitter of the RFI and ask them to send you any related photos.
  5. Three hours later you get the photos and understand the issue.
  6. You go looking for the most current plan, unsure if it’s in SharePoint, Dropbox or on the network drive.
  7. You’re pretty sure you found it, but not 100% certain, so you send out another email looking for guidance.
  8. Your co-worker sends you a reply saying this issue is already being addressed and questioning why you didn’t see the email he sent out last week. Ugh.

How does this type of scenario change when you do have access to full project context? Under these circumstances, you:

  1. Receive an email with a notification you have an RFI ready for review.
  2. Select the link and preview all the relevant RFI data.
  3. Scroll down into the RFI details and access links to all the related photos, emails, specifications and latest plan.
  4. Review all the information in one place. Answer provided.

With access to the full project context, not only did you answer the RFI significantly more quickly, but you also have confidence in your response knowing you had all relevant information and not just the information you were able to track down.

Full Project Context = Better, More Accurate and Timely Decisions

For more information on today’s most advanced document management solutions, visit InEight.com.

Written by David Wagner, vice president of industry solutions at InEight. He serves as a voice of the market for InEight’s Document, Contract and Change solutions. He has more than 20 years of experience developing and marketing capital project management software solutions with a specific emphasis on construction document management. David provides the necessary insight and expertise to develop strategic solutions that help InEight customers succeed in a highly competitive industry.   

Leave a Reply