Construction network tech Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay Construction is one of the hardest industries to bring the value of analytics to bear. Oracle has launched Oracle Construction Intelligence Cloud Analytics (OCICA) to help organisations make evidence-based decisions across both owners and contractors. The solution was unveiled at the Oracle Industry Lab in Deerfield, Illinois.

OCICA leverages data from the applications within the Oracle Smart Construction Platform. It uses that data to provide benchmarking information and present predictive intelligence insights to improve efficiency in various use cases.

Roz Buick, senior vice president of product, strategy, and marketing for Oracle Construction and Engineering, commented: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure. The new Oracle Construction Intelligence Cloud Analytics offering combined with the Smart Construction Platform’s predictive intelligence engine and common data environment, gives our customers a deeper, holistic understanding of their performance.

“Now they can build unique data strategies that drive competitive differentiation. This is how the construction industry will get to six sigma precision like its industrial and manufacturing counterparts.”

Analytics is worthless without data. The new combination enables Oracle to leverage machine learning expertise to provide pre-built algorithms that can make a real difference to construction projects. Users can also retrain models should new factors emerge, ensuring that the models continuously learn and improve.

Where it makes a difference

Oracle highlights several use cases for the new solution that could make a real impact on construction projects. OCICA provides details of performance metrics across construction operations. It enables organisations to identify issues before they happen, make corrective actions and drive continuous improvement across project planning, construction, and asset operation.

  • Predict the probability of project and activity delays so that you can take proactive action based on the insights provided
  • Monitor and maintain the quality of the project schedule by measuring it against industry standards
  • Visualize the schedule in new ways to uncover hidden risks and ensure that the downstream impact of delayed activities is managed proactively
  • Improve the quality of predictions over time through feedback and constant model monitoring and retraining

One customer presumably already leveraging the new solution is Rudolph Libbe. Brian Neal, project manager, Rudolph Libbe Inc, commented: “We are increasingly focused on finding new and better ways to leverage our data to gain further insights into project performance and risk. Connecting and blending data for analysis will provide the broadest and deepest view into our operations, helping us to understand trends across our business and identify ways to keep improving how we deliver projects for our customers.”

Practical intelligence formed the basis of the Oracle Smart Construction Platform

Oracle continues to join the dots between data, processes, people and artificial intelligence. Construction is often seen as a laggard in adopting cloud computing, but with mobile devices, IoT and the emergence of cloud-based analytics, that is changing. Bello, Sururah A., et al. highlighted the future and current benefits cloud computing offers to construction. They offered five examples where cloud computing is benefiting the industry:

  • Safe Construction
  • Supply chain management
  • Project management informatics
  • Energy control
  • Waste minimisation

These are all areas where OCICA can offer support with its unified experience, common data environment, and cross-application interoperability. Across the organisation, people can collaborate better, with a common view of the data to improve efficiency and decision making. Organisations can work towards the common goal of delivering project success profitably.

This collaboration is important. Often contractors work in isolation from each other without always realizing the impact of a delay on a wider project. For example, if the hygrometer readings for a concrete screed identify that a floor is not ready for tiling, this may mean other trades are pushed back, which can further impact the project timeline. If corrective action is not made, this could impact the critical path. Giving awareness to the project manager that the screed is not ready enables him to reallocate resources and minimize the impact on the overall project.

It is not just around the construction work itself that the data and analysis are important. Understanding the impact on budgets of inflation can lead capital planners to adjust purchase timings, pause projects or descope less important elements to ensure that the overall project remains within budget. Project managers are informed of the changes to priorities and the impact on material supply just in time to avoid further unnecessary costs, such as idle labour.

Making a difference in construction

The breadth of understanding of the platform and AI behind it will grow with the data it ingests and the experiences it catalogues. Over time it can deliver informed and explainable decisions that project managers will trust. Oracle highlights five examples of the connected experiences and insights that customers can expect:

  • Providing up-to-date schedule data to project managers so they can keep teams aligned to planned delivery dates and other schedule requirements
  • Uniting planning (CPM schedule) with worksite teams (task schedule) to minimize wasted time and resources
  • Letting capital planning and project execution teams exchange budget and actual cost data. Doing so enables both teams to confidently adjust as work progresses
  • Automatically storing completed bid/tender packages as well as approved invoices and other payment materials in organizations’ document registers
  • Giving all stakeholders visibility to collectively track progress, identify and mitigate risks, and efficiently manage change across the entire supply chain

These insights are already being delivered to customers with Weronika Nowak, document control and IT manager for Mayflower Wind, noting: “Oracle has helped us improve coordination, visibility, and control during project development. The ability to further connect our teams, processes, and data across applications and all project phases will increase efficiency while providing our people with the information needed to readily manage change as we work to deliver critical energy assets.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

The Oracle announcement is interesting. Not just because of what it is delivering already but the promise it offers to the construction industry. Leveraging data and analytics has been uncommon across construction, and many rely on gut feel and experience.

Oracle and other solutions are gradually changing that. There are now solutions that work effectively on construction sites and in the office. What will be interesting is to see whether Bello, Sururah A., et al. predictions of what cloud computing promises can be delivered. They cited:

  • New Business models
  • Collaborative design
  • Transparent project delivery
  • Tighter integration of the supply chain
  • Construction as a service
  • Sustainability of SMEs

Some of these are certainly within sight. It will be interesting to see whether the  Oracle Smart Construction Platform and Oracle Construction Intelligence Cloud Analytics can help deliver them.


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