Turner & Townsend Pioneering Predictive Analytics in Construction with Tableau

Keeping public works on track and budget with enhanced data-led approach

Date de publication: 21 octobre, 2014 - 00:15

Tableau Software (NYSE: DATA), a global leader in rapid-fire, easy-to-use business analytics software, today announced that Turner & Townsend, the global programme management and construction consultancy, is powering success in huge infrastructure projects using Tableau.

Founded in 1946, Turner & Townsend employs 3.6 thousand people globally, and generates turnover of £357 million. The business has enjoyed extreme high growth in the last 15 years and offers programme management and delivery, consulting and operational strategies for clients delivering some of the most important national and international construction projects in recent times. Major programmes and clients include The Shard, Nissan, PwC, Time Warner, Crossrail, Heathrow Airports, Glencore and Chevron.

Turner & Townsend is a knowledge business. As a result they need to manage a huge amount of client information that is typically numbers-heavy. As a consultancy the quality of its output is key. Aiming to become analytics pioneers, Chris Gage, Director at Turner & Townsend, investigated the tools available and picked Tableau to take the business to an even higher level. Gage found that Tableau helped him uncover insights through Tableau’s analysis that wouldn’t have been possible using other techniques, assisting the company in creating timely and easily consumed information.

Mr Gage explained, “The performance of capital programmes is frequently viewed as variable and therefore unpredictable in terms of delivery time, budget and standards. At Turner & Townsend we believe that clients can better manage risk while maximising value and performance through intelligent use of data. We are transforming capital programmes through smart analytical techniques enabled by tools such as Tableau. Predictive analytics are driving greater cost certainty on capital programmes and achieve greater capital efficiency. Detailed programme delivery data is being condensed into high level business intelligence that enables the user to zoom in and fix problems or identify opportunities to make efficiencies. In a highly regulated sector such as infrastructure, being able to distill highly complex data into a clear narrative is helping clients demonstrate value to regulators. Using our deep industry expertise we harness, analyse and interpret this data in a meaningful way, turning data into insight for our clients. Clients can have better insight at their fingertips, empowering them to confidently make critical, strategic decisions faster to achieve higher levels of performance.”

Like in other industries, specialist software is used for operational activities such as the day to day management of a programme. Spreadsheets often act as the glue that binds different operational systems together, particularly when it comes to management reporting. With ballooning data volumes and a new generation of smartphone wielding clients that have come to expect attractive, interactive information on demand, spreadsheets look increasingly anachronistic.

“Historically my team has explored, analysed and built reports using the ubiquitous spreadsheet package,” continued Gage. “However Tableau is now my favoured option for this type of work. Connecting to a data source or blending multiple data sources is virtually instant and you can be finding interesting visual trends and patterns within minutes. We have found that we have started ‘thinking in Tableau’ in the kind of way that you might catch yourself thinking in French if learning that language. Suddenly spreadsheets seem slow and clunky. But the biggest difference is the visual impact our outputs now have with clients. Our clients are busy people and increasingly data savvy. They want to instantly see the exceptions and then drill in to route cause. Tableau enables them to interact with our outputs in this way. All they need is a browser or tablet and they can get real time answers to their questions.”

Turner & Townsend operate in the capital programmes space and regardless of whether its property, infrastructure or natural resources, everything its clients are delivering has a location. Tableau’s mapping function is of particular importance as it enables the company to quickly visualise cost, schedule, risk and other data types geographically. This helps their clients make sense with data much quicker. For example:

  • Recent UK flooding caused water handling systems to overload, generating unusually high maintenance requirements. Visualising the sites geographically and comparing with historical trends enabled the impact of the abnormal weather conditions to be identified. This data can be used to build an algorithm that will predict the impact of future abnormal weather pattern using radar data to trigger location specific alerts.
  • Visualising construction sites on a map allows users to can see potential conflicts that could result in project delays such as a new school being built whilst adjoining road improvements are being carried out. Reports or tables of numbers will not reveal this insight.

“Turner & Townsend is showing the construction industry a new way to make better-informed, faster decisions. There’s no room for error with capital programmes, and making use of predictive analytics and visualisation allows the company to leave no stone unturned in their quest for exceptional performance,” commented James Eiloart, VP, EMEA, Tableau Software.

About Tableau
Tableau Software (NYSE: DATA) helps people see and understand data. Tableau helps anyone quickly analyze, visualize and share information. More than 21,000 customer accounts get rapid results with Tableau in the office and on-the-go. And tens of thousands of people use Tableau Public to share data in their blogs and websites. See how Tableau can help you by downloading the free trial at www.tableau.com/trial.

About Turner & Townsend
Turner & Townsend is an independent professional services company specialising in programme management, project management, cost management and consulting across the property, infrastructure and natural resources sectors. With 87 offices in 36 countries, we draw on our extensive global and industry experience to manage risk while maximising value and performance during the construction and operation of our clients’ assets. www.turnerandtownsend.com

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