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Data, numbers, information, are the language of science and engineering.  They are the currency that buys  the answers we need.  Part of the beauty of data is timelessness; a measurement of the period of the moon was as useful to the Greeks in 1000 BC as it is today. Providing of course that the data was managed so it could be accessed again.

Data management is nothing new.  However, the combination of science expertise and new real-time data storage and evaluation tools can provide you with the powerful information you need when you need it.  Whose information?  Your information, because it is your own learning and information that make you unique and valuable to your clients.  You've paid for it, use it!  Ironically, a lot of times it's toughest to keep a handle on the information that is closest to you.  Maybe some of your projects have spanned several years with several project managers to match.  Maybe one of your top people retired, also retiring that vast grey matter store of project data at the same time.  While we cannot download a brain (yet), AVI has developed data management tools that can efficiently maximize your productivity and allow maximum replicate use of information you already have on hand.  This is simply an offspring of the nature of scientific problem solving.

There are two types of data, the data itself and the upper level information about those data.  Information, if you will, about the information.  It is the management level information where some of the most powerful economic advantages can be gained.  The experiences and projects that have been successful in the past and can serve as building blocks to the future.  The second level of data management is the hard information itself, in whatever form it takes.  Temporal, spatial, parametric, observational, etc.  Let's say for instance you are an A&E firm asked to build a skyscraper in Los Angeles.  The top level database takes project management information like the number of floors, foundation requirements, earth-quake stability, construction methods, and a few other critical items.  Your real-time search of your own records uncovers that your New York affiliate did a similar award-winning job in Tokyo.  Most of your wheel is made.  You can resell the expertise that created it, and add the new spokes required for the project in L.A.   Your are bettering your product and your margins.  You can spend fresh creative effort architectural aspects that would have been impossible had you needed to collect all the underlying data from scratch.  Or how about this, you can provide 2 design options where your competitors, lacking your management of experience, can only offer 1.  In this way you use an old wheel to maximum advantage while creating a new one to stay ahead of your clients expectations, as well as your competitors.

In science and engineering, good data often go a lot further than the project they were collected on.  The key is recognizing the value and then being able to capitalize on it through good management and quick, simple access the information.  The value increases as the database grows; soon you may not need to collect anything but confirmatory information for new projects.

Benefits of Science/Engineering Data Management

  • You may lose people, but you won't lose their value
  • Real-time reporting allows full information passing, clients, managers, workers all on the same page (if they want to be)
  • Clear presentation & communications of data-based ideas, designs, etc.
  • No repetition of work already completed (I hate when that happens)
  • Enhance the quality and reduce the cost of bidding and planning
  • Learn from yourself, it's amazing that you can forget how good you are
  • Seamless and instant communication with clients, and even active participation