Tales of data cleanup and normalization, massive integration and major workflow revisions in decision-making make it difficult for small and midsize businesses to compete against larger concerns when it comes to developing business intelligence (BI) for their markets and their operations. But with the right kind of support from upper management, an appropriately trained IT staff and a vision, SMBs can attain great results.
TMG Construction is an East Coast design-build and general contracting services corporation. Its 85 employees provide construction services to an impressive list of clients that includes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Homeland Security, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, United Airlines, Delta Airlines and Lufthansa.
"As we grew from a small to medium-sized business, we started down the typical IT path," says Chris Worth, director of business information systems and a member of TMG's executive management committee. "We started out with basic accounting and documentation systems, but we knew early on that what we really wanted was an integrated system that would give us a total picture of our business's performance."
TMG wanted business intelligence that could help it track target margin on construction projects, as well as gauge the work-in-progress schedule and analyze sales statistics, earned revenue and project backlog. "To meet these requirements, metrics need to be calculated as soon as data changes in our key business systems, making real-time information available in our data warehouse so it can be presented in dashboards and reports," says Worth.
Worth and his two-person IT staff decided to capitalize on their J2EE development skills. They took six months to design a project that could deliver the business intelligence they were looking for.