"That's where we're going to see construction take off, especially in the next 10 to 15 years as data becomes easier to deploy in feedback loops," he adds. Mobile-device use on jobsites represents the leading wave of this rising technology tide (">see sidebar here on mobile devices that leverage business intelligence).

"You have data coming from the field to the office and back, and it's going faster, and you get that actionable information to decision-makers," Haladay says. "But the key is that you've got to give them something they can understand. It's got to be easy and intuitive, and it shouldn't have to take a complete IT staff to get it done." Yes, there are complexities, he adds, but they are not insurmountable.

As Gartner notes in its report, "The ability to manage extreme data will be a core competency of enterprises that are increasingly using new forms of information (text, social, context) to look for patterns that support business decisions(pattern-based strategy)." Gartner recommends: Focus on information governance so as to be able to manage valuable relevant information—do not try to govern all of your available assets. Develop appropriate specialist competencies in the organization, such as data scientists, to evaluate both how information is used and how it evolves.

Whips and Chairs

For Hill's Pressley, construction management tools are becoming more science-based, especially when dealing with schedules "that look pretty but fall apart under "b---s--- logic that doesn't hold up."

He now uses Acumen's tools with all project management applications. "It absorbs that data, no matter what scheduling platform you're running: ">Microsoft Project, P3, ">Deltek, even Excel," he adds.

"Real complex schedules used to take us one, sometimes two weeks to analyze. By the time you got the answer to the scheduling problems, it was already out of date because everything on the project just moved up." Now, the firm can resolve problems in a day or so.

He says, "It's like having a chair and whip" to tame the growth of big data.