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Using data management to improve project delivery on HS2

11 October, 2023

It’s no secret that best use of gathering data and analyzing it can pay huge dividends on project delivery, so we partnered with Laminar Projects on a recent webinar to take a deep dive into their award-winning work and the data management challenges they faced on HS2 with the Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial and BAM Nuttall joint venture (EKFB).


Laminar faced many challenges, from siloed systems across multiple organizations to managing significantly high volumes of data, all whilst having to establish and maintain high standards of data quality and control.

The problem

With a project as large as HS2, up-to-date and accurate datasets and reports are vital to ensure the team can successfully achieve all their functional goals. To avoid performance issues and time inefficiencies, the team needed a clear view of the overall status of the project, which relied on people regularly updating spreadsheets and documents to make certain that all reports and information systems were as accurate as possible. Of course, this was not always the case, and the effect of having multiple information systems meant that workflows became fragmented, and data became siloed.

One of the downfalls of having multiple document information management systems on projects as large as HS2 is that manual intervention is required to manage information exchange, which leads to discrepancies and poor data quality. The disorganization meant that information managers would question whether they had transferred the latest information to the relevant systems, design managers would waste time looking for the latest information for their reviews and in turn, the client would be left uncertain of the quality and trustworthiness of the data.

GIS Manager, Michelle, perfectly demonstrated this very issue; having been tasked with the job of generating monthly design progress reports for the senior leadership team, she was frequently frustrated with the complex data landscape on the project. It would take her team up to 10 days to collate all the required data, with additional time needed to thoroughly analyze and prepare it. The manual nature of this work meant that it was difficult to assure the data quality.

The lack of a single source of truth meant that data was not reliable and thus poorer decisions were being made. It was understood that to resolve these issues, data needed to be curated in a more efficient and automated manner in order to allow all team members to easily access reliable and up-to-date information for data-driven decision making.

The solution

To combat these issues and streamline the team’s workflows, Laminar Projects transformed 10+ project systems into a centralized information system, creating a single source of truth. They developed an in-house solution that allowed the team to improve their performance by migrating to a fully scalable solution. By centralizing all data and using automation, they were able to greatly reduce the amount of time spent gathering and transforming data. The whole project team therefore had greater communication between teams, as well as greater visibility of project updates and information.

For Michelle, the automated system was built in stages to ensure that accurate user personas could be set up, so that she could get the relevant data she needed readily and quickly. After this, automated reports were built into Power BI to replace the existing manual reports. The new reports used trusted data and the automatic analysis meant that the team now had more flexibility and more insights to inform their decisions than ever before.

The role of email management in creating a single source of truth

When establishing an efficient workflow across a project or business, a crucial but often neglected aspect is email management. Unless emails are filed logically and systematically, there is a risk of data getting lost or mishandled. More often than not, emails with important updates get lost, deleted or become inaccessible when a staff member leaves. This compromises the single source of truth and can result in different parties making decisions based on different information, consequently affecting project timelines and costs.

If your goal is to streamline your data management, Ideagen Mail Manager could be the final piece of the puzzle. With an organized inbox, teams can quickly search and retrieve whatever they need, even if they were not initially in an email thread; correspondence from years ago can be pulled up in a matter of seconds. All updates to projects can be easily tracked, and in addition to this, any disputes can quickly be resolved, thus ensuring that data reports being sent via email are always up to date and that silos are avoided, eliminating the email headache and confusion that most businesses know all too well.

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