Ever a resilient industry, construction continues to push through the many challenges that have come its way over the years. Throughout the ongoing digital transformation in construction, the industry has been determined to overcome hurdles, but there are still several missed opportunities for improvement. This digital transformation goes beyond simply digitization — this customer-driven business change strategically combines technological innovation with cross-departmental collaboration.
The difficulties that the industry faces while going through this transformation are multifaceted and complex, including challenges with technology adoption, getting together dedicated IT departments and putting their data to use.
Here are four of the top digital transformation challenges facing construction today:
1. Difficulties with technology adoption
Many organizations struggle with software adoption, and as a result, steer clear of onboarding technology that could ultimately be helpful. Having been burned in the past, businesses sometimes avoid updating their tech stack. Technology adoption can be a problem for many reasons, including lack of proper support teams, too many point solutions to learn or choosing software that isn’t industry specific.
Another challenge in tech adoption for some firms is that they simply aren’t aware of technology that’s currently available. While it’s no surprise that many construction firms are behind in digitizing, technology has also been behind in having the right, industry-specific tools for construction that don’t cater to other fields. Technology built by construction, for construction is able to evolve and change with the growing needs of the industry, as well as be a listening ear for necessary updates.
2. Lack of dedicated IT departments
A recent report from JBKnowledge found that only 44.2% of surveyed construction firms have a dedicated department. Of those who have an IT department, over half employ only one to five IT employees—often led by a CFO rather than a CIO or CTO. Without a specific person to head construction technology ventures, it can be hard to invest in the right software or get together viable steering committees for much needed technology.
This is a concern because tech adoption requires knowledgeable personnel who can champion new products, answer questions and encourage internal usage. They can also act as a liaison between software support teams and internal teams to avoid double work and confusion. With dedicated departments and personnel, the digital transformation of any given organization is given a fighting chance.
3. Non-integrated software
Since 30% of engineering and construction firms are using applications that don’t integrate with each other, it can be difficult for them to go through a full digital transformation. This not only inhibits progress, but it can also create security or privacy concerns.
Over 51% of firms have to manually transfer their data when apps don’t integrate, inviting increased risk with human error and wasting valuable time. With so many projects and other concerns vying for their time, teams don’t need to be spending unnecessary time on manual processes.
4. Most construction data goes unused
Every project results in a plethora of data, but unfortunately 96% of data is left unused in the engineering and construction and 90% of that generated information is unstructured. These missed learnings can greatly inform an organization’s digital transformation, and making better use of data insights throughout the project lifecycle is critical to success. Increased visibility as a result of cross-functional data creates a better project lifecycle.
Not only does a majority of data go unused, but a recent survey by FMI found that 13% of working hours are spent looking for project data and information. Without readily available, clean data, it’s difficult for an organization to undergo a full digital transformation. Less than ten percent of firms have real time dashboard reporting, which means necessary stakeholders have to wait to view important reports. With accessible, real-time data, organizations get ahead of project problems before they become real issues.
Connected technology is the solution
On top of these challenges, siloed, disparate solutions are hurting construction efficiencies and ultimately affecting employees and clients. Construction needs connected technology that enables organizations to run better businesses — it’s the future of the industry. When software is connected and fully integrated with an organization’s entire tech stack, they can shift to the offensive instead of always playing defense.
No matter what hurdle in digital transformation construction faces, construction will do what it always does — forge ahead and solves the problems.
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