As the construction industry continues to evolve its use of technology, the motivation behind this usage has changed to one that drives people, processes and profits. Initially, technology supported a defensive approach — catching up, getting the right teams on the job, mitigating current risks and documenting processes. Today, technology has the ability to provide proactivity by offering valuable insights so teams can work from an offensive standpoint and plan ahead.
The reason? Connected data.
Ditching a defensive approach
With an ever-increasing backlog of work to complete and countless troves of project information to wade through, it’s no wonder that many organizations find taking the offense challenging. Lacking a single source of truth, data is siloed and difficult to share with the right stakeholders. Many firms have had no choice but to work defensively, trying to keep up with a demanding market. Older technology solutions have limited capabilities, making it challenging to navigate towards proactivity.
Paired with the great teams that use it, modern construction software is equipped to provide never-before-seen insights, and actionize on them. A proactive approach means it’s easier for organizations to run more efficient businesses, grow strategically and win more work. Additionally, cloud-based solutions offer industry-specific capabilities necessary to customize for success, increased productivity and minimized risk.
Data-driven decision making
The built environment has a plethora of data—but the majority of it goes unused. Organizations miss out on crucial lessons learned, information to present to potential clients and statistics they want to celebrate or overturn. Now, construction has the opportunity to put their data to work as software empowers organizations to organize, easily access and analyze clean data.
While analytics are no replacement for the organic passing on of construction wisdom, they create an impressive catalog of project learnings. Whether collecting insights into supply chain delays, analyzing field skill sets or improving forecast accuracy, data-driven choices are the future of construction. Equipped with accurate data, teams can start to see where they can refine their processes and better prepare for upcoming projects.
For it to be useful, data must not just be accurate—it also must be connected, making it critical for the right systems to be in place for sharing. Siloed data is no help to anyone, so finding software that champions connected data is vital.
Digitally transforming the business
Digital transformation goes beyond simply digitizing the business, getting data off of paper and into computers. Instead, this is a customer-driven strategic business change that requires cross-cutting organizational change and technological implementation.
Choosing the right software is critical to strategically improving the organization, but it must be supported by great people and solid processes. Without cross-departmental cohesion, information exists in excess with no use case. Allowing the correct teams access to appropriate data keeps teams on the same page. A birds-eye view of the health, risk and productivity of the organization means that problems can be addressed before they become bigger challenges.
“The ability to have live, current, real-time data is a huge benefit. When a design change is released, for instance, a large change of all HVAC units from top to bottom in a multi-story building, we have to provide cost impact in a timely manner. If we are delayed in receiving these documents and miss or overlook these changes, then we risk the chance of not being compensated for the additional work by submitting our pricing late. Typically when a pricing change is submitted late, it will create an unnecessary challenge with the General Contractor and or Owner to prove up why and where this change occurred.”
—Jaeson Thornton, Executive Project Manager, Humphrey & Associates Inc.
Shifting to offense for the next generation
Armed with connected data, teams can accurately look ahead and bid more proactively. They can discover details that were never accessible before, like which employee will need to be recertified in six months, monitor the fluctuating prices of materials and how they can build more sustainably on the next job. With a proactive approach, financial forecasts are also beneficial to all stakeholders involved, whether at an employee-owned firm or a public agency.
Organizations equipped with the right technology and people to adopt it don’t just experience the business benefits. They are also attracting the next generation that’s grown up with and expects to work with evolving technologies.
“Because of the continued commitment to innovation, the new technologies, using construction management software, as well as our mechanical technologies, we’re drawing in a younger generation that typically isn’t interested in construction. And we got people lined up at the door, to get on board and partake of this innovation and technology and the new steps that are coming out.”
—Wilford Jessup, IT Director, Building Zone Industries
It’s no surprise that connected, clean data is the gateway to successful and profitable organizations. With the right team, tech stack and plans in place, the industry can undergo a truly remarkable digital transformation.