With the amount of construction technology available, it can be head-spinning for industry leaders to figure out which tools are right for them. But equally confusing for construction firms can be determining the process to implement a tool once they’ve chosen one.
Whether you’re a large enterprise or a small outfit, knowing how to put a new technology or tool in place is almost as important as picking the right tool in the first place. You can have the best technology, but if you don’t roll it out correctly, it’s not going to give you the desired return on investment.
At Bluebeam, we have teams of industry specialists who engage with construction firms to help them organize and streamline their workflow-related technology implementations. While every organization is different, there’s a guided framework our consultants typically follow that is helpful in organizing a process that allows for a smooth implementation.
Here are the phases every construction organization should follow to properly assess and implement a new technology.
Explore thoughtful discovery
Regardless of the new technology you may be considering, it’s critical that before you proceed with purchasing and implementing such a tool, you have a full understanding of the status quo and what you’re looking for a new technology to help change.
What workflows will it improve? What are the desired outcomes that will come from using the tool? What roles or team members will use it?
These are just some of the questions you may need to address in the discovery phase. However, not all of these questions may be obvious. Therefore, it’s important that you as a construction leader take some necessary steps to administer a proper discovery to ensure no stone goes unturned in identifying what you’re looking to accomplish with a new technology.
The following mechanisms can help you organize your discovery phase:
Kickoff meeting: Gather your team to openly discuss and lay out the goals, business objectives, roles and responsibilities and potential timeline that will be associated with your technology rollout.
Utilization survey: Some leaders might find it helpful to expand their technology discovery beyond a few roles or the leadership team. To this end, short digital surveys of larger teams to understand process pain points may be helpful in determining the best way to implement a new technology.
Working group sessions: Whereas surveys may be good at capturing quantitative discovery data, small working sessions with certain roles or teams may be helpful in capturing the qualitative data that may be needed to understand how a new technology may help your organization.
Conduct analysis, form recommendations
Once the discovery phase is complete, it’s critical to analyze its findings to determine how the new technology should be applied to the process or workflow that you’re looking to improve. Third-party consultants who have specific expertise on the technology you’re considering can be helpful at this stage, but enterprising construction leaders can lead this phase as well.
Match the workflow pain points you discovered with specific tools or features from the new technology to create a recommended process. Document these recommendations with step-by-step visual representations of the technology-improved workflow and begin to collect learning resources that will be used in the eventual implementation to ensure a standardized adoption.
Implement the tech
Now it’s time to put your new technology to use. Depending on the structure of your team, it may make sense to deploy the new tool to everyone at once or in incremental steps. Larger organizations where many roles will be taking on the new workflow or process may consider beginning with a small pilot program. This allows you to measure and observe progress on a smaller level before the wider-scale rollout.
During this phase, it’s also important to establish feedback loops with your teams to ensure you’re adjusting to the new technology effectively. Establish check-in meetings, digital communication channels or any other means you find effective to gather feedback so you can iterate on the implementation process. Implementation challenges and surprises are certain to arise; having these feedback channels in place ensures that they don’t derail the entire project.
Even after the initial implementation is complete and the technology is in place, don’t stop the feedback loop. Maintain these channels for several months following the initial implementation.
Bolster post-implementation knowledge sharing
Finally, once the team is fully operational on the new technology, establish more communication and knowledge sharing channels. This will help against the risk that the new technology or process becomes stale. It will also provide for continued learning, as there are always new features that come to light with any technology over time. Something as simple as creating internal user groups that meet on a consistent cadence—say, once a month—can be effective in increasing your organization’s institutional knowledge of the new technology, allowing your company to get maximum value from it.
Using technology to improve efficiency in the construction industry has never been more accessible. Both large and small firms can take advantage of the thousands of tools coming onto the scene each year. Still, it’s important that construction leaders have a clear process for determining which tools make sense for them, as well as the best way to implement them to your teams so they get the most out of them. By using the above framework, construction leaders can feel confident that they’ve got the right tool in place and it’s being used in the best way for their organization.