Adopting technology in construction has long been a challenge for most industry firms. Part of the problem is choice. There are simply so many tools and solutions in the market that it can be difficult to know how to choose the right one for your company.
Then, once you’ve chosen a tool, now what? Here are some must-have attributes that ensure your digital investment produces the best results.
Flexibility: The technology must be flexible enough to change with your business demands. Set a roadmap from the start and outline when you’ll need to adapt solutions. As your organization grows and you gain digital maturity, this process should become more advanced. A critical factor in technology choice is how it can scale—by working for your business now and in the future.
Support: Your choice should also factor in the support of a technology partner you trust and can work with closely. They should understand your business and be able to help you tackle issues systematically and logically. You’ll need their input to assure quick wins to gain buy-in and deliver fast return on investment (ROI) in the early stages of digital adoption and also to guide you as your digital journey continues.
Common data environment (CDE): A CDE is a means to store information that staff can access as a single source of truth to ensure efficiency. Ask your entire team for their take on information requirements and get buy-in from all project stakeholders to ensure optimal outcomes.
Interoperability: Before you select a platform or software, confirm that it’s flexible enough to let stakeholders who need access to share data and files. Avoid proprietary programs that don’t play well with your existing systems.
Seamless integration: Your infrastructure and supporting teams will be the ones installing and maintaining whatever applications you choose. Work with them to ensure that the solution will interface smoothly with other business-critical applications your firm uses.
Upgraded processes and experience: Technology is not the be-all and end-all. How you can use it to improve quality of information, streamline processes and enhance user experience is the most critical aspect of all.
Tap the power of the cloud
Your choice of technology should also take into account the many advantages of cloud-based solutions over in-house programs:
Connect teams in different environments: Whether a worker is on site, at home or in the office, they can instantly access your system from any device they’re using. You can also ensure all authorized individuals tap into the same data, files and information.
Gain peace of mind: Encryption of data transmitted over networks and stored in databases makes it less accessible to anyone not authorized. Your IT department can set security settings based on each user.
Audit usage: To determine how effective technology adoption is, you need to translate key workflows into digital processes. Then use the cloud’s reporting capabilities to track who’s doing what when, so you have an analytical audit trail of productivity and efficiency.
Reduce cost of ownership: Scaling up and managing and maintaining growth requires an investment in hardware and infrastructure within your organization and behind your firewalls, plus space for a rack or server room and dedicated IT support. Cloud-based solutions require far less hardware and can add storage as needed.
Collaborate easily: You gain the true benefits of teams if the members can view, share and discuss information easily and securely. Standardization across teams supports collaboration and moves projects along more smoothly.
Link geographies: As teams become increasingly fragmented and more people work remotely, you can connect jobsites with the main office and the client. That’s critical if your offices span several locations and your team works around the globe.
Stay tuned for part 3 in this series, where we’ll address how to measure your new tool’s effectiveness.