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3 Questions to Help You Identify the Strength of Your Construction Technology

By Mike Henstridge

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The construction industry, as a whole, is significantly behind the times when it comes to digital transformation. That’s why the trailblazers of construction technology see huge benefits when they implement the latest tech.

Before you set out on your digital transformation journey, it’s important to create a solid plan. You can’t change everything at once, so strategizing is important for ensuring a smooth transition that makes a positive impact on your operations.

Here are three questions to start with. These will help you identify your firm’s most pressing issues and find the best technological solutions.

What technological challenges are you currently facing?

Technology is a great enabler, but it can also become a roadblock if it’s out of date or isn’t tailored to match your specific needs. The keyword here is tailored!

Unfortunately, identifying where technology is negatively impacting construction operations can be difficult. Inefficiencies may seem too small to affect your bottom line or they may accumulate slowly over time. Either way, they can be hard to spot.

Consider these common areas when looking for potential problems:

1. Collaboration

While there are thousands of tools on the market to help teams communicate better, some add complexity instead of streamlining collaboration. Take a good look at the tools your team is using to manage projects. For example, email is an easy and inexpensive way to communicate, but it’s not great for managing complex projects. Your construction management team should be able to collaborate quickly and easily without having to wade through long email threads.

2. Siloed Data

Look at how your various software applications store data and communicate with one another. If your firm uses multiple apps for different operational tasks, you may have siloes of data. When individual apps aren’t integrated, or connected to a single database, individual app data becomes isolated or siloed. This can result in conflicting data, duplicate information, and extra data entry work.

3. Security

Because cybercriminals can use your vendors to hack to your network, it’s important to develop strong security protocols and identify all the entry points. Take the time to evaluate the security strength of your vendors and know exactly how they will respond in the event of a breach.

What technology exists to counteract these challenges?

Sorting through the many technological solutions out there can be a nightmare. Here are some tips for narrowing down your options:

1. Focus on custom construction-specific software.

Most project management, ERP, and financial software is “off the shelf” and multi-purpose. These options may seem great on the surface, but one-size-fits-all software can cause a lot of headaches. By implementing technology developed specifically for your construction business, you’ll have functions that are tailored specifically to your operational processes. This will also drastically reduce the learning curve for your team.

2. Choose applications that can be updated regularly.

Not only does outdated technology cause delays and inefficiencies, it can also be a huge security risk. Make sure the software developers are releasing updates on a regular basis. Regular software updates will keep applications safe, secure, and operating smoothly.

3. Make sure your technology can be integrated easily.

Before you develop a new app, make sure that it can be integrated with your other software solutions like ERP, CRM, accounting software etc… Having an integrated system makes IT simpler and more secure, and improves the connection between field and office.

How much time and money could you save with a better technology solution?

When software declines slowly, inefficiencies can be hard to notice. It’s important to get granular and figure out just how much time you’re wasting on time-consuming processes. By figuring out the cost savings of embracing new technology, you can help prove the ROI of a new solution to other team members or higher-ups.