Choosing the right construction technology is a complex business – there is no one-size-fits-all approach. surprisingly, 19% of UK construction firms in a 2020 report note that they are still entirely paper-based. Every company, and therefore the projects they undertake, have specific needs that require a myriad of tools to automate established processes or standard operating procedures (SOPs).

It is inefficient for decision makers to review available technologies and their capabilities to select the right solution. There is also a risk that the technology will not be delivered sufficiently. A particular tool may work for one process but not another, or fail to integrate with other solutions and end up sitting in a silo.

In this article, we talk to Ronen Vengosch, VP of AEC at Egnyte about how you can revolutionize productivity with a flexible, integrated construction technology stack.

Successful construction companies need a perfect blend of human expertise and a well-defined set of digital tools – or set of technologies. Expertise is required to manage source data, interface with other solutions, and assess the feasibility of those solutions to sustain end-user involvement.

Harnessing the many moving parts of the technology stack is no easy feat for construction project managers 16% of firms report having a truly integrated technology stack. Here are some key approaches to take when integrating solutions for optimal business results:

Start with a technical audit

Construction businesses need specialized technology that delivers more than ROI. Typically, if a solution does not perform as expected, more software is added to build a custom solution that bridges the gap and delivers the expected result. However, this complex amalgamation of solutions adds complexity for users and also severely reduces the intended ROI as goals and planned metrics go out the window – making success an unknown quantity.

To address this, organizations should first conduct a technology audit to identify clear and measurable goals and areas for improvement. The following key questions should be asked depending on the application to identify the goals that are currently being achieved:

  • Are end users getting the full potential of the technology and are they fully trained to do so? If not, perhaps the solution provider bears some responsibility.
  • Does the technology meet current SOPs or have SOPs been upgraded to the technology?
  • Are the needs of end users equally considered or is there feedback from key stakeholders who can benefit?

Maintain supplier engagement

At this stage, contacting suppliers is a sensible approach. The supplier must be a trusted partner who demonstrates a true understanding of the company’s business and challenges. In addition to vendor engagement, a customer-centric philosophy must be applied to help the end user quickly realize the full value of the technology, rather than leaving them to their own devices.

Create a “champions group,” also known as a technology or innovation committee

End-user perception means everything, especially in construction. The experience and willingness to do more with less has a bearing on how the decision is made. In addition, technology leaders must avoid inadvertently building a culture of mistrust or indifference. Create a “champion group” – a collaborative working group that has a 360-degree view of business needs with members from IT, field staff and the C-suite. This identifies needs across the business while handling training and implementation to help achieve end-user buy-in as well as keep everyone updated and engaged.

Clearly stating the rationale for this software prior to implementation will enable the technology to positively impact the work lives of end users. For example, software that helps employees do their jobs remotely while spending time with family—instead of having to stay in and work late in the trailer—will have a direct impact on work-life balance. It will also help attract new tech-savvy employees and improve employee retention.

Avoid silos by centralizing data management

Reduced storage costs have led companies to store massive amounts of data, but studies show only a some of it is ever really accessible. The ubiquity of mobile devices combined with advanced technologies such as 4K drone footage, laser scanning and 3D models are some of the main culprits. End users also naturally tend to store data where it’s easiest, creating data silos. When it comes to then consuming the data, it can lead to a lot of wasted time finding the right storage to store it. In fact, 13% construction professionals spend their workday searching for design data and information.

If companies proactively recognize data management issues and adjust accordingly, they avoid wasting valuable time and resources due to content growth and retrospectively fixing issues. Having data centralized and easily accessible via phones or tablets allows field personnel who need access to respond accordingly.

The future of construction technology

The growing adoption of advanced technologies such as robotics, AI and VR will accelerate the trend towards more data and the ability to access it from anywhere. Building a flexible, integrated technology stack in the construction industry means ensuring that different systems are connected and work in tandem with each other. However, companies must remember that for the technology to be most effective, they must not lose sight of the actual problem(s) they are trying to solve.

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Revolutionising productivity

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