3 common myths of the digitalization trend in construction
Sponsored by: InEight

By 2020, many professionals in the construction industry have become familiar with the concept of “digital transformation,” or the method of adopting new technologies to improve business processes. Chances are that your company has already made significant investments in one or more solutions that have promised to bring systems together and digitalize your processes. Traditionally, undergoing this type of digital journey required considerable time and resources, and unless your company is among the industry giants, you could still afford to allocate these to anything other than your projects.

In today’s market, margins and competition have never been tighter. Failing to adopt advanced technology solutions could prevent you from winning work and completing jobs profitably. Thankfully, the construction technology sector has made massive strides in providing more agile solutions fit for any size company. Gone are the days of custom-built software solutions that tie up all of your resources and only seem to make life harder. Faster than ever before, companies of any size can onboard out-of-the-box technology and immediately recognize a return on investment.

Whether you are currently using technology to help deliver your projects, or have not yet started your digital journey, adopting new and innovative technology is vital to your business. More significantly, it’s no longer just for larger organizations, or “the big boys,” as I like to call them.

In meeting with industry professionals regularly, we hear a number of reasons why they’re reluctant to evaluate new digital solutions that could transform their business. As it turns out, in most cases, these reasons are nothing but common myths that we will dispel for you as you read on. The goal is to demonstrate that digital transformation efforts are easier to undertake than you may think, and could have a truly positive impact on your business’s bottom line.

Myth No. 1: The status quo is working fine.

When talking to construction professionals, the No. 1 reason we hear as to why they have not implemented a construction project management system is, “We’ve always done it this way and it’s working fine.”

Well, just because you’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way to do it. Think about email. Some 30 years ago, if you wanted to send a memo or documents to a business partner, you would have likely sent them via the United States Postal Service. Today, thanks to email, you can send and receive messages and files anywhere in the world within seconds. What would your business look like today without email? Would your company even exist if it had failed to adopt this form of technology?

Whether your processes are paper-based or running in spreadsheets, studies have proven that utilizing industry-specific solutions can increase productivity and reduce costs. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, undertaking digital transformation efforts can result in productivity gains of 15% and up to 6% in cost reductions.

Market-ready platforms are purpose built and designed with industry standards, allowing contractors to eliminate one-off solutions. Whether you are looking to track employee time, manage change orders from multiple vendors or break down project schedules into short-term look-aheads, modern solutions are available in the cloud and can run on systems already in place. Unless you are aware of the power of technology and what more you can do with it, you’ll always be hesitant to break from the status quo.

Additionally, think about the growth goals your company has for this year, or the next 5 to 10 years. Do you plan on growing your current workforce and overhead at a similar rate? Without the greater efficiencies that can be gained from employing digital solutions, companies will be limited in their revenue growth to only what the current employee bandwidth can support.

Myth No. 2: Software implementations are resource draining.

Another concern that many contractors have when evaluating technology use is that it will require a great outlay of resources to implement new solutions. The construction technology industry has come a long way, and not all software implementations are created equal. Contrary to popular belief, implementing new solutions is not as difficult as it has been in the past. The best vendors have developed change management methodologies aligned to your business needs and focused on getting field teams up and running efficiently.

With the cloud-based solutions readily available today, contractors can implement new solutions rapidly. Not only are applications deployed substantially faster, customers also have more resources available to them. Advances such as remote training and e-learning platforms make it easier for your teams to get up to speed with new programs. With an emphasis on more intuitive and user-friendly interfaces, the majority of applications can be used by your team on day one.

Not only does the advancement of cloud solutions yield a significant time savings to consumers, it also results in cost savings in more ways than one. You see, almost all of these industry-leading applications operate on existing hardware, requiring only an internet connection. In addition, data is hosted on the cloud, which means no servers are required.

Now you may be thinking, “What if I am unable to connect to the internet?” Not to worry, many field applications available to our industry, including those for time tracking, punch lists and plan viewing, are available to users without the need of a network connection. Perform the work in the field and, once you are finished, take your mobile device back to the office and sync to any network to upload your work. Applications with an available offline mode are a cost-effective way to leverage technology in remote areas that do not have an established network connection.

Myth No. 3: I can’t afford to disrupt my staff.

In construction, it’s all about “time on tools” and with the ever-increasing labor shortage, we understand that you don’t want to disrupt your staff by introducing a new system. However, in addition to the reasons we’ve already outlined, today’s solutions put less of a strain on your project managers and superintendents by allowing teams to start using the technology from day one. Couple that with the fact that it’s no longer necessary to bring in third-party consultants or maintain a large, dedicated IT staff just to manage the systems and you can see why it’s easy to achieve return on investment rather quickly.

With fewer resources available to small and midsized contractors, it is absolutely critical to keep your teams focused on building work. By eliminating time-consuming manual process such as time collection and reporting, you can reduce the countless man-hours being spent on back-office duties.

Many of the contractors we work with are able to eliminate some of these administrative duties completely. Take reporting, for example. By capturing actual progress in the field, contractors are able to gain instant visibility into the status of their project using real-time analytics and dashboards. With real-time insights into job status, project managers know where their projects stand at all times and can easily share dashboards and reports with any project stakeholder, including owners, with the click of a button. The fact of the matter is, your current processes are already disrupting your staff, and you can’t afford not to give them modern-day solutions that will help them focus on completing jobs.

Digital Transformation: It’s time

As we see the construction industry beginning to turn the corner on the way it does business, having a digital solution in place has become table stakes for owners looking to reduce delays and cost overruns. And with connected field and project management systems readily available, contractors of all sizes—not just the big boys—have the power to enable their teams with these critical systems.

Many larger contractors are already seeing dramatic improvements in productivity thanks to their commitment toward a digital transformation. Now it’s time for the rest of the industry to catch up.

Also, register for our webinar "Demystifying the "Digital Transformation" Trend" on this same topic here.