Digital Construction is Unified Construction
As more project teams adopt software and AI tools, the industry is beginning to understand the full value digital construction provides.
November 20, 2020
We’ve written at length about the importance of integrations within your tech stack. These digital bridges between software allow data and workflows to easily transfer from one platform to another and vice-versa. This exchange of data preserves your Single Source of Truth (thus stopping teams from accidentally working with outdated information) and helps users switch from one platform to the next without too much interruption.
While integrations are critical to finding success with digital technology, they are not in and of themselves the benefit—nobody benefits from an integration between two useless pieces of technology. Instead, the benefit comes from unifying two independently useful software so that they can become something greater than just the sum of their parts. It allows them to work together in ways they couldn’t have previously, resulting in improved automation and streamlined tasks for the user.
But why stop there? If connecting two useful software multiplies their usefulness, why not three? Obviously, they’d have to contribute to the same business process (I wouldn’t expect to see much benefit from directly connecting an estimating platform to a facilities management software), but there’s generally no reason that you could not unify an entire workflow’s worth of software. And, if those platforms touch multiple workflows, that simply means consistent data throughout your entire project, portfolio, or business unit.
Unified platforms, such as the one ACS announced this week at Autodesk University, are poised to become entire suites of digital construction platforms. They are probably similar to the ones you use right now, but they have the potential to integrate to a degree that isn’t available in current solutions. However, digital construction does not only unify digital platforms. Take a moment to think about all the different software you or your teams use to communicate (including documentation). How do you communicate with the architects and design team? Email and phone certainly, but mark-ups as well. Reports, RFIs, progress photos, submittals, samples, and hundreds of other digital interactions between GCs and design teams are largely happening electronically through a mish-mash of platforms. By unifying those platforms, you’re also unifying those stakeholders. And that’s just one pair of stakeholders! Think of all the other stakeholders on your projects, and all the ways you transfer information to and from them. Think of all the internal communication that happens within your team and your company.
Miscommunication is one of the most common causes of errors on projects, and often results in litigation and financial losses. No one wants a mistake to happen, but things often get lost somewhere in translation. Wouldn’t it be easier if every platform for every team in every stakeholder company on your project just stayed up to date automatically with the correct information? That’s what digital construction can do.