Enterprise-Level Adoption of Technology
September 25, 2019
Having grown only 1% annually over the past 20 years, construction has expanded at less than half the rate of the rest of the world. All signs point towards one common denominator at the heart of AEC’s slow growth—lack of technological investment, which is only surpassed by agriculture’s reluctance to invest in tech. Small firms in particular seem hesitant, and to a certain degree this hesitancy can be expected in an industry plagued by cash flow problems. However, if that slow productivity is ever to change, firms need to implement technological innovations across the board.
A large array of digital tools are available to help project managers overcome much of the complexity inherent in construction. Incorporating the right technological solutions translates to a better-organized business. On site, this can mean more knowledgeable communications between GC teams, subcontractors, and the design team, leading to improved project understanding across the board. When everyone is on the same page, projects run smoother and RFIs and Change Orders are kept at a minimum.
Even in the corporate office, there can be a lot of value in technology and automation. Inaccurate estimates, runaway supply prices, and missed deadlines can eat away at a GC’s profits when not monitored closely. Digitizing the back-end processes eases the collection and analysis of data from across all of your projects, facilitates the monitoring of project status and progress, and organizing this information into an easily-understood format. Tech-based solutions allow you to produce more accurate budgets, lower project risks, and ultimately, make better business choices.
Yet, in a low-margin field like construction and contracting, many contractors may not think those advantages out-weigh the potential risks. Every GC knows the challenge of finishing a project on time and on budget. In this atmosphere, the hesitancy to allocate limited time and money to integrate a new technology solution, especially when you’re not even certain of its ROI, is understandable and very common.
Tied to this hesitancy is the pragmatism of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Leaders fear that new technology may introduce complications with other processes in the project lifecycle, or that it will have such a huge learning curve that users won’t be able to use the solution effectively, or may just give up on it entirely. A lot of GCs agree that these processes can be improved, but no one wants to take the risk of being the first one to try something.
A survey put out by KMPG, one of the Big Four auditors, their International-Sector-Leader of Engineering & Construction, Geno Armstrong, stated that “most firms [are] content to follow rather than lead” when it comes to investing in tech, and that “the industry is ripe for disruption, but only those who have invested in the right technologies and controls will be able to rapidly achieve massive uplifts in performance.” I would argue that Mr. Armstrong is only half right–you need to not only identify the right technologies, but the right technology partners.
Proper implementation and ensuring you get the most value from any software revolves around forming a relationship with the technology provider. The provider understands the ins-and-outs of their platform, but you know your firm’s needs and existing practices. Successful rollout of a software solution requires a clear communications framework so that questions can be answered swiftly and training can be effective. Whatever employees aren’t trained on, they won’t use. Whatever they don’t use is time and money that you lose.
Even after initial on-boarding and training, that communications infrastructure should remain in place. Not only will it allow you to stay informed of new updates and features, but will also provide an avenue for your feedback regarding features that need adjustment or would be useful to gain access to. This is a core aspect of achieving a sustainable ROI on any subscription or enterprise-based tool. If they don’t update regularly and based on user-provided feedback, their solution will be worth less and less with every payment, but your bill will stay the same.
These are the very issues that Pype was created to tackle. Founded in 2013, Pype has been serving the construction industry with software solutions that have been used on thousands of construction projects nationwide. Our patented artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms boost productivity while our customer success team builds a working relationship between our two teams, offering the support you need to get the most value from our platforms, and listening to your feedback and concerns to ensure that our solutions continue to provide best in class experiences for your team.