Building a construction technology foundation to get past the status quo into the future

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As long as many businesses in the construction industry are reluctant to adopt newer technologies, you can gain a competitive edge and drive growth by using technology in a strategic, results-focused manner. With help from Sikich as your partner, you can adopt powerful construction business management software tools and outperform the also-rans.

Some years ago, the construction industry was very much behind when it came to adopting new technology. When they were surveyed in 2013, construction companies on average spent just one percent of their revenue on technology, according to Gartner analysts. Of 19 industries Gartner reviewed, construction was the one with the smallest technology investments.

By early 2019, many construction companies had seen the opportunity in accomplishing more with technology. The intervening years also saw much innovation from software companies. Established, long-standing solution providers updated their products for the cloud and tailored them more closely to the needs of construction business roles, like project managers or procurement specialists. New construction software aimed to help companies accomplish more with information by gathering different types of edge and operational data, as well as by providing tools to translate data into insight and decision enablement.

The industry slowly closes the technology gap

In 2019, the construction industry still lagged behind others in technology spending. However, it had also almost doubled its average IT investments to 1.95 percent of revenue. Forward-looking construction companies had begun to approach technology differently. While only 5 percent of surveyed construction companies had a dedicated IT team, many of them were also bringing construction technology experts into the organization or were planning on doing so.

It’s also worth noting that almost half of the businesses said that they lacked a workable plan for technology and data. Overall, slow technology adoption in the construction industry is associated with operational inefficiencies that run as high as 30 percent. Maybe many companies can be successful without working as efficiently as possible, but that could also mean that they pass up savings they could invest, or that they underutilize talented people.

Your edge is in moving from ad hoc to strategic technology

Given these conditions, outpacing the competition by means of well-planned technology could be a promising opportunity for your construction company. Many construction businesses seem unsure of how to gain the advantage of technology innovation. They typically limit their purchases to basic productivity software and standard hardware.

Some construction firms have begun using newer technology in certain situations, for instance, deploying drones to assess sites. Others use connected internet of things (IoT) sensors to gather data regarding material and environmental conditions. Leading makers of construction equipment are already making large investments in robotics and artificial intelligence, which will compel some construction firms to update their own use of technology so they can gain the full benefit of these industrial products.

You may be able to gain competitive and productive advantages by testing and adopting promising new technology when it makes sense. But that might not be the best you could do for your business. Without a more comprehensive strategy, you may continue to use technology to manage the current state of the business, not driving growth or outperforming the field. At the same time, you probably don’t want to be one of the last companies to adopt a newer technology that your competitors already use to their benefit.

Meeting elevated client expectations

In addition, at a time when market conditions are volatile and could change quickly without much warning, it is probably worthwhile to explore if and how technology could help you innovate and improve how you engage and communicate with clients. With today’s software tools at home in the cloud and also enabled for mobile devices, you can make it easy for clients to connect and collaborate with you from anywhere, securely exchanging drawings, contracts, and other documents. That also goes for architects, project leaders, and other contributors.

Enabling remote and virtual processes appears to be in line with what clients expect and the direction of the industry. As construction companies find ways to manage projects completely virtually, industry experts expect that the growth in remotely managed construction will amount to 14 percent per year and will likely quadruple by 2030.

Building on tools you already use

The Sikich construction technology team comprises people who have had many years of experience in the industry before they joined our consultancy. We find that construction companies can proceed strategically and step-by-step in accomplishing more with technology and digital innovation, and we help you plan the most direct route to where you want to take the business.

You probably already have some fundamental technology tools that enable people to do their work and run the business. We can help you build a foundation on which you can grow and manage your projects as well as back-office processes—more efficiently and with greater anytime, anywhere convenience for users. You can design a technology path that is incremental and non-disruptive without being protracted.

Start small and chart your own course

Our construction software, Sikich HEADSTART for Construction, resides in the cloud, and we can deploy it for you fully remotely. HEADSTART combines business and operations management with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central in a single set of software capabilities with ProjectPro, the widely used construction and project management solution. You can simplify and accelerate many processes, eliminating redundant steps and enabling people in your company to accomplish more on their own. We often integrate HEADSTART for Construction with Microsoft Office 365 cloud apps, including Microsoft Teams for meetings and collaborations.

Once the HEADSTART foundation is in place, you can add on to it and refine it as the business grows, changes, and serves clients. Your priorities will determine what exactly this may look like. For some construction companies, Sikich connects HEADSTART with the Microsoft Power Platform or Microsoft Power BI analytics and decision-support capabilities in the cloud. Other companies launch new, revenue-generating services, which may call for reconfiguring or augmenting HEADSTART. Others find that, once they have mastered remote project delivery, they can work almost anywhere, taking advantage of the Business Central multi-language and multi-country functionality. We can help you pursue whatever comes next for your construction business—efficiently and securely.

If you’re ready to take your business into the future:

 

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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