by Rocco Francica, BuildingBlok
The construction industry is very fragmented, and as such, the technology adoption lifecycle for construction management tends to lag that of operations in other industries. The need for new technologies is obvious. Paper, Excel and Project get the job done, but they do not form an efficient system. Far too much time is spent moving paper around and updating excel docs. Not to mention the lack of accountability as documents are left outstanding for prolonged periods of time or even get lost. There are very high costs to these inefficiencies, both in terms of time and money. There’s a real need for one system that centralizes this workflow, thereby minimizing costs and improving the communication and collaboration between project members. Effective communication helps to resolve conflicts, ensure the project is on time and on budget, address unforeseen events, and keep a log of all activity in real-time. But if this need is so obvious and is so essential to success, why are we resistant to change? How do we get past this resistance?
The first step is the realization that your organization can change, and that change may be necessary to improve your operations effectively. There are a number of early adopters of innovative CM technologies that are reaping the benefits of such change, both in terms of money and time spent. I like to think that CM technology has “crossed the chasm”, and that we will soon move into the “early majority” stage.
So how do we get our managers and owners to “buy-in” to these new technologies? We must understand the variables for acceptance. Let’s take a look at some of these variables:
- Performance expectancy – the perceived usefulness of the product and how it will be advantageous to the organization
- Effort expectancy – the technology’s ease of use, complexity, and more importantly – it’s perceived ease of use
- Social influence – how managers or bosses will view your use of the technology
- Facilitating conditions – if organizational and technical infrastructure exists to support the use of the system
Knowing these variables, we can now address finding a solution.
- Find your pain points and determine what processes need to be improved. This will help clarify your performance expectancy and what problem areas each technology can address. For example, if you want to improve your field to office communications, you will need to find a mobile friendly software, preferably one that is cloud-based.
- Make sure the technology you choose is flexible and built with the participation of actual construction professionals that represent the end-user. Key motivators here include ease of use and the ability to implement with little training. This will address effort expectancy and enable subs, architects, and engineers to “buy-in” to the system.
- Be the Management Champion and drive this process. This requires finding the senior manager or owner that can make the ultimate decision and implement the technology. Social influence can be crucial to encouraging team members to adopt the technology, including support from senior management.
- Set plans to monitor results and facilitate management problems involved with employing the technology. Ensure that facilitating conditions exist to support your transition to a more productive solution.
Follow these steps and you will be on your way to joining the ranks of next generation construction firms! I’ve also included a list of tips on what to look for when seeking a new technology provider.
TIPS – What to Look for in a New Technology Provider
- Customer designed tools with construction user participation - NOT designed strictly by IT professionals
- Flexible and customizable functionality
- Intelligent workflows that remove bottlenecks
- Cloud based and mobile friendly
- Easy-to-use and requires little training
- Proven value proposition