In 2004 Loughborough University conducted a study entitled Technology Implementation Strategies for Construction Organisations. The conclusion was, effectively, that it was very difficult! But much has changed in the intervening 13 years.
However, the need for a change within construction remains acute. That’s why it’s critical to start endorsing the use of construction software as a step forward towards the modernisation of the construction industry.
Before we go any further with the most advisable ways in which you can implement construction software in your business, let’s take a quick look at the problems that the industry is currently facing.
Challenges for implementing construction software
The implementation of new technologies can always be tough. There are several obstacles along the road. For that reason, it’s very crucial to track down all the different challenges and be ready to overcome them. In a nutshell, the main difficulties could be the following:
Getting staff to use new IT systems
Construction is an industry that has proved to be quite resistant to change. In that sense, it can sometimes be difficult to convince people to change their working routine and start using new IT systems on a daily basis. Thankfully, people today are getting more and more familiar with technologies so this won’t probably be a huge issue in the near future.
Conflict of interest
Another objection put in the way of implementing construction software was the conflict of interest this would create with the IT division within each company. Within SME construction companies the few IT divisions I’ve seen weren’t exactly an essential component of the business. Their interest would only be vested interests – their own jobs. In more than one company I was contracted to, all they did, in effect, was scan every bit of paper to their servers then shred the hard copies. Using construction software they would be completely redundant and save on the overhead wages bill.
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Long decision-making process
The decision-making process for implementing the construction software into an organization can be complicated and time demanding. The general impression of construction is that everyone is far too busy to be bothered talking about it for months. So, there’s a good chance that this discussion will last a while. In many cases won’t reach to any conclusions.
Need for training
The construction industry is very fragmented. When a new project team is formed, running from Client, Consultants, Main Contractor and Subcontractors, it is quite possible that none of them have ever worked together before. That means there would have to be training, education and communication. However, because we are all a lot more tech-savvy than we were some years ago, that isn’t as much of a problem as it used to be.
Cost can also be a deterrent factor for implementing construction software. Nevertheless, this is a big misunderstanding. Construction software is a long-term investment for your business since it will increase efficiency on site and allow for better management of the whole project. In that aspect, even if you need at first to spend a considerable amount of money for getting the software going you will eventually end up saving a significant part of your budget due to the increase of efficiency.
Benefits of Implementing Construction Software
Despite the challenges described above, construction software can have great benefits for your business. Some of the most essential are in the list below:
Information accessible for everyone
By implementing construction software in your business, you ensure that all the information around a project is accessible by anyone, who is part of it, at any time. This can empower communication between the office and the site.
This ability to take action immediately over a potential problem can save you lots of time and money. Better communication means higher efficiency. The use of construction software helps you to prevent any unwanted repairs and to minimize the completion time of a task.
Better management of the budget
The implementation of construction software in your business can play a vital role in staying on budget. Furthermore, it can save a significant amount of financial resources during the completion of the project.
Construction projects can always get very messy when it comes to paperwork. There are simply so many documents, so little time. Construction software can provide valuable help towards that direction. Now, every member of the project team, from the construction manager to the last construction worker, can upload their documents simply by using their laptop, iPad or even their mobile phone. This will simplify the whole document management process and increase efficiency.
How to Implement Construction Software
Implementing construction software in your business can be a demanding procedure. But it can get much easier than you imagine if you do it right. There are certain steps that you want to follow in order to secure that your effort to embrace new technologies will be successful. Here you can read the most important steps that we would encourage you to take:
Be meticulous with your market research
Everything starts from knowing what products out there can be a good fit to the needs of your project. You should take your time and explore all the different solutions that are available in the market. In that way, you will be sure that you made the right choice both in terms of pricing and quality.
Make yourself familiar with the platform
Before you start using construction software for managing your projects, it would be a great idea to get familiar with it first. You can do that pretty easily just by importing a few test projects to it. In that way, you have the opportunity to get comfortable with all the different characteristics of the platform. Don’t be afraid to play around with it and to explore all the available features. Asking for advice from people who has already used the software is highly recommendable, too.
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Training of the workers
Now that you have got to know what the software that you chose has to offer, it’s time to train your team to use it. Training can sometimes be a costly and long process. But given the fact that people, who work in construction, are becoming more and more tech-savvy day by day it shouldn’t be that hard. It’s vital to offer the right training to your workers in order to ensure that you use the software to its full potential.
Choose software that works on all devices
Today in 2017 this should be a given but sometimes it just isn’t. By making sure that the software you chose is working on all devices, you offer unlimited project accessibility to the members of your team. And by extension you offer them the opportunity to thrive. Quick tip: Having a piece of software available to your mobile device isn’t enough. Pay extra attention to select the software with the best possible performance in such devices. Top performing software can offer a great boost to your effort.
Follow up with workers every few weeks
Last but certainly not least, you want to make sure that you are constantly getting feedback from the workers who use the software. In that way, you can be certain that you are taking the most out of it. Furthermore, you can improve the training method and increase even more the efficiency of the whole procedure.
Construction software has to offer a lot in your endeavor to optimize the project management process. It can save you a lot of time and money and it can help you taking full control over your various projects. The challenge of properly implementing it in your business is surely big. But with the right plan, it can be much easier than expected.