It’s no secret that the construction industry has been notoriously slow to digitize, but the tides are turning, and many companies are hopping aboard the digital train. However, as with all revolutions, there are barriers to adopting change, and in order to ensure that your company stays on track, you must be prepared to address and overcome them.
What Does It Mean to Go Digital?
Going digital involves making the switch from processes done by hand and streamlining them with digital programs, tools, and applications designed to speed the process, reduce error, and improve efficiency.
Some examples include:
- Creation and documentation of legal paperwork
- Inventory management with digital tools tied into other systems
- Accounting and billing for bills, accounts payable, reporting and more
- Customer service with computers in addition to phones
One of the most significant and daunting barriers to going digital is the sheer time it takes to move to digital.
- Add digitization gradually. Prioritize what needs to be digitized first to maximize the capability of the tech you’re planning to implement and work your way from there.
- Have all hands on deck. Everyone has some free time. If it’s paramount, overtime for those who wish to make extra money to expedite the process.
- Hire temps.
Expenses are closely monitored in every successful organization. Not only does it take time to digitize, but it requires a significant investment that takes time to transition into an asset. It can be hard to justify such a spend to higher-ups who are laser-focused on the bottom line, which is where having a tech innovator can make a huge difference.
- Clarify and quantify the reasons behind why digitization is important. Focus on the benefit and competitive advantage to the company and communicate that this is a long-term investment.
- Planning for the spend is a huge component of budgeting. Be prepared to guide those conversations with estimates on hardware, software, infrastructure, and the time it will take to implement and train employees.
3. Support and Implementation
Getting support internally for such a huge revolution to the way things have always been done will be met with resistance, even if digitizing ultimately makes everyone’s job easier. But it is critical to have buy-in at all levels of the company, or you risk unsuccessful implementation. If some people use the system and others don’t, your data will be inaccurate, and it leaves room for a lot of miscommunication and critical errors.
- Provide transparency and clarity. What will the tech do? How will it help individuals? How does it help the company? Making these things clear helps everyone understand why such a major change is not only desirable but necessary.
- Provide training. Use an open-door policy. Address concerns. Account for the time it will take to train each individual, especially on your IT team. This is often overlooked and under budgeted, and as a result, training ends up being less thorough than it should be.
The point of digitizing is to make everything faster, easier, and more reliable. Ironic, then, that one of the barriers is being able to properly integrate the tech to get the most from it. When transitioning to digital, hiccups are to be expected, especially if some of that transition requires upgrades from older to newer technology.
- Your tech innovator is a great resource for a smooth integration, as well as the key point of contact for any issues that may arise. Consult with them, leverage their expertise, and create a clear plan for how your organization will attack any snags along the integration path.
Don’t forget to consider the importance of security when migrating to digital. With hacks across the globe increasing, it’s crucial to have a solid security plan in place, especially in the construction industry, where this type of security is often overlooked. Think about security both in the home office and out in the field. Your mobile, tablets, and other IoT need to be secured, as well.
- Hire a team of exceptional cybersecurity experts.
- Outsource to a company that specializes in protecting sensitive data.
This is one space that’s often overlooked by everyone who falls outside of IT, but it’s important to communicate the necessity of connectivity across the organization. Technology is great, but without a connection, tech can’t talk. One big barrier to technology adoption is that it’s difficult for higher-ups to see the advantage it provides, especially when previous experiences with tech have been disappointing. Having a reliable, secure, consistent connection at every location in a project, no matter how remote or far-reaching the signal must be, is critical to sealing the deal on digitizing.
Digitizing is inevitable for construction companies who don’t want to get demolished. We can help.