Technology apps already play a significant role in assisting day-to-day tasks in construction, which has proven to be indispensable to firms reopening after COVID-19. On the job site where the workforce is interdependent, the ability of tech to facilitate collaboration among stakeholders is critical. The cell phone (over five million people on the planet have them) provides an easy way for crews to stay connected at all times. If a company adds a cloud-based application that makes it possible to prepare, file, and share critical documents in the field on a phone or tablet, that move opens up a range of time and money-saving potentials. As a bonus, cloud-based solutions capture metadata, allowing errors to be tracked and resolved in real-time.
If there ever was a time to invest in technology for construction field operations, it is now.
A whole new universe of tech applications is waiting to be tapped by leaders. Every day another firm positions itself for success by integrating data mining into its predictive analysis and financial forecasting, or by incorporating drones, robotics, AI, and more. Getting on board ensures company longevity, as Deloitte describes in its annual report, Tech Trends 2020:
AS THE UNPRECEDENTED expansion of technology-driven innovation fuels a high-stakes game of competitive whack-a-mole, an organization’s ability to exploit technology to its advantage will determine its survival. Leaders across sectors now routinely elevate technology to a strategic business priority.
Digital Experience, Analytics, and the Cloud
Past and current innovations are evolving at an unprecedented rate. According to Deloitte, the three enablers of this profound shift in tech adoption are digital experience, analytics, and the cloud. Companies have begun to customize digital experiences based on their specific needs, including how they work, and who does the work. For construction, the adoption of field-to-office communications continues to enable and improve workflows and environments.
Deloitte argues that better data management can address, “tactical concerns as organizations work in a dynamic and complex regulatory environment.” The ability to make adjustments for volatile risks such as regulatory, material, and labor price fluctuations means greater control of factors that once seemed difficult to predict or analyze, which also means more accurate budgets and greater potential profitability.
In the hybrid world of construction, a tremendous amount of information needs to be stored, as well as accessed from job sites, offices, and meeting rooms. Keeping plans, schedules, budgets, and more in a safe and secure place in the cloud is groundbreaking.
Savvy construction owners know that tech can help minimize uncertainty in an uncertain world, and are investing in tech now. Deloitte notes, “Cloud investments are expected to double as a percentage of IT budget over the next three years.”
We have learned an important lesson from the COVID-19 crisis: to survive, a company must be responsive to change. Not only have we faced unimagined challenges over the past few months, we still find our industry in flux. For starters, 5G, AI, robotics, prefabrication, modular and sustainable building will affect operations and realign business models in the coming years.
There’s an upside: McKinsey notes that current profit pools could nearly double in the coming years from the current 5 to 10 percent, however, “all of the players in the construction value chain will need to develop their strategies for dealing with or leading disruption.”
Queue up the David Bowie song, Changes, and get ready for the next wave of our digital revolution.