Deloitte Consulting reports in their 2019 Engineering and Construction Industry Outlook that, “Digital is transforming the industry itself and helping us image, create, and build the spaces, structures and cities of tomorrow…These same technologies hold the promise to help firms achieve operational effectiveness, thereby reducing costs while improving margins.”
Technology may also protect from downturns in the construction industry as companies become increasingly agile. Job sites will become safer, more efficient, and more collaborative. But for the benefits of modern technology to be realized, the problem of different systems that don’t talk to each other has to be addressed.
Siloed Technologies and Non-integrated Legacy Systems Can’t Keep Up
Fragmentation in technology is one of the biggest challenges facing construction companies. A myriad of tech solutions often addresses issues related to a single discipline or function. Rigid, proprietary, siloed systems might, at best, communicate on-premises or among a limited set of players through a back-end server. These limitations are compounded by legacy systems, which often don’t meld easily with other applications. When combined, these issues make the need for an open, standards-based approach more pressing.
The lack of integration between siloed and legacy apps creates real problems, such as cost overruns, security loopholes, and other inconveniences. In many cases, data that is incomplete, incorrect, missing or in the wrong format presents challenges for office staff in tracking projects and accounting processes. The increasing complexity of construction projects and tighter margins affects every player on the team including project owners, architects, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, and office staff.
Having one reliable and accessible place to manage all forms of communication can help track formal and informal information, giving owners and executives a mechanism to assess work flow in real time. An integrated tool can capture, store and organize critical data from meetings and field notes, photos, design updates and change requests, to field hours. Access to information at any time, at any location allows companies to execute projects more efficiently, with better results and greater profitability.
New Platforms Should be Focused on Supporting Collaboration Above All Else
The design and construction of buildings is dependent upon communication among people from different professional backgrounds who don’t always share similar goals or approaches. Everyone has the systems they are used to, which can make them resistant to change. When updating to a modern system, the right platform that supports collaboration is key.
Specifically designed to integrate with a multitude of other applications and systems, PeerAssist’s Change Management portal makes migrating legacy data to new systems seamless. The portal is highly intuitive to use. Team members can post and update information in real time. Available in the cloud over a secure network, there’s no additional cost for specialized infrastructure or hidden costs, such as pay-as-you-go fees.
As companies move from traditional paper-based process to fully automated and paperless solutions, they are better equipped to manage large amounts of information. The advantages of shared information are seen in project outcomes. With the right tools, managing projects is greatly simplified, improving timelines and cash flows for all companies involved.
Choosing New Applications
To ensure successful adoption and thereby reap the benefits of new technology, a company needs to choose wisely: any new tool has to simplify, not complicate work. The new tool has to be capable of being integrated with other systems to avoid the frustration of redundancy and disconnects.
Equally important, an app has to be user-friendly, intuitive and accessible. As a new app is readily shared and used, it becomes the indispensable go-to tool, impossible for even stubborn adopters to avoid.