Integration: The New Frontier in Construction’s Digital Transformation
The digital transformation of the construction industry is building momentum.
Billions of dollars in investment capital are creating new hardware and software systems for construction to improve the metrics of Safety, Quality, Schedule, and Cost (SQSC).
The industry may be slow to change, but change is happening regardless. The winners in this emerging landscape will be the construction firms with a
- Budget, and;
- Commitment to digital transformation.
There is a better, safer, more productive way to work, and it’s available now. Integrating new technologies into daily operations is the way forward.
The digital transformation of construction hardware
Contractors now use new hardware like exoskeletons, bionic attachments, drones, and construction robots in active construction environments with impressive results.
For instance, this 2022 study features ten robots of different types working alongside industry-leading general contractors on actual construction sites. The robots were able to complete tasks more accurately than their human co-workers resulting in higher quality work and an average of 54% less re-work overall.
Construction robots replace the human effort required to perform repetitive tasks, such as working overhead or in stooped, bent-over positions. And robots can work unmanned in dangerous environments creating safer, leaner, more productive working conditions.
The study found that robotic systems improved safety project quality, resulting in a 3x increase in productivity.
While the construction robotics industry is still in its infancy, studies like this confirm that these systems are ready to be deployed into daily operations.
The digital transformation of construction with software
Software systems like Building Information Modeling (BIM) are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with technology.
BIM software offers in-depth, three-dimensional design and engineering capabilities. And BIM supports the construction process and monitors the building’s environment and systems over the entire asset lifecycle. But BIM is just the beginning.
There are software products available for every component of the construction process.
- Accounting and financial reporting
- Business Process Management (BPM)
- Client Relationship Management (CRM)
- Daily reporting
- Design & Engineering
- Dispatch and Resource Management
- Document management
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Estimating software
- Information Management
- Schedule and schedule management
- …and the list goes on
But therein lies the problem.
The latest JBKnowledge Construction Technology Report found that while over 90% of the construction industry uses smartphones for work, over 40% of the industry uses four or more different apps daily to do their jobs, with nearly 20% using more than six.
Over 50% of survey respondents reported manually transferring data between apps because many apps don’t integrate. And that number is up 2% from 48% in 2020.
Technology is supposed to streamline operations, not make things more complicated.
The problem is that, just like the industry itself, many construction companies are siloed by department, and each department has adopted its technology at its own pace.
The design team uses one software system, while the estimating team uses another. The project schedule is built on a standalone platform, and the finance department uses accounting software. At the same time, the resource management team relies on project management software and none of these solutions integrate with an ERP.
Many firms are stuck using legacy systems simply because they’re comfortable with them, which is fine. But without system integration, the user’s comfort is at the expense of efficiency and long-term profitability for the company.
More software is not the answer. Integration is.
A collaborative road map for digital transformation
The first step in any digital transformation is creating a plan with an eye toward system-wide collaboration.
Without data integration and collaboration between stakeholders, the construction industry will remain stalled, making only incremental progress.
Much like a project charter, organizations must assess their current processes, and define their objectives, strategy, tactics, and timeline for system integration.
“Digital technologies enable many siloed networks to converge and form a large single network or ecosystem. This converged ecosystem is designed to be more secure and agile and can deliver value at a larger scale.”—Deloitte, Engineering and Construction Playbook, 2021
The digital transformation plan should be approached just like any project.
The project team must define the roles and responsibilities, create milestones, and a critical path forward, and decide how progress will be measured and reported.
The opportunities that await digitization are too promising to ignore.
McKinsey says that system-wide digital transformation can boost productivity between 14% and 15% while reducing costs between 4% and 6%.
That translates to roughly $50,000.00 in savings for every $1 Million in project value. So a $10 Million project would yield an additional $500,000.00 in profit.
And that’s in addition to the savings realized in the more efficient use of labor, equipment, and material resources.
Greater collaboration leads to successful digital transformation
Organizations that focus on building integrated digital relationships with their project owners, design teams, inter-office departments, subcontractors, and suppliers will succeed well into the future.
Integrating collaborative software platforms makes building these critical relationships more manageable and efficient.
From better communication, interactive scheduling, detailed workflows, ERP integration, resource, and job site management, collaborative project management platforms build a stronger, more resilient financial future for the construction industry.
Get a free demonstration for yourself.
And see how the power of collaborative digital software can secure your competitive advantage.