- Oct 21, 2022 5:28 am GMT
Have you started thinking about digitally transforming your business and what that would look like? Perhaps you’re wondering if an integrated project platform would be a good move for your business?
It might seem like a premature question given that much of the industry is still in the throes of their initial adoption of project management technology. However, it’s an increasingly common one among companies that are interested in taking advantage of what today’s advancing construction technology can do.
There’s the common struggle to gain the insights they need to better manage their projects because the accuracy and timeliness of their data housed in point solutions is questionable at best, wrong at worst. And then there’s the communication and collaboration that may seem at times to be uncertain when interpreting project performance numbers, making it difficult to arrive at consensus on decisions and action steps.
But “what’s next” is more than simply upgrading individual point solutions. In fact, the last couple of years have seen a definitive shift among construction companies as they move away from disconnected point solutions and toward a single platform with all (if not most) business functions drawing from the same connected database.
It’s the latest step in the digital transformation that is taking hold across the construction industry. So how do you go from point solutions to an integrated project platform? Here are a few tips to help you navigate the early part of this process.
#1 Assess your business needs. These may have changed over time since you first adopted your current construction technology. Ask honest questions about your current solutions’ performance vis-a-vis your business needs:
- Is your lineup of solutions meeting those needs? What have your technology solutions helped you accomplish? How have they streamlined processes? Where are they falling short? Are any inefficiencies that have been made more obvious over time? What functionality do you now need to support your business?
- How is your data being used? Are you and others on the team able to leverage all the data your projects have been generating? Are there data insights you could be missing out on that could be more complete if it was being shared and updated in real time among all solutions?
- Are your point solutions construction specific? If not, how much control do you currently have over costs and schedules? Are you able to forecast the project impact of what-if scenarios? Can you produce reports that deliver real-time visibility into project performance?
#2 Aim for the cloud. You probably have a number of point solutions that have made specific business functions easier. If they’re computer-based, though, you already know their data may not be accessed by those who need it or when they need it, especially out on the jobsite. And that’s likely hindering their collaborative efforts. These are significant pain points. That siloed approach keeps them, and you, from leveraging the full power of your data to help you most effectively manage your projects.
A cloud-enabled or cloud-based integrated project platform overcomes this limitation, bringing project data and the project team together. It makes the latest project data available to mobile devices out on the jobsite, laptops in the back office or smartphones of stakeholders who are miles away. Having just one version of project data in one virtual single source of truth will make it that much easier to gain timely insights into project health and progress in order to more effectively collaborate on and determine best-course actions and decisions.
#3 Take scalability into account. Think of how much construction technology has evolved just in the last 10 years, and even the last five years.
And just as technology is evolving, so is your company. You may have a good idea of where your company is headed or at least where you want to take it. What kind of growth are you projecting for your company? You can look at this in terms of the number of projects you want to bid, how you plan to incorporate different kinds of technology to automate tasks, or the types of projects you want to add to your portfolio. So in this latter instance, do you anticipate taking on projects that have higher dollar value, are comparatively more complex than those you’re currently working on, or have more compliance issues involved? Naturally, you’ll want to make sure whatever integrated project platform you choose can support and grow with your business, not remain stagnant and hold you back.
#4 Involve the team. Get buy-in not just from key stakeholders but from employees, too. They’re the ones who will be the power users responsible for keeping business processes humming along. So it would be pragmatic to solicit their feedback on what they need and how well the technology they’re using is working or not. If you solve the current points they deal with day in and day out, it’ll not only make adopting an integrated project platform more appealing but will help focus the options on your consideration list. The intent is to make sure the platform works for your team, not vice versa.
#5 Start now but take a phased approach. Technology will continue to evolve, and it might already feel like it’s been advancing at a far faster pace than even five or 10 years ago. But that doesn’t mean you have to level up just as quickly. Granted, no one wants to be left behind, especially in an industry as competitive as construction. What counts is that there’s a well-considered, paced strategy behind adopting something as comprehensive as an integrated project platform. Getting the ball rolling now though means less ground to make up later. It’s not just about positioning your company versus competitors. More than that, it’s about what clients will be expecting in your ability to deliver successful outcomes.
“What’s next” is actually happening now. Construction technology is at an inflection point as more companies start to understand the benefits of integrating functions and data. Seeing it in action can answer some of the questions you may have and show how it works in real life. As you consider your next steps, get a demo on your calendar to see how InEight integrated project platform can grow with you and help you leverage insights from your connected data to more efficiently manage capital projects and deliver on clients’ expected outcomes.
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