Best Practices in the Construction Technology Frenzy

Practically every day there seems to be a new app, or hype, about artificial intelligence and how it is going to change the construction industry. The promise of digital construction, autonomous heavy equipment, wearables, IoT (Internet of Things), 3D printing, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning and real-time collaboration is an enticing elixir. With all the noise, what should your firm focus on in the fast changing tech landscape?

Digitize and Streamline
While cloud and paperless have been the drum beat, making your inefficient processes digital doesn’t deliver the productivity outcomes of a streamlined lean workflow. Eliminate steps like notifying more people than necessary.  Place rules in workflows to move the data on the most efficient route and to its final destination with the fewest touches. There are many firms with digital forms, portals and mobile apps rekeying information that they have collected digitally. Automating the data exchange is a big win for timeliness and guarantees accuracy.

Mobile apps often do one thing well yet can create data silos. Recently there’s been a flurry of announcements about integration with other apps, software or collaboration ecosystems. It is a two-way or one-way data exchange street and can you extract your data? Actionable information and feedback loops make successful outcomes. The real-time data analytics and deep learning is where the treasure lies.

New or Useful
Shiny objects attract attention. Instead ask what problems need solving, then find software and hardware firms that listen first and develop second. Is it easy to implement or does it take years to get your field team to learn and embrace the technology? Choose wisely to avoid the frequent dump or replace syndrome, however, don’t stop your teams from doing trials. Often each test run is a learning experience with winning ideas to implement on the next project or combine with another solution.

Wait or Act
Know that only the early adapters gain a competitive edge for a short duration … until everyone else also onboards a similar solution. Innovative teams are always searching for better ways and additional uses for the tech they have. Encourage your employees to think creatively and make it safe for them to fail. Tout the successes as 1 + 1 =  3.

by Carol Hagen, Hagen Business Systems Inc.,

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