Work practices within the construction industry have been static for many years. Did you know that construction is the second least digitised industry only just above agriculture!
In recent years, technology has begun to replace outdated systems in many industries other than ours. Why have we been slower to uptake this revolution, do we believe our current work-practices are better? Are we afraid of what we do not understand?
What the construction industry has struggled with is that in order for change to occur, there needs to be willingness to change behaviour. Is it possible that if we embrace and explore the possibilities of construction software that our business and processes will be refined and improved. I believe it comes down to a change in mindset and a willingness to accept that change will happen to this industry too. Construction project management software needs to be seen for what it is, to make us more efficient, it will not be to replace us.
The first investment we need to make is time. Over our next few blogs we will explore where we are now and how we could take our next steps to improving our efficiency.
Lets take a look at why construction software is a saving for businesses, and should be seen as an investment
Get ahead of the trend
True innovation comes from a realisation that the current solutions are not good enough, and a willingness to explore new possibilities. Modern day construction projects are hugely complicated, puzzles where only the strong survive. If technology and software can offer us any help in staying ahead of the competition then it is worth an investment of our time.
Software & technology will be an expectation and not a luxury for the younger generation entering the construction business world. Anyone remember Nokia? Ok, its an extreme example, but it does show a good example of settling within your business and not being aware of what the competition or next generation are doing around you. The hesitation of introducing technology within this industry is slowing being changed and given how quick these things can progress we need to keep our finger on the pulse and stay updated.
Currently, there are a number of problems which are continuously being seen in the construction industry. This includes low profits and productivity, lack of a skilled workforce, mistrust in contracts and a lack of standardisation. Statistically, the growth of labour productivity within the construction industry stands at just 1% a year over the last 20 years.
As a $10 trillion industry which is expected to reach $15 trillion in the next 20 years, managing projects will become even more difficult unless changes are made. These changes likely being a significant introduction of technology within the industry. It will enable the ease of growth and allow project managers to have a better understanding of time management. This is being accelerated at Tier 1 level, but will that leave behind subcontractors and mid-tier contractors?
A simple introduction of shared on-line folders with drawings can save costly mistakes with version control. With all plans coming from one true source and available at the click of a button, a simple technology can make a big impact on time.
Software is a part of construction now, but it must be recognised that it will become an even bigger part of the industry in the near future. It is a powerful tool that will be necessary for companies to stay competitive.
If there’s one thing all contractors are interested in, it’s cutting costs. As I mentioned earlier, with low profits and productivity a constant factor in the industry, measurement and analysis of our profits and more importantly our losses for trends, is vital to learning and improving our businesses.
Construction software solutions such as accounting and ERP solutions, project management and service management software, business intelligence and reporting tools, human resources solutions, mobile tools and cloud-based data sharing portals, equipment and material tracking tools can help us gather our spending data, so we can analyse more efficiently.
Investment in construction software
In the last 10 years alone, construction software companies have managed to raise more than $10 billion in investment. The sector has gained billions more in cumulative investments as a result of mergers and acquisitions. In the US alone, investment in construction software is up by 324%.
So what’s the reason for this surge in investment? For a start, the construction industry is a large industry that makes up an estimated 10% of global GDP. Opportunity for tech innovation within the sector makes up a wide range, including surveillance drones that can track construction progress, 3D printing, virtual reality, and software enabling building projects to be more profitable.
If this isn’t a clear sign for what’s to come in the construction industry then I don’t know what is. Being the second least digitized industry in the world, it was only a matter of time before the industry received it’s much needed technology shake up. For this reason, I believe that an investment in construction software is a saving, not a cost. Read about some upcoming trends in construction technology here.