We’re living in an age where technology has disrupted nearly every part of our lives. Digital transformation is everywhere and every company is a now a software company. But even though much of the world is rapidly advancing, the construction industry has been slow to embrace new technology — a fact that tech critics like to point out again and again.
This culture of technology puts do-or-die pressure on construction executives to make big changes, fast. And while digital transformation is an important part of doing business, urgency isn’t always a good thing. When executives are under a transformation time-crunch, they end up buying small bits of software to avoid disturbing the whole system. What they don’t realize is that this approach prevents serious, ground-up change. Their newly added tech may provide some marginal improvements, but it won’t address deeper platform issues and can end up causing more problems than it fixes.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the pitfalls of a half-baked digital transition.
Let’s say you’re looking for a new project management application. You’re happy with the software that’s running other areas of operations, but you’d like a PM app that will work on mobile devices. You take a couple of weeks to research your options and choose one that’s inexpensive and easy to use.
After a few weeks of using the app, your simple solution has only created headaches. The new project management app isn’t compatible with your other software, so your PMs have to manually enter data into two separate platforms. Whenever project managers get a change order, for example, they must input the new information into the financial software separately.
On the surface, this scenario may seem only a little annoying. But in practice, it can be disastrous. If you take the addition of one simple step and multiply it across dozens of operations, employees and projects, your easy solution could cost you huge amounts of time and money.
Data silos are databases that aren’t connected and can’t share information — instead, they trap chunks of data within a closed system. Having individual apps that aren’t talking to one another creates data silos.
As we saw in the example above, having your financial data stored separately from your project management data can be a pain. Not only does it require manual entry, it also compromises data accuracy. This is because all manual data entry is susceptible to human error.
Similarly, data silos can cause conflicting data. If this app says one thing and that app says another, which one do you trust for accurate, up-to-date information? Problems with accuracy and duplication only increase as you add new apps to the system. Over time, your project management and financial systems can grow further apart, increasing data complexity and wasting time.
Security Blind Spots
When considering a construction software change, many owners and reps feel they have just two options:
- Find multiple apps to fix specific challenges without disrupting operations.
- Leave legacy software systems in place and keep everything running business-as-usual.
Both these options leave construction companies open to serious security threats. If you choose multiple apps, it will increase your risk of a cyber-attack. That’s because the more vendors you have, the more points of entry hackers have into your organization. If you stay with your legacy software, on the other hand, you’re still vulnerable. Regular security updates aren’t released for legacy software, meaning that hackers can find easy ways of accessing your data.
Luckily, there is a third option. Unified construction software limits points of security risk, eliminates data silos and doesn’t rely on third-party integrations to function. It may take longer to implement, but unified solutions streamline operations into a single platform and offer a broad range of functionality and controls. They also increase transparency between departments and offer quick access to all relevant information in a single place.
To access these benefits, construction CEOs must invest in powerful software and a long-term strategy. A thorough transition can serve as the groundwork for major improvements to current and future operations. That’s why — contrary to popular belief — a more involved implementation process is worth it in the long run.
For a truly successful transition, consider your firm’s future needs as well as current challenges. To see the true benefits of a digital transformation for yourself, check out our case study on North America’s leading construction manager, Govan Brown.