Every day, more evidence surfaces about the business benefits of embracing modern software and technology — so why haven’t more construction leaders seen the light? Why are construction firms using pen and paper methods when digital alternatives would permanently boost efficiency?
We’ll give you a hint: It’s not because digital transformation is the wrong choice or because leaders are stuck in the past. Instead, there are two central challenges keeping modern leaders from seriously investing in strong digital solutions:
- Leaders prefer quick, inexpensive solutions: Technology is sometimes viewed as an unnecessary risk rather than a powerful advantage. Leaders with this view try to cut costs by purchasing quick solutions to solve immediate problems.
- Leaders don’t see the long-term benefits of a single unified solution: Naturally, a one-time digital overhaul presents a higher upfront cost than quick solutions. Because it takes more time and money to install a total digital solution, decision makers are sometimes concerned about this initial investment.
Unfortunately, short term gain equals long-term pain. When you install multiple different programs that don’t work together, your system can become overcomplicated, creating more data-entry work and reducing overall transparency.
Unified solutions, on the other hand, save time and money in the long run — making them the obvious choice for medium and long-term growth. But don’t take our word for it. Let’s look at 5 real-world digital transformation stories so that you can decide for yourself.
We’ve chosen stories that represent 5 major types of transformations so you can see which ones are most relevant to your organization:
- Accounting and transparency
- Growth through efficiency
- Standardizing field and office procedures
- Unified data storage
- Smooth implementation process
JE Dunn: Construction Companies are Accounting Companies
JE Dunn’s chief information officer, John Jacobs, says that “construction companies are really accounting companies that happen to build buildings.” We couldn’t agree more. As a 91-year-old firm with 21 offices across the United States, JE Dunn was already successful — earning roughly $3 billion in revenue each year. You can also find them consistently ranked among ENR’s top 400 contractors in several of their specialty areas.
But even with their continued growth and success, the executive team recognized the opportunity for innovation. Poor communication across their large network of offices and job sites was causing inefficiencies to accumulate, inefficiencies that were costing the organization significant time and money. The lack of communication led to a lack of accountability, which in turn led to overspending.
JE Dunn chose to transform their business with CMiC’s unified project accounting and management suite. With a clear vision of costs across all projects, JE Dunn could finally oversee numerous projects with ease. And, they could hold project managers and subcontractors accountable for individual budgets. In addition, JE Dunn was able to integrate their powerful BIM tool with the CMiC platform to create a single, centralized database.
That’s how — without losing an ounce of functionality — JE Dunn revolutionized operations.
For more information, check out the full JE Dunn case study!
Moss & Associates: Achieving Rapid Growth
Moss & Associates went from 10 employees to over 600 — so, they know a thing or two about scalability. Purchasing new hardware is great when a business is on the rise, but smart executives plan for any downturns in growth. Overinvesting in expensive infrastructure can become a serious problem when profits take a dive.
On top of an overinvestment problem, Moss & Associates were experiencing poor efficiency across their operations. As they grew, manual data entry created inconsistencies and wasted valuable man-hours.
For Moss & Associates, the solutions to these problems came in the form of a unified cloud solution. Cloud computing has revolutionized the way businesses achieve growth. In contrast to on-premise servers, which cost money to house and run, cloud solutions are cheaper and more flexible.
With the cloud, organizations can easily increase their data capacity if they need more storage to help manage a sudden increase in workload. And if the workload lessens, they can cut costs by decreasing the amount of storage in their plan. Moss & Associates doesn’t have to worry about surprise IT costs and can rely on regular updates to keep their system prepared for the future.
For more information, check out the full Moss & Associates case study!
Pankow: Standardizing Field & Office Procedure
John Bassetti, director of IT at Pankow, knows their pre-transformation pitfalls better than anyone. “Before beginning to partner with CMiC, operations were highly fractured and siloed, with significant variation between individual offices and job sites,” explains John. That’s why, in 2008, Pankow decided to make a change.
They adopted CMiC and instituted real-time standardized collaboration tools so that project data could be shared easily with all team members, keeping everyone on the same page and setting the same set of expectations for each project.
Many construction executives overlook the issue of standardization. To them, it doesn’t matter how the job gets done, just that it does get done. But, setting best practices and procedures helps to maximize efficiency and ensure quality. For Pankow, CMiC’s powerful software platform helped to standardize reporting and data collection. Punch lists and reports can now be updated from the field and viewed anywhere. Onsite workers get clear instructions that are standard for every project, and stakeholders receive concise, relevant and timely reports.
We’ll let Pankow’s director of IT sum it up: “I think CMiC has driven greater focus in the company…CMiC has brought everything, ideally, under just one umbrella.”
Govan Brown: A Single Source of Truth
Govan Brown’s legacy solution just wasn’t cutting it. “It just wasn’t enough horsepower for the company,” says John Brown, partner and co-founder of Govan Brown.
The firm was growing faster but project completion times were stagnant. Key decision-makers found themselves waiting around or digging through files to get more information. Worst of all, it was difficult to tell which information was up-to-date and accurate.
In a business where accuracy is everything, Govan Brown knew they needed to make a change. Luckily, they were a technologically-minded organization. Their forward-thinking use of technology had given them an edge in their early development — so why stop now?
With CMiC, Govan Brown established a single source of truth. Data could be shared easily and they got rid of ineffective software integrations to navigate. Most importantly, project management was now connected with financials for streamlined access to one set of reliable data.
“CMiC is a differentiator for us,” John Brown explains. “It has put us three to four years ahead of the competition.” With the right attitude and the right partner, there’s no telling what you can accomplish.
For more information, check out the full Govan Brown case study!
Evans Chaffee: A Smooth Software Transition
With a small staff managing a large workload, Evans Chaffee needed construction software that would streamline operations and increase productivity. Unfortunately, they had a hard time finding software that fit the bill. They’d tried many different construction management programs, but none had the level of functionality they needed.
When they finally found CMiC, they were relieved and enthused that their long software search had successfully come to an end. Naturally, they wanted to transition to this new software system as quickly as possible.
Working closely with CMiC’s support team, Evans Chaffee was able to train employees, re-design processes and implement our software within 3-months. Michael Evans, Vice President and CFO of Evans Chaffee, says that this quick and smooth transition wouldn’t have been possible without the CMiC team. “Our lead implementation consultant [Aaron] was just outstanding. I now feel like I’m family with the support team. I’ve never met them, but out of all the software providers we’ve worked with, they made me feel truly supported and like we were in this together.”
For construction executives, the time and effort it takes to implement new software can be an obstacle to embracing digital transformation. But, the Evans Chaffee example shows that when firms choose a software provider with strong customer support and dedicated implementation specialists, the transition can be a positive experience.
For more information, check out the full Evans Chaffee case study!