Building Momentum with Digital
Adoption of digital transformation in the construction industry is on a very different growth path to that of other similar sectors. For years now, the construction sector has been proclaimed, and even self-proclaims itself, as a digital transformation laggard. But while construction has been standing still, the rest of the world has been moving forwards into the digital age, manufacturing has embraced Industry 4.0, retail has embraced the age of e-commerce, and so on and so forth. Other sectors have been throwing their weight behind digitisation while construction has often elected to remain traditional with respect to software, favouring developing high-tech materials instead.
Putting this into context, market researcher IDC partnered with software company Autodesk to find out the true extent of the digital transformation opportunity across the construction sector. Their key findings, 72% of construction companies have said that digital transformation is a key priority for them to drive much needed changes to their processes & business models. However, only 13% of companies are well on their way to succeeding on their digital transformation journeys.
What are the biggest pain points?
Little to no automation
Manual effort is an absolute efficiency killer and time sink. The majority of organisations are still almost exclusively operating out of spreadsheets rather than standardising process-based forms to ensure data consistency and reliability.
Error-prone safety tracking and reporting
Health and safety has always been a prominent talking point in the construction industry. Working in construction is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world due to the myriad of hazards a construction site poses. For context, there are approximately 54,000 non-fatal injuries to workers each year in the UK and an average 41 fatalities a year. Now there are a long list of safety protocols in place, but they are almost exclusively manual forms. This means that they are almost impossible to track properly and even if you were to track them down, it’s only useful in retrospect rather than providing real-time information that could be critical to preventing issues from occurring in the first place.
Slow and manual communication channels
Communication is essential in the completion of any construction project because it’s such a collaborative exercise. Better communication results in better collaboration which leads to fewer misunderstandings and issues which normally result in delays. Due to the sheer number of contractors and sub-contractors on any given project, onboarding them into a communication system can be time consuming, especially if they aren’t going to be used again in future projects. As a result, the majority of construction companies have stuck to decentralised processes like email and private messaging. The problem is not only are these lines of messaging often not secure, but they are slow and prone to human error, exacerbating the problem.
Over-reliance on off-the-shelf 3rd party software
Point solution software has often been the quick-fix starting point for the majority of construction organisations. Problems start when one software investment only solves half the problem, so you have to start investing in more and more additional software types until you wholly solve the problem. Keep doing this over an extended period of time and you suddenly have an incredibly complex IT estate. This creates a whole list of problems such as data siloes, security vulnerabilities, data inconsistency, end-of-life software, but most importantly it can heavily contribute to project delays and cost explosions.
IDC and Autotrek have broken down digital transformation maturity into 5 key stages.
Stage 1 – Digital Register: Digital initiatives are disconnected, poorly aligned with business objectives and strategy.
Stage 2 – Digital Explorer: Company accepts the need for digitalisation but delivery is isolated, project based and disconnected from the business.
Stage 3 – Digital Player: Company is starting to connect Business-IT goals focusing on key value areas with certain digital products and experiences.
Stage 4 – Digital Transformer: A fully integrated business-IT approach continuously delivering digital products and services that support business ambitions.
Stage 5 – Digital Disruptor: Looking to use digital technologies and continuous innovation to affect the market as a whole.
And as you can see in the key pain points above, 60% of worldwide construction companies are still in stages 1 and 2.
In my mind this affirmatively shows the opportunity within the construction sector and why I believe we’ll very soon enter into a race to transform. Those that are proactive and start building momentum today are going to be best placed to take advantage of the huge benefits the likes of IoT, 5G and other developments are already starting to have on the industry.
If you’re interested in digital transformation today, we would be very keen to sit down with you to fully understand your business and the challenges you face today. Using this information, we can offer our advice on how the ServiceNow platform can help you transform into a Digital Disruptor within your industry.