5 Digital Strategies for the Construction Industry’s Biggest Challenges

The construction industry faces many challenges, especially with the pressure of digital transformation, which is quickly taking over all areas of business. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the biggest challenges hindering the industry and provide some key technology investment recommendations.

For the remainder of 2021 and into 2022, businesses in the construction industry will succeed or fail based on their ability to mitigate uncertainty. As tired as professionals may be of hearing that their industry is a laggard in digital transformation, engineering and construction may be on the verge of getting a whole new reputation — that of the digital innovator.

Challenge: AEC’s large customers are going through a digital transformation journey. They are mandating their suppliers and contractors to digitally integrate with their systems and processes. They expect companies to be digitally mature to do business with them.

Every organization must establish a business transformation strategy in which they reimagine how they interact with their customer to deliver an exceptional experience, create stickiness, and make it difficult for them to go to other competitors. Apply digital technologies to seamlessly integrate with customers (systems and processes) to achieve this holy grail of business transformation.

>> Key Technology Investment: A digital transformation strategy that encompasses API integration, Self-Service Portals, Data & Analytics, and Automation.

Some industries such as retail, finance, and oil & gas are ahead of others in embracing and executing their digital transformation journey. Construction companies are no different. They service customers similar to companies in these industries. They can learn from and adapt best practices, methodologies, and tactics from these industries, and apply what makes sense for them in their journey. To succeed, they must first establish a clearly articulated business transformation strategy that will drive their digital transformation technology stack.

Challenge: Labor shortage and skills gap in construction workers, leading to an increased need to evolve training and onboarding to retain workers and adapt to new digital skillsets.

Traditional hiring, onboarding, and training may not meet the urgent needs to backfill the 200,000 to 300,000 worker shortage. Investing in digital technologies to streamline the process, yet retain productivity and safety standards, is one way to close the workforce gap.

>> Key Technology Investment: Automation in key workstreams to increase productivity.

How can a shift towards digital support training initiatives increase efficiency and onboarding?
There are two mechanisms in which automation can be deployed to support HR and recruitment functions. We have seen success with both of these approaches and anticipate growing demand for automating the employee lifecycle.

  • Documents requiring signatures or version control are problematic in remote settings. Automating notices and building workflows around approval processes are key to compliance and eliminating the paper-based models of the past.
  • Training materials are referenceable at the right time in accordance to requirements, intelligently organized, accessed, and processed in context by role and individual.
  • New hire provisioning, which requires setting up new employees to assign licenses to the right tools they need through infrastructure, admin, and HR teams. Onboarding new hires can be almost entirely handled by RPA software bots. Here’s a video showing it in action.

>> BONUS Technology Investment: Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning.

Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML), when applied to mechanisms such as RPA, can elevate their ability to deliver intelligent outcomes.

Challenge: Expanding portfolios through alliances, mergers, and acquisitions to reduce exposure and vulnerabilities.

Construction firms are expected to increase M&A activity, according to a recent Deloitte poll of engineering and construction executives. In addition, more unconventional partnerships are on the rise as well, in the forms of alliances and public-private partnerships. The effort to diversify and acquire specialty firms will aid companies in becoming more resilient against recessions and keep underperforming segments from tanking revenue goals.

>> Key Technology Investment: A modern data & analytics architecture in the cloud.

Merging a newly acquired company’s applications and data into the parent company is an all-consuming task. A modern cloud data architecture and platform will increase the speed and consistency during this pivotal time.

Challenge: Supply chain insufficiencies and raw materials prices combined with soaring demands.

The projects are there, but the resources aren’t. Land, people, raw building materials are all places of insufficient supply. To keep your profit margin intact, real-time insights into pricing, availability, and your options are paramount.

>> Key Technology Investment: Salesforce for bid and proposal management.

For most industries, Salesforce is seen first as a Sales and Marketing tool, followed by vendor management. However, in construction, there is a strong case for Salesforce as the hub for visibility into all the activities behind the deals.

Looking for more on construction?

Explore more insights and expertise at smartbridge.com/construction-industry

Keep Reading: Data & Analytics Roadmap and Delivery for a Large Construction Company

We’re geeks for the enterprise systems and tech that sustains and strengthens business. Simplifying business transformation. Smartbridge.com

We’re geeks for the enterprise systems and tech that sustains and strengthens business. Simplifying business transformation. Smartbridge.com