In 2004 Loughborough University conducted a study entitled “Technology Implementation Strategies for Construction Organisations.” The conclusion was, effectively, that it was very difficult! But much has changed in the intervening 12 years! The first is that one of the big problems they had reported to them by the people they interviewed was the difficulty of getting staff to use any IT system.
Today, in 2016, it is a very strange construction worker, at any level in any organisation, who doesn’t possess and use their own “gadget”. It may be a PC on their desk, a tablet stuck in a bag or a smart phone in their pocket. All are quite capable of being used to access Construction Software. Let’s have a look at a possible exception; some clapped out old technophobe. He’ll be surrounded by youngsters who will be more than happy to do the button-clicking for him! The mere fact that everyone owns their own “gadget” these days rules out a second problem they found in 2004; the capital expenditure required. That has become almost Zilch!
Now that research done by Loughborough Uni was very academic and what they did was conduct their research among 6 very large companies working within various aspects of construction. Only two of them were construction companies; the others included organisations such as Housing Associations and Consultancies. I would argue that, far more relevant to us today, is simply construction companies and the SME’s at that! There are thousands of them! Implementing construction software into an SME is a much quicker and simpler matter than doing it within a major organisation!
One of the things looked at was the decision-making process for the decision to implement the construction software into an organisation. Some said from the top down; others said from the bottom up. Now my own experience of construction is that everyone is far too busy to be bothered talking about it for months! As Interim Senior Management I’d offer this solution from experience: get the Site Managers to play with it. If they like it then just tell the Finance Director how good it is and point out how much money it will save the company. The Finance Director will then simply tell everyone that they dam**d well will start using construction software! No arguments!
Another objection put in the way of implementing construction software was the conflict of interest this would create with the IT division within each company. Within SME construction companies the few IT divisions I’ve seen weren’t exactly an essential component of the business. Their interest would only be vested interests – their own jobs. In more than one company I was contracted to, all they did, in effect, was scan every bit of paper to their servers then shred the hard copies! Using construction software they would be completely redundant and save on the overhead wages bill! Profits go up!
“Headology” then came into the research. The argument was that if people don’t want to use construction software then its introduction will fail. That is probably another out of date argument. Firstly, even old guffers like me are far more tech-savvy than we were in2004. Secondly, there are far more youngsters in the industry now who have been brought up playing with their IT “toys”. They will probably embrace construction software as a far better way to spend their time than having to suffer dealing with old-fashioned bits of paper!
One of the problems that was high-lighted still exists. Our construction industry is very fragmented. When a new project team is formed, running from Client, Consultants, Main Contractor, and Sub-Contractors, it is quite possible that none of them have ever worked together before. That means there would have to be training, education and communication. However, because we are all a lot more tech-savvy than we were 12 years ago, that isn’t as much of a problem as it used to be. It took me half-an-hour to get the hang of it!- and that was long-distance training over the Internet using Skype! I’m pretty sure the youngsters would suss it all out by playing with the software for 5 minutes – assuming it was sufficiently simple and user-friendly. This is something else which time has changed. Software has evolved and is far simpler these days. As for gadgets! In 1963 I was taken into a room 100 metres by 30 metres. It was full of server cabinets. For it to add 2 and 2 together took 3 days! It used to wait until it had a few of the same sums to do before it got around to them! Compared to even today’s smart phones, never mind computers, it was an absolute der-brain! Back in the day, though, we thought it was clever! I few wanted to make a phone call we had to use a phone booth! What our “gadgets” are capable of today is comparatively phenominal!
Related to the fragmentation of the industry they came up with another objection or stumbling block: if people didn’t want to use construction software, they wouldn’t. This was put down to an inherent human quality of “Resistance to Change”. Well, okay, we might not be too keen on change, but we have seen plenty of it in recent years. Coupled to that are the characteristics of construction: complexity; uniqueness and uncertainty. The hard fact is that everyone in construction lives with change every day!
Then we have the nature of working in construction as pointed out to me many years ago! The nature of construction is “hire and fire”! If someone, or some company, involved in a project refuses to use the construction software decided upon, let them look for another job!
The final aspect that the researchers looked at, and asked their respondents about, was the non-financial benefits of construction software. Those non-financial benefits are far, far greater today than they were in 2004. Mostly they come down to everyone, these days, having instant access to the construction software with their PC’s, tablets or smart phones. The first of these advantages is that, because everyone involved in the project knows everything, instantly, work is accelerated and co-operation between, say, the skilled trades is greatly increased. Everyone knows what they should be doing, where and when! This is something that comes of making the Detailed Programme of Works available to them all! The greatly beneficial spin-off of this is something very difficult to do if it is dependent on the soft skills of site management: it rapidly forms everyone involved into a co-operating Team! Now I did say “site management” and that infers just those working on site. No; it actually means everyone, including dragging in the clients’ project manager and their consultants. Very few site managers have the personality, qualifications and experience to be able to do that themselves.
The use of construction software also has the non-financial benefit of allowing the site management team to spend far more time out on site. This automatically, because the tradesmen don’t like to have people criticising their work, results in better workmanship and higher build standards with far fewer de-snags needed!
So we’ve had a look at the difficulties that were put forward for implementing construction software in your business. Most of them we have discounted as being overtaken by the advances in the use of software and its improvements. Even the old timers like me are comparatively tech-savvy to some extent these days!
We’ve had a look at the financial costs and, using the correct construction software, GenieBelt – and more on that shortly – the capital investment required is negligible. In fact there are major capital savings to be made through saving time, wages and storage facilities for all the paperwork which will be a thing of history! We’ve also pointed out the best, quickest way to get the decision made to implement construction software in your company. The just leaves the original topic to be discussed:-
How to Implement Construction Software in Your Business. Well, with today’s best construction software, GenieBelt, there will have to be some education and training, but, as stated earlier, very little before people are quite capable of using it! How to overcome the reticence of some people towards adapting change? Sorry, but I personally would keep that to a very simple strategy by adopting an autocratic management style! “You’ll do it my way, because I said so!” and, being such a nice chap, I might add “But first let’s have a chat about it.” If that wasn’t the convincer my final comment would be “If you don’t like our game go and find somewhere else to play!”
Finally, why go for GenieBelt Construction Software? Firstly because of its “fitness for purpose”! GenieBelt construction software provides absolutely everything required for a construction project and totally eliminates the need for any paperwork! From my own research I know it is far and away the best construction software available globally! The capital financial savings are phenomenal; instead of the £££ thousands for paperwork you are looking at £100 a month for a £5 million project! The time saved is great and it will accelerate the project simply as a spin-off of that!
So, if you want to implement construction software into your business go GenieBelt. It costs peanuts, saves you a bomb and will damned nearly implement itself!