A new urgency
'Digitalization' is not a new practice. The process of converting information into a digital format is commonplace in most business sectors, yet it's never garnered the same level of attention from the construction services industry.
While the prevailing hope is for things to return to normal, there are clear indications that the way companies do business is changing – fast. The rate at which crane, rigging, moving and millwright companies are undergoing digital transformations is unprecedented, and as customer and employee engagement models continue to shift online, the importance of positioning your business for success now, as well as post-crisis, is paramount.
Whether you're looking at implementing turn-key software, an outsourced solution, or a custom-built product developed in-house, here are 3 important factors your construction services business needs to consider if it wants to successfully complete its own digital transformation.
1. Mapping your workflow
Simply put: can your company effectively translate its current workflow to a digital platform? Be prepared to take stock of all internal and external processes, including:
- employee and customer communication methods;
- customer and vendor contact management;
- individual employee roles and responsibilities;
- and important documents & forms that will ultimately need to be digitized.
Digitalization is a process. Speedbumps are to be expected, but one way to ensure the process goes smoothly is to map your current workflow. From the moment you receive a job to when the final invoice is sent, understanding how your data flows from one stage of the job to the next is at the core of any digital transformation.
Because construction software development teams need a clear picture of your workflow in order to begin standardizing your business processes. Understanding which employees and what data are involved at each stage of the job will not only make for a seamless digital transition, but an audit of your processes can also help to uncover workflow bottlenecks, data irregularities, and duplicative data practices.
2. Navigating change management
A digital transformation leaves no rock unturned, and no internal experience untouched. Your entire company plays a part in developing a working solution, with the success of the project hinging on your team's ability to 'stay the course'.
The benefits of digitalization – increased efficiency, improved strategic planning, long-distance collaboration – are lost unless your company can align itself towards a singular goal.
For some time now, the construction services industry has been slow to adopt any sort of change regarding its business processes. But with a new focus on streamlining operations, remote work, and even contactless rental, construction services companies seem more willing to ditch their spreadsheets, word docs, and whiteboards, and switch to software-based solutions.
You may encounter pushback from your team, so to help ease the pain, consider a solution that:
- is easily accessible and easy to use;
- offers great technical support & training;
- and is capable of scaling with your business.
3. Onboarding your team
COVID-19 has accelerated the need for companies to go digital - especially those deemed essential. Yet the logistics of implementing a digital solution under both time and economic constraints can be overwhelming for SMEs.
Businesses sometimes overlook the time it will take to onboard their own employees. Technological competence varies between individuals, and if your company isn’t accustomed to using technology in the first place, then expect a steep learning curve and plan accordingly.
Timeline for deliverables, price, and product customization are just some of the things you'll need to consider when deciding between the following implementation options:
Affordable, and can deliver immediate results
Limited in terms of customization and scalability
Tailored and scalable
Short-medium delivery timeline
End product relies on your ability to communicate your business' needs and the needs of your customer
More expensive than Turn-key
Tailored and scalable
Adjustable, especially during development
Consistent involvement from your entire team
Time and money lost to staff dismissal for product development and testing
Most expensive option with the longest delivery timeline
Getting it right
With so many options available to construction services companies looking to go digital, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each before making a final decision. Businesses that can make the transition quickly and efficiently will undoubtedly keep their company operating smoothly – now, and well into the future.
It's also important for your company to maintain a customer-centric focus throughout the project's entirety. The internal experience of your employees will undoubtedly shape the customer's experience in the end.