As a construction owner or manager, you need a tech strategy. But do you know what that means? Is it buying costly devices, servers, or programs? Or hiring dedicated IT staff or consultants? What does digital transformation entail for you and your company?
A tech strategy, simply put, is a way to organize and implement your company's technology to enhance your operations, while increasing profitability. Without a tech roadmap, you and your colleagues run the risk of second-guessing each other, turning back to old sluggish systems, or resorting to manual processes.
Three Steps to Crafting a Tech Strategy
1. The first step is defining the strategic context for your enterprise-wide IT needs. This step won't necessarily address your specific IT needs; instead, it takes a holistic look at your company's overall purpose and goals. You might ask who are the chief players—getting clarity about who is responsible for what is vital. Who will use the new tech, evangelize its adoption and integration? Who will champion its use every day, inspiring and training others? You might also consider your dreams, your vision for your company: Where are you today? Where do you want to be next year, in five years, 30 years, or even 100 years?
2. With a high-level vision of the company, it is time to get practical. The next step is taking an inventory of existing technology to outline what new systems and platforms are needed and assess your internal capabilities. Research is fundamental at this point. It is critical to develop or employ an app that can serve as a blueprint or a guidebook for your technology strategy. The best apps will be highly flexible and adaptable, helping align your team across functions and at varying stages of a project lifecycle. Construction is a bespoke industry, with a degree of variation in every project. The ability to customize and update tools over time is essential.
3. The third step involves implementing your plan. For all the time and dollars invested, your new tech tools' inherent value depends on how you effectively put them to work. Introducing new tech tools into a company can present its own set of challenges, which is why internal marketing can address many of the challenges of handing off the latest tech to your team. Backing up an internal marketing sell with training, and ideally, applications that are accessible and easy to learn will reinforce your momentum.
With downward pressures in material and labor costs, construction owners seek to reduce costs and make investments to streamline operations and improve productivity. It is important not to get carried away in cost savings but rather seek reasonable technology solutions that won't break the bank but won't cut short your needs. In an article, How Companies Make Good Decisions, McKinsey writes, "Ensure that participants in the discussion about any decision are included on the basis of skills and experience, that decision criteria are transparent, and that the decision is discussed in relation to the organization's other strategic decisions." With a diverse range of people involved from the start in both research and decision-making processes, you can leverage the enthusiasm, talent, and knowledge in-house to ensure the smooth adoption of new technology across the entire enterprise.