Mobile, collaboration, risk, safety: These are just a few of the top business priorities for construction companies in the year ahead. However, finding the right approach to implementing technologies surrounding these big trends can be challenging to say the least.
Consider mobile. Many analysts are predicting mobile will be big for the enterprise in 2014. For example, Forrester, www.forrester.com, Cambridge, Mass., says mobile will fundamentally change entire businesses in the decades to come, and this year will be incremental for companies to transform. Still, the firm suggests businesses shouldn’t expect to catch up to their customers this year.
With this transition toward a more mobile workforce in construction, how can companies begin to prepare? This is just one of the topics that was addressed in a recent eSeminar series hosted by Bentley Systems, www.bentley.com, Exton, Pa.
Steve Jolley, senior director for construction, Bentley Systems, led the first session. During this time, he helped construction companies identify the top contributors to construction risk, as well as the technologies to reduce the risk. With risk management being a strategic component to overall project management, implementing the right technologies could be essential for many contractors in the year ahead.
In the second eSeminar, the topic shifted to collaboration. A much-discussed topic among many construction professionals, Bentley demonstrated how technology can be used for work sharing and feedback. While the term ‘collaboration’ can sometimes be ambiguous in construction, Bentley focused chiefly on how technology can improve teamwork.
The third discussion focused on mobile apps in construction and how apps can expand productivity. One of the big trends in construction today is putting the data in the hands of the field personnel. Bentley addressed how apps can improve construction workflow.
The final session focused more specifically on project visibility and work packaging for EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) firms, which is splitting projects into deliverable pieces. The technology provider focused on how work packaging can be automated, as well as the aggregation of data and visualization into the project status.
Work packaging can be a huge competitive advantage for construction firms. The Construction Industry Institute, www.construction-institute.org, Austin, Texas, even says work packaging leads to better morale on projects, improved safety statistics, up to 25% improvement in productivity, and a decline in total installed cost.
How can construction companies go about addressing many of the top trends in construction today? Certainly using technology will be a big part of any of these topics, but creating a solid business strategy around how the technology will be deployed, adopted, and used on a regular basis will be key to ensuring success going forward.