Once considered a ‘laggard’ when it comes to technology adoption, the construction industry is actually investing more in software solutions today—in spite of the down economy. In fact, in many ways economic conditions are actually driving this industry to implement technology.

In today’s environment, the construction industry is looking for ways to mitigate risk, save time, and reduce expenses. Technology is great way to enable efficient project delivery and construction companies recognize this. Nearly 50% of Constructech readers describe themselves as aggressive or very aggressive when it comes to buying IT solutions today.

However, savvy construction companies also know they can’t just leap into a software purchase without the proper due diligence, so many are taking the time now to evaluate, research, implement, and train on new packages.

Why are construction companies aggressive with technology today? Three recent examples highlight some of the prime reasons for new technology adoption.

New Corporate Initiatives
The Swinerton Family of Companies, www.swinerton.com, San Francisco, Calif., has two new corporate initiatives—to go green and improve internal and external communication. Technology is helping the company enable both of these initiatives.

In particular, the construction company adopted Textura’s, www.texturacorp.com, Deerfield, Ill., CPM (Construction Payment Management) system to provide subcontractor invoicing, collection of lien waivers, and automated tracking of compliance documents and electronic payments, enabling more communication and reducing the amount of paper used on the project.

Swinerton took the proper steps when selecting and implementing the technology, ensuring it did its due diligence. The company used the system on three projects during a ‘proof of concept’ stage. This allowed Swinerton to fully develop the process and roll it out across the organization.

The company then implemented the technology in a phased implementation by region. After four month of training and process conversion, Swinerton had more than 100 projects on Textura.

Faster Project Delivery
With a large amount of development work in both new construction and renovation work across the United States, Clayco Inc., www.claycorp.com, St. Louis, Mo., requires a solution to remain on a fast-track schedule. Particularly, management was additionally pushing for increased collaboration and better reporting.

Clayco decided to add Prolog Converge from Meridian Systems, www.meridiansystems.com, Folsom, Calif., to its current Prolog software solution. Prolog Converge has all the capabilities Clayco needs for increased collaboration and flexibility when managing critical project data. The company is also introducing integration of Byrne Software Technologies’,www.byrnesoftware.com, Chesterfield, Mo., Budget Forecasting/Earned Value application with Prolog Converge.

The Prolog Converge solution provides detailed document tracking, reporting, and an easy way to collaborate. The platform allows Clayco to continue to be forward-thinking when it comes to project-management practices within its organization and reduce risk in today’s economy.

Future Growth
In some cases, construction companies are spending on new software now to enable growth in the future. Shawmut Design and Construction, www.shawmut.com, Boston, Mass., has a number of ongoing projects across the country. In order to keep up with the growth, the company needed a new solution for project visibility, reporting, and improved efficiencies.

After an extensive review process that included an initiative to evaluate and define all current business process, Shawmut selected CMiC Open Enterprise v10 from CMiC, www.cmic.ca, Toronto, Ont.

The thin-client, Web-based solution allows the company to improve collaboration, integrate estimating and the budget, add operations and change-management workflow, improve financials and reporting, and incorporate business process mapping and document management.

Why are construction companies aggressive with technology spending today? While the reasons are vast and vary from company to company, the bottomline is the construction industry is moving away from the ‘laggard’ label and is becoming more progressive when it comes to technology adoption.

To learn more details about how construction companies are spending on specific types of software for project management, estimating, accounting, collaboration, and more, order a copy of the 2011 Constructech IT Playbook.