Focus on the Basics

GettyImages 912969272By Guy Barlow

Being relatively new to the tech explosion we shouldn’t be dazzled by the latest bright and shiny toys. We need to focus on some of the basic building blocks or concepts that ensure technology success before we take advantage of the many SaaS-based, best-of-breed applications in the market. Here are three areas to think about:

1. To begin, let’s talk about the digitization wave that’s’ sweeping the industry. Google “construction technology market map” and it’s clear there’s a lot of innovative, often niche, products on the market. But where do you start? It’s important to not get lost in the hype. Yes, everyone loves drones, AI/ML, IIoT, etc. but what’s really going to quickly drive business value when you’ve been living in the hell we call Excel? How about getting teams in the field off paper? Digital timecards anyone? Yes, it’s as simple as that: focus on the field.  Next…

2. Now that we’ve got a better handle on where to focus, we’ll want to avoid falling victim to a byproduct of technology applications – islands of information. Silos.  Best-of-breed products can exacerbate this challenge because, almost by definition, they have niche capabilities that will need to be integrated to other niche capabilities and, ultimately an ERP’s capabilities. An example often sited is the inability to quickly and efficiently move data from the field to the likes of an ERP system. Many times CSV files save the day or companies resort to duplicate and manual data entry, rife with errors and omissions followed closely by litigation and lawsuits. Integrate your technology to unlock the true value it holds. Focus on the people in the field because that’s where the pain point is so acute (see #1), then make sure they’re connected to the office.  Worry about drones another day.

3. Finally, and some would argue it’s the hardest area, is getting organizational adoption and collaboration. Certainly well-chosen and integrated technology is a basic prerequisite but overcoming the “I’ve been doing it this way for 40 years” mentality is challenging. That’s why IT and the business have to come together to jointly work towards what is, effectively, a change management exercise. Ensuring timely communication around why we’re doing this, how we’re going to do it, and the impact on employee’s lives is key. Along with the necessary training, workshops and support this ensures a quick uptake along with sustained usage.

Not forgetting the basics ensures a focus on what will drive the most value in the shortest amount of time across your business but also position you for future growth. And the answer is integrated technology effectively deployed to your most important asset – your team. 

Guy Barlow is director of strategy for Morpheus Technology Group (morpheustechgroup.com), the construction industry’s leading integration solution for ERP and project management applications.  He’d like to hear from you and can be reached at gbarlow@morpheustechgroup.com.

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