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A Buyer’s Guide to Construction Tech: 7 Steps for Implementation


What’s holding you back from buying new construction technology? 

Professionals in nearly any field may feel hesitant to commit to new technologies—and the construction industry feels it deeper than most. Implementation brings up valid fears, like:

  • What if it doesn’t work with our way of doing things?
  • What if I can’t get my team to adopt it?
  • My team’s old school. They’ll never agree to a new way of doing what they’ve always done by hand.
  • How much time will this take, and will it hurt our productivity?
  • Will this just waste our time and money?

With the right technology and approach, you can tackle each of these concerns. 

Here, we’ll walk you through seven best practices for a successful rollout and how to choose tech that’ll make the process easier. 

7 steps for adopting and implementing construction tech

In the construction industry, implementing new technology is uniquely challenging. You have different project types, workers in multiple locations and slim margins. To make it easier on you and your team and encourage adoption, try the following tips.

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1. Get to know the product inside and out

The easiest way to lose your team on a new program is to send it to them half-baked. While you can’t expect to have everything perfect on the first try, it’s important that you spend the time upfront really digging into the product.

The Barricade Company, which provides traffic control services to construction zones in Las Vegas, Nevada, spent six months on the backend making sure their new operations platform would work for their team—but it paid off. They rolled Assignar out to their entire 60-person team in about two weeks, with few hiccups along the way.

Ask yourself the following:

  • Does this work with our office processes?
  • Does this work with our field processes?
  • What features do we need in the short term?

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2. Create a rollout plan

Planning the rollout influences how well your new technology will be received. Think about how you’ll introduce the new technology to your team and what the transition will look like. 

Consider the following:

  • Will you roll it out all at once or in phases?
  • How long with the rollout take?
  • What will you do when roadblocks come up?
  • What training will you offer team members who are struggling?
  • What happens if data gets lost in the transition?

John Avendano, Business Manager at Barricade, said the team spent part of their upfront time planning the transition. 

“We had a lot of time invested in how we were going to roll this out,” Avendano said.

During Barricade’s two-week rollout phase, they asked a few field team members to test the program concurrently with their old systems. That way, Barricade ensured they didn’t lose any data during the transition.

For some teams, it’s important to implement the basics and get moving. For others, a complete process overhaul might be in order. Scott Hayes, partner and general manager at Force Civil Solutions in Alberta, Canada, provided his team with iPads and new software to learn in one go.

No matter how you want to tackle the rollout, start with a plan and adjust as you go to keep it running smoothly.

“I was able to single-handedly train anyone from 20 years old to 60 years old to be able to use a smart device and kind of get the basics of it,” Hayes said. “We implemented in late November of 2018, and by Christmas that year in December, I had 40 guys with iPads trained and running digitally.”

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3. Lean on the vendor to provide help and support

A good vendor won’t just sell you their technology and walk away. They want you to succeed. So whether you’re making sure you know how to use all the features, or need help training the rest of your team, ask your vendor for support.

Hayes took advantage of Assignar’s hands-on onboarding experience when Force Civil made the switch. 

“We sat with [Assignar’s customer success manager] 12 hours a day and just went through every step of our process,” Hayes said. 

By getting help from the onboarding team, Hayes ensured the platform met his team’s needs before training them on it himself.

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4. Identify champions

Sometimes, all it takes is a few leaders on board and excited about the technology to capture everyone else’s attention. No matter who the official point person for the rollout is, all top leadership should show their excitement by using the product, attending trainings and helping everyone get up to speed.

It’s also a good idea to recruit members of your field teams early in the process to get their buy-in. A foreperson or well-respected site worker might influence the rest of the team to use the technology.

As you pull in field users, get their feedback about how the technology is set up and if they think it’ll work for the rest of the team. That’ll make the implementation more of a collaborative effort—you’ll get better buy-in from your team when you’ve addressed their concerns.

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5. Show your team the why

Even if you hear groans when introducing new technology and new systems, your team is much more likely to embrace it when they know it’ll make their lives easier.

Terry Olson, the co-owner and vice president of OE Construction Corporation, recently talked about the importance of the “why” on Assignar’s Dirty Boots podcast.

“That’s a big part of implementation,” Olson said. “The team’s first question was: ‘What’s in it for me?’”

She knew they had to have great answers prepared to get teams to embrace the new technology right away.

Here are some sample answers to the “what’s in it for me” question for operations platforms and other time-saving technology:

  • It’ll save you time in the long run.
  • You’ll get paid faster.
  • You’ll learn a new skill.
  • You’ll have more information about how you work.
  • You’re more protected from wrongful lawsuits.
  • The job site will be safer.

Now, you’ll have to tailor these based on the software you’re implementing, but they’re good starting points for thinking about your larger team. When explaining the benefits of Assignar to her team, Olson hit upon a mantra that works for most new technology rollouts:

“We’re gonna help you be better. You’re gonna help us be better.”

“That’s a big part of implementation,” Olson said. “The team’s first question was: ‘What's in it for me?’”

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6. Be patient

We know you’re excited about your new technology, but patience is key. You can’t expect organizational change to happen overnight. Barricade’s Avendano stressed the importance of expectations.

“Do not look for perfection when you first roll out. You want something functional—you want something that works,” he said. “Evolve it as everyone gets more familiar with the software.”

Once you have the platform up and running, schedule follow-ups with your team. Include additional training for those who need it, and check in with those resisting.  

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7. Reward power users

Positive reinforcement and a little friendly competition work wonders in the construction industry. Set up awards for things like:

  • Filling out daily logs
  • Submitting timesheets on-time
  • Including pictures in logs
  • Completing forms X number of days in a row
  • Going the extra mile

When Olson at OE started a rewards system, the entire crew stepped up their game.

“We’ve done awards on things like how well you fill out a daily project log,” she said. “So one person got a star project log, and everyone wants that now.” 

A rewards system could spark excitement in your field team and have them engage with new technology in ways they might not have before.


Choose tech with implementation-friendly features

Not all construction technology rollouts are created equal. A product’s usability and support will greatly impact your implementation experience. If ease of implementation is a big factor in your tech search (and it should be), keep these features in mind:

End-user friendly

Getting caught up in new technology features is easy without considering how they’ll work for your office and on-site teams. But when technology is user-friendly, getting staff buy-in is much easier. 

Barricade’s Project Manager Faith Agnew said Assignar’s user-friendly interface made onboarding a breeze. 

“The office staff had hardly any trouble. [Assignar] was way more friendly than what we used previously,” she said.

Thorough onboarding process

An hour-long or self-guided onboarding session may get you started, but it won’t hold up to a full rollout. During your software vetting process, look for a company with an extensive onboarding program to help with implementation.

If the platform providers offer training sessions for your team, that’s even better.

Robust support database

Thorough onboarding is a solid first step, but no one can remember all the information they’ll ever need. That’s why a support database is critical to a streamlined implementation.

When you need to look up specific questions about data migration or when employees forget how to reset their passwords, a support database will provide quick answers.

Software success from the get-go

Digitizing your construction operations—or any other part of your business—succeeds or fails on adoption. With the right technology, assistance, and preparation, you’ll have a smooth and effective rollout.

The Assignar customer success team provides implementation and onboarding support to every client. Start with a demo

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