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Who owns software implementation in your construction business?

Published on September 6, 2016 by Rick Brisse

Software implementation in your construction business can be a tricky process, it all comes down to who is the champion of your software! This week we explore what are the challenges with software implementation to your construction business and who is best to own the overall software implementation process.

One of the biggest problems faced by construction organisations in today’s world of technology & digitisation, may come as a surprise.

Technology & enterprise software is currently transforming the world in which we work, and the construction industry has much to gain in this arena. From a significant boost to productivity, to simplified processes and – of course, the holy grail – increased project profitability, technology is set to change the course of ALL sub-sectors of the construction game, for good.

But the roadblocks are real. And one of the biggest is cultural: specifically, the difficulty of getting staff to adopt new work practices & adapt to the new digital world.

The strange thing is, most people across every level & function of a construction business, owns a ‘gadget’ of some sort: a smartphone, an iPad, an MPV player, a gaming console. So….why is it so hard to break the status quo during work time?

So….by getting the right leadership and project ‘champion’ in place, the path to adoption will likely be a lot more successful.

Owning the Project:

The best move is to ensure the right internal people are involved in the software implementation from the get-go. Typically, this team will include the business owner (depending on your business size), the IT business lead, the QA/Sustainability lead, operations lead – in addition to representatives of field staff who will likely be most affected by the change. Importantly, you also need to include people that sit within the company’s biggest pain points of the current state – pain which could be rectified by technology: for example estimating, allocating, bids.

Crucially, this team needs a leader. The stand-out organiser that keeps everyone on track, and keeps the project honest. Most commonly, and successfully, this is the Operations lead. The person who’s influence across the business is far-reaching, is agnostic and is critical for project success.

In combination with this internal team, it’s a great opportunity, if possible, to place heavy responsibility onto the vendor’s trainer – an objective, external third party who (on the basis of having garnered internal acceptance & respect) has no internal political or cultural alliances to be judged on. They’re more likely to get broad-based cut-through and business acceptance, than the internal team alone.

Planning:

At the early stages, planning with the software vendor, around the unique needs of your construction business will set a successful path for project roll-out.  A dedicated plan for gradually getting all relevant staff trailing the software – prior to going ‘live’ – is crucial. Learning the nuances and understanding the expected outcomes of the software will ensure your team don’t wind up feeling disappointed at the final solution.

At the end of the day, what’s the point of all of this?

Creating a construction company that is able to take advantage of today’s technology offering, a company that is sought-after by prospective employees, that engenders loyalty from workers and that is desired by customers. Pretty simple, really.

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