Role of Information Technology in the Construction Industry
The role of Information Technology in the construction industry is an often avoided topic because of existing satisfaction over business operations, financial investment, perceived risk, and the assumed difficulty of implementation.
Information technology has made almost every aspect of the construction industry easier to manage, more accurate, and improved the cost-efficiency of completing projects. Unfortunately, the wide variety of technology complicates the process of implementing new software and hardware – especially when the existing processes and procedures perform decently well.
We’d like to delve into the topic of the role of IT in the construction industry, the benefits of adopting new technology, why your company needs it, as well as how to choose and implement new solutions.
Construction Technology in the Field
Information technology is using various systems to store, retrieve, and send information. Most often, it is associated with computers, printers, networks, and other components of the modern-day office. However, information technology has major applications outside of the office and while working on any job site.
Currently, there are Artificial Intelligence (AI) programs that integrate with smartphones and use object location tracking devices to help optimize the layout of construction sites. These programs help to track how much time is spent finding materials and tools needed for the ongoing job, allowing site supervisors to place the most needed items at accessible locations.
There are also technology products that can help remind workers to wear personal protective equipment, allow supervisors to instantly view the outcomes of modifying plans, and can help managers track the progress of each project by comparing daily photos to master blueprints.
Information technology and the use of the Cloud allows your team members to view, change, or ask questions about specific tasks by making a digital notation on the project’s documents. These comments are automatically viewable when the document is opened which means that any issue can be addressed without having to respond to and keep track of an email chain.
Information Technology in Construction Offices
While there are many applications of information technology on construction job sites, it is also helpful in administrative settings. Your office staff may choose to use various pieces of IT to track workers’ hours, manage billable and payable accounts, record supply chain changes, communicate with clients, or submit proposals.
IT helps to improve communications between your admin staff, subcontractors, and construction workers which alleviates confusion and minimizes the amount of time wasted while waiting for responses.
Improving your existing IT infrastructure can allow your administrative staff to quickly complete any tasks that must be finished before new phases of a project begin; it also helps to improve your company’s relationships with both suppliers and customers.
Benefits of Adopting New Construction Technology
Chances are, your construction company already uses some types of information technology in the form of computers, networks, printers, routers, and mobile devices. Deciding to adopt new information technology often begs the question, “why fix what isn’t broken?”
This stance is understandable but must be met with the desire to constantly improve.
The field of information technology is always changing, introducing new products, and offering new, innovative solutions. Remaining resistant to these changes could mean that your existing infrastructure becomes obsolete or that your business loses its ability to remain competitive.
When you opt to adopt new programs or hardware, you help your employees to make the best possible decisions – whether those decisions are in the office or in the field. Improving your team’s decision-making ability helps to meet or beat deadlines by budgeting materials, labor, and time. This all can lead to increased profits and profit margins.
Implementing New Information Technology
Adopting and implementing new information technology in the construction industry can be an overwhelming, daunting task that feels impossible to complete. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems.
When considering adopting new IT, you’ll want to identify any problems that your business experiences. Common problems include issues communicating with subcontractors, achieving deadlines, adhering to budgets, or maintaining human resource files.
After you’ve identified your problem, begin researching information technology solutions that are designed to solve it. You’ll want to be sure to learn about the costs, scalability, ease of use, ability to be integrated with your current technology, and when customer support is available.
Once you’ve done this research and narrowed down your choices, contact a few providers to ask for a trial. Trials allow you to learn more about the program and how feasible it is to actually execute the implementation. You’ll want to be sure that any new IT program doesn’t create more problems than it solves and will actually be useful to your staff.
If all goes well, you will want to make your purchase and begin the process of training your staff members to use the technology. You’ll also want to make sure you have a process to integrate your existing files into usable formats.
Gaining the Competitive Advantage
The role of information technology in the construction industry is widespread and can offer companies a huge advantage over their competition by improving the decision-making process, communications, and the overall efficiency of office and job site workers.
Choosing to adopt new IT or change your existing infrastructure can be a time-consuming process with far too much room for error. Because of this, it’s recommended to work with an IT or managed services company that has experience with managing the role of information technology in construction.
Spot Migration is a managed services provider that specializes in helping construction companies adopt, maintain, and manage their IT infrastructure and programs. If you’re interested in learning more about how information technology can help your construction business or would like help choosing a new software solution or component, book a call with us today!