The construction industry has gotten a bad rap for being notoriously slow at adopting new technology. Despite the proliferation of new tech that has hit the market in the last decade, many construction firms continue to underinvest in technology. Being unwilling to embrace the industry’s current tech revolution is no longer a sustainable business model for construction firms.
There are any number of reasons which construction firms are still hesitant to adopt new technology. Major reasons cited by most firms include budget and lack of staff needed to support the technology. Reluctance and pushback, from both management and employees, are another barrier preventing firms from fully embracing the benefits technology provides. Other firms are just unaware of the sheer breadth of technology options currently available and how they can help their business.
There’s also a bit of Goldilocks Paradox that goes with adopting tech. The tech is either too new and they don’t trust it or worry that it will quickly go the way of Betamax or that it’s too old and that something new will be along any second to make it obsolete. This may be a holdover from the days when most of the construction software available were on-premise solutions that required a large upfront cost not only to purchase the software but any hardware required to run it.
Many tech providers and start-ups today are following the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Product-as-a-Service (PaaS) models. SaaS solutions are typically billed monthly or annually so there isn’t a huge upfront cost and the user interface is internet based, meaning no special hardware requirements.
When it comes to choosing the right technology and getting buy-in for adoption, choosing the right technology is often the easier task. So how do you convince your company that adopting a new piece of technology is the right thing to do?
Find a Tech Evangelist
If you really want to put tech adoption at the forefront of your construction company, you need to find an employee who will be champion for the cause. They should be a strong and vocal advocate for tech and willing to do the legwork to identify areas in the business that need improvement and then research and identify solutions that will work for your business.
This doesn’t have to be someone in IT or upper management, just someone with the drive and passion to push for change and can make a compelling argument for why the tech is need and how the company will benefit.
The last thing any company wants to do is drop a bunch of money on new technology that nobody believes in or wants to use. Management might not want to spend the money and employees my be reluctant to change they way they’ve always done things. That’s understandable, we’re creatures of habit and so anything that disrupts our typical workflow will be met with some level of hesitance.
To overcome pushback, you have to be able to demonstrate that it’s worth the investment, both monetarily and by making work easier or better for your employees. For successful tech adoption, you need to have a plan in place to convince both management and employees to be full on board with the new tech. Otherwise, you run the risk of an unsuccessful launch and implementation which will only lead to further hesitance the next time you want to adopt new technology.
Getting Buy-In From Management
The biggest hurdle you’ll probably have to overcome is convincing management or leadership at your company is proving ROI on the tech you choose to adopt. Getting budget approval and the resources needed to properly implement new technology is a little more complicated than saying you need it to be better.
First, lay out the problem you are looking to solve and how the current solution or process you have in place isn’t adequate. Next, focus on the benefits that the tech provides, not the features. The goal is to show how you can make the business better whether it be to improve inefficiencies, reduce waste, improve collaboration, boost productivity, cut costs, etc. And finally, you need to show how you will document and measure the success of the tech to prove its value.
Getting Buy-In From Employees
OK, you’ve convinced your company’s leadership that adopting a new piece of technology is the right thing to do. Now you just have to put it in front of the workers and tell them to start using it, right? Unless your goal is to get resistance every step of the way and have employees reverting back to the old ways of doing things, this is not your best course of action.
Start off by getting feedback from your employees before you select any tech solution. Explain what you are planning to solve and you your current solution isn’t working. Ask employees what they like and don’t like about your current solution and what features, benefits, and integrations they would like to have in the new tech. Your employees will be more willing to buy-in if they feel like they are part of the selection and decision-making process.
Have Your Employees Take a Test Drive
Choose a few tech-savvy employees who would primary users to test out the technology. Watching a demo from a vendor is a great way to understand what the tech does, but to truly know how it will work within your company you need to get it in the hands of your workers.
The goal here is to find out how easy the tech is to use and integrate into their workflow. You want solutions that make life easier for your employees and avoids making tasks more complicated and time-intensive than they need to be. Solicit feedback from your testers and find out what they like and don’t like, will it be easy to use and deploy across the entire organization, will they use it every day. If they see value in the solution, they can be advocates for adoption to the rest of your employees.
Provide Training & Support
As part of your implementation plan, you need to consider what type of training to your primary and secondary users. Will it be hands-on, classroom-based, or some combination of the two? How much time will it take to get everyone up and running with the new tech? Remember, not everyone will pick it up at the same pace and some employees may require additional training and support.
You don’t want to force new technology on employees without making sure they are confident and comfortable with the technology, so they can adequately perform their duties and revert back to the old systems and processes. The goal is to make your workers more productive and efficient, not stressed out and frustrated. Set benchmarks to measure implementation and performance.
Selecting, implementing, and deploying new technology is never easy, but the transition can be made a lot smoother by getting everyone involved to buy-in and be willing to make the necessary changes to improve your business.