From 1994 to 2000, the world witnessed its first transformative adoption. The dot-com bubble marked the beginning of the digital era, and it became so revolutionary that when you fast forward 20 years, it is the staple of every business to operate.
B2C companies have changed the lives of their consumers through technology and now B2B organizations need to further leverage technology to change the lives of their customers. But why haven’t these businesses haven’t yet adopted enough technology to make a difference?
While agile and ubiquitous internet connectivity can improve education, finance and healthcare, it can also help capital projects. The construction space has a plethora of technologies. If you had to list them down, you would sum up almost 30 technologies that range from robotics, intelligent services to advanced materials and techniques.
But businesses need to understand what disruption they should employ without hurting profitability or risking investments.
Coming Off Too Strong
The vast range of innovative products on offer can be intimidating and many businesses believe that investing in tech is like a “one step forward, two steps back” risk. Construction technology can be impactful but also profoundly damaging if a business does not understand how to apply it strategically.
A major concern is that companies get caught up in the excitement of adopting AI that it prompts them to jump the gun too fast, wasting time and money on technology solutions that are not tied directly to the business model or objectives.
There’s More Than Meets The Eye
If a business decided to run the next financial year incorporating new technology to improve the execution of its capital projects. They would not only have to invest in the software but also train their employees to learn and use it.
This is obviously part and parcel of any new system integration, but they expect results to be propagated in a short time. This is one of the biggest threats to a transformative culture, and it causes companies to ultimately miss the long-term exponential benefits of connecting digital technologies like AI, data analytics and blockchain into an integrated architecture.
“We Don’t Have The Budget For It”
Businesses do not stretch their budget enough to accommodate IT because of a reluctance to change, and therefore unwillingness to take the tech leap.
For an organization to fully reap the benefits of modern IT services, business leaders must realize that IT is not a cost centre, it’s an innovation centre. IT budgets should not be viewed as a burden but as the opportunity to enter and succeed in the digital age.
Instead of racing to adopt the latest technology, businesses first need to look at the business model first, and then acquire the capabilities, skill sets and people needed to create that change. In doing so, businesses greatly reduce the risk of making heavy investments in technology solutions that later need to be completely rebuilt.
So, what are the productive and innovative opportunities that companies in the construction space should look at first?
Whether it is a company as large as Embassy or Brigade or a developer that specializes in budget homes, certain technologies are business size-agnostic and can still be equally applicable in any scale of the business (the business here being construction).
Construction Management Tools
The fate of capital projects rests in the hand of how successful the project is executed. Complexities can proliferate and it is extremely difficult to ensure accurate information flow to the relevant members.
But cloud technology can surpass that hindrance. Real-time collaboration software is already regarded as an essential component of the entire building process. Nevertheless, its usage on the sector is expected to increase substantially in the near future. It goes without saying that data has played an integral role in this paradigm shift in construction.
An integrated project controls solution with intuitive features helps stakeholders adopt the technology. Incorporation of this is simple, being a SaaS-based solution, the deployment is easy and offers zero up-front investment with minimal training. Some of the tangible benefits or advantages that developers can get include:
- A more proactive forward-looking visibility into delays that help mitigate its impact
- More real-time access to project metrics and KPIs on time, cost, and quality by collating information from all project stakeholders in one common data environment
- A friction-free platform to have seamless coordination, collaboration, and communication across internal and external stakeholders.
- A mobile platform that does not tie the stakeholders to a desk
BIM (Building Information Modelling)
As the successor to traditional computer-aided design (CAD), BIM now serves everyone all along the value chain, using virtual modelling and information to simulate any aspect of the project’s life cycle. Building Information Modelling (BIM) is the future of building design and construction.
While many countries are going all out in its adoption, countries like India are yet to catch up. Rather than delivering BIM models to domestic developers, India largely exports its BIM services to the global sector. There are very few who are providing the services for Indian projects largely because they are not able to convince clients about the benefits of BIM.
With BIM, there are a lot of added value that project stakeholders can reap from:
- Seamless coordination and collaboration
- Real-time conceptual modelling: Links construction activities to time schedules and 3D images to give a real-time graphical simulation of the construction progress
- Detect and resolve project pains through visualization of project details in a realistic model
- Optimization of costs
RPA (Robotic Process Automation)
Construction is one of the least digitized industries worldwide and has resultantly failed to significantly increase worker productivity in decades. Automation technologies can really turn the tide here and reduce manual repetitive processes, leaving room to focus on critical workloads.
Not in terms of robotics, but in terms of process automation. For example, RPA can be used to automate billings with supporting documentation. Just like that, RPA can be integrated with ERPs to operate routine processes and remove bottlenecks. Although the downturn can lead to a churn of employees involved in these processes but at the same time reduce operating costs.
Infrastructure is the meter to gauge a wealth of a nation, whether you visit Dubai, Sydney, USA or China, you are awed by their high-rise architecture and profound infrastructure. China’s recent achievement in building a 1,000-bed hospital in nearly 10 days shows how powerful technology can be. No doubt, these countries also face challenges in meeting timelines and optimizing cost, but they are ahead, and we need to catch up.