It’s imperative, then, that construction companies who have not done so yet begin the process of digital transformation in order to compete with new market entrants (and their more reactive peers). But where does one begin?
A good place to start is to remember that digital transformation is not just about technology, it is about business transformation. It is about change, about embracing change, managing change. So, a sound first step is to change the way you think about your business.
“If you went to bed last night as an industrial company,
you’re going to wake up today as a software and analytics company.”
It’s a transformation foretold by Marc Andreessen in his famous 2011 essay, “Why Software Is Eating The World.” In that essay, he argued the highest valued companies of the day, and those that would eventually dominate markets in every industry, use data, software and analytics as their primary value engine, and mobile and cloud platforms as their delivery vehicle.
Ironically, in the case of construction, seeing your construction company as a “technology company” better enables you to place humans first. Construction has changed little over the decades. It encompasses work that is difficult or dangerous. It employs people who lack the technology skills they need for the age of automation and AI. And it’s an industry in which the vast majority of employees work in the field, not at a desk in front of a computer.
Bringing digital tools to field employees can make site work easier, faster, safer, and more enjoyable. It can help workers acquire the skills they need as the nature of work evolves. It can make them partners in digital information as they begin to ask “What else can technology do for me, my team, my company and my clients?” And it can help you attract a new generation of laborers and professionals who are attracted by technology and innovation.
It can also help attract workers who are increasingly seeking higher meaning in their work, those who want to feel like what they do is having a positive impact on the world. A digitally transformed construction company can offer this as well. Construction has an enormous impact on the day-to-day lives and well- being of all human beings. And the digital innovators in construction can rightly claim that they are making the world a better place, that they are crafting high-impact solutions to fundamental human and environmental challenges and needs.
So, begin your transformation by thinking of your company as a technology company, and of technology as an enabler of human creativity and well-being.
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