Launching your digital transformation by placing mobile apps in the hands of field employees is critical. To get started, you could choose almost any paper process on the field, and easily find a solution available today to digitize it, but there are some guidelines to keep in mind.
Construction management software : many benefits
Choosing to work with mobile applications every day and throughout the progress of your work will eliminate pain points at the location where the majority of your operations are carried out, and where the majority of your people work. Concretely, the implementation of a construction management solution is a real performance accelerator at several levels:
- Construction management software fosters bottom-up digital engagement, innovation and loyalty,
- it has the most immediate productivity impact,
- it’s a change with high adoption rates (if the software is easy to use),
- it enables the collection of field data, which as pointed out previously is essential for benchmarking performance and transforming your organization.
It’s a recommendation that aligns with the findings in McKinsey Global Institute’s 2015 Industry Digitization Index report. In that report, MGI states that what really sets digital leaders apart is “the degree to which they put digital tools in the hands of their employees to ramp up productivity.” In addition, MGI notes that while digital technologies in general will not completely close construction’s productivity gap, digital field solutions will produce more significant gains than any other lever.
Choose Mobile-First Software
To get started, you could choose almost any paper process on the field, and easily find a solution available today to digitize it, but there are some guidelines to keep in mind. First, prioritize solutions that provide the greatest immediate benefits for your staff. Select apps that can best help you gather valuable data about field operations at the same time as they boost productivity. This includes software that helps you gather data about workflows - about quality issues and progress impediments - and about the movement and usage of materials and equipment. And certainly, get digital plans and 3D models into the hands of workers, plans they can enrich with images and annotations. It will help collaboration and communication tremendously, and will help lay the foundation for an eventual adoption of BIM.
Second, select a technology provider who back-ups their product with strong services and support. Mobile tech is a user-friendly strategy, but to get maximum value for your investment, choose a partner who will work closely with those in the field to help accelerate adoption.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t change it.”
Third, choose mobile-first solutions if at all possible. ‘Mobile-first’ means the application was designed for smartphones and tablets from the beginning, and uses the cloud for data storage and processing. These solutions will invariably be faster, lighter and closer to mobile consumer apps in intuitiveness and collaborative capabilities than desktop-native solutions retrofitted with mobile interfaces. (This advice extends as well to modernizing office processes like procurement, travel, recruitment, etc.).
Fourth, make sure solutions can operate off-line. A lack of reliable Internet or cell phone coverage is a chronic problem on most sites. Also, as the cost of ad hoc WiFi networks drops, consider deploying your own WiFi network at each site.
Finally, as discussed earlier, with the right user experience and great service to back it up, mobile field technology will achieve a high adoption rate. This means you need to think about the typical user-based subscription service pricing. With high adoption, this pricing model can imperil your return on investment. So talk to your provider to learn if they support alternative pricing models, like those keyed to project type or size, total company revenues, or some other quantifiable and controllable base.
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