Digital transformation has gained so much popularity across all industries over the past decades; many companies have taken the plunge very quickly in order to lead the change. Some invested massive amounts of money in new digital technologies that they wanted to implement across their entire company.However, things did not always go as expected. Indeed, implementing an optimal digital strategy is something that requires thoughtful decisions. To ensure positive outcomes, it usually takes some time, comprehensive training, and testing.
“Digital transformation is an ongoing process of changing the way you do business. It requires foundational investments in skills, projects, infrastructure, and, often, in cleaning up IT systems. It requires mixing people, machines, and business processes, with all of the messiness that entails. It also requires continuous monitoring and intervention, from the top, to ensure that both digital leaders and non-digital leaders are making good decisions about their transformation efforts.” (Harvard Business Review, 2018)
Recently on our blog, we have introduced two of our fundamental business components: powerful apps, and construction data. Indeed, in order to help with digital transformation of the construction industry, our teams have developed a state-of-the-art software platform, as well as specialised techniques to collect data insights.
However, considering how precocious field technologies still are in the construction industry, it was clear for us that companies needed some guidance during implementation. A strong digital shift typically requires multi-year efforts and happens through a series of clearly defined incremental steps. Thus, we felt it was really important to accompany our clients through this digital transition because adoption and usage are essential to the success of a new software.
One should follow three main steps to successfully deploy digital transformation in a construction organisation. To begin with, there’s a need to diagnose the current situation. Then one may start deploying their strategy in the sites concerned. After a certain period to allow for the effective operation of the solution, one can start broadening their scope by transforming other entities.
FIRST PHASE: DIAGNOSIS
First and foremost, whenever a construction company feels ready to choose a digital software for the field, our teams can start a dialogue that aims at discovering their needs, pain points, objectives, and performance indicators. It’s important to note that the willingness to implement such technology within a group is key to a smooth and successful changeover. Similarly, field adoption will play a central role during this transition.
“We have had strong conversations about our pain points; all our doubts and requests were addressed in a timely manner.” – Héctor Borja, Inspection Engineer at Fujita MX
We do believe that digital shifts require a few years to happen, especially in this industry which often involves large companies and a plethora of individuals whose area of expertise may vary. That’s why we think it is best to work via a long-term collaboration. However, long-standing partnerships can sound a bit frightening, especially if we consider the amount of construction fields, the number of people to train, and many other factors. For that reason, we often start new collaborations by a diagnosis phase.
During this stage, our solution is tested on a selection of use cases in order to match clients’ key concerns, and lift their doubts. We try to help clients envision how their daily life will look like once they have integrated these new tools and deployed them to their teams. This can start with the digitisation of blueprints, but frequently involves putting in place new processes and habits. This discovery period can last between 3 to 6 months; our pre-sales team pays regular field visits to train and discuss with employees, and ensure FINALCAD meets their needs. At the end of the diagnosis phase, clients should be able to make an informed decision about whether or not they want to adopt a mobile field technology, and how to implement it in order to thrive. The diagnosis phase also allows to articulate the deployment plan based on the company’s capabilities (eg. how much transformation they can handle).
SECOND PHASE: DEPLOYMENT
Once both parties agree to move forward with the implementation of FINALCAD, then comes the deployment phase. At this point, the objective is to deploy the solution as well as possible and to maximise adoption by people working in the field. Having identified the value that FINALCAD can bring to the company during the previous diagnosis phase, we now need to deploy the solution in order to enlarge its value.
“A good solution is adequate only if the people concerned adopt it, otherwise it’s not a solution at all. That is the reason why we are here to accompany our clients during this transition.” – Walid Kadem, Head of Customer Success at FINALCAD
To do so, FINALCAD team members pay regular visits to a variety of selected construction fields. After discussing with decision makers, the company appoints a certain number of regional advisors who become responsible for the product deployment internally. These individuals are usually keen to new technologies, and know how to overcome challenges. We make sure to equip these professionals thoroughly, and then transfer knowledge into their hands through a Train the Trainer program. These local leaders thus become FINALCAD advocates and are in charge of a multitude of tasks including training their teams and tracking usage in their assigned area.
“Software is the easy part, and People is the core challenge. So, we’ve created a change management methodology, to help them run their own digital transformation. Most notably by putting in place a steering committee that appoints Key Program Advisors and Regional Advisors. We recommend that FINALCAD is an integral part of their training program and operational processes, to ensure everyone within the company knows how and when to use it. During deployment, communication and marketing are crucial; the platform needs to be strategically promoted so that everyone benefits the same level of information.” – David Vauthrin, Co-Founder & CMO at FINALCAD
In addition, we provide our clients with dedicated marketing material such as educational videos, user guides and specific case studies. As per the client’s request, we can elaborate more impactful actions such as a dedicated internal newsletters, or specific events to promote the use of FINALCAD like we did with Eiffage Group with the FINALCAD Tour using our FINALTRUCK.
Internally, we also have an Operations team dedicated to the success of our clients. Their role is to ensure each construction project has custom cut blueprints for mobile devices. Indeed, these cuts allow a simple and intuitive mobile navigation on the fly, and ensure each input is associated with a blueprint location (allowing very precise subsequent data analyses). Besides, they configure each project to ensure optimum usage of all features (eg. defect glossary, control forms, etc.) They’re here to make your projects more efficient.
THIRD PHASE: TRANSFORMATION
Typically after a year of digital transformation, it’s important to follow-up and analyse what was put in place. Thanks to data, we can easily see how much FINALCAD was adopted in the field. It’s also possible to track where usage could be improved and identify active/inactive users. This gives our clients avenues for implementing corrective measures, and they can easily know where to focus their attention.
Once a digital transformation starts being more homogeneous amongst a group, we can start thinking about expanding activities. We believe there are two types of advancements possible. First, a company might want to equip more users of the same region/branch/sector once they have implemented a successful course of action. This type of increase ensures the solution has been well implement on a first sample, and allows a much smoother process moving forward. It becomes easier to train new users, and make them utilize the solution the right way. Another advancement strategy would be to expand deployment to other business units, industry sectors, regions or even countries through a snowball effect. Just like the previous method, it’s crucial to go one step at a time to ensure not to repeat some mistakes twice; it helps finding the right structure for future developments.
Each entity being different and having its own challenges, it is important to always start from the beginning and follow each of these steps. Our expertise working in various environments, countries, and sectors allows our teams to provide valuable advice throughout this entire process. Once an optimal change strategy is implemented, another type of transformation also arises from data analyses. Indeed, through users’ adoption, clients get a much better understanding of their practices and realize the profitability of the solution. For instance, they could easily identify 5% of their most recurring issues, which in fact might have a 50% impact on costs and delays. It then becomes much more tangible to put in place action plans to minimize these issues. Savings thus start adding up quickly, and can ultimately reach major amounts!