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construction technology adoption

3 Major Roadblocks to Construction Technology Adoption–And How to Fix Them

Are You Choosing the Right Technology?

For many construction companies, getting employees to adopt technology can be tricky. Many times, the story goes a little like this:

Phase 1: Company buys construction software. At first, there is excitement from project executives are about the technology’s potential.

Phase 2: Workers feel overwhelmed, don’t like the change or flat out refuse to use the technology.

Phase 3: Usage drops, morale drops. Project executives begin questioning the value the tech is actually providing.

Phase 4: Technology fades, and workers go back to manual processes or wait for the next “big” solution to be rolled out.

Construction technology is only as wonderful as the workers who use it. If a company or project is investing in expensive licenses for their workers to effectively do their jobs, it’s only going to provide value if it’s used–and frequently. While this may seem like natural logic, still so many construction companies aren’t getting the value out of the software that they are investing in.

In a new report from Dodge Analytics, 61% of contractors reported employee acceptance as the top obstacle for new technology adoption.

While some of this might be due to the fact that a large segment of the construction workforce is older and not as tech savvy as their younger counterparts, adopting technology that’s a bad fit, to begin with, is a major contributor to resistance.

Below, we’ll discuss why you need your workers actually to use the technology you’re investing in. Furthermore, we’ll showcase three of the most significant faux pas for technology adoption on the jobsites–and how you can move past them to bring the right usable tech on board faster.   

Why You Need Workers to Use Technology

While it might be obvious, just having technology in place won’t bring any measurable and game-changing results. Plain and simple, meaningful output requires input. What good technology does is set up a system in place for staff to be more productive. But in order to be successful, workers need to be feeding in the right information and regularly interacting on the platform. Without this consistency, projects are hardly better off than with outdated manual systems.

Think your technology might not meet the usability test? Read below about three of the biggest problems when it comes to technology implementation.

3 Major Roadblocks to Construction Technology Adoption

Roadblock #1: Not Investing in Field Software

What’s that you say? You already have construction technology? While you may have a system available, ask yourself this question; is it field or management centric? Standalone project management software, while benefiting managers and project executives, isn’t getting you the most return on investment for your field teams. While the software might be available to manage your finances or schedule, you need technology focused on the field to track project changes.

Just think about the proportion of changes that come out of the field vs. from the management side. If those changes aren’t managed in real time with collaboration software, there’s a chance that issues won’t be controlled and resolved efficiently. While you might grant access to your field teams to project management software, they won’t use it if it doesn’t help them do their jobs.

Therefore, it’s critical to invest in technology made for the field–where they matter most. If you’re deciding on new software, ask for field teams’ feedback before making the final choice. While your IT staff can read reviews all day, it’s your field team who are ultimately going to be using it.

Further Reading:  Unlocking the Full Potential of BIM in the Field

Roadblock #2: Not Choosing Field Software That’s Easy to Use

We’ve all been there. We were shown a fantastic demo of a product. A slick sales rep or manager breezed through the system–and you were blown away. But fast forward to the implementation and you find that the system isn’t as easy and breezy as you originally thought. Months later, workers are disgruntled and not using it, and you more or less just wasted time and serious money.

Ease of use is essential in any tech product. Just think about how the iPhone has had nearly a decade of dominance over other smartphone brands. People like using Apple products because they have clean and easy to use interfaces.

When it comes down to it, you need software that is easy to use–for everyone on your team. Choose a software not because it has all the bells and whistles, but because it ultimately considers the end-user. That means investing in software that is made for the construction industry and can easily be used on any device from a Windows desktop to an iOs tablet. If staff isn’t finding the software intuitive and seamless to use, it might be time to consider a new option–and sooner rather than later.

Roadblock #3: Not Investing in a Training Program

New software isn’t only an investment of money–it requires an investment of time too. Purchasing new technology is the easy part. It’s harder to actually roll it out in a meaningful way that aids worker technology adoption. No matter the technology or software, you need to also invest in a training and support program that will take adoption to the next level.

If you’re buying new software, insist on formal training when making the final purchase from the technology company. There are two primary ways a company can help you roll out the technology to staff. First, they can support a full on out roll out, training your whole organization. Secondly, they can train a segment of your key personnel or your technology champions. Your champions will then be empowered to spread their knowledge to their colleagues.

One way to further enhance training efforts is to make sure you tailor programs to staff’s individual roles. For instance, if your foreman will have to submit RFIs from the field with new software, makes sure you show them exactly how to do so with the program you are implementing. The more relevant to their jobs, the more likely they will be encouraged to use the platform.

Create Technology “Stickiness” for Maximum ROI

Your relationship with technology shouldn’t be a fast and furious fling. The right software will stick across your projects and company. Choose the option you’re most likely to create a long-lasting relationship with that benefits and is used by your entire team. The option that will stay will be around for a while by because it’s both field-centric and user-friendly and can be supported with a robust training program. With the right implementation mindset and processes in place, you’ll be able to get your money’s worth from construction technology.

Grace Ellis

As a Content Marketing Manager at PlanGrid, Grace is the managing editor for the PlanGrid Construction Productivity Blog. With over eight years of experience in marketing, communications and PR for technology companies, she is specialized in high-quality content creation across both traditional and digital media platforms.

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