For most of our construction industry clients, there are multiple projects going on at once, a portion of their team is on the road and there’s constant communication between administrative staff and project managers. They use technology to streamline and maximize productivity, but after some recent research, we were shocked to see just how much IT gives them a leg up against competitors.
In general, the construction industry unfortunately remains among the least technologically advanced of all industries. For instance, a survey published in 2015 by SoftwareAdvice.com discovered that more than half of construction organizations still use pen and paper for estimating, takeoff, big data management, and other processes. PEN. AND. PAPER.
Below are even more surprising technology statistics based on 2,044 survey participants [JBKnowledge.com] that every construction executive should know:
How much are construction companies investing in technology?
Nearly 42% of construction companies interviewed didn’t know what percentage of corporate revenue was spent on technology. Worse yet, almost 35% of organizations interviewed spent less than 1% of total revenue on technology in 2015. Failing to allocate funds for technology means that IT is an afterthought. We know from experience that a “break-fix,” reactive approach to technology is ultimately more costly and short-sighted.
What’s the most important takeaway here? As construction companies innovate themselves with technology, they’ll almost immediately differentiate themselves from competitors. Architecture, real estate, and engineering firms that adopt cloud computing and line of business applications will thrive. Less tech-savvy businesses will get left behind. It’s not quite “evolve or die” yet, but it will be soon.
What are the reasons given for not spending on IT?
- 34% attributed it to a lack of IT support staff
- 31% reported a hesitance from management
- 25% stated insufficient buy-in from employees
- 28% listed not enough knowledge about emerging technologies
It’s clear based on these results that very few of the construction companies interviewed have a relationship with an IT solutions engineer. A solutions engineer can educate management and employees about the benefits of technology, as well as help proactively plan for budget and IT projects.
How can some of these innovation expenses be offset?
One of the most interesting aspects of this study included a new question, which asked survey participants whether they were billing their IT expenditures towards their construction projects. More than 53% of respondents said that they were not billing IT expenditures to their projects. The concern reported from the survey participants was that they couldn’t justify the expense to their clients.
What these people may not realize is that every aspect of their business technology is a tool that they’re using to deliver more efficiently. Just as a new piece of equipment would save time and money in a task that might previously have been manually performed, adding technology and automating portions of takeoff, estimating and administrative functions ensures greater efficiency, which is saving the client in their bottom line estimate. Because of these savings, it makes sense that some new IT expenditures can be billed to projects.
Overwhelmingly, these statistics show that construction organizations need someone to guide them through the adoption of emerging technologies and the overhaul of their business technology in general, as well as a greater understanding of how certain IT expenditures can be passed along to projects. It’s time for the construction industry to really look at evolving their technology. This year escaping paper and pen proposals is the minimum that should be done. Taking technology to the next level requires budget, education, a comprehensive strategy and the right partner.
It’s time to make some changes.