Digital Transformation ‍in Construction Services

Digital Transformation ‍in Construction Services

Digital transformations have been adopted rapidly as of late, with some of the clearest sectors being areas like financial services. Where even 10 years ago the manual processes required to transfer cash, invest in stocks, or even buy a mortgage may have required exclusively in-person interactions, banks have streamlined their customer experience to a user-friendly tap of a button.  

This significant investment into technology by banks has spurred a new breath of innovation into other industries considering a rethinking of the customer experience from a digital perspective, as startups develop platforms upon which companies can build their digital footprint. While there is always going to be discussion of what the next step in digitizing finances may be, focus should be resting on those sectors which have largely gone digitally untapped up to today and offer the best opportunity for taking leaps and bounds ahead of their direct competition.  

digital transformation in construction
“Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” — John F. Kennedy

The Opportunity for Construction

Construction and its associated services present a darling use case in this regard, as digital options have evolved in recent years to offer small to medium businesses (SMBs) low-cost solutions to systemic issues, many of which have stuck around in construction. Supply chains, scheduling, and sub-contractor availability all represent an unequal weight of the time spent by business owners on administrative tasks, instead of investing further time in either identifying exciting areas for new business, or spending more time with their friends, family, or loved ones.  

COVID-19 has further highlighted these specific cases as longstanding pain points, as considerations such as delayed project cycles, unemployed subcontractors, or disrupted supply chains pose significant challenges to the average business owner. With outlook still uncertain on how long the effects of the current pandemic will last, it is worth reflecting on current business processes and systems in place.  

Where possible, improvements can come from identifying the “low-hanging fruit” of digital solutions, which can directly address some pain points common across the industry. Once equipped with these new technologies, it can then open the door to discussions surrounding longer-term post-pandemic strategies, in which these adopted technologies can represent long term capabilities to be leveraged.  

Construction projects are often seen as a competing triangle between cost, scope, and schedule. Focusing all efforts on one point will often result in overruns in another, however at a certain scale it becomes unreasonable to expect any one process or system to perfectly fit the demands of the project. Particularly when scheduling for supplies and building materials, COVID-19 has further aggravated an already delicate balance of managing dependent tasks and sub-projects to completion. An example of this is delayed shipments from overseas suppliers, as they themselves struggle to stay afloat in the pandemic.  

Digital Innovation Solutions

industrial planning

Digital solutions provide both a short-term and long-term path to improved scheduling by automating a large amount of the tracking workload and providing real-time updates to dependent parties such as vendors and subcontractors when timelines are shifted.  

In the short-term, this is highly effective for managing growing customer and vendor relationships, as well as avoiding accidental cost-overruns with subcontractor overlap. In the medium to long term, this type of automation can provide business owners with tangible historical data on their projected versus actual timelines, better informing them on where frequent cost, scope, or schedule overruns occur, and allows them to make more accurate projections in the future.

These solutions can take various forms of complexities, with some small businesses getting sufficient benefits from employing dedicated Gannt chart software, such as TeamGantt or Trello. While simple in nature, providing an additional level of visibility to customers and vendors can be a critical step in alleviating pain points and potentially costly miscommunications.

Beyond these fundamentals, digital options can easily scale to match the needs of larger businesses, incorporating complementary programs into their suites such as financial reporting, dedicated customer management software, and even pre-sales process support. Examples of these larger scope programs include BuilderTrend or Stack, though most have accessible options available for small to medium businesses looking to scale.  

Choosing the Right Digital Transformation Initiative

When considering whether now is the right time to transition a given process or system to a digital option, it is critical for business owners to look beyond the act of installing IT solutions as the main outcome. Too often software packages are portrayed as the “savior” to a given pain point, whereas instead they need to be recognized as one tool in a larger transformation process.

When adopting new technologies, there should be clear use cases identified that represent how this technology will enable certain parties to work differently, as well as expected benefits within established timelines. If for example 3 months down the road, these benefits aren’t seen, either from lack of adoption or from misuse of the technology, it’s worth taking a step back to reflect on the current validity of use cases proposed, or engaging team members to better understand persisting barriers to adoption.  

“When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.” — George Westerman

Successful Digital Transformations

Whether it’s for scheduling to mitigate downtime, or redesigning hiring processes for subcontractors and employees, the emphasis of these changes should always come back to the human element. Without buy-in from the parties directly affected by these changes, any attempts to transform the status quo will fail to reach their potential and may negatively impact future opportunities to go digital.

Increased transparency from management involving the intended goals for the solution, as well as periods set for feedback and checking in on adoption progress are great tools to ensure your chosen solution can be as sticky as possible.  The take-away of these options should not be that they represent the sole digital opportunity for current construction services, but rather that the results they can bring each business may differ drastically, and that’s a good thing.

Digital opportunities don’t always have to represent a single pursuit of extracting more from your current business, and nor should they, as each business owner is unique in their strategy and long-term goals. But whether that goal is expanded reach, more effective cost management, or finding a few extra hours in the workweek to do as they please, digital options are often the first, and in many cases fastest route to that goal.

Digital transformation has never been and never will be a single action, but rather a commitment to a long-term vision and goal of doing things differently today to separate your strategy from competitors tomorrow. BluePrint CPAs can help in not only understanding the unique competencies of your business, but also making sure that any solutions recommended align with your long-term goals, both personally and professionally.  

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Rebecca Scott
Web Designer

Rebecca is a Web Designer at BluePrint CPAs. She is a graduate of St. Clair College’s Internet Applications and Web Development Program and has worked as a freelance web designer before joining the BluePrint team.

BluePrint CPAs is a management consultancy that simplifies digital, financial and talent strategies. Our team helps entrepreneurs and their teams grow profitable and modern businesses.

Kit Moore, BluePrint CPAs President & Lead Tax Advisor
Kit Moore, CPA, CA
President & Lead Tax Advisor

Kit Moore, is an entrepreneur that simplifies digital strategy for other business owners. The team at BluePrint CPAs can assist you with web design, development, analytics, management systems and, more importantly, your overall business strategy. The toughest part of digital transformation is re-training your team - and we have pros to help with that as well.

BluePrint CPAs is a management consultancy that simplifies digital, financial and talent strategies. Our team helps entrepreneurs and their teams grow profitable and modern businesses.

Kit Moore, BluePrint CPAs President & Lead Tax Advisor
Kit Moore, CPA, CA
President & Lead Tax Advisor

Kit Moore, is an entrepreneur that simplifies tax and financial strategy for other business owners. The team at BluePrint CPAs can assist you with financial technology, tax strategies, mergers & acquisitions, succession & exit planning and, more importantly, your overall business strategy.

BluePrint CPAs is a management consultancy that simplifies digital, financial and talent strategies. Our team helps entrepreneurs and their teams grow profitable and modern businesses.

Joe Marra, MBA
Senior Associate, Strategy Consulting

Joe is a Senior Associate, Strategy Consulting at BluePrint CPAs. He is a recent graduate of the MBA Program at the Schulich School of Business and has most recently worked for Bayer Inc and the Ford Motor Company of Canada. His experience in marketing, sales, and human resources spans various industries including hospitality, logistics, life sciences and automotive manufacturing. Joe loves working with entrepreneurs to develop their digital strategies and help them grow their business.

BluePrint CPAs is a management consultancy that simplifies digital, financial and talent strategies. Our team helps entrepreneurs and their teams grow profitable and modern businesses.

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