The road to digital transformation within the construction industry is bumpy, but one thing is clear: more workers want it, according to a survey by the Dodge Construction Network in Hamilton, N.J., a new brand uniting Dodge Data & Analytics, The Blue Book Network, IMS and Sweets.
The nearly 650 construction office personnel and field workers who responded to the survey say that all levels of employees within the sector are embracing digital transformation, but implementation is fragmented. For field workers, 84% said digital transformation has impacted the way they work, but 34% say that while their company has implemented digital transformation efforts, different teams are using different solutions, and 23% say it has failed to reach the job site.
“Digital transformation in commercial construction is not a single-company issue¾it doesn’t fall on any one company to completely revamp its entire digital suite,” said Dan McCarthy, president and CEO of Dodge Construction Network. “To achieve reliable growth, companies across all stages of the construction lifecycle must be able to build successful relationships in a transparent and accessible marketplace.”
If a small set of companies advance too quickly, leaving others behind, the chance to communicate and collaborate effectively decreases, creating a disconnect in the supply chain, McCarthy said.
“We need a new era of commercial construction¾one shaped by the widespread adoption of digital transformation,” he said. “This means that construction needs a tech solution that works at every level.”
The solution is one that exposes companies¾big or small¾to appropriate decision-makers and helps leaders identify and engage with those decision-makers when it comes time to make purchasing decisions, McCarthy said.
“It’s a new way of thinking about how we interact with one another in construction, but if we unite our data, people and solutions, it’s possible,” he said.
The survey found that digital transformation has potential for the industry: 95% of field workers are willing to use digital transformation tools that could make their jobs easier, and 89% of field and office workers believe that digital transformation either already has or will transform the construction industry within the next five years.
“Digital transformation can seem daunting¾especially for those on the ground,” McCarthy said. “However, in reality, digital transformation is simply using data and technology to help companies make better decisions and to streamline the building process.”
As the commercial construction industry gets more sophisticated, identifying individuals across the value chain won’t be enough, he said. People on the ground will need insight into the right opportunities or jobs, which helps key decision makers to build relationships and drive greater business growth.
“Reliable data will give them targeted and specific insight into the construction economy, helping them plan for their futures, market themselves, and then, grow, succeed and scale,” McCarthy said.
Other key findings of the survey included:
The construction industry continues to lag behind other sectors in digital transformation journeys. Just 15% of survey respondents have implemented a digital transformation strategy, and 38% have yet to develop one, citing other priorities.
Nearly half of office personnel ran into problems while trying to implement their strategy, and of those, 42% had technical issues pertaining to either hardware or software.
More than a third of those respondents said implementation problems exacerbated the expense of the digital initiative, and one in five said that worker reluctance or difficulty in adopting new solutions stymied the initiative.