From the outside looking in, 2022 seems like a gold mine of opportunities for the construction industry. Demand for new homes is surging, resulting in the highest levels of residential construction in nearly five decades, according to Axios. And, after two years of decreased commercial construction, experts say nonresidential spending is back on track. But amid this boom, construction companies are facing new challenges, such as supply chain issues and labor shortages.
While technology continues driving growth in virtually every industry, the construction industry lags in tech adoption. In fact, a study by Deloitte found that even though productivity across all industries has risen 25% over the past 25 years, productivity within the construction industry has risen only 5% during that same time frame.
That creates a dangerous predicament, as our general industry highlights indicate, 70% of construction companies that fail to adopt digital technologies will go out of business. Even so, 46% of construction companies either have not yet started their digital transformation journey or are very early in the process.
"The [Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act] includes $100 million over five years to accelerate the deployment of digital construction technologies."
According to Forbes, even if companies aren’t ready to embrace advanced new technologies as part of their daily operations, it’s time to look at automated processes and implement technology that helps them offload tasks crucial but time-consuming (such as bookkeeping). The strategic use of technology can help streamline processes, cut costs and free up employees’ time.
Let’s look at some of the top tech challenges facing construction companies — and what you can do to overcome them.
#1. Outdated Technology & Software
Many companies rely on older technology, believing they’re saving money by avoiding investment in new infrastructure. And while that may save you the cost of purchasing, it could be hurting your budget in other ways. Studies show that companies using outdated technology are losing money through reduced employee productivity and lowered morale. Workers demand the right tools to do the job, and in an environment where staff retention is already an issue, there’s no reason to test that.
Additionally, costs of usage and maintenance increase as equipment ages, so your old technology is less likely to work with new equipment you purchase.
If you’re using outdated hardware, chances are your software is outdated, too. Since newer software may not be compatible with your old equipment, you find yourself working with outdated software that is not only less efficient but can also leave your business vulnerable to security threats.
A simple solution that resolves these two intertwined problems is to outsource your IT to an outside IT service provider familiar with your industry like Cortavo that can equip you with hardware and software without requiring the expensive investment to purchase it outright.
In fact, Cortavo’s Techtility plan offers a cost-effective way to ensure your employees have the right caliber of equipment and software needed to be efficient and productive while also smoothing out your long-term budget. As a bonus, you’ll get the peace of mind that comes from having a 24/7 help desk support team available to resolve any issues that arise.
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Productivity across all industries rose 25% over the past 25 years, yet construction has only risen 5%.
70% of construction companies that fail to adopt digital technologies will go out of business.
Even so, 46% of construction companies have just begun or not yet started their digital transformation journey.
#2. Cybersecurity Concerns
In the construction industry, cyberattacks can present themselves in the form of hackers breaching your system to gain proprietary company information, data on customers and employees, pricing information and sensitive financial records. Cyberattacks can cripple operations and expose your company to liabilities from employees, vendors and clients due to the breach of private information.
Such cyberattacks hit small businesses particularly hard; according to the National Cyber Security Alliance, 37% of small businesses lose money after a security breach, 25% file for bankruptcy and 10% are forced out of business entirely.
And in case you think it couldn’t happen to you, be aware that the threat is real: a recent Forrester survey found that more than 75% of respondents in the areas of construction, engineering and infrastructure had experienced some type of cybersecurity incident within the past year.
Having an IT service provider to manage your security means that you don’t have to lose sleep worrying about breaches, and you’ll save yourself money and lots of potential headaches. In all three major plans offered by Cortavo, Cybersecurity tools and services come standard. However Cortavo plans vary, all businesses that entrust their IT to Cortavo should, at a minimum, be safe.
#3. Employee Adoption & Productivity
One reason that many of today’s construction industry leaders remain reluctant to embrace new technology is because it’s unfamiliar, as many did not grow up with tech devices. That’s why it’s important that your managed IT service provider also provides the support and training needed to bring every user “up to speed” and teach them how to use technology to improve operational processes. When done properly, this will also boost employee morale and productivity.
For example, Cortavo walks your employees through everything they need to know to get started with their new equipment and software, plus training in security protocols as needed. Our help desk is available 24/7, 365 days a year to ensure that your staff gets the answers they need right away. And, when remote assistance isn’t enough, we can provide local IT support to resolve your problems.
Because they’re not “going it alone,” your employees will be able to resolve issues and questions faster, learn how to leverage the new technology and enjoy a more rewarding work experience. They’ll not only leverage the benefit of working in the cloud but will have access to a faster network and standardized hardware — all of which improve their productivity and job satisfaction. If you’re trying to attract younger employees, having a more tech-savvy work environment can provide greater incentive for them to join your team.
"Time spent on non-optimal activities such as fixing mistakes, looking for project data and managing conflict resolution accounts for $177.5 billion in labor costs per year in the U.S. alone."
— FMI Corporation industry research report
As technology continues evolving, communication is becoming an increasingly vital part of the construction industry. Tools like building information modeling (BIM) software, 3D printing and artificial intelligence will all continue playing a more significant role on construction sites, and companies need to keep current with such areas to stay competitive. Having better tools — such as smartphones and tablets loaded with the proper apps — allows instant access to information that’s gathered in the field, improving communication.
Even if “paperwork” is rarely done on actual paper these days, it’s still a crucial part of the business process. Having the right programs and file management systems — and ensuring they allow sharing between on-site workers and the office — creates a smoother workflow that enables real-time collaboration resulting in clearer version control.
With the right IT service provider, you can create a documentation process that works with your established practices and makes it simpler for all parties to have the most up-to-date, accurate information at their fingertips. And with Cortavo, you can boost your documentation processes with cloud data storage and backup, high-speed office internet and reduced downtime to avoid interrupted workflows.
#6. Cash Flow
For any business, cash flow is often the final denominator in what you can (and can’t) do. Investing in a new infrastructure requires a significant outlay and can tie up valuable cash. But if you’re running on older equipment and crossing your fingers that nothing breaks, surprise costs might force your hand. That’s why the right IT service provider can save you not just time, but also money.
When you partner with Cortavo, you can receive a complete hardware refresh for a low, monthly per-user fee. Best of all, we’ll give you the complete breakdown of pricing and what to expect before you decide, with no hidden fees and no surprises. Thanks to this approach, you can effectively plan and shift from CAPEX to OPEX — and save your company thousands of dollars.
The Time Is Now
The construction industry is vital to the current building boom and continued future growth, but it is equally vital that the industry begins adopting new technology. Without the proper information technology, this industry will continue to fall behind, and smaller businesses may be unable to survive altogether.
By partnering with an inclusive, experienced managed IT service provider like Cortavo, you can rest assured that you have the right technology infrastructure, stability and support to stop spending your time putting out fires and get back to doing what you do best: building.
To learn more about what all-inclusive technology management can do for your construction company, schedule a meeting with us today using the calendar below.
“The engineers are great. Very knowledgeable and friendly. They always answer calls right away. They also provide hands-on work when requested. Couldn’t be happier.”
— David Scanlan, Vice President of IT, Atlanta Fine Homes