No matter what industry you’re in, your company and your job have been affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. While some have benefited, most have been hurt. The construction industry has largely felt a negative impact in 2020 so far, and most of the evidence points to a lasting effect that could endure for months to come if not longer. There is a wealth of good information out there that provides insights into the short and long-term changes to construction and construction projects, such as a recent article from ConstructionDive that shows eight ways the pandemic has changed construction for near team and foreseeable future. For example, job sites will be cleaner and safer, projects will take longer and telework will be more common. These, and many other changes, are putting a greater reliance on technology to maintain efficiency, real-time project management oversight, and to ensure compliance with the new rules. This has forced many construction companies to accelerate their digital transformation and adopt strategic software solutions as part of their means of adapting to these new challenges.
Now is the Perfect Time to Modernize
A PWC survey on “Engineering & Construction in a Post-COVID world: Weathering the Storm” suggests that companies with, “the capacity to gather and analyse the data that decision-makers need, will be well-placed to pivot and seize new opportunities. Those organisations will be market leaders no matter how the post-COVID world evolves.” The takeaway from studies such as this are that the best run companies will, despite the downturn, jump at this as an opportunity to look inward, streamline operations and leverage project management technology tools to improve how they do business. This moment in time should not be wasted. Although that line has been used so often recently it’s almost annoyingly cliché, but it remains abundantly relevant right now. Whatever reasons companies may have used in the past to delay operational upgrades – not enough time, concerns about disruption, etc. – those should have conveniently disappeared by now, so pivoting attention internally to digital transformation and adoption of leading edge project management technology couldn’t happen at a better time.
According to Fortune, in spite of declining revenues, cancelled projects, and budget cuts, most midsized contractors are either sustaining or increasing their investment in their digital transformation. As proposed in that article, “The case for digital transformation is especially strong for middle market companies.” By adopting technology, contractors can compete more fiercely with bigger players and can do so without significant expense or risk. As they point out, “Digitalized operations improve efficiency and cut costs; and cloud computing, digital platforms, and other services can enable them to scale and grow with much less capital than before.” Adopting key project cost management technology is especially critical in the construction industry, where paper and spreadsheets are common; along with slow, outdated processes that include manual rekeying of data, old and disconnected software systems, and a dire lack of project visibility or reliable data. More than most industries, the construction industry is particularly ready for modernization.
Project Cost Management Technology Brings Many Advantages
In addition to achieving greater oversight of compliance to the new health and safety rules – and improved ability to telework – upgrading their enterprise technology enables companies to realize tremendous additional gains in areas such as:
• Improved data integrity
• Greater project visibility
• The advantages of real-time data to enable quick corrective action
• Improved profitability through better cost and revenue management
• Project metrics and KPIs such as Earned Value Management
• Reduced risk of overruns, delays, claims and disputes
• Productivity monitoring of crews, subcontractors and activities
• Standardization of processes in project management, project controls, project procurement and project delivery
Additionally, all projects and programs, current and historical, are available in a centralized, collaborative platform where all the project teams in both the office and jobsite are sharing data and workflows in an integrated enterprise solution. This eradicates teams working in silos and invites greater communication within the organization and with outside stakeholders as well.
Companies that struggle with disparate, unintegrated systems, supplemented by spreadsheets and manual methods to run their business, can focus on more high-value work as the project cost management system eliminates the labor-intensive challenges that go with that environment. They can achieve betterment in all contexts of their business. Betterment through the improvement in processes, betterment in the tools they provide their staff to do their work, betterment in the service and product they deliver to their client, and betterment through streamlining their business operations.
Time to Capitalize on this Moment
While some may see this crisis as a crisis, those that will be poised to emerge on top will capitalize on this moment to accelerate their organizational technology, enhance profitability and scale their business for the near and long-term future. As in most industries, the ‘new normal’ that will come about as a result of COVID-19 will mean aggressive and fierce competition for new projects. Companies need to arm themselves with the technology that will give them strategic advantages in this new landscape.
Looking at an integrated enterprise software platform that centralizes all their construction projects onto a platform that aligns the efforts of project controls, field personnel, project management and construction procurement is vital to the future success of any organization that relies on the successful execution of projects.