Construction Software Adoption: Avoiding Common Launch Pitfalls
January 07, 2022
Construction software adoption has been on a gradual upswing over the last few years. In fact, since early 2020, it’s caught a strong tailwind due to the pandemic, as construction companies pivoted to keep projects moving and information flowing within jobsites and their newly remote back offices.
Beyond the pandemic, construction companies have also been recognizing the strategic advantage such digital transformation brings in terms of operational efficiencies and project delivery. This recognition may resonate with you as well if your company is just joining the construction digitalization movement. But meaningful change doesn’t start — or stop — once the technology is purchased or when you’ve achieved team buy-in. That’s just the first step. Real technology adoption actually starts with launching it and making it a reality for your team.
As tempting as it might be to dive right in and enjoy every capability your chosen construction software has to offer, there are certain pitfalls to that approach that you’ll want to avoid. Not only will avoiding these dangers help to smooth the start-up process for those who will be using the technology most heavily, but it can also ensure you realize the full benefit from your investment.
The following are some of the most common missteps to be aware of with construction technology launches, and what you can do instead.
Neglecting to create a detailed launch plan upfront
You never hear of construction companies starting work on a project without a plan. So why implement new construction technology for everyone without a proper launch plan? Lacking a thought-out strategy is inviting confusion and frustration among staff who may be getting their information second hand.
Granted, implementing software isn’t nearly as complicated as a capital project, but there are still activities to coordinate to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. After all, your company is counting on the successful adoption of your carefully chosen construction software to support its business operations.
When do you start creating the plan? Preferably when you’re exploring construction technology software options, which may help secure early buy-in. At a minimum, a launch plan should include these points:
- Official launch announcement and/or event so everyone gets the same information.
- Key people in your company — ideally from different departments or disciplines who can bring their unique expertise — who can be beta users and provide early feedback.
- Advocates of the new tech who can speak to its benefits for smoother technology adoption among the broader team.
- Channel(s) you’ll use to share news, updates and logistics.
- Timeline of the implementation steps so everyone knows what to expect and when.
- A training schedule.
- How and when existing data will be migrated to the new system and when the legacy technology will be retired (if relevant).
Failing to keep everyone in the loop along the way, resulting in partial reversal of buy-in
Understand that not everyone is going to welcome new construction technology with open arms. Change is often resisted, if not outright feared. And that’s mostly driven by apprehension over anything that’s unfamiliar. So how do you counter this? Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Timing can make all the difference. Start as far in advance as possible, addressing the what, when, why and how. And continue throughout the rollout. A good idea would be to establish a regular communication schedule only via the channel designated in the launch plan, so everyone knows when and how to anticipate updates and progress reports. Frequency can help keep the momentum going.
Not explaining the job-impacting benefits of the construction technology as you go
What’s in it for me? That’s the question some users may ask when faced with having to learn new software. Or, if you’re upgrading or switching to another solution with more features and capabilities, they may be wondering why it’s necessary if the current system works just fine.
A lot of companies tout improved processes, business growth and the need to sustain their competitiveness in a tight market. Not to mention, waiting to make such a transition could make it more challenging for everyone in the scramble to gain ground on competitors who are benefiting from being ahead in the construction tech game. These are legitimate reasons and should definitely be highlighted. But they’re focused on the business — not on the impact on the individuals who will have to use it day in and day out.
So, part of keeping everyone in the loop, as we mentioned above, has to address how the new technology impacts them and their day-to-day work. How will using it make their job easier, faster or simpler? What bottlenecks will it do away with? Will it eliminate any repetitive tasks or unnecessary duplicated efforts?
Assuming everyone will easily understand the construction software and potential new processes
Expecting everyone will grasp a soon-to-be-implemented technology solution right out of the gate is unrealistic. You’re going to encounter different learning curves. Some will pick it up easily, while those with steeper learning curves may be uncomfortable with new technology, even more so if it’ll be necessary for their jobs. They may be afraid that it’ll be beyond their comprehension, that they won’t pick it up fast enough, or that they’ll make an irrevocable mistake.
It may help to acknowledge the growing pains that can come with construction technology adoption. Assure everyone that hiccups along the way are expected and messing up is part of eventually mastering any technology. Proactively express confidence in their ability to adapt by comparing the transition to something they’ve already done. For example, this change is no different than learning how to drive a car or use a smartphone. That can alleviate some of the hesitancy they may feel.
Ramping up too quickly
You might feel like you’re late to the construction technology game, and that you’re behind. But don’t rush because you think you have to make up for lost time, catch up to your competitors or double your productivity numbers. On the other hand, your construction company may be in a state of growth, making you eager to get your tech up and running quickly so you can take advantage of new efficiencies and capabilities.
Either way, something is bound to suffer. Implementation errors may be made. Staff may become overwhelmed at having to learn too much in an unreasonable amount of time. Mistakes may pile up while using the newly launched software.
All of the pressures above are internally driven. This is where that well thought out launch plan comes into play. When properly assembled and executed, there will be a more realistic rollout timeline that allows your staff and your processes to adapt more efficiently. The result is more confidence among the new users and a more successful construction technology software launch.
In the end, successfully launching construction project software is more about people than technology. It’s incorporating tech as a tool to make everyone’s jobs and lives easier and your business more efficient. If you’re still exploring construction technology options and unsure what to look for, take a few moments to look at what InEight has to offer. Then contact us for a demo to see how we can help get you where you need to go.