Mastering CONSTRUCTION Tech
Adoption with Change Management

Originally aired on 4/10/2024

61 Minute Watch Time

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Listen in as InEight’s Martin Croteau and a panel of industry guests discuss how aspiring organizations can lead successful technology implementations. “Mastering Construction Tech Adoption with Change Management” explored the relationship between new tools and organizational change, and the critical role leaders play in the outcomes of both.

This conversation touched on:

    • Building change management into the software selection process
    • Making an ongoing case for the change you’re pursuing
    • Understanding and addressing team concerns
    • Defining business success alongside implementation success
    • Change management best practices
    • Lessons learned and pitfalls to avoid

Discover the key steps and strategies you need to make your next transition as seamless as possible. Listen now.

TRANSCRIPT


Martin Croteau:

All right, welcome everybody to our InEight webinar on Mastering Construction Tech Adoption with Change Management. Thanks again everybody for joining.

Before we get started, just a few housekeeping notes. So this ON24 experience that you’re in right now can be completely customized, so feel free to move windows around, make them bigger, drag the corners. There’s engagement tools for you to interact with us throughout the experience. There’s also a toolbar at the bottom of your screen, so feel free to click through to see what everything does. And I do want to point you to the Q&A box that’s down below. So make sure to submit any questions and throughout the webinar we’ll try to get to them at the end.

Now a little bit about InEight, briefly for those of you that aren’t familiar with us. So InEight is an integrated all-in-one construction management software to help clients digitize their data to help make better and more informed decisions. We look to challenge the industry to better understand and leverage the use of data and start making data-driven decisions to deliver better project outcomes. And that means everything from the beginning and estimating process, all the way through the operation of that asset. So it’s critical for us to understand just how well that data can be applied and challenges that you face as a business and organization.

And one of those major topics surrounding digital transformation is that solution adoption. So any great platform can really only truly be great and revolutionary for your organizations if one, it’s implemented correctly, and two, people are actually using it. Which brings me to the topic of the day, which is really that mastering construction tech adoption with change management. So as we dive into successful technology adoptions in the webinar, we’re going to talk about just that relationship between technology, implementation, organizational change, selecting the right tool is really only the beginning of that process. So for new technology adoption to be successful, organizations have to foster a culture of ownership and adaptability. And we’re going to hear from our speakers today just on some of the essential steps that they had taken throughout their organizations to thrive amidst some of this technological advancements.

So I will, prior to introducing the panel, just a quick introduction on myself. My name is Martin Croteau, a customer success manager with InEight. I have a construction background, worked heavy civil infrastructure early in my career, and then transitioned to a vertical builder general contractor for eight to nine years as a project manager, before transitioning over to the software world and working with InEight.

And I will kick it over to Tyson. If you could give the audience a description of your role, experience, would be much appreciated.

Tyson Beaton:

Yeah, thanks Martin. So my name is Tyson Beaton. I run our corporate service, project controls and estimating group. So we’re responsible for the Graham processes and systems that support us operating those processes. I started with Graham as a summer student back in the ’90s, and finished a couple of summers being a laborer and field engineer, and worked through project management family before coming to corporate about 15 years ago. And large part of my role here has been supporting our systems and software, and last few years working through a large InEight rollout across the business that we’re in the midst of. So I don’t think mastering exactly is the right word for what we’re doing, but certainly a conversation worth having and a topic that is challenging with technology adoption for sure.

Martin Croteau:

Great, thanks Tyson. And we also have Brittany with Orion Marine. Brittany, if you want to introduce yourself.

Brittany Dodson:

Yeah, sure. So my name is Brittany Dodson. I’m a project controls manager in our business transformation department here at Orion, currently the project manager for our InEight implementation. I have been in the construction industry for about 10 years, seven of those which I was in project controls roles on EPC projects before I moved on over to Orion. So thanks for having me on this important topic, Martin.

Martin Croteau:

Yeah, thank you for joining. And to just kind of kickstart and get into it, one of the principles at InEight when we talk about organizational change management, we always talk about running it in parallel with our technology implementation. And that usually starts right at the beginning when you’re actually making, even prior to InEight coming on board, just making that software selection process, do you involve your end users in that process? Are you looking to try to get buy-in and start applying some of these org change management principles early on in that process? Is that something that your team did and just run us through what that process looked like for yourself? Tyson, if I can kick it to you first.

Tyson Beaton:

Yeah, we certainly did. When we started looking to move away from our homegrown estimating project management tools and looking at the market, InEight was fairly young company at that time and had some aspirations, and we had a series of workshop meetings with covering our business unit groups as wide as we could to look through the functionality as well as you can in that intraday pre-state to see if it would be a fit long-term and go further ahead. And certainly getting tools that fit the business the best helps makes it easiest for that. But like you said, it does start to have buy-in and some ownership on the decision to go forward and adoption later on. It’s the beginning of the journey, but certainly a good time to start to get involvement throughout the business. And also provide some feedback to companies like InEight that they can take back, and a lot of those things have been used for improvements later on.

Martin Croteau:

Yeah, that’s great. Brittany, how about your team? I know early on in the process, is that that opportunity to maybe start thinking about those principles and bringing in some of the end users potentially to just evaluate, and once we make that selection of the software itself, start getting that buy-in as early as you can?

Brittany Dodson:

Yeah, I think it’s very important, right? Making sure that you have all of your stakeholders involved early on can really benefit it. By doing so, I think that it provides accurate identification of all the needs, making sure that you have all those requirements kind of buttoned up right before that selection process sign off especially. And I think that that really helps driving that successful change adoption. I know that we personally did have all of our different folks involved, IT, accounting, finance, and I felt like it was really beneficial for us to bring them in sooner rather than later.

Martin Croteau:

Yeah, that’s great. And one of the thoughts I always have early, especially with construction experience, is you’re kind developing these risk registers. So what are some of the risks with potentially implementing a new software? And I know for myself, that’s kind of standard in projects, whether it’s the time of year you’re running this project. And I know for technology, did you apply some kind of similar risk register matrix, maybe some team concerns with adoption that you need to consider, just things that you maybe need to look out for? So as you’ve got the software selected, what do we need to prepare for as an organization to properly roll out? And ultimately get to that adoption stage we’re using it and it’s making a difference in the industry in our organization?

So is there some specific team concerns that you had considerations for, Tyson, as you guys were looking at the software and wanting to address them?

Tyson Beaton:

Yeah, certainly. We always wanted to be a full enterprise client and use all of the InEight tools. That was a big sell to us, is buy a platform that had many of the integrations in place to save us from doing that work. But with those modules, we knew we still had a bit of scar tissue as an organization from an ERP implementation a few years earlier, but within an accounting software, we picked a date, a line in the sand and went live.

So one of the big things we’ve done to eliminate that risk and that massive disruption across the organization is phase the rollout, both in modules and in geography across the business, and tried to get as much preparation as we could for those different modules. And each one, the first project uses it and they get a little better and a little more seasoned for the next project.

So certainly that was one of the things that we did. And in preparation for that, we’ve also really pushed getting some local expertise, pulling people. We budgeted some time to pull some of our good people out of the business for some time to learn some tools. It’s been easier said than done, those are also the same people we want to put on our most challenging projects. But we’ve attempted to do that so that they could take their business knowledge, how they want their local projects and their clientele to be serviced, and apply that with the new tool sets.

So we’re moving along steadily with that. We’ve had some good success in some areas like estimating where we’ve had a good network of people, built a network like that in document control and we’re really pushing to do similar better things and up our game in project controls throughout the rollout of control change contract.

Martin Croteau:

Yeah, it’s really being able to get that commitment through the organization of committing the time to learn the software, there’s a configuration step that we need to consider as well. And I guess before I kick it over to you, Brittany, we can get that first poll question launched that is going to pop up on your screen, just considering technology adoption, what are organization’s biggest challenges? I just have to get a feel from the audience of what they feel would be most important when they’re looking at that, what some of the challenges that they might be considering. How about yourself Brittany? When you’re looking at just preparing for change, you’re looking through your organizations, what are some of the friction points that you maybe need to consider? So just some of the concerns that arose during the implementation process and how did you look to address those?

Brittany Dodson:

Yeah, sure. So actually funny enough, similar to what Tyson just mentioned, we’re actually talking about maybe doing some different phases, we’ve always considered it, trying to lessen that impact and kind of what’s better for the business. One of the concerns that we’ve I think have always had was wanting to make sure that our field folks have a one-stop shop. And also what Tyson mentioned was the entire InEight platform, being able to have them in one place and they don’t have to go to multiple systems, like we currently do in our legacy. And then of course along with that, integrations and other systems that we may have to talk to, what does that look like? I think that all of those things and understanding those helps you better address going forward and when you get to that. So very similar to Tyson’s experience.

Tyson Beaton:

And to pull the two topics we’ve gone together, it’s part of that early preparation too, and especially with the executive sign-off, that they need to sponsor also that resource allocation and a bit of that downtime to prepare to make the learning curve a little less steep and a little…

Martin Croteau:

Oh, it looks like we might’ve lost Tyson for a little bit, so we will wait for him to jump back on. But yeah, one of the organizational change management principles that Tyson was alluding to is really getting that sponsorship level, the buy-in, because there is a commitment from the organization of committing those resources that are busy on other projects. We understand that everybody’s got day jobs and sometimes, yeah, you want to make this big change and want to implement a new technology, but having those right resources in place. How did you work with your sponsorship group Brittany? Was it kind of top driven where they understood the impact that new platform could have on the organization so they’re willing to commit those resources? Or is that something where maybe you’re coaching up a little bit, some org change management principles, on what might be required on that sponsorship level execution type of mentality? Is that something that you guys dealt with at Orion Marine or maybe share some insights on that?

Brittany Dodson:

Yeah, sure. So we actually did drive it from the top down, and we actually had really, I would say good attendance in a lot of ways. We did get lucky on that front that our business was ready to jump in and engage, even through the entirety of it with the change fatigue and the different things that were happening in our organization. And so it really was just going to each of our different VPs asking them who they want to champion, and then of course they communicated it to those folks. So we did have really good engagement in that side, I got lucky in that sense. So thanks to my team for that.

Martin Croteau:

And then is there some more insights you can share just on how some of that internal communication happened? Was it some town halls that you used to leverage and share? Because I know implementing a new platform, it does take time, potentially multiple years, especially if you’re kind of phasing out different modules at a time. So there’s kind of this whole approach of understanding from the executive team down to your end users that we’re implementing a new software, here’s the status. What was some of that internal communication that your team used to just make sure people knew what the status was and keep that excitement of hey, there’s something coming down the line that could potentially?

Brittany Dodson:

Yeah, so we have posted it on our company’s internet page, here’s kind of where you can go, here’s a little bit more about it. We’ve talked about it in mass meetings, it has come up in some town halls, email communications. As well as, we’ve actually had monthly status meetings with our stakeholders so they’re able to understand where we’re at in the process and they can pass it down to their folks. So we tried to go through all kinds of avenues. And then of course personally reaching out to the champions, visiting the different offices and things like that. So we try to use all channels.

Martin Croteau:

Welcome back Tyson.

Tyson Beaton:

Sorry about that.

Martin Croteau:

No, it sounded good. We were kind of just teeing off of where I think you were going, was just the idea of the importance of having that executive sponsorship level. And we had talked about, there is this concept of coaching down to your end users, this new platform, but there’s also this concept of coaching up to your executive sponsorship level, helping them understand the importance of having the right resources in place throughout this implementation, so from software selection to all the way down to the training, to the configurations.

When it comes to your organization and that sponsorship level, what are some of the means and methods that they stayed involved in that process? Because we understand they’re busy, they’ve got day jobs, but just help to understand, hey, your presence is valuable here and sharing your message and your belief in the system is important. What are some of the things that your team did?

Tyson Beaton:

Yeah, I don’t know, that’s an area we probably could have done better over time. Because like you said, it is an area you’re trying to just stay close enough, but understanding we’ve got a lot of other things going on. And through our implementation, we had some things like a pandemic, massive inflation. They had some other worries too. So some regular updates and hitting that right level of detail and talk but just keep consistent with your message and keep reinforcing the same thing. And then working that sponsorship into the levels down too as well. Similarly, our business unit owners are equally pressed for time. I happen to be out in our Toronto office today and we had a really good conversation with the leadership here as they get prepared to utilize the tools on a lot of the new work we’ve got going on in this district.

And it was worthwhile, they’ve had some communications, emails or intranet stuff, but until it’s a fire in their lap that day and it’s real, it tends not to get quite the same amount of attention and it is understood. So you do have to probably prioritize that face-to-face time as well and get in front of people and spend a bit of your own time if you want your initiative to be successful.

Martin Croteau:

And Brittany shared as well as, your implementations are, they can be a year long type of processes, especially if you’re going kind of module by module rollout and maybe it’s business unit by business unit. How do you communicate down now to your end users who they’ve heard from the offices that there’s something coming, the team’s working on a new software, they’re excited to see it, and maybe we’re six to eight months down the road and they haven’t seen any impact in their own kind of day to day? So I know in organizational change management one of the principles is how is this going to impact my day-to-day? How did you manage that time from the decision to actually, like you said, it’s in their face, they’re ready to use it, they’re going to see the benefits from it? How did you manage that communication and the status updates in that period from [inaudible 00:18:48]?

Tyson Beaton:

So early days, we put in some divisional change champions, who that was a big part of their job is to talk and share those expectations. And that’s a very difficult thing to do in one of these things to really let people know who’s never been part of doing something like that. We’re an employee owned company so everyone’s got some pretty good insight on what we’re spending on this initiative and they’re like, that kind of money? Every problem I’ve ever had is likely to be solved there, which isn’t the case. So setting those baseline expectations is difficult. Especially early parts of the rollout is pretty foundational stuff, and you’re working with a progressive company like InEight that’s continually improving and providing more and more functionality, that this needs to be a long-term view and get good at those foundational things before you get all of those things as well.

But again, a lot of communication when we could. But also, when we weren’t going to be there and anything be real, we didn’t bother people with too much information at that time either. Our training and stuff, certainly we have gone to almost an exclusively just in time training model kind of wasted if you’re not going to go practice it then right away. So we certainly work with people to cascade that down and scale out, but hitting people when it is real to them. It’s probably an area where it can never be ideal, but you got to find that right balancing point and hit people quite a few times in order to get through the different types of people and different ways they like to be communicated to.

Martin Croteau:

And that’s really, understanding your organization, each business unit probably have different personalities within those business, so how do you best impact each of those individual groups? Brittany, did you guys pull some of those business units or some of those individuals to understand what some of the barrier points might be with some of this adoption as they’re getting ready for this to come to them?

Brittany Dodson:

We did, but we ran into, I guess to Tyson’s point, about what you communicate early on, so there’s some stuff that we just didn’t know. So not knowing what they didn’t know, sometimes things didn’t come up until later, because we did pull them very early in the process for each one of our areas and that was a lot of the feedback. And we kept them engaged for the entirety from core team training, to user acceptance testing, and even then we ran into things coming up after the fact, just because you don’t know what you don’t know.

But yeah, I think that to Tyson’s point, again, the quality of the communication, what you’re putting out, depending on where you are in the process, whether it is business unit or the different modules, don’t just spit out communication if you don’t have anything. And I think that it’s also okay to say that you don’t know. As the project member for this initiative, just make sure you circle back with them and make sure you close that loop. Because in the end, I also think that helps with the adoption process and makes them feel a little bit more comfortable when you are being transparent with them and you do kind of close that loop and let them know the answer to it. It also helps with your rapport, I feel like, as a newbie in Orion.

Tyson Beaton:

It is a key role to put on an initiative team too as someone focused on the organizational change. It’s easy to get into the weeds and I’ve been looking at this stuff for 12 months, it’s obvious, but other people don’t have a clue what it is yet. So they keep you a bit honest that way too, if you have them there all the time thinking about what are we going to do for communication? What are we going to do for training, how are we going to go about doing it? Helping with materials and consistency. So it is something with a large group that you do want to keep in mind and is probably a key role to have a dedicated person focusing in that area on a large initiative team.

Martin Croteau:

Talking about some of that internal communication, the polls, is there one thing that really contributed to the success of some of those principles or key factors that, now that I’ve run this poll, I understand where they’re at and that’s helped me make decisions based on where we are or stand as an organization, or gave me insight that maybe I didn’t have prior to running some of polls with your end users? Is there one kind of key organizational change management principle that you followed or thing that you did that really contributed to the success of the adoption?

Tyson Beaton:

I think one of the things that we’ve learned is a blast from central in an email isn’t too effective trying to find a network of people. So you communicate with that network, they change it to their own dialect in their group meetings and can filter it a little bit, pull out the things that’ll be most meaningful for them and maybe areas they’ve had trouble, is really where we started to see the most success. They took the same information that might’ve been in the email or the internet article and just communicated in person when you had some attention from some of those people that we talked about earlier. So that was a key role and we’ve definitely seen areas where we’ve had very engaged people like that and their groups have been easier to work with, and others that has been a bit bigger gap.

Martin Croteau:

How about your team, Brittany? Is there any of those organizational change management practices that you implemented that you found? We talked about what are the big rocks or are the big change movers. Is there something that you did that if another organization’s looking at you for an example is spend your time on this one practice and made a lot of difference for us as we were looking at adopting the solution?

Brittany Dodson:

Yeah, I don’t think that you can focus on just one. I think that it’s going to be a little bit of everything when it comes to the change management. And it also depends on your organization. For me personally, I feel like the big email blasts, generic emails, you don’t really get that much feedback from those end users. So I’ve reached out to them personally on one-on-one, whether it’s a meeting or an email, or even on Teams as well as in person. And I think that having that communication and keeping it open and always checking in on them, especially during the timing of it, if it does span a while. Consistently reaching back out to them, don’t just leave them in the dust and say, hey, you’re next in the cube, always just kind of circle back with them. And I think engaging them also on ideas and kind of where we’re headed, also really helps, because it makes them feel like they have a piece of the pie, something in there. So I think that’s really, really important, engagement and communication.

Martin Croteau:

Yeah, they really feel like they own it and they’re part of the process. And yeah, it’s been interesting to hear the peer to peer. I know some of the principals is really having a champion within the group. I know in my experience there’s superintendents that maybe have a voice with the other superintendents and same with the forming group, and really having a chance to have an impact on those influencers within the organizations that are going to be able to talk positively about the platform and really be able to get them involved early in the process. So yeah, no, that’s been great.

And then just to go into common pitfalls or challenges that organizations encounter during adoption, is there some pitfalls from the process that you went through that you can identify that as an organization that might be early in this process, hey, really look out for this specific thing and how maybe you would address it if you had a do over and you were to do something different? Tyson, is there something that stands out where it’s like, hey, there’s one thing or there’s a few things here that maybe we could have done a little bit differently, and just lessons learned in general with the process you went through?

Tyson Beaton:

Yeah, one thing I’d share certainly for any prospective clients, we started with InEight 2018, so it was quite a bit different offering at that point. And we did roll it out phased, but it wasn’t according to the project life cycle. That’s definitely how I would do it now, I would start with estimating when you get that base in part, because it’s so key to the rest. Estimators have high level of turnover, so the change we found was a little more effective and a little quicker to stabilize in estimating. And then work in control and then out from there once you’re into project execution. We put planing progress in because we didn’t have an electronic time sheet, but kind of bolted it on the side of our old tool and didn’t feel like it belonged super comfortably. So our usage and effectiveness wasn’t great with it yet. And we’re seeing as projects start to use the rest of the suite, that’s improving.

So if I was to buy and start with InEight today, I would certainly work through the project life cycle in my rollout and I think that just would feel better for the end users and make more sense rolling out. But a lesson that I guess we did learn, probably if I was to go back in time, we’d do it reasonably similar because of where the tool sets were at, but that’s certainly how I would work today.

Martin Croteau:

That’s great. How about yourself, Brittany? Is there a certain lesson learned or something that you would potentially do different or if your organization is starting today, just considerations that they would have to make?

Brittany Dodson:

So for us, we’ve recently, we can plan as much as we can plan, you’re supposed to come up with one, but we have kind of pivoted. So for us specifically, I know we’ve already touched on it a little bit prior to, but making sure that we’re not engaging too soon, doing the training at a right time, not over communicating, because you don’t want to give them too much, you don’t want to overload them and you don’t want to provide them with any information that may not be accurate or they’re just not ready for. And so I think that that is a common pitfall for some organizations that I’ve heard of that we’ve talked to in the past.

It’s funny that Tyson mentions the project lifecycle, because when we initially did go with InEight, we were only going for the project suite modules, and once we started going into it, we decided to go with Estimate and then of course Schedule. So again, Tyson similar to your story, I think that evaluating where you want to be future state when you grow up and making sure that you have that process and that lifecycle mapped out in a way that fits your organization.

Martin Croteau:

Yeah, it’s this whole we read from left to right. So same as the construction project, you start with the estimating and work from there. And it’s also the base of a lot of your account code, some of your business process analysis, you’re going to start in that same fashion. So that’s great.

We did ask for a poll earlier on, and when considering technology adoption, what is your biggest challenge? And yeah, not surprising resistance from team members came up on top here at 39%, and we had talked a little bit about some strategies on bringing them involved in the process a little bit sooner. Are you surprised by this result Tyson? Is that what you expected?

Tyson Beaton:

Not at all, actually that would be the top of my list with team members. You do try and put yourself in their shoes all the time. I remember when I moved away from my iPhone 8 and they got rid of the home button, I was like why did Apple get rid of this home button, I use it all the time. And then once you get used to the news, it’s like I like this more real estate and there is reasons. I can do everything I used to do and a little more. So I get that. Change is hard, people resist change. Human nature is just to get into routine and comfort, so that doesn’t surprise me at all.

Something also I’ll mention now so I don’t forget later, where we’ve got most of that resistant was where our projects were under service with our old. So they were left up to their own devices to solve something, whether it be in Excel or on the app store or something like that. And those things were really personal. Where toolbox had a solid tool and it was like you’re moving from this to this, that has been a little bit easier of a transition because there wasn’t maybe that same personal tie. But it’s really hard to get any tool to work in someone’s brain quite like their own spreadsheet does. So that’s probably something to be aware of that where people have made their choice on the app store, built their spreadsheets, that’s probably where you’re going to get a little bit more of that resistance and pushback, as they’ve got to give up one of their own children kind of thing to move into the systems.

Martin Croteau:

Yeah, we’ve seen quite the spread of different spreadsheets, people are managing a lot of work in those spreadsheets. And yeah, there’s a lot of flexibility but there’s also a lot of room for error. But yeah, I can appreciate when you’ve built something, you’ve owned it for a long time, you know how it works, having to learn something in new, there’s that resistance to that change and that’s something that’s very common. Is that something in your kind of, when you look at this poll result, Brittany, is that any surprise there as well or is that pretty standard across the board?

Brittany Dodson:

No, that’s pretty standard, right? I mean the unknown is scary and a lot of people do have those size spreadsheets. There’s processes that we’ve had to do because our legacy systems just didn’t do it, so we did have to put things outside of the system. And just addressing what that is going to look like going forward, like hey, InEight can capture this because you’re putting the data in it, so we can definitely get it out of there and making them comfortable.

One of the largest things that we actually got feedback on was the terminology, because InEight’s terminology is industry standard, we went with it, and that’s not necessarily what we see in our legacy systems today. So there was a bit of confusion going through the process, well, what does this mean? What does this mean? And so for us taking that into consideration, building what we’re calling a terminology translator that highlights in InEight A equals B in the legacy system. So it’s scary, it’s hard, but it’s necessary and we’ll get through it. And just letting them know that we’re here, we’re not going to just desert you during this change also, I think while they’re fighting those battles is important.

Tyson Beaton:

Yeah, point two doesn’t surprise me either, the integration of the existing systems. And despite what the best software salesman will tell you and everything’s integrated and make it feel like it’s just plug it into the wall. That isn’t trivial, you have to determine what you’re going to do with those systems, like into the accounting system stuff, and probably no one’s got the exactly the same configured accounting tool. So there is some work to do to integrate those tools and make sure they remain stable. But that is the benefit in part of moving to a platform like InEight, they’ve done a lot those interconnected pieces yourself. So if you’re using a different estimating provider, a different quantity reporting provider, a different forecasting, you have to stitch those all together. InEight’s done a lot of that work for us now. It certainly was one of our considerations when we were selecting a large tool.

Martin Croteau:

And you both touch on something during your response. Actually, there’s a question that we’ve gotten that’s along the same lines, but a lot of times when you’re implementing a new technology, you’re going through not only that technology change, but also you’re reviewing business processes. And there’s this whole idea of, all right, am I going to have to change my business process to fit the technology or the software functionality, or am I going to try to jam this software functionality within the business process themselves?

And we got a question that’s along those lines and I’d love to just hear your feedback on that is, it the right time to review business processes, fit them within the software itself, or what was your approach when the thought of how are we currently doing things? Are we going to not only change platforms but also change business process? I’d love to just hear some feedback on what did that look like for your group as you were evaluating the functionality and what your overall current state business processes. Tyson, maybe I can throw it to you.

Tyson Beaton:

Yeah, certainly. We have learned that, like I mentioned, we did an ERP implementation before and we didn’t park our ego probably at the door then and then we unwound a lot of the customized stuff we did in the years following. In this area, certainly it’s a great time to reflect and maybe challenge yourself a bit. We didn’t find most of the processes delivered in the InEight tools were that much different than how we were currently operating in our own tools. I think a lot of the industry is fairly standard that way. We all end up joint venturing with each other and do things very similar, our clients demand the same sort of thing. But terminology was a big one and we definitely made that choice similar to Brittany, to let some of our legacy terms die. And they’re going to be there in the InEight screens, things like cost, and let’s just adopt them. And it doesn’t really take that long for that to replace and become new nomenclature as well.

But certainly, you shouldn’t try and just shoehorn your own way in. You should at least reevaluate it and make sure there’s some really solid justification to do things a little bit different than the standard offering. And at times, there is, but lots of the best tools are configurable to have a bit of flexibility to fit as well. That was a good question.

Brittany Dodson:

Yeah, I’d agree with that. Yeah, I think it is a great opportunity to look through and maybe make some changes for us specifically. We had people in multiple systems, our one division was in one PM system and one was in another. And so being able to take a look at those processes and standardize them for both sides of the business, it was a very good time for us.

As well as, the reason why we chose InEight was because you guys are very industry standard. And we recently just had this conversation amongst some co-workers, but it’s not really changing very much. The way that they execute their projects, the steps that they take to do it, tracking your cost, doing your schedule updates, entering in your time, all of that is the same, we’re just changing where your data input is. And so I think that yes, it is definitely a time for you to look at your processes and see where you can standardize for sure.

Tyson Beaton:

I think there’s an interesting opportunity with InEight having a global footprint. That’s where I’ve seen the most. I’ve done some conversations with some other clients or prospective clients that were like in Europe, in Asia, in Australia. Those businesses, those industries might run a little bit differently and it’s a good time to be curious about what they might’ve learned or do a little bit better that we could bring over too. And it’s a nice part about being a partner with a group like InEight that is trying to take the best across the globe really now.

Martin Croteau:

Yeah, and that whole implementation approach, you both alluded to different business units maybe doing things a little bit differently and you wanting to standardize and using the opportunity to have a new platform and to standardize across those business units. The rollout of the InEight platform, we talked about this concept of a business unit to business unit type of rollout, we’ve got a global design process assessment and then a business unit rollout. And then there’s the global design and global rollout and kind of call that one the big bang and let’s launch it all and go after it. I’d just like to get your feedback, and you’ve alluded to the answer already, but just that concept of global design, business unit rollout phased approach, is that the recommendation? Is that what makes sense to you as there some conversation around that maybe we can allude to a little bit deeper?

Tyson Beaton:

Yeah, I think especially with the project-based nature of construction, a start of a project is the best time to hit that reset button and talk about a new way to do things rather than trying to go in flight. And it depends, especially with the pieces that involve financials and those ties, we did tack document onto some projects mid-flight or compliance completions that way. Model for instance, where there’s not financial integrations, but obviously estimating. We did a little bit of shadow work beside our old tool and then just moved that fairly quickly. But with Control, we were starting on a new project with contract with change and going forward that way. And we are finding once a business unit, they typically like to have their own pilot, their own kind of test, and then they get comfortable and then they get all in fairly quickly, because why have this weird hybrid state where we’re doing both and we’ve got our finance teams. So it’s been typically, it’s much easier to support once you get that pull from the business too after they’ve tested the waters themselves.

Martin Croteau:

And we talked about the importance of having champions, people that have been able to commit the time to learn the tool properly. And just the nature of the construction industry, you don’t know what project really is next, which project team is going to be assigned to that project. You ring the bell, you win the job and you hit the ground running and go. So how do you prepare for or is there any way to prepare for which project makes the most sense to use as a pilot? And maybe to that effect, which project team makes the most sense to assign to the pilot project just based on their maybe understanding of the tool itself? Are we kind of just dreaming that scenario up that the right team with the right project’s going to show up and be perfect for the pilot?

Just kind of curious, that’s kind of the understanding and just being a realist of like, all right, how does this work? I’m an organization, I’m listening to the panel, just wanting to understand, all right, you’re talking pilot project, but how much control do we have on that or what are some of the things that maybe you’d consider kind of gone through it once already?

Tyson Beaton:

That’s a good question, and the answer’s probably not intuitive. It feels like usually you’ll pilot on something small, a little less risky, those sort of things. But when we’re pushing out large process and consistent discipline delivery of things, like storing correspondence in an InEight document or making sure all quantities are tracked, the smaller projects cheat more because they can. They can keep it in their head. They’re all sitting in the same trailer and they can talk more. The larger projects actually, they’ve got more time to plan up front typically, they’ve got a little more time to invest in process, and definitely more benefit from having all of the different interconnected people doing a large volume of one thing and on the production line.

So our larger projects have actually been better in order to, when you get teams of 20 to 100 people on a project, they’re more geared towards, yeah, this is important for us to do this all share information that way. And no one wants to be the last project to come on either, the last project using the whole tool. So that’s been a consideration. Large projects hire some new people, we’ve got better training material both from stuff we’ve produced and InEight university and learned on InEight information, so we can leverage that. And frankly none of us are in the headspace anymore to train on our old system, so we’re not interested that way. So newer teams, larger teams have actually been the better spot to start and go forward with in our experience.

Martin Croteau:

Brittany, anything to add to Tyson’s comments on that?

Brittany Dodson:

Yeah, I mean for us, with the Schedule module, it really was just whatever project is coming up next. We got lucky at the timing for whenever we were ready to deploy it that we had a new project coming in, and then phasing that and seeing what the next project was for the other area for that business unit. So that was kind of just how we handled it. We will be having those conversations when we’re ready to go live with Suite and kind of what that looks like. Probably going to do some migrating, have those projects migrated in for half of our business, and then we’ll migrate some big projects on the other side and then let their legacy projects finish in their legacy system. So we’re just a mixed bag, just based on our circumstances.

Martin Croteau:

We will launch the second poll question, but I’ll ask you the question as well as we wait for the results to come in, but we’ve talked about it, how do you measure the success of technology adoption initiatives in your organization? So you’ve gone through the process of selecting the software, you’ve got some organizational change management principles in place, maybe you got the pilot project at this point, how am I going to look back on what I’ve done up to this point and say that was a successful implementation? How do you go about ranking that or going through that thought process as you’re evaluating the success of the implementation itself?

Tyson Beaton:

We’re missing answer E, the person in charge of the initiative still is employed after the rollout of the project. I think there’s a mix of all of those things. Certainly, we look at technology as things that are going to be saving us time and make things easier, and that’s part of it. A large part of what we’re trying to do though is actually take some more time managing risk better, doing a good thoughtful budget, tracking where you are against it, having that information reflected in your schedule the same way.

Those are things you can do without, but you’re flying blind. You might get to the destination cheaper but you might not. So in large part, we’re trying to increase some productivity in some areas, but we’re trying to efficiently manage risk throughout the whole project lifecycle. And I think fortunately it’s hard to measure, like over time it’ll feel right and we’ll have a whole portfolio of successful projects that’s making money for a profitable organization, it will be the ultimate measure.

Martin Croteau:

How about yourself, Brittany? I know you’re in different stages of the implementation with InEight, but when we think about how am I going to measure success of the technology adoption? Is it how many projects are live and using the tools? Is it evaluating the data itself that’s coming back? Just love to hear your perspective on that question as well.

Brittany Dodson:

Yeah, I think it’s going to be a little bit of everything. I think that there’s different KPIs for us, whether it is productivity, the number of projects in there, the data quality. There is a lot of data that InEight can capture, but making sure that it’s quality data that we can make those decision making for our business. As well as whether it’s from the document side where we’re making sure we don’t have errors, getting those drawings to our field sooner, making sure that we don’t have to have any deviations, making sure that we’re keeping track of our issues and keeping on budget and all of those different things. I think that it’s going to be a little bit of everything for us, because we are pulling all of our business units into the same system and everybody’s kind of just working off of different spreadsheets and everything like that. So having everybody in the one place where we can evaluate everything that is being captured on the projects, I think it’s really going to be a game changer for Orion.

Martin Croteau:

And I know Tyson, and maybe I’m asking this for Brittany, but there’s that inevitable learning curve that happens where as you make that initial change to a different platform, there is that kind of learning curve that happens. How long was that process for your group and when did you really start to see that people are getting familiar with the tools? Because we talk about you want to put the big rocks in place and then you can grow into some of many additional functionality, because InEight does have a lot of, there’s a lot of different rabbit holes you can kind of go down with processes, maybe things that you aren’t normally doing, but now you have access to a tool that lets you do that. Putting the big rocks in, grow into functionality, would just love to kind of hear what that learning curve process looked for you and then when you actually started to, when we talk about success of the technology adoption where start to realize that a little bit.

Tyson Beaton:

And it certainly still ongoing with us. We run a couple of hundred projects a year about at any one time and we’ve got about a quarter of those on full suite now not using any of our legacy tools. And similar to estimating and document, we’re seeing people that get a baseline then go to their next project, they actually understand better the questions that are being asked, the decisions they’re making and planning. So those will get better. So with control, contracting, we’re still learning and we’ll get there.

We can pick on one of these other questions and about that moment of relapse, I think a really important thing is make sure that you have your support network in place, because relapses happened in moments of frustration. And it’s if something’s broken, they don’t know how to use it or it is literally broken, you got to address that quickly and right the ship in order to get them past that moment. Our project teams have a lot of pressure put on them anyway to just get the job built, so we need to alleviate that pressure from them or they will go back to a spreadsheet that they can trust or rely on, and that’s certainly not where we want things to be. So making sure that you continue to resource it and have that support in place and fix bugs when they come up or train when it’s needed, is a pretty important part.

Martin Croteau:

That support group, that support team. I’m an organization, I’m in the implementation, what do I need to consider is what should that support team look like to support those project teams? Is there a dedicated two to three champions that are all things InEight to support the project teams, or what is that structure? What are things that you kind of considered as you were making up that group?

Tyson Beaton:

We’ve worked to try and build experts in the different knowledge areas and estimating project controls and have networks. So we’ve got our central group that is responsible for building the integrations, the central configurations, but I think more important is the local people. And we want to get them as much a knowledge as possible, but if they don’t have it, they’ve also got the direct line and the relationships to go get that information quicker and they can take that off the plate. Okay, just sorry, park that for a while, move on to something else. I’ll go find out the answer and I’ll come back to you.

So having someone face-to-face, I know we live on our phones and 10 seconds at a time, but people like to have that come into my office, look at my screen, help me right now, support, and I think getting those people local is a worthwhile investment.

Martin Croteau:

If we can maybe pop those results up. So increased productivity, it’s a little bit of a scroll, increased productivity at 43% was a way to measure success. Decreased error rates, having a platform to be able to make sure that. I mean we talk about data-driven decisions and I think Brittany you might’ve mentioned to just getting that quality of data coming in. So the Excel spreadsheet, yeah, they got a lot of flexibility, but yeah, they’re a bit more error prone. So having a platform to be able to manage some of the data that’s actually coming in and be able to report from that data.

Is that Tyson, I know maybe we can throw and ask a question slide up for the last five minutes here, time’s kind of flown by. So if there’s some additional questions from the audience, please feel free to get those up and I’ll try to get to them. I had just a general question, Tyson, as we wait for some of the questions to come in. We talk about data-driven decisions, is that something that once you’ve implemented, being able to access some data that you might not have access to before, or is that something that you’ve been able to bring to fruition from your experience so far?

Tyson Beaton:

Yeah, I still believe it is, in all of these things, reporting is always a bit lagging, because you’re pushing out the process and the data collection upfront, but there is a lot of information there and we’re still probably figuring out how best we want to look at it. What do provide the best insights of the pieces of data? But there’s a ton of information available for project teams right away. Probably where we’re looking to gain more, is how does that distill out across the portfolio and the larger enterprise. But yeah, certainly oftentimes request for some of these things start with I want to see this on a report and it works its way back into, okay, then we need to get discipline in this process utilizing this tool, so we have this data available.

Martin Croteau:

One question we had, can you share the scale of your implementations with InEight? So maybe just a general user count. And I think it’s a pretty relevant question, maybe if you’re not familiar with how big Graham might be or Orion Marine might be when we’re talking about this org change, how big of an organization are we talking about? If that’s answering the question, maybe Tyson if you can maybe shed a little bit of light on that. So when we’re talking about Graham construction, how big of a group user count wise are we talking about?

Tyson Beaton:

We can certainly do that. We’ve probably about 2000 users is right. We do about 4 billion in Canadian dollars, so that’s less than that, Brittany, in business units across Canada and growing footprint in the United States. So a lot of different groups to work through. But I think even with our divisions, they don’t work that differently either. But it’s certainly a lot of people to talk to, a lot of opinions to listen to and different questions to answer across the different groups. So that gives a good scale.

Martin Croteau:

Yeah, no, I think so. How about yourself, Brittany? We’re talking, I know Orion Marine, but then you also have a concrete division. So when we’re talking about the scale of this implementation, what does that look like for your group?

Brittany Dodson:

Yeah, so we have about probably 1500 users. So we have our concrete marine and our engineering divisions. And we have offices all throughout the United States, so we’re in Pac Northwest and Florida, and then of course in Texas. So reaching everybody during this implementation, sometimes the in-person ones at least sometimes can be challenging to make it up to Tacoma in the Pac Northwest. But yeah, pretty decent size end users for us, which makes no pressure at all.

Martin Croteau:

No, I mean for both groups it’s a big undertaking. And that’s why just closing remarks really, the importance of just organizational change management, and maybe just your last closing thoughts on the importance of just considering this early on in the process and really to take that organizational change management seriously. We’re talking technology, platforms, data, ultimately that solution adoption, and it kind of said earlier on, as good as the platform is, it’s only good if people are out there using it and using it in the right way. So yeah, Tyson, just maybe closing thoughts on just organizational change management, its importance in the process.

Tyson Beaton:

Yeah, it’s often I think the hardest part of the job, people that are probably drawn to participate in initiative like this, like the technology, like numbers, facts, logic driven stuff. But it takes some soft skills, it takes some preparation, so it’s maybe not what we’re best geared for. So appreciating that it is going to be a challenge and preparing for it, is an important part of the success so that you get some fruits for your labor eventually.

Martin Croteau:

Yeah, thank you. Brittany, how about yourself? Kind of closing remarks on organizational change, solution adoption, would love to hear your thoughts.

Brittany Dodson:

Yeah, so I think thinking about it early on is better than later, like anything. I also think that it’s not just one size fits all when it comes to organizational change management. Just because Graham does it one way, doesn’t mean that Orion has to do it the same way. And managing those expectations to your end users as well, that it’s not going to be perfect on day one. It’s going to be a long journey, it’s going to be hard, but we will get through it. So it’s very important.

Martin Croteau:

Yeah, no, that’s great. It’s a fluid topic and I know we’re at time here and I just really want to extend some appreciation for both of you to join us and to talk about this important part of the process, not only in the technology space, but there’s the people side of it that we need to consider as well.

And want to thank the audience for attending, and I hope you got value out of the webinar today. Just some kind of closing thoughts, there is on the screen, there is a box for a registration link to an AACE webinar on April 16th. Would love for you guys to click that button and to attend that webinar as well.

So thanks again everybody. Thanks Brittany, thanks Tyson, and hope everybody has an awesome day.

Brittany Dodson:

Thanks.

Tyson Beaton:

Pleasure.

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