How to Get the Most out of Construction Mobility Software

Construction contractors have begun widespread adoption cloud-based, mobile collaboration software on devices such as iPads to manage information flow on their projects. Most contractors have reported significant improvements. But its hard to quantify these improvements, and there's lack of agreement on how to maximize the benefits. Over the next few weeks, we'll be discussing the details of some practical, proven methods to ensure successful implementation and optimize ROI of these powerful tools. 

Get support from the right people. Any successful implementation of a new technology within a business needs buy-in from both management and the main user base. To get support, put yourself in the shoes of anyone affected by it, and ask yourself: what's in it for me? How does this make the daily life of a site supervisor easier? How can we prove a positive ROI to a company's directors after 2 years? Then, make sure to:

Set goals and track progress. By mapping out each of the the workflows which we want to support and improve using mobility tools, establishing performance baselines and then measuring improvements against them, we're not only tracking the success of the implementation, but can also identifying what's not working, so that we can know what to fix if needed. 

View a project as a communication network and involve all relevant members. Sure, a tablet can serve as a camera, map, DJ mixer and Pokemon catcher, but mobile handsets were invented as a means to communicate. Yet general contractors who invest in mobility software tend to focus primarily on documenting site conditions, or on internal communication within the construction supervision and management team. They often to neglect the wider network of 3rd party project members such as designers, client representatives and trade subcontractors,who also need to exchange up to date information on a daily basis. The more members of an project team who can access to the latest info when they need it, the greater the benefit of the tool. And by engaging members of an extended supply chain with cloud based software, we collect valuable datasets that can give us insights into performance that were previously not available. 

Don't forget about staffing, training and IT infrastructure. BIM managers reading this will no doubt agree that their daily routines are busy enough. Don't expect a successful implementation if you just add rolling-out enterprise construction mobility software to a BIM manager's already groaning to-do list. To fully capture the potential benefits of this extremely strategic shift in how projects manage information, assemble a knowledgeable, specialized team who understands business needs, project specific requirements, and can support projects in a standardized way. And don't let a lack of hardware, internet connectivity or user training block adoption. 

This post was originally published by Michael Moran on Linkedin Pulse, Sept 7, 2016