More than half of contractors in first-world economies are failing to harness technology to attract and retain skilled labour or maximise field productivity, according to research carried out by US consultancy FMI Corporation in partnership with the software provider Procore. The research also shows, however, that these are two of contractors’ top concerns.
More than 700 construction industry leaders participated in the study, with 42% in the US, 22% from the UK, and the rest from Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
FMI and Procore say it reveals a weakness in how the industry is leveraging construction software, as well as highlighting a missed opportunity for significant improvement.
Their researchers say firms are lagging because many are unaware of viable technology solutions for addressing these top concerns. Another issue is a lack of discretionary budgeting for technology spend, compounded by an unstructured approach to the research required to pursue the right solution.
The researchers commented: “While most firms today are basing their buying decisions on functionality, ease of use and cost, they may not be considering the bigger picture – how to ensure the widespread user adoption required to achieve top returns on their technology investments.
“Perhaps the most common explanation for sub-par user adoption is that people don’t know how to use the technology. But more importantly, without being trained in the software and shown first-hand how it will save them time and make their jobs easier, people aren’t motivated to use it.
“To unleash the full potential of today’s technology solutions, firms must fundamentally shift the way they think about and purchase construction software. Construction technology is not a commodity – a basic, interchangeable good like lumber or crude oil. Rather, it is a strategic investment with the potential to add long-term value across the entirety of the company.
“Achieving exceptional ROI requires an investment not only in the technology’s features and functions but also in the right people to help accelerate and improve its adoption.”
The research, conclude its compilers, indicates the need for partnerships rather than vendor relationships between supplier and user.
Brandon Olivieri O’Connor, UK&I director at Procore, said: “As well as the issues that organisations are experiencing, the research identified how technology companies can help. Respondents said that they expected their technology partners to provide access to experts, both in the solution being offered and the industry itself, as well as training and functionality that can be configured. This feedback is invaluable as it aligns with what the Procore platform and service already delivers for our customers.”