With 72% of construction professionals now owning a smartphone, and 64% of construction professionals who use a laptop – the timing for digital transformation within an organisation has already begun.
The construction industry in Australia as a whole, lag behind most other industries in adopting technology into their processes and business models, due in part to a resistance from the “old guard” – or the “this is how it’s always been done” mindset of directors and business leaders. An older generation of leadership is now feeling pressure to adopt tech into their businesses. This pressure is being applied by:
- The maturity of smartphones and their adoption within their workforce,
- Quality mobile app experiences in banking, travel and social media, and
- Greater expectations in terms of visibility to information from clients
These pressures have given rise to a suite of cloud-based applications and larger construction firms are investing in proprietary, custom solutions. Due to the maturity of technology today, mid-size construction firms such as Alliance Project Group are also identifying an opportunity to invest in proprietary solutions.
Mid-tier operators identify how crucial a mobile strategy is for Construction
APG is a Sydney based construction firm delivering turnkey construction projects to off-shore and local investors and developers. APG predominately build multi-residential buildings throughout NSW, and have recently completed projects in Lane Cove, Homebush and Lidcombe. APG take pride in their provision of turnkey project services which draw upon a diverse and thorough understanding of various development models, construction methods and project deliverables for a wide range of residential, commercial, industrial, civil and fit out projects.
As a dynamic client focused organisation, Alliance Project Group is committed to delivering a comprehensive range of construction and project management services, to deliver complete and innovative project solutions.
APG’s considerable industry experience and associated knowledge allows them immediately to deliver effective solutions to design, construction, project management and cost planning for a diverse range of projects.
Today, 65% of organisations use cloud based software for project management and project scheduling processes. With key personnel shifting between office and site on a frequent basis, fewer and fewer construction professionals can deny the importance of a mobile strategy.
Leading Digital transformation happens from the top
Rouad Elayoubi Director – lead the charge for Alliance Project Group’s mobile strategy. Understanding the efficiency gains, productivity and deeper level of insights available to Directors at APG, Increasify were engaged to discuss the benefits of Digital Transformation and how construction processes could be optimised and how these technologies would form a strong advantage over competition.
Being a traditional organisation, most processes were paper-based forms and registers, meaning this transition also required a culture shift.
During workshops with Increasify, the opportunity to digitalise internal processes such as Excel spreadsheets used to manage and report on the completion of hundreds of tasks for each apartment within a building, within a project was identified. Other processes such as client communication processes in the form of RFI’s (Requests for Information), Quality Assurance forms such as ITP’s (Inspection Test Plans) and Safety forms such as SWEMS (Safe Work and Environmental Method Statements) were also identified as opportunities to increase productivity, reduce overheads and manual handling of data and improve the efficiency of project teams.
Desktop Software hides data and insights
Alliance Project Group’s existing process involved on-site inspections of apartments, and entering the completion status of each task onto an excel spreadsheet. Spreadsheets would be duplicated in the attempt of providing snapshots at regular intervals. The desktop-based solution prevented management from analysing trends and delays, crucial information required to successfully deliver projects and identify issues, which would affect milestone dates.
Understanding the information contained within the data of these spreadsheets was also unclear. Using a colour system to mark tasks as complete and incomplete, KPI’s such as Apartment, Building Level, Building and even project completion percentages were hidden away. Allowing a director to instantly know the status of each project down to the nearest percent, is a valuable and critical piece of information.
Information handled and stored in this format is by it’s very nature, outdated. The idea of real-time data is something most construction companies are now identifying as a requirement on projects. When data is created in Excel, synchronising with physical servers at Alliance Project Group’s head office is hours, if not days behind.
Issues that could be identified early on in the game, are missed and delays aren’t reversible once they’re days behind.
Ensuring the data stored in this format was secure, with in-built permissions to ensure the accuracy and reliability of this information was a problem for Alliance Project Group. With Microsoft Excel, data is open to all parties who can access this document, meaning delays and deadlines can be manipulated, and with no other form of policy than a trust policy, these delays can be hidden from Directors and business leaders.
The need to ensure a consistent approach to each project relies on manual processes. Creating the required tasks and assigning them to each apartment within a building on a project, means each Project Manager and Management Team have the ability to move away from templates and into customised versioning – which becomes confusing and impossible to police.
Increasify set about transforming these problems using Enterprise Mobility as the core technology to rectify these problems. Creating proprietary App-based solutions which were available to Alliance Project Group’s management teams, this solution is now available to download direct to smartphones.
Projects and Project tasks are now consistent, due to the solution delivered on APG sites across NSW. Directors and business leaders were provided the appropriate permissions to create company-wide tasks, which were then available for project teams to utilise on projects where they suited.
By using mobile technology, data was now available in real-time back to head office. In many places on a multi-residential construction site, internet access is at best weak and generally unavailable. Using Increasify’s Enterprise Mobility solutions, data would be stored on smart devices while out of 3G range, then synchronised immediately upon the device receiving a signal – ensuring a solution that delivered real-time information based on network connectivity.
The mobile technology would syncronise this information to Alliance Project Group’s cloud environment, hosted on AWS (Amazon Web Services) infrastructure. The benefits of cloud technology are well known, and Alliance project Group were able to capitalise on the Scalability, Secure and Robust nature of AWS’s infrastructure.
By delivering Enterprise Mobility and Cloud technologies into APG, the database of information and data was now begging to be analysed and transformed into insights that assisted business decisions. Real-time progress of projects was now beautifully presented to allow Project Managers to instantly understand the health and progress of a project – along with trends and forecasting, telling project managers the likely completion dates based on actual data gathered on a project. This can change priorities of projects and project teams and is now easily accessible from their pockets.