- We’ve compiled the main takeaways from the 2022 Connected Construction: Perspectives Across the Project Team SmartMarket Brief Series by Dodge Construction Network.
- This 6-part series studies how each construction project player is using digital workflows to improve data handoffs and make collaboration between both internal and external stakeholders easier.
- The reports shed light on:
- How connected are construction organizations today
- How digital, connected workflows will impact business in the future
- And, how organizations prioritize and resource their efforts today.
Read on for the insights from this study that you can't afford to miss.
Dodge Construction Network recently released the remainder of an innovative 6-part series of Smart Market Briefs on digital workflows:
The reports are based on the study of the use and benefits of digital workflows in the construction sector by owners, architects, engineers, and contractors.
These reports come at an eventful time in the construction. As the world moves into a possible recession, construction plays a big role in supporting overall economic growth. Recent investments in infrastructure and construction technology should bode well for the sector. Yet persistent headwinds, including inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain disruption make it impossible for organizations to maintain operations as usual.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most significant and surprising insights revealed in the reports.
5 Key Takeaways from the Dodge Construction Network Connected Construction: Perspectives Across the Project Team Report
Takeaway 1: The design and construction industry has embraced the use of digital workflows to connect their internal departments.
Nearly all respondents (92%) use internal digital workflows. These workflows allow them to share data and participate in processes between divisions within their own organizations.
This is not surprising given that by digitizing workflows, organizations are experiencing increased efficiency of internal processes, better informed decision-making, and the ability to deliver faster on higher quality projects.
But: Only a quarter (24%) of respondents are using digital workflows to share 50% or more of their project data and participate in processes across the companies that make up the wider construction project team.
Reason to dig deeper: The data highlights that there are distinct differences between the types of organizations who frequently use digital workflows versus those who are lagging in adoption. For example, general contractors/construction managers are the least frequent users of internal and external digital workflows. Keep reading more here.
Takeaway 2: Connected, digital workflows will only become more important in the next 5 years.
Over 50% of respondents who rarely or never use digital workflows indicated that they will become important or very important to the entire construction industry in the next five years.
Notably, owners are by far the most likely to believe in the future importance of these workflows. This suggests that owners will be able to drive the digital transformation of the different project players — finally helping the industry achieve the productivity gains that have proved so elusive over the years.
But: There are stumbling blocks to more widespread digital workflow adoption. The top obstacle reported by all types of companies is that digital documentation is not enough of a priority to require it contractually. This may change over time as more companies switch to wider use of digital workflows, which will encourage them to require partners on projects to use digital solutions.
Reason to dig deeper: Each project player has different beliefs about the degree to which their competitors are using internal digital workflows and multi-company digital workflows. Sometimes these align with the self-reported findings; in other instances they do not. Keep reading for more information.
Takeaway 3: General contractors/construction managers have the most to gain by embracing connected construction.
Across all the different types of organizations, those most frequently called out for communication breakdowns are general contractors/construction managers. This aligns with the fact that GCs/CMs are the organizations with whom most other types of companies most frequently connect, but it demonstrates the need for better ways for GCs/CMs to reliably connect with their fellow project players.
But: Training needs to be emphasized by all stakeholders to more reliable communication with the rest of the project team. According to respondents who are currently not satisfied with their level of connectedness to other project stakeholders, the top way to improve satisfaction by far (42%) would be to increase training on using digital workflows.
Reason to dig deeper: Where GCs/CMs/ are prioritizing digital workflows is not necessarily where other stakeholders report the greatest need for stronger connections. Read the report to learn about the discrepancies.
Takeaway 4: A large barrier to connected workflows is the belief that it takes too many solutions to connect workflows.
Because integration between different software solutions is often limited, the need to use a high number of different solutions for digital workflows can limit the ability of information to flow effectively both internally and externally. Fortunately, over half (57%) of the survey respondents report that they use five types of software or fewer for conducting digital workflows.
But: Unfortunately, this is a growing challenge for the entire industry. Nearly half (46%) of respondents report that the number of software solutions used for digital workflows has been growing. This can interfere with their ability to connect with each other. Consolidating vendors significantly reduces complexity and cost, while improving service. A cloud-based service integrating key workflows could be the solution.
Reason to dig deeper: Organizations that use digital workflows have much greater insight into how project and administrative processes directly contribute to project errors and delays — by a huge margin. This underscores the need to keep the integrations between digital solutions streamlined and effective, so organizations can have a better understanding of exactly how their processes contribute to issues on a project, and alter things to improve future projects. See the data here.
Takeaway 5: There’s a big opportunity to connect field and office
Nearly all owners, designers, and contractors surveyed (92%) report that they use digital workflows between internal functions at their organizations. Project management is by far the most connected department for contractors and owners, and it ranks second for architects, engineers, and trade contractors. This makes sense because project management needs input from other departments to effectively play its central role on projects.
But: For both GCs/CMs and trade contractors, field operations is the least connected internal department (62% and 49%, respectively). Contractors who do invest in using digital workflows to get teams in the field and teams in the office on the same page will likely have a competitive advantage over contractors who leave those efficiency, productivity, and predictability gains on the table.
Reason to dig deeper: The report goes into much more specific detail about which preconstruction, administrative, field/crew management, construction operations, and construction closeout processes and activities are being digitized by each stakeholder group. Check out how your organization compares here.
To learn more about how the industry is changing the way they work through digitization, read the Dodge SmartMarket report most relevant to you, or read Connected Construction: Perspectives Across the Project Team to get a high-level view of where there is greater opportunities for alignment across stakeholders.