Did reading our last blog post about the benefits of BIM for contractors inspire you to take action? Here are some quick tips for making a successful digital transition.
Integrating new technologies into a business can be a stressful experience for many employees. Take a step-by-step approach and aim for easy wins first. Your teams will then be reassured and motivated for the future.
A structured and well-documented process will serve as a reference throughout the transition. Plan and validate the stages of the transformation with people you trust.
Determine realistically the kind of financial, human, and material resources you can allocate to the digital transformation process. Then, communicate and test out your proposal with the team.
Measure your outcomes and make the necessary adjustments to meet your targets. Proving these tangible gains will set you up well for the following phases.
Focus on training teams. When they are well-equipped and motivated, they will rise to the challenge and find solutions to facilitate a successful transition.
Your vision, goals, and strengths should be clearly defined on a single page. This document will help you to stay the course of the transition, and also serve as a key communication support.
Following up on these quick tips, there are 3 important topics that deserve the attention of any contractor determined to succeed in the digital transition of their company.
Before initiating the change, it is essential to analyze the team that will be at the heart of the transformation of business practices. Who are the technological champions? Who are those who can adapt easily? Who are the coaches who could support the development of their colleagues' skills? It can be helpful to give a precise role to key players who are motivated by the benefits of a digital transition. As much as possible, try to avoid the trap of allocating only one resource to complete a task. Make sure you have more than one team member able to perform a particular task, and then have clear and documented processes so that the absence of one will be filled by the second.
To make sure these processes are realistic, a clear communication feedback loop must be established. First, communicate the vision, then answer questions, and adjust as needed. It’s important to structure a means of feedback, particularly from the jobsite. This can be through recurring meetings, personalized interviews and/or a discussion channel dedicated to digital transition. Sometimes interactions with staff will give rise to heated exchanges; it's normal. As the saying goes, “you can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs!” It is better to understand each other, and maybe even refine procedures, before habits become entrenched. Like a construction project, it's better to go back to the drawing board than to have to correct in the middle of the job! In short, the importance of the people who will be at the heart of implementing the changes should never be overlooked.
Before investing time and money in a technological solution, one must master the processes identified for digital transformation. Keep your focus on the easy, less risky wins, pull your critical thinking aside and go shopping. A plethora of tools are available and you will need to study various possibilities to make the best choice, based in particular on the cost, the profile of the intended users, the type of data hosting, security, the level of training required, and software features offered.
For example, although it is technically possible to create a presentation slide in Excel, Excel is far from adequate for putting together a presentation in an efficient and user-friendly way. For this reason, do not blindly adopt a technological solution, as you may be disappointed and miss out on those coveted efficiency gains.
In order to put the odds in your favour, you should make the desired changes on projects that are best suited to them. Do you have a project with a repetitive and well-controlled component that you can build on? Is there a long-standing customer or partner you have a great relationship with, with whom you can share the risk and potential rewards? Selecting a favorable environment will help to accommodate the unforeseen events that often come with a digital transition. If the environment is not right for a pilot project, it may be wise to be patient and wait until the time is right. There is no perfect recipe for managing change in your business, but you can choose the perfect time to set your strategy in motion.
For more advice on managing a successful digital transition with your organization, don't hesitate to call on the mentoring service of BIM One.