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The cure for ironic laughter

Damon Schünmann

Hands up if you look forward to your IT department rolling out a new platform or app?

Do you smile with anticipation and nod to the progressive nature of your business, or barely flicker with indifference? Perhaps you respond to the phrase ‘software upgrade’ with a hollow, sardonic laugh?

Your inclination is likely born of a combination of past experience, inherent resistance to change and general enthusiasm for technology. Either way, a badly implemented IT system can easily wipe out your working day.

On the flip side, well-executed upgrades can see companies benefit and processes become more efficient. In this respect, construction firms are no different to other businesses. Yet the industry is often berated by IT evangelists for being behind the curve on technology adoption.

Becoming more efficient isn’t the be-all and end-all of digitisation – not according to Microsoft anyway.

It believes that when firms get software systems right, they can become compelling factors in attracting and retaining staff – particularly when it comes to those working at remote spots such as construction sites. Without the right IT support, onsite staff can become isolated not just from their colleagues but from their company’s culture and values.

Sounds like a bit of a reach? Not according to a survey that Construction News carried out in collaboration with Microsoft.

Of more than 1,100 that responded to the survey, almost 600 identified themselves as frontline remote workers. This group gave their insights on whether technology actually helps or hinders in areas ranging from staff recruitment and retention through to training, remote working and corporate culture.

They also offered a glimpse of the software, hardware and even artificial intelligence their companies were likely to adopt in the near future.

On top of that, respondents provided some useful lessons from their own experiences about what stops businesses getting their IT right.

With a little more forewarning of the pitfalls and awareness of the benefits, there’s nothing stopping construction firms from defying the evangelists and rising to the vanguard of digitalisation.

And who knows: perhaps one day there’ll be no need for ironic laughter when software upgrades come around.

Find out more about how your firm can take advantage of digital construction with CN’s free-to-read survey and accompanying report.

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