Today, construction companies base many of their processes on 2D drawings and data sets, but that is changing as 3D design data, or BIM, continues to proliferate. To adopt this 3D data, you may need some new software.
These “5 Questions to Ask Before Adopting New Technology” got me thinking about the important questions to consider before investing in a new 3D and construction management solution. Before adopting a new product, answer these questions to ensure success with your project:
1) Do we need new computers to run this or is it cloud based?
Often, people just look at the cost of the software and neglect to check whether they need to purchase a new computer, too. Be sure to check whether you need new hardware to go with your new software.
Additionally, on a construction team, we often run from the office to the trailer and project site; we don’t have the luxury of being able to sit in front of the computer. Using something as simple as a tablet or tethering to the internet to access our data is very helpful.
2) Does the vendor support testing? If so, will they help you?
Whenever you adopt a new technology, you have to provide a professional justification to the executive team to grant you that money for the new technology. We recommend using a scorecard that describes how you do something today and how this investment benefit your company — whether by saving time, creating higher quality work, improving the workflow, decreasing costs, etc.
**Sample of an Assemble Evaluation Scorecard**
3) How much time will be needed to train additional people at my company?
It is important to consider how much time will be needed to train the appropriate team members, especially if the system to be adopted is complex. Ask key questions, such as What is the level of training required for this system to be useful? How long is a training class? What is the best way to train others? Are there training materials provided? Should we consider hiring a trainer as part of the investment? Can employees be trained over the internet?
4) What is the cost to spread usage of the technology throughout our company, with subcontractors, and with partners?
Different vendors have different arrangements for licensing. Questions to ask include Does each person at our company need a license? How will we provide access to subcontractors and partners?
5) How easily does your new technology integrate with your existing solutions?
The more well-integrated a product is, the easier it is to use — take Gmail and Salesforce, for example. Before you invest in your new technology, ask whether it integrates with your takeoff, estimating, scheduling, project management, ERP or finance, and bid room softwares.
Remember that you’re making a recommendation. You want this new investment to be cash flow positive or critical to the success of the business within five years. Talk to references, justify your points, and present clearly to the management. If you do your homework, you shouldn’t have a problem acing the test.
Don Henrich is an accomplished technology veteran in both the MCAD and the AEC industries. As President and CEO of Assemble he brings an distinguished track record of innovation, winning strategies, team building, and the ability to quickly grow revenue and market share. Don and his wife Noel have three children, reside in Marblehead, MA and spend as much time as possible sailing on Massachusetts Bay.
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