Digital Transformation and The Construction Industry: Digital Workflows

This article is part of series focused on the benefits, challenges and impact of digital transformation on the construction industry and how companies can embrace change.

Schneider Downs recently attended the ‘Construction and Real Estate Conference’ held by The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).  Dodge Data & Analytics, powered by the Dodge Construction Network (Dodge), gave a presentation on how technology is transforming the construction industry and where it is headed.

During their session, Dodge shared the results of a survey they conducted with General Contractors/Construction Manages (GCs/CMs) who have implemented the use of integrated digital workflows.  Integrated digital workflows can be defined as streamlined and interconnected processes to improve efficiency, productivity, and collaboration between divisions within organizations.   

The survey consisted of approximately 1,000 architects, engineers, general contractors, specialty trade contractors and owners.  Further, the GCs/CMs were size segregated based on revenue: small (under $50 million), large ($100 million to $1 billion) and very large (over $1 billion).

Survey results indicated top benefits experienced by integrated digital workflows included increased efficiency of internal processes, better-informed decision-making, increased efficiency of multicompany processes, improved ability to predict and mitigate risk, and improved cost predictability. The survey went on to indicate that these benefits were most clearly seen throughout the following processes: project setup/closeout, project document management, subcontract management, change management, and job cost/projections.  

Reduced project costs, more timely project delivery, and a reduced amount of rework are among additional improved project outcomes that GCs/CMs can expect to benefit from using digital workflows. 

Collectively, 65% of all respondents saw that integrated digital workflows increased the efficiency of internal processes, where as a standalone, 73% of larger GCs/CMs responded this way.  

Likewise, 62% of all GCs reported better-informed decision-making because of integrated digital workflows, with very large GCs/CMs responding this way at 73%. While the majority of responding GCs/CMs experienced increased benefits, it was noteworthy that large and very large GCs/CMs more frequently reported benefits gained. 

This trend is not exclusive to the construction industry, as we typically see industry-wide technology trends show themselves initially in larger companies, with wider adoption over time as solutions become more affordable.  

Truthfully, the delta speaks to the opportunity ahead for small to mid-sized companies.  The survey determined that nearly all GCs/CMs saw improved project outcomes from the use of digital workflows, through either improved quality, faster delivery, or increased profitability.  Not surprisingly, very large GCs/CMs experienced even higher percentages of improved outcomes given their increased usage of workflows.

Although the use of integrated digital workflows is certainly growing, implementation is not met without challenge.  Respondents suggested the top challenges experienced when implementing digital workflows included an insufficient understanding of the benefits and a lack of senior management support. These findings suggest that companies may not currently be convinced that digital workflows are worth the investment of money and other resources. 

However, the benefits reported through the study should encourage more companies to embrace transformation and incorporate digital workflows.

While understanding how those who have implemented digital workflows have benefited, it's equally as important to understand where the Construction Industry currently stands as a whole related to technology adoption. 

Click here to read our next article that focuses on the benefits of incorporating technology and how it is being used to combat industry-wide challenges.

If you have any questions on how digital transformation may benefit your organization, please contact our team at [email protected] or visit www.schneiderdowns.com/digital-transformation.

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Digital Transformation Resources

About Schneider Downs Digital Transformation

The Schneider Downs Digital Transformation team leverages technological innovations and our business expertise to develop strategic transformative solutions that drive business process improvement for organizations of all sizes.

To learn more, visit our dedicated Digital Transformation page.

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