6 ways digital tools can benefit the construction and built environment industry

Jun 27, 2024
  • professional services
  • engineering & projects
  • Microsoft

In today’s digital era, many businesses are turning to emerging tools and technology to increase productivity and profitability across their operations. And construction and built environment businesses are of no exception. In fact, there are several ways in which digital tools can be utilised to enhance operations and drive profitability across this industry. 

In this blog, we explore 6 ways digital tools can benefit the construction and built environment industry… 

1. Reduce rework 

One of the major sources of inefficiency and waste in the construction industry is re-work, which occurs when a task is not done correctly the first time and has to be redone or corrected later. Rework can lead to delays, increased costs, lower quality, and customer dissatisfaction.  

Digital tools can help reduce re-work by improving communication, collaboration, documentation, and quality control across the project lifecycle. By leveraging low code/no code tools and services on the front line, such as site induction, onboarding, training of matrices, etc, businesses can help ensure tasks are completed correctly on the first run.  

2. Establish a common data model 

When systems are siloed, data inaccuracy or inconsistencies result. That’s because manual intervention is often needed to transfer or duplicate data from one system to another, often resulting in manual errors. Not to mention, the time lag caused by manual intervention means that data is never analysed in real-time, which can further hinder efficiency and the bottom line. 

With digital tools however, such as Power Platform, businesses can drive interoperability between systems by building custom applications at the periphery of project delivery, resulting in work being established from a common data model. With a common data model, businesses can integrate into other existing enterprise-grade software through a data platform, or build out custom connectors and APIs into other 3rd party systems and applicators. 

3. Reduce technical debt 

Digital tools can reduce technical debt by enabling businesses to create custom solutions that meet their specific needs, without having to rely on off-the-shelf products that may not fit their processes or data sources. By using digital tools such as Smart Link, businesses can benefit from seamless integrations with their existing systems and data platforms, eliminating the need for manual data entry, duplication, or transfer, while consolidating their application estate to reduce costs and provide better long-term applications. This can improve data quality, accuracy, and timeliness, as well as reduce the maintenance costs and risks associated with outdated or incompatible software.  

4. Becoming data maestros 

One of the challenges that many businesses face is how to leverage the data that they have collected from previous projects and use it for future planning and decision-making. By using digital tools that allow them to store, access, and analyse their historical data, businesses can gain valuable insights into their past performance, identify best practices, and benchmark against industry standards. This can help them improve their project delivery, reduce risks, and optimise their resources.  

Moreover, re-using data can enable businesses to create more accurate and realistic bids, based on actual data rather than assumptions or estimates, which can increase their chances of winning more work and delivering profitable projects. 

5. Problem-solving

Another benefit of real-time data is that, equipped with a broad view of data and analytics, business leaders are better positioned to solve problems. 

For example, data can help predict project performance, assess project profitability from a cost management perspective, asses supplier and subcontractor performance, identify and mitigate risks, and evaluate the outcomes and impacts of their projects to learn from their successes and failures and identify areas for improvement and innovation. 

6. Win more work  

Construction businesses that leverage data early, particularly within the bid process, are better positioned to win more work. 

By leveraging intelligent decision-making at the bid stage, businesses can use data to win work by reviewing insights into customer needs, preferences, and expectations, demonstrating their capabilities, expertise, and track record of delivering successful projects based on data-driven evidence and testimonials to enhance credibility, improving the efficiency and accuracy of the bid process by using data to estimate the project scope, budget, schedule, and risks, and optimise the allocation of resources and subcontractors. 

To sum up, data integration can give construction businesses a competitive edge in winning more work and delivering successful projects. By connecting disparate data sources and systems, businesses can gain a holistic view of their operations, customers, and markets, and use data-driven insights to improve their decision-making, performance, and outcomes. Data integration is not a one-time project, but an ongoing journey that requires careful planning, execution, and evaluation. To get started on this journey, businesses should assess their problems and goals, identify use cases and value propositions, ensure they have the necessary resources and buy-in, and engage with a trusted partner who can help them achieve their data integration objectives. 

To get started, speak to the team today