In less than half a year, construction firms worldwide have had to scale adoption and implementation of digital solutions at a rapid pace. According to the consulting firm McKinsey, “we have vaulted five years forward in consumer and business digital adoption in a matter of around eight weeks.”
Given the sharp acceleration of digital transformation, your team’s ability to adopt and utilize construction technologies to their maximum potential has never been more critical to ensuring business and project success. But according to a new survey of over 1,000 construction professionals, new technology investments are often underutilized. In fact, 37% report that their company has invested in software in the past year that they haven’t adopted.
Companies can no longer afford to let digital investments fall by the wayside. To help construction firms understand how they can create winning technology implementation and adoption plans, we turned to our Customer Success team at Autodesk. Their role is to empower construction teams to meet their desired business goals with the right technology programs. Scroll below (or use the menu to navigate) to learn how these experts approach construction technology implementation.
- Top considerations for successful implementation
- New considerations in today’s COVID-19 era
- Strategies to overcome pushback
- Training and engagement tips
- Benchmarks to measure success
Before rolling out new tech, what are some of the top considerations to create a successful implementation plan?
“There are a few key points to keep in mind:
- Buy-in from the entire team. A lot of times, when a company purchases a new technology, they do it from a top-down structure; there’s executives buy-in, but users don’t necessarily know the product. Sometimes it also works the other way, where users are very much into the product, and they need to convince executives to buy into the technology. Either way, there needs to be buy-in from all team members, which means showcasing how the product will drive value for the end-users.
- Identify the implementation timeline. A clear timeline is going to help drive a successful implementation plan. Without one, delays will occur, and there’s not as much incentive to follow through with a plan. When implementation is very structured with specific delivery deadlines, the process will be streamlined.
- Understand workflows and company structures. Once technology implementation starts, it’s important to have a firm understanding of the internal landscape, processes, and structure it affects. For instance, how will users be segmented? What type of workflows will the product impact? What type of projects will this be used on? How are internal operations set up? All companies are different. Some have very complex office structures and standardized workflows, and others may operate very independently on teams. Understanding these nuances will affect how training programs will be set up and executed.” –
– Emily Liu, Customer Success Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions
“Identifying a lead and primary champions, roles, and responsibilities, and standardizing a company-wide folder structure are key for success. Without identifying a lead champion, tasks may not be assigned in a timely manner and may be duplicated to multiple individuals, resulting in slower adoption.
It is equally important to have several champions that support the lead to become advocates of the technology. This ensures adoption trickles down to everyday users.
These other champions become experts at a more granular level than the lead for specific functions and/or modules within the company. The lead is dictating accountability for all users at a higher level.” – Scott T Carlson, Customer Success Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions
“A couple of considerations to create a successful implementation plan:
- Understand the need for the new tech; What problem is it solving? Which roles does it solve problems for? What happens if you don’t implement the new tech?
- Make sure you have the right executive sponsor to ensure commitment and support to resolve potential implementation blockers.
- Free up enough dedicated resources. When you don’t have a team available to drive the implementation, it will be challenging to make it successful and manage the change.
- Start with a couple of pilot projects to create best practices and lessons learned.
- Keep the end goal in mind; How are you going to scale this new tech? How do you maximize ROI? What do you need for it?”
– Jay Bekkers, Customer Success Manager – AEC Industry, Named Accounts
“From the perspective of a Customer Success Manager (CSM), I think an effective and well-planned out post-sales discovery is such an integral exercise to get to know the real reason for the software purchase. We want to understand the pain the customer is looking to solve. This gives us as CSMs the tools to fix anything that’s broken in their process, fill any gaps that exist in the workflow(s) and ultimately, set our customers up for a successful long-term partnership.” – Michaela Scutti, Customer Success Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions
“Key questions to consider for a successful implementation plan include: What systems is the firm/team currently using? What are the key workflows technology will impact? What are current pains, and how can new technology turn those into gains? Will the new technology be rolled out as a pilot project, or will roll-out happen across the organization? What teams will be involved?” – Kristina Poluyanova, Construction Customer Success Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions
Are there any new considerations for implementation that teams should address in today’s COVID era?
“In the AEC industry, customers should review their current QA/QC standards and policies to ensure all relevant checklists and actionable items include new COVID-19 standards.” – Scott T Carlson, Customer Success Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions
“Everything needs to be digitized these days. Before COVID-19, many construction companies didn’t want to participate in remote and virtual trainings because they valued that in-person connection. The current situation has accelerated companies to adapt to remote training and embrace them as a way to get what they need faster. I’ve started to notice more openness to technology in construction. For our team, it has pushed us to rethink how we deliver the quality and engagement of in-person training in a remote way. It has enabled us to be more efficient and effective in some ways.
I’ve also noticed there are more considerations about risk in general. For instance, in TradeTapp, I’ve seen many customers starting to be more diligent about capturing financial insurance safety data from subcontractors. Or, they are asking more targeted questions about the health of their trade partners’ businesses. As new innovations are adopted, they will increasingly be used to identify risks and what needs to be put in place because of COVID.” – Emily Liu, Customer Success Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions
“Remote learning is going to be the new norm for a considerable amount of time. The expression of empathy and activities like in-person implementation and onboarding are likely not going to be possible like they once were. As a CSM, it’s an opportunity to connect with our customer base regardless of the physical distance we have with one another. We need to be both understanding and adaptable and know how to act and react in unexpected circumstances.” – Michaela Scutti, Customer Success Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions
Change can be hard to adjust to for many people in an organization. What are some strategies to overcome pushback to new technologies/workflows?
“While case studies and success stories can be a helpful first step to overcome pushback, they only go so far. One thing that I’ve seen as successful in the past is identifying a small team that’s willing to trial the product and see its potential value. This enables us as Customer Success Managers to go in and hone in on the team’s workflow to run a successful project on the platform. Once that happens, we can actually capture certain values that we’ve delivered through that engagement.
For instance, if the team starts using BuildingConnected, we’ll identify values important to the team like time savings on bid package preparation, improvement in subcontractor response, or time savings on subcontractor database management. If we can identify these values that we’ve delivered on for that specific project, it’s much easier to replicate that process and success across the organization. We can leverage that team’s success to make a case to leadership. This can create a snowball effect to get everyone on board.” – Emily Liu, Customer Success Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions
“Identifying a Lead Champion that will create accountability is key.
There is never a good time to implement change, so the best strategy is to create company-wide BIM implementation standards and dive headfirst.
In regards to external users, setting the standards early on is best and should be included within the contract for future projects.” – Scott T Carlson, Customer Success Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions
What are some strategies to train and engage workers on how to utilize and maximize new technology?
“There are a few strategies that can help:
- Leverage the support of your technology partners;
- Attend industry webinars to learn more about technology;
- Utilize your Customer Success Team and Consultants for virtual or in-person trainings;
- Ask your technology partners for helpful resources;
- Remain in touch on a bi-weekly basis with your technology partners to ensure everything is up-to-date.”
– Kristina Poluyanova, Construction Customer Success Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions
“The best strategy is to complete onboarding training with real company materials and project examples. For example, setting up a live project with a current submittal or RFI through BIM 360 during the training engages the customer. It is also imperative to set up Q/As for teams to discuss anything and everything as they may be deterred to voice their concerns or questions during formal training.” – Scott T Carlson, Customer Success Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions
“Virtual implementations can be very successful, although the classroom training approach and onsite project support have changed. In these challenging times, it is more difficult to keep people engaged and committed to another virtual session. So, we noticed that if we keep the sessions shorter but schedule more sessions, it is easier to keep people motivated.
Everyone learns and consumes information differently.
That’s why offering more content in different formats can be beneficial, like e-learning, lunch sessions, Coffee Corners, tailored webpages, written success stories, and project videos. All of this should be tailored to inspire and engage people to utilize new ways of working. Make sure you have enough check-ins with your team throughout the process. It’s smart to plan more time for implementation to get everyone virtually onboard.” – Jay Bekkers, Customer Success Manager – AEC Industry, Named Accounts
How do you set benchmarks for measuring the success of technology implementation programs?
“This is an area where implementation often fails. Either firms don’t measure success at all, or they want to have a measurement scientifically proven first, which typically ends in failing to measure anything useful.
I would recommend a step-by-step approach for measuring your implementation. Before you start, you should understand the benefit of the new tech you want to implement. We call that the value hypothesis. This can be an exact measurement of time and cost-saving or another value, but most of the time, this is a gut feeling at first. Then you start validating your value hypothesis in your pilot projects. This is where you start to document more anecdotes and examples of the value. The more projects you have, the better your metrics will become. But, the trick is to keep it simple in the beginning. You don’t want to spend more time measuring your success than you spend on your implementation. It should be just enough to give you proof to scale. When you are ready to scale the new workflows, it’s time to measures the adoption at scale. This means how many people and projects are using and benefitting from the new workflows.” – Jay Bekkers, Customer Success Manager – AEC Industry, Named Accounts
“Instead of pure numbers or percentages, I encourage our customers to think about how success can align with business goals. How does new technology actually help a business to grow and to continue to do better? This is what we like to refer to as the value driver. What motivates your company every day? Is it about winning more work? Is it about ensuring the best quality? Or about reducing rework/cost? Whatever that may be, it’s about achieving that outcome that the company values.
Every company is going to measure success differently.
It is important to have both quantitative and qualitative measures to understand holistically how technology delivers the desired outcomes.” – Emily Liu, Customer Success Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions
Amazing work Grace!