Take a guess at when a leading construction industry figure made this statement: “Our industry is still rooted in the Victorian era world of analogue transactions, [but] we can perceive the skeleton of a construction industry that builds right the first time, is efficient, and has the ability to create assets that give each customer and indeed society the added value we all want. ” It was 2014. Not that long ago but in digital terms, it’s a different era.
David Philp from the Mace Group and a key figure on the Government’s BIM Task Group was trying to be optimistic. There’s been progress, but antiquated ideas still govern the industry. We’re still looking to soften the pain of home buying without getting close to even trying to make it the seamless, inclusive, and rewarding experience it should be. The industry’s mindset needs to change.
Since 2014 key sectors like TV, retail, and even finance have changed radically. We’re streaming movies and shows over the internet; we’re buying almost everything online, and we’re even managing our finances with a few swipes on a smartphone. It all seems perfectly normal. What hasn’t really changed is the way we plan, build, sell, and manage property developments.
I believe that failure to drive digital transformation is going to backfire on the sector. IT projects are narrowly focused, far too many legacy systems have outlived their usefulness, and despite talking about using technology to improve the industry, little has changed for customers. They’re not really viewed or treated as ‘customers.’ That has to change.
The analogy I use to describe how digital technology is stuck in the past is sports grounds. I remember visiting cricket, rugby and football stadia where stands had been added or extended in a piecemeal fashion. There was no joined up thinking. Spectators got a raw deal. The best grounds – like Old Trafford and Anfield – had been planned with the future in mind. Anfield now has a bigger, better main stand build on the foundations of the one that preceded it. Old Trafford has grown without losing the power of the bowl in which the world’s leading players can do their thing. We have to think about technology in the same way. Start with a sound strategy and a clear vision of the future: then make sure everything we do is integrated so it delivers a great customer experience.
We need to digitise all our processes. That doesn’t mean subpar ones. That won’t make a difference. If a process isn’t fit-for-purpose, change it. Put a better digital one in its place. For instance, why not use tech to make servicing properties easier? Leverage the power of your data to ensure your experts are more efficient and can be much more responsive to residents. The data can deliver a complete picture of all the activities that are being done and which need to be done – in real time.
That’s what we’ve been helping built environment customers do here at Salesforce. Our expertise extends way past CRM; we’re actually in the business of digital transformation. And that’s something which the industry needs to ‘build’ on its traditions and catch up with consumer expectations. We can provide the total visibility that’s needed to build intelligently and sustainably and then create a seamless service which delights customers. The whole industry needs to move faster. Break out of the old mindset and adopt a new and digital one. That’s how you – and forgive the cliché, but I can’t resist it - can lay the firm digital foundations for the future.
If you’d like to discuss my views, please contact me - here