Would you believe the construction industry is at the forefront of implementing cutting-edge technology? It’s true, says Steven Capper, CIO of Royal BAM Group (pictured at right), who will talk about how his company leverages emerging tech—and how other customers should do the same—at CompTIA’s 2019 Member and Partner Conference, held 7-8 October in London.
Before he takes the stage, we asked Capper to explain why emerging tech is so important to his company and what solution providers need to do. Here are his answers:
Why do businesses struggle with adopting new tech trends?
Adoption and communication are often behind many technology solutions that fail in the businesses I have worked. People are simply not aware of the tools available, what they do and how to apply/adopt them. Really understanding the problem and how a specific solution can help or having the vision to look at how something can be automated. Data drives decisions, automation and repeatable processes drive efficiencies.
What are some of the challenges businesses are facing regarding adopting new tech trends?
There are a number of answers here:
- It simply could be tied to budget constraints
- There’s a lack of understanding the true value of adopting a specific solution
- There’s a lack of vision and a plan of where you want to grow your business
But most important of all, the adoption of new trends and tools can be improved massively by the use of effective communication. And I don’t mean just sending emails, I mean real communication targeted at the end user. I’ve seen many times great solutions and tools offered to users, but explained from the perspective of the IT team, which can be either too technical or more focused on what’s in it for us than what’s in it for them. To communicate effectively, it’s essential to really know your end user and match your messages to their needs and understanding. You then need to use the right communication tools/channels to reach your audience. If they don’t understand the ‘why’, they never buy into the ‘what’.
How important is it for solution providers to look at new technologies for their business?
The world is changing at a rapid pace, many technologies have advanced at such a pace that its hard to stay current. We all know about Kodak, Blockbuster or how online shopping is killing the high street. Its very easy to bury your head in the sand and hope your business survives.
You have to really look at how you can evolve. How can artificial intelligence (AI) for example help your business? How can you reuse the data you have to give you a competitive advantage? How do you automate a manual process? How can you take it one stage further and monetize it?
Ultimately, you have to constantly innovate. Surprisingly, the answer might be right under your nose. Listen to the people within your company who may well have that idea you can take forward and make into a success story. Don’t rule out forming a partnership to drive things forward. Look at competing technologies that may help drive your business forward. Ensure you focus on an experience for your customer.
Why do many solution providers struggle to succeed selling new technologies?
In my opinion many people think a technology or tool is the answer to everything and completely miss the adoption piece. This is critical to the success of any solution. We never see our solution providers focus heavily on adoption.
The key thing is to first understand the problem and ensure any solution is the answer to 90% of what your requirements are. All too often someone gets taken in by the bright, shiny lights of a new solution and still end up exactly where they were. You have to first understand the problem you are trying to fix. All too often I see people come with what they believe is the answer without knowing what the problem is.
What’s the first thing solution providers need to do?
Start to really understand the problems placed by companies and clients and understand how they can help find the solution to the issue. I would start with a global challenge in the format of a Dragons’ Den or Shark Tank. The solutions are often in the heads of the people facing the actual problem.
How do solution providers get their own sales/marketing/tech teams to buy into new technologies?
I would say they need to eat their own dog food and ensure they are able to demonstrate how these things are of benefit to the company they are selling into.
Any closing thoughts on adopting emerging technologies?
Open your mind to other areas outside your particular industry. We are seeing so many threats from markets that are not necessarily associated with construction. For example, we see mortgage companies looking to build houses in order to sell other services. We see the big software companies actively looking to get into offsite manufacturing as another example. I think it’s important not to ignore it, embrace the change and participate, even if that becomes a partnership with your biggest competitor.