For the longest time, the adoption rate for technology within the Construction Industry was cloaked with ambiguity and a certain level of resistance. This industry was not alone in that method of operation. Let’s be honest, adopting technology in any way that will make an impact is difficult. It is expensive, disruptive, and requires buy-in from the whole organization to be of any significant use. However, those tides are changing.
I recently took part in a presentation for the AGC of St. Louis members. The topic of conversation was Cyber Security. Security is probably the most important area of IT but is met with the highest number of glazed over expressions and neglectful actions. I have to admit that I was a bit pessimistic when asked to speak to high-ranking construction professionals about Cyber Security. The typical presentation around this subject goes something like this.
- 30-minute presentation filled with unattractive content that doesn’t hit home for the majority.
- 15-20 minutes of Q&A that is prompted by myself and the other presenters probing for opinions and questions.
- 5 solid minutes of the presenters waiting around afterward for folks to stop by and ask great questions which they were too shy or embarrassed to ask during the Q&A session.
- Departure from the venue while wondering if it was worth it to anyone that was in attendance.
For someone who has been speaking about IT and security for over a decade, this was the standard scenario, in one form or another. But I have been feeling a shift, and our clients are feeling it too.
The AGC of St. Louis members meeting in January was a big success in my mind. Not because we got a ton of client leads, or because I booked another speaking engagement off of it, or even because someone decided to look into a tool or program that we recommended. It had everything to do with the crowd engagement. The members in attendance were, dare I say, excited. Here is a quick snippet of how this particular speaking engagement went.
- 45-minute presentation which was supposed to be 30. The questions and requests for more detail or clarification caused us to run over.
- 20-30 minutes of great questions, scenario discussions, and comments.
- 20-30 minutes of side-bar conversations with very specific questions and strategic recommendations.
After the presentation, I tried to figure out what was changing. This was not the only difference I have felt over the past 12-18 months, but it really hit me on this night. Perhaps it was the audience. Perhaps it was the ever-looming threat of security incidents, either internal or malicious.
Whatever the reason, it is proof that an industry that has been historically slower to adopt technology, is catching up. The cost of construction is changing. Profit margin are tighter. Competition is more prominent now than ever before. The winners in the industry realize that in order to move the needle or efficiency, productivity, and ultimately profitability, you need technology.
I am excited to see where the next few years take us. What is on the horizon? No matter the conduit used, the result will be the same. The winners will evolve and continue to adopt. The impact made by using technology will be felt in the office, in the field and in the pocket of those organizations.
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