Heavy Civil Construction: When Is the Best Time to Adopt New Software? It’s Not What You Think!

Heavy Civil Construction: When Is the Best Time to Adopt New Software? It’s Not What You Think!
© Vizzn Inc.

There are some amazing software tools for heavy civil that are newly available on the market today. Many of these products can drastically improve your company’s performance in everything from estimating to quality control. That being said, the success of any new software comes down to how well it was adopted by your team. The successful adoption of software requires overcoming these three truisms: People hate change, people are suspicious of change, and people find change hard.

With these truisms in mind, you will increase your odds of success if you pay special attention to your timing and messaging. A software implementation strategy made without considering these two cornerstones is destined for failure.

The timing of new software is most successful when it resonates with where your team is at physiologically at that time. In other words, meet your team where they are at. As a general rule, where your team is at psychologically will correspond to their personal economic health which is likely an extension of your company’s health.

For clarification, in a good market your team is likely getting overtime and bonuses that are healthy; In those times of abundance, people’s priorities shift to more altruistic endeavors like saving the environment, bettering their education, and improving safety. On the other extreme, when the market is soft, your team has less overtime, bonuses dry up, and they may be struggling to make mortgage payments or even put food on their tables. Their priorities will revert to more basic physiological fundamentals like ensuring food, clothing, and shelter.

It all comes back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We all move up and down this hierarchy as our circumstances in life change so aligning the timing of adopting new software with where your team is at can improve your odds of a successful implementation.

A leader can look disconnected if they try to implement environmental initiatives when the market is so painfully slow. Few will care about the environment if they are struggling financially. In downward market cycles, you will often have more success implementing software that is focused on improving profitability, improving efficiency, lowering costs, and generating additional revenue.

On the other end of the economic spectrum, in what we call “boom times”, implementing software that focuses on cost reduction can look greedy. Software products that resonate in this market align with self-actualization and self-improvement. Consider software that boosts safety, improves the environment, improves education, and drives employee engagement. Also, easy implementors in this market are products that are fun and easy to implement. Examples of fun products are Interactive Drawings for Estimating or Adopting Drones for Dirt Takeoffs.

A normal market is your most flexible implementation horizon for a wider variety of products. This is the market to attack those larger endeavors related to productivity enhancements like automating your dispatch and scheduling, updating your bidding software, job costing software, ERPs, CRMs, and your accounting software.

Although these are general rules, with strong authentic messaging a leader can extend these product zones. For example, when the market is frothy you can justify software that will reduce costs on the argument “…we need to be a low-cost provider so when the market slows down, we can continue to be competitive and keep everyone employed”. Or, when the market is down, justify environmental software on the merit that it will attract a new customer. Authentic messaging is always a key part of successful software adoption but is even more important when attempting to overcome poor timing.

Check out the diagram below for a more comprehensive list of products and optimal timing:

Software to adopt in these market conditions …
Strong MarketFun Software: (like how you felt when you got your first iPhone)
Examples: Interactive Drawings for Estimating, Interactive Drawings for Construction, Drone Take-Off Software, and Equipment GPS
Altruistic Software: Environmental, Safety, Education and Employee Engagement, and Quality Control
Normalized MarketProductivity Enhancing Software Related to: Dispatch and Scheduling, Job Costing, Project Management, Fleet Management, Heavy Haul Optimization, Bidding, ERPs, CRMs, Inventory Management, Fueling, Safety, and Accounting.
Down MarketEfficiency and Revenue Generating Software: Identification of Extra Billings, Customer Relationships (CRM), Job Site Design, and Interactive Drawings for Day-to-Day Construction.

Good luck and be sure to keep innovating!

This article has been brought to you by Vizzn Inc., the leader in innovative software solutions for the construction industry.