While the construction industry may have taken a bit of a hit in 2008 and 2009, the industry has rebounded in a truly short period of time. Now that contractors and builders have settled into a certain level of comfort with their growth, 2016 is going to be a year of true innovation and application of technology to improve the customer and employee experience. In the past, we’ve done trends articles for construction trends in 2014 and 2015. While the majority of those predictions can still apply to the changing technology landscape in 2016, as the owner or manager of a construction organization – you want to know what’s next. If you’re looking for guidance on where technology for construction companies is going in 2016, look no further. Here are some of our predictions for how construction technology trends in 2016 are going to evolve:
Hosted apps for every department.
In 2015 we did a rundown of trends and mentioned that customized applications rather than piecemeal, boxed software solutions would be making their debut throughout the year. While many construction and manufacturing organizations have already begun to turn the wheels on customizing their software for their workflows to increase efficiency, hosted applications are where we see construction software going in 2016. With so many companies adopting smartphone, tablet and BYOD cultures, it’s a no-brainer that a more mobile workforce should operate on apps.
While the central platform processes everything on the back end, recalls a central database and provides that information to those that need it, hosted applications will provide each department with a separate dashboard view that isolates their job functions and filters out additional noise that might otherwise be found in a completely customized solution. This allows for improved efficiency, increased security and customizable permissions. Hosted applications are going to take the mobile workforce to the next level of productivity and allow them to deliver efficient client and customer services in 2016 on your behalf.
Increased network and device security.
We’ve been saying for some time that an acceptable use policy for BYOD and improved security are crucial coming into 2016. If you haven’t heard: cyber attacks are evolving. Older routers and firewalls aren’t reading the now-encrypted viruses and malware that are coming through and are far less effective against threats. And for some organizations, BYOD is being horribly mismanaged and has become a nightmare, with data walking out the door and being lost along the way. All of the technology present in your organization needs to protect your data. Policies need to be in place to ensure that BYOD and your mobile workface are as careful as possible in every interaction they have with your company data on personal and company-issued devices. Here are just a few security items we think are going to become more prevalent in 2016:
- Remote wipe on personal devices used for work.
- Two-Factor Authentication for user login.
- More comprehensive Employee IT Security Training.
- Increased action to avoid e-mail phishing attacks.
- Social Media Security policies
A huge focus on customer experience.
According to our IT Spending in 2016 infographic, 89% of business leaders believe that customer experience will be their primary basis for competition in 2016. In an effort to gain an edge beyond your competition, you need to be investing in customer experience in 2016. This means integrating technology that isn’t directly based on reactive replacement of dated technology and a focus on tools and platforms that reward your customer with the information they seek. Small changes like increasing bandwidth for employees to gain faster access to client records on their behalf, customer portals, and a more interactive initial sales experience – these are things that construction organizations need to be paying attention to in 2016.
2016 is going to be a year of refining existing technology and focusing on increased security. We still firmly believe that this should be done in partnership with an outsourced consultant, strategy manager or managed services provider. While you may be an industry veteran, when it comes to your technology, that improvement is best left to an individual or company with the right expertise. If you’re looking to evolve your construction or manufacturing business in 2016, we think these areas are a great place to start.