With Australia's construction industry booming, technology is vitally important to its success. As more funds are being allocated to the industry, a major role of construction tech is now to ensure that projects run on time and within budget. But investment in technology doesn't come cheap and construction companies need to plan ahead to ensure that technology is agile and able to grow with businesses.
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Tech that grows with you

One of the biggest struggles that Australian builders face is the dynamic nature of the industry. With more and more funds being allocated to massive infrastructure projects, like Westconnex in NSW and the CityLink widening project in Victoria, it's more important than ever that builders choose the best possible construction technology to set themselves up for success. Project managers need to invest in technological platforms that are adaptable and able to grow as technology advances and new challenges arise.

Technological change is inevitable and as a result, builders need to invest in platforms that can change and evolve with them as they adapt to new trends and demands. This means that businesses should embrace platforms that can be modified so they don't just work today, but also work five years down the track.

Key decision makers at construction companies need to be plugged into innovation and recognise the importance of investing in what the tech will evolve into, rather than what is means to the world today.

The problem with legacy systems

Legacy systems present an interesting conundrum to technology decision makers in organisations. For many businesses, the process of maintaining and upgrading old systems is a massive and difficult challenge. In order for construction businesses to keep up with competitors, upgrading from legacy systems should be a priority.

Continuous technological change is inevitable and naturally weakens the business value of legacy systems. These systems have been developed over the years through huge investments and construction businesses are now left with the challenge of modernising at low costs whilst maintaining functionality.

Legacy systems can be a massive drain on resources as ongoing effort is required in order to maintain the software. Maintenance costs in large enterprises are substantial and it's a battle for organisations to manage complex upgrades and customisation whilst attempting to meet current business requirements.

Across industries, failing to understand the importance of investing in technology for the future can have severe impacts on an organisation. The recent IT failure experienced by British Airways earlier this year was a direct example of what can happen when a legacy system that's been in place for years, crashes. The airline experienced far-reaching computer outages which disrupted hundreds of services, grounding flights around the world and causing the airline a significant financial loss.

Open source = agility

Openness is key to ensuring that technology grows with businesses, as well as delivering projects on time and within budget. The use of open-source software enables businesses to update the product on the fly ensuring an agile tech solution that grows with an organisation's needs.

Construction tech like Procore has the capability to adapt according to user needs through maintaining a clear line of communication with customers. This creates a system that changes with customers' shifting priorities and demands. With large scale, disruptive projects taking years to complete, such as Sydney's George Street Light Rail, technological adaptability is essential to ensuring that businesses aren't left with legacy systems that don't fit the bill or no longer increase efficiencies. Encouraging openness between the technology developer and the user means that the technology's capabilities will grow as new customer needs develop.

Construction management technology is not about finding easy ways to cut corners, but rather about facilitating the smoother management of projects. By encouraging investment in agile construction tech platforms that grow with projects themselves, both money and time can be saved in the long run as the technology adapts.

Milton Walters is  VP of Marketing APAC at Procore.