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5 Key Takeaways from the JBKnowledge 2018 Construction Technology Report

JBKnowledge released their 2018 Construction Technology Report today, and if you’re anything like us, you downloaded it right away.

Like years past, this edition contains tons of interesting revelations — but a few really struck us as key.

Below are five crucial facts revealed in the report that we think everyone in architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) needs to know.

1. Technology Spending Hasn’t Changed

JBKnowledge noted that “companies are spending nearly the same percentage of revenue on technology as 2017.”

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. As Chaz Ross-Munro — implementation specialist at Cosential and former AEC business development and marketing professional of 12 years — noted, the AEC industry is “skeptical of change and new technology.”

Still, we can’t see this trend lasting for much longer.

According to CONTRACTOR magazine, “74 percent of contractors anticipate using technologies like drones, equipment tagging, wearables and virtual reality in the next three years.”

And, of course, the fact that firms are spending the same percentage of revenue on technology doesn’t mean they aren’t increasing their total technology spend. Many firms grew in 2018, meaning they had additional revenue to put toward technology.

Investing in one solution could even open the door for additional investment in other solutions. According to Procore, “With savings through elimination of design mistakes and rework, streamlined workflows and better communication, contractors have extra money to invest in their IT departments. That boon should accelerate adoption of new technologies.”

In any case, firms that invest in technology now give themselves a strategic advantage over competing firms by improving efficiency and increasing insight.

2. Many Users Need Technology Training

JBKnowledge’s report stated that “half of survey respondents report that their technology training is adequate, while half feel their training is only slightly better than receiving a log-in.”

While we generally consider ourselves a glass-half-full kind of company, those aren’t numbers anyone should be proud of.

In an article titled Technology and Training: Why Teaching Employees How to Use Tools is so Important, TalentCulture noted that “technology is changing as fast as our industries, leaving companies in a two-fold struggle: how to keep employees current on company software, and how to keep software current — or better yet, innovating — to meet customers’ evolving (i.e. growing) demands.”

The article goes on to explain that “now more than ever, companies need to invest in training that has a true ROI.”

3. Use of Mobile Technology is Rising

While AEC firms aren’t spending a higher percentage of their revenue on technology, the 2018 Construction Technology Report did note that “mobile usage and dependency continues to grow on the jobsite and in the office.”

Mobile technology allows technical staff to access project management software while overseeing construction and empowers business developers to capture lead and contact information while away from the office.

As millennials — a group poised to make up almost 75 percent of the workforce by 2025 — increase their presence within AEC firms, we expect this trend to continue. (According to Pepperdine, 53 percent of millennials said they would rather lose their sense of smell than their digital devices.)

But millennials aren’t the only demographic AEC firms need to worry about. Generation Z is also poised to disrupt the workforce — making up a population of 61 million in the U.S., according to CNBC — and those who hope generation Z is less technology-reliant are in for a rude awakening.

According to Forbes, “Millennials have long been described as digital natives, but they actually grew up in a world that was still full of landlines and dial-up internet. They’re used to progress taking time and are just as confused by some of the newest apps as baby boomers are. Gen Z, on the other hand, has been living in a world of smartphones and free Wi-Fi for as long as they can remember.”

And while generation Z compares to millennials in terms of their love for technology, they have a much stronger desire for mobile accessibility.

As detailed in a separate Forbes article, “The workplace needs to change to accommodate the fact that members of Gen Z expect that information will be made available to them and consumable through the small screens of Apple and Android devices and may make them more effective and efficient in their work.”

4. Use of Spreadsheets is Declining

One of our favorite things to read in JBKnowledge’s report was that “all categories of workflows dependent on spreadsheets have dropped in 2018.”

That’s great news.

While spreadsheets can be used to accomplish impressive feats (like putting together this free Go/No Go tool), when used incorrectly, they can cause immense frustration — as Travis Wilson, director of marketing at Layton Construction, can attest.

“We were using this constantly growing spreadsheet to try and keep track of all the data we had, but over time, it just became overwhelming,” Travis said. “We were constantly saying to ourselves, ‘There’s got to be a better way.’”

Fortunately, following the trend noted in the 2018 Construction Technology Report, Travis and his team no longer rely on spreadsheets to track and manage their data. Instead they use Cosential — the Client Relationship Management (CRM) and Proposal Writing tool purpose-built for AEC.

“We’re finding the information we need much quicker,” Travis explained. “We just search in Cosential, and it’s there. It saves considerable time by putting often-needed information right at our team’s fingertips.”

5. Cosential Leads the AEC CRM Market

According to the 2018 Construction Technology Report, “Cosential has remained on top for a second year, and widened the margin, as the preferred CRM software.”

Aww, shucks. We like you guys, too.

In all seriousness, after nearly 20 years of exclusively serving AEC firms, we’re proud to offer the number one CRM on the market.

Want to find out if Cosential is right for your firm?

Request a demonstration to see first-hand how Cosential can help you:

  • Track and manage sales data in a central location.
  • Forecast revenue, measure backlog and improve your hit rate.
  • Quickly generate winning bids, proposals and resumes.