How construction tech is disrupting the APAC market

In the Asian-Pacific (APAC) construction industry, the availability, functionality and affordability of technology and IT are constantly improving. Software applications and devices have already proven to benefit large-scale building and infrastructure projects.

However, many construction companies spend just a tiny fraction of their budgets investing in a digital future; and, while industry professionals acknowledge that adopting tech and IT can have huge benefits to the bottom line, many still resist committing time and money to implement these new technologies.

The APAC construction industry is primed for change, and companies that make the right investments now will become industry leaders in the near-term future. In fact, even simple improvements to content management and workflow can provide a competitive advantage for companies that no human effort can match.

<<< Learn how digitisation can help you gain a competitive advantage by reading our white paper, Building the Future: Digital Disruption in the Construction Industry. >>>

Several factors are driving a need for construction organisations to maintain focus on continued growth. Take, for instance, the sheer volume of potential business.

As of December 2017, new residential construction alone was worth $28 billion to the Australian economy, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Additionally, in March this year, the Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand (SCCANZ) began a “Digital Built Australia” campaign to push the construction sector toward greater productivity by adopting tools like building information modelling (BIM) and the Internet of Things.

The industry across Southeast Asia is flourishing as well. In fact, the estimated value of the region’s construction market will exceed $1 trillion by 2030, as stated by Global Construction 2030, a study of the construction and engineering sector published by Global Construction and Oxford Economics.

Experts say: The future is digital

Plenty of research supports the notion that digitisation and connectedness will change the way construction firms work, while simultaneously benefiting their bottom lines. Here are just a few examples:

  • “Wherever new technologies have properly permeated this fragmented industry, the outlook is an almost 20 percent reduction in total lifecycle costs of a project, as well as substantial improvements in completion time, quality and safety,” according to the World Economic Forum.
  • For non-residential construction, “full-scale digitalisation will lead to huge annual global cost savings”—in the order of $0.7 trillion to $1.2 trillion (13 – 21 percent) in the design, engineering and construction phases; and $0.3 trillion to $0.5 trillion (10 – 17 percent) in the operations phase, as reported by The Boston Consulting Group.
  • A study by the McKinsey Global Institute is even more convincing, declaring the construction sector one of the world’s least efficient sectors. While other sectors have increased global labour-productivity growth by 3 – 4 percent annually over the last 20 years, construction has averaged just 1 percent.

The good news is, by establishing best practices such as technology adoptions and IT improvements, the industry can improve productivity by up to 50 percent, delivering a staggering US $1.6 trillion profit windfall.

Indeed, shifting toward a digital future—and an acceptance of the disruption it brings—must be undertaken by the construction industry if it hopes to remain efficient, modern and profitable.

Digitise now with ECM

The buzz surrounding cutting-edge innovations like drones, augmented reality, smart glasses and 3D printing is well deserved, and early applications in the construction industry have had a noticeable impact.

However, many organisations can start with a much smaller step—albeit one that reaps major benefits from the first day of implementation: a scalable enterprise content management (ECM) system.

One common pain point in construction is that project stakeholders are widely dispersed and need to communicate frequently, because any misalignment has the potential to increase timelines and costs. Investing in a solution that digitises paperwork, automates workflow and promotes digital collaboration will enable efficiencies across organisations.

A full-scale ECM platform like OnBase by Hyland can also help with smart management of records, document capture, seamless integration with other back-office systems and syncing and sharing offline and online files. In addition to using the platform as a file repository with the ability to record all decisions made about content, ECM systems help monitor contractor progress; assist in regulatory compliance; and automate workflows for accounts payable, HR and order management.

Construction tech is advancing rapidly. There are now hundreds of tools for use across the entire construction project lifecycle that your organisation can integrate into daily work. A new generation of builders is entering the workforce, and tech-savvy clients and project owners increasingly believe that employing technology adds value overall.

Developers must commit to innovation if they want to stay on the cutting edge. Even if it requires altering fundamental aspects of organisational structure, culture and IT systems, construction technology has become more than an expense, but rather a value-add—even a revenue-generating item that pays for itself—which is increasingly important in a competitive sector playing for high stakes.

For more tips on how to digitise now, read our white paper, Building the Future: Digital Disruption in the Construction Industry.

Eugene Chng

Eugene Chng

Eugene Chng is Hyland’s Director of Regional Sales for the APAC region. In this role for the last four years, Eugene has been the driving force behind the organisation’s considerable growth in the region, including implementation of the local professional services team, expansion of its partner and sales network and dynamic growth of its customer base throughout the region. Eugene’s career in the technology sector is extensive, having worked with global IT organisations such as EMC and IBM prior to Hyland. His vast experience and knowledge of the sector have led Eugene to become a regional thought leader for ECM and content services categories.

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