Over the last several years, companies across all industries have been investing in digital transformation initiatives. In large part, these initiatives involve moving paper-based and manual processes over to the digital world, bringing efficiency and automation to workflows that have largely stayed the same for decades.
For the most part, the construction industry has been slower to adapt than its counterparts in other sectors. Unfortunately for the industry, the time is riper than ever for transformation to occur. One McKinsey report, for example, found that, on average, large construction projects take 20 percent longer to finish and run up to 80 percent over budget.
The good news is that while the construction industry may have taken more time to digitize workflows, a number of new opportunities are emerging to push construction companies in a more modern direction. In fact, several new digital technological solutions have emerged in recent years to optimize construction processes, increase compliance, improve health and safety, drive efficiency and bolster the bottom line.
Digital Technologies Making an Impact on Data Center Construction
From unlocking the power of the cloud and increasing safety, to streamlining jobsite workflows, improving project management and increasing speed with automation, there’s no shortage of ways digital tools are transforming data center construction.
1. Migrating to the cloud to reduce computing infrastructure costs
It used to be that if a company needed its own servers, it would have no choice but to build and maintain its own data centers on premises. In recent years, that’s all changed.
Now, more companies are opting to leverage the power of the cloud and take advantage of data center colocation, which is the process of renting out rack space in a physical data center that you don’t have to manage yourself.
At the same time, other smaller companies are opting to take advantage of advanced infrastructure from providers like Amazon Web Services, Azure and Google Cloud Platform, becoming cloud-native shops that spin servers up and down as their needs change. Once again, companies that go this route don’t have to manage physical servers or data centers on their own, which can translate into considerable cost savings.
2. Leveraging machine learning to improve safety
Safety is a major concern at every construction site. One bad accident can have a crippling effect on a project’s timeline and budget—while endangering workers.
To this end, construction companies are looking toward digital tools to improve safety at worksites around the world.
For example, the project-management time-lapse software, Evercam, uses machine learning to better understand the behaviors of workers at building sites. Based on that information, the company hopes to be able to identify situations that are hazardous and figure out how to prevent those situations from materializing.
3. No-code development and automation to streamline workflows
If a construction company wanted to use technology to improve workflows in the past, it generally had to settle for an out-of-the-box solution that shipped with whatever features came with it. In other words, these companies had to adjust their own workflows to adapt to the proprietary solution—instead of adapting the solution to meet their needs.
Due to the recent innovation in this area, this all is changing.
For example, thanks to the rise of no-code development platforms, more construction companies are creating applications designed specifically to streamline their own workflows. All of a sudden, paper-based processes that took forever—like project management, reporting and payroll—are done electronically in an instant.
On the other end of the spectrum, companies like Zutec and Flowforma are creating proprietary digital solutions that bring automation to a number of different construction processes.
During recent projects, Zutec was able to eliminate over 100,000 paper-based inspections while reducing processing time by 81 percent. Flowforma was also able to automate 76 processes, which led to the savings of nearly 4,000 working hours and $95,000.
Leverage These Technologies for Better, More Efficient Construction Projects
Recall the McKinsey report referenced at the beginning of this article: Most large construction projects run 20 percent longer than expected and cost 80 percent more than budgeted. In the age of COVID-19, those timelines and budgets might inflate even more using the old-fashioned approach to construction.
Few companies have those valuable resources to waste. And even if your company does, that time and money could obviously be put to better use.
The good news is that by taking advantage of the technologies outlined above, your business can increase the efficiency, speed and quality of your construction projects. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean your own team has to necessarily do anything differently. You can get the same results by working with a construction partner that is leveraging these modern tools and doing great work because of it.
For more information on how technology is transforming the construction industry and what the future of the industry looks like, check out our new report, The State of the Construction Industry in the New Decade.