16B — February 28 - March 12, 2020 — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


O wners , D evelopers & M anagers

he question of why com- mercial real estate con- struction contractors Times are Changing – Today’s Implementations are Easier Than Ever Before Technology Adoption: Is it Worth the Pain? T Layering an to change orders, time sheets and blueprints from just about any mobile device or PC.

Construction, found that 90% of the contractors surveyed “do not specifically budget for innovation,” although nearly all said “they’d like to be able to digitally collect and analyze risk data,” Construction Dive reported. So why does the industry continue to lag behind others when it comes to moving for- ward with new tech solutions? Unfortunately, far too many organizations remember the costly, painful implementations of yesterday. Anyone involved in the process will recall the unpleasant and oftentimes traumatic conversion of legacy

technologies, and long periods of downtime that accompanied their installation. Add to that the overall reluctance of staff and, quite simply, the pain relieved by the new technology just didn’t stack up to the pain caused by making a switch. However, timeshave changed. First, today’s platforms enable a layered approach to imple- mentation, where the end user can be up and running core functionality quickly. Second, the people actually using the product are weighing in during the decision-making process. Let’s take a look at these two key shifts.

implementation strategy Once an all-or-none propo- sition, moving to a new ERP system today can be done in stages. Almost like a reverse onion, the best plans start with the formation of a platform that addresses the most painful challenges and then proceeds with the staged implementa- tion of features that continually build upon core competencies and enable ongoing innovations in the field or office. Successful conversions first involve identifying the exist- ing system’s most significant deficiencies and then layering the introduction of components over a three-, six- or nine- month period. The conversion of historical accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) information from legacy sys- tems to today’s high-end ERP solutions often offers the ideal launch point since the entire process, including training and validations, can normally be achieved in four to six weeks. Other systemic layers can then be built into the solution over the ensuing months. Additionally, companies look- ing to select and implement best-in-class services and appli- cations from different providers in a synchronized manner now can layer data from multiple, integrated applications that can easily share enterprise data, while easily scaling re- sources up or down based on growth or changing business needs. This is achieved through the “stacking” of programs for customer resource manage- ment, property and jobmanage- ment, estimating, budgeting and valuation, AP processing, document management capa- bilities, and more. Setting the tone with key member buy-in “User acceptance” is always one of the most difficult chal- lenges to overcome when imple- menting a new ERP solution, despite the promised benefits and efficiency upgrades. Quite frankly, few like change, es- pecially when it disrupts ac- cepted, workable practices and accompanies any measure of downtime or new training procedures. Most users do not enjoy being forced to move from their comfort zones after years of trial and error with present systems. Where past conversions were performed through a downward continued on page 17B

and develop- ers should be adopting ad- vanced, user- friendly tech- nologies and enterprise re- source plan- ning (ERP) s y s t ems i s

Studies show the interest is there. According to FMI, 55% of engineering and con- struction firms reported they were “actively seeking new technology solutions” in 2018, while also using technology to more strategically manage organizational risks in areas like resource allocation, pro- ductivity and efficiency, safety, financials, design, and infor- mation security. Yet Dodge Data & Analytics in its 2019 study Using Technology to Improve Risk Management in

Michael Mullin

easy to answer. Today’s robust platforms provide employees companywide with “anytime, anywhere” information ranging from budgeting detail, permits, invoices and billing statements,

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