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Why mobile technology is needed to attract construction talent and customers

1/16/2014 at 10:18 am by

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 80 million people born between 1979 and 1999 (referred to as “millenials”) will make up 36 percent of the workforce in 2014 and 46 percent by 2020. What does this mean for the construction industry?

This new generation of digital natives – the first to grow up with computers in their homes – has incorporated personal handheld devices and the freedoms they provide into their personal lives.  As they begin to enter the construction workforce, they are becoming instrumental in the way contractors view and use technology. They also expect the same level of mobile technology to be available in their jobs as they have in their personal lives—an important consideration for construction companies wanting to attract and retain talented workers.

Mobile technology has allowed communication to be much more collaborative as today’s construction professionals use smart phones and tablets to access cloud-based services that help them improve on-the-job decision making and overall project performance. This will continue to be evident as millenials who enter the workforce push for an even higher level of information transparency and collaboration.

Millenials are mobile. They want flexible schedules and are most comfortable when they can work anytime and anywhere. They tend to put in more hours overall and effortlessly blend their personal and work lives. Mobile devices are always within arms’ reach, making it easier for them to handle project management, scheduling, punchlists, time tracking, and other tasks real time while outside of the office.

Your millenial customers will also demand a mobile experience, so it’s important to not only focus on improving internal processes and technologies, but on delivering information to  owners when they want it, the way they want it. Providing mobile access so customers can see schedules, sign change order requests, select design options, and view project updates and photos will become the norm in the future.

How are construction companies responding to these changes? In a 2013 Construction IT survey conducted by Sage, 39% of construction contractors planned to increase their use of tablets and 31% planned to increase their use of smartphones in 2013 alone. Given the continuing advances in smart devices and construction-related cloud apps, this growth is anticipated to continue in the industry.

Today’s construction business software will also need to keep pace, providing new solutions for a highly mobile workforce and the millenials that are the next generation of construction workers.

About the Author

Jon Witty is VP and General Manager for Sage Construction and Real Estate. A former Microsoft executive with more than 25 years experience in the technology and ERP markets, including construction and project management, Jon is responsible for driving Sage’s business strategy and initiatives in the construction and real estate market. Connect with Jon on LinkedIn.

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