The State of Digital Transformation
for Construction Owners

Breaking Down Innovation, Trends and Technology Adoption Across Enterprise Organizations Today

Based on the findings in the Dodge SmartMarket Brief: Optimizing Construction Technology for Owners

Large owner organizations (those generating a minimum of $100M in annual construction revenue) are increasingly deploying a wide range of construction technology solutions to digitally enable their key project processes. In partnership with Dodge Construction Network, an industry-leading source of information across the commercial construction ecosystem, Avicado surveyed over 100 large owners to get a read on the state of Digital Transformation today.

In this white paper, we’ll break down eight key business areas where various technology solutions are currently doing the most heavy lifting. Using data, we’ll also assess how far along construction owners are in their Digital Transformation journeys—and which areas have the most potential for continued innovation and improvement.

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What is Digital Transformation and Where are We Now?

Most construction owners are either already using or are actively considering technology for their key processes. In this white paper, we’re defining “Digital Transformation” as the broader trend within the construction industry toward embracing and implementing technology solutions throughout their project lifecycles.

On average, 58% of owners currently use a technology solution to enable key project or program processes. But that number is growing: Among those not currently using a technology solution for any process, an average of 66% report they are actively considering adoption.

Among those already using technology in their program processes, an average of 61% of owners deploy a commercial solution, purpose-built for the process. This is nearly equally divided between single-purpose point solutions (e.g. Primavera P6 for scheduling, etc.) and broader, multi-functional platforms (e.g. e-Builder, Procore, PMWeb, etc.). 

Only about 27% of owners are “highly engaged,” meaning they’re using technology to manage six or more of the eight key business processes. The largest proportion (51%) use technology to manage four or five of them. The remaining 22% are still at an early stage of their digital transformation (using three or fewer processes).

Larger organizations and those with bigger typical project sizes reported deeper engagement with their technologies. 

Among the owner organizations surveyed with 200 or more employees, 58% said they use technology for five or more of the eight processes studied. This contrasts sharply with the findings among the smaller organizations, where only 34% reported that depth of engagement.

Similarly, 71% of owners whose typical project size exceeds $500M use technology for five or more processes compared with just 46% who typically do smaller projects.

When it comes to experience, an average of 51% of owners currently using technology have been deploying it at their organizations for three years or less.

Which Key Processes are Benefiting Most from Construction Technology Solutions?

Every owner organization is unique, and each one is at a different stage in its digital journey. In this section of the white paper, we’re breaking down owners’ use of technology for eight key business processes, looking specifically at metrics on adoption, engagement and experience. We’ll also review the most common types of technology that owners are using for these key processes.

Key Processes Utilizing Technology 

Established Processes

Portfolio/Project Planning: this is the most widely enabled process (84% currently use it), yet it has the greatest percentage of relatively new users (65% have less than three years’ experience). This suggests it is fast-growing among owners. 

Cost/budget management: this process has both high current usage (82%) and the most seasoned users (59% with four or more years’ experience). 

Contract / PO Management:

Maturing Processes

Document management: this process is widely enabled (68%) but still fairly young, with a large percentage of new users (51% have three years’ or fewer experience). 

Bid Management:

Emerging Processes

Reporting/Performance Analysis:

Scheduling: The largest percentage of owners (43%) are actively considering adopting technology for this type of process, though it is still emerging (only 37% of owners currently use technology for this process). 

Close Out/Handover:

Primary Technology Solution Types

Commercial Platform/PMIS 

A commercial product that provides multiple functions, often known as a project management information system, or PMIS (e.g., e-Builder, Kahua, Procore, Autodesk Construction Cloud, PMWeb, Aurigo, Oracle Unifier, etc.)

Point Solution

A commercial product purpose-built to provide a single function (e.g., Primavera P6 for scheduling, etc.)

Microsoft 365 Solution

For example, SharePoint, Power Apps, Power, Automate, etc.

Internally Developed

Software internally developed at the owner organization.

Customized Generic

General-purpose software (e.g., Excel) customized for a specific function by the owner organization.

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Key Benefits & Learnings from Teams Further Along in Their Digital Transformations

Owners’ experiences mostly meet expectations for time to implement and resources to manage their PMIS.

Owners reporting PMIS as their primary solution for any process were asked about their experiences with implementing and managing the solution. Over half say actual requirements aligned with their expectations. Encouragingly, an average of 27% say requirements were less than they expected compared with only 18% who characterize them as greater than expected.

Most owners use their PMIS for only one process.

Platform/PMIS solutions are intended to support multiple functions, yet 60% of current users only deploy it for one process. While usage may expand as owners become more familiar with PMIS capabilities, this study also reveals concerns among owners about platform functionality trade-offs compared with single-purpose solutions.

Most point solution users are deploying multiple products.

Among those using a point solution for any process, an average of 88% say multiple ones are deployed for it within their organizations. This suggests an opportunity for increased efficiency by eliminating redundancies.

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How to Embark on a Digital Transformation at Your Company

While construction technology has major benefits such as cost-savings, improved efficiency, and more, it’s not as simple as buying the technology and hoping all of the pieces fall into place. In addition to the technology itself. you must also consider your people and processes – all 3 elements need to be in sync in order to have a successful digital transformation.

Here are some simple steps that you can follow to get ready for your digital transformation journey:

  1. Make a plan for technology adoption, training, and implementation.
  2. Evaluate cost and effort needed not only for the technology, but for the implementation across your business.
  3. Assess current and future risks you might encounter and how you plan to mitigate and manage them.
  4. Get input from your stakeholders to collaboratively figure out which parts of your processes are essential to keep and which can be improved.
  5. Determine target outcomes and how you will measure success.

Get your copy of the Dodge SmartMarket brief referenced throughout the whitepaper!