One of the big growing trends in the construction industry today is that corporate owners want to outsource asset maintenance to the specialty companies that construct, fabricate, and install the asset. With the influx of IoT (Internet of Things) technologies, the opportunity for trades is very real. Or is it?

A study from IFS shows that the legacy software currently in use by specialty and trade contractors could potentially prevent them from profitably delivering these aftermarket services to owners. IFS surveyed 200 HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), plumbing, electrical, building automation, low voltage electrical, and other specialty contractors.

The results show that 85% of respondents say they have maintenance contracts with customer-specific terms, SLAs (service level agreements) and pricing, but only 14% say their software facilitated these contracts very well. Also, only 15% of respondents have technology to empower field technicians to upsell or sell new service contracts.

This research is pretty eye opening. It goes on to group respondents into two separate categories—Digital Transformation Leaders and Digital Transformation Laggards. I am not sure I am so fond of the vernacular given. Too often, laggard is associated with the construction industry, and I am not sure it is a fair assessment anymore, but that is perhaps beside the point.

Regardless, the Digital Transformation Leaders are the ones who report greater readiness for digital transformation. IFS says they are also nine times as likely to say their software prepares them well for the essential process of service contract administration. On the flip side, only 30% of the so-called laggards were even offering customer-specific contracts.

However, I think the overall research does point to a clear trend that we at Constructech have been watching and reporting on for quite some time. Today, the construction industry is at an inflection point. The IoT is here, and offers new opportunities to construction companies. Candidly, there is still a lot of hype out there, but it is time for trades to separate the hype from the true value gained from the technology.

I believe that is the only way we are going to solve the skilled labor shortage that currently exists within the construction industry. Technology serves as a tool to improve productivity with less staff, while also offering additional services to clients. The time is now. How will you respond?

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Laura Black
Laura Blackeditor