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Beyond the pandemic: Will platform technology provide the relief that businesses need to survive and thrive?

(Image credit: Image Credit: Konica Minolta Business Solutions UK )

From day one of the pandemic, technology has played a key role in allowing businesses and individuals to not just get on with their everyday lives, but to thrive in a new way of living and working. Thanks to readily available digital tools, such as work management platforms or video conferencing, many industries have been able to continue operating, while also prioritizing safety, without compromising their performance.

But the technologies relied on in this ‘new normal’ will vary from person to person and business to business. Some tools will only become more useful over time while some may only have limited value. Although some industries are more resilient to this wave of digital transformation than others, what we have seen in the last few months is that businesses which have typically been laggard in technological adoption are starting to catch up with the times and excel, thanks to digital adoption.

Nowhere has this been more evident than in the construction sector. Due to its work being conducted predominantly on a site - and therefore often face-to-face - it is an industry which has been one of the hardest hit by the social distancing and lockdown regulations of Covid-19. Yet through the careful implementation of digital solutions, many in the sector have been able to continue working. In fact, according to our latest research, 66 percent of construction managers in the UK said they rolled out new technologies during lockdown and since doing so, 94 percent said they saw improvements in their way their teams work and projects are run.

The response from some construction companies to the pandemic has not only pointed a new way forward for the industry but begs the question about how platform technology can specifically help businesses thrive and survive more broadly. It is clear that digitalization will play a role across all sectors in the months to come so how can and does platform technology offer some relief?

Putting safety first

The main priority for businesses and individuals over the last few months has rightly been safety. And technology has proven useful to enable productive remote working without needing to be face-to-face - whether it’s in an office environment, factory or construction site.

What these digital solutions aim to do is connect individuals with information. With the right solutions in place, workers can access the information they need to perform their job. These benefits are more noticeable the greater the connection is. This is where one platform technology distinguishes itself. Rather than connecting individuals to their specific tasks like many solutions do, a single platform acts as a source of truth for an entire project that all stakeholders to operate from - whether it’s to access files or to check in on status.

For example, using platform technology, Nevada Construction was able to complete an essential build during Covid at both the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust & University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust. The work included a new six bed ward (completed in 10 days), a staff recreation space and over 25 temporary showers for the NHS staff.

Save tomorrow by investing in the right assets today

With lockdown measures lifting, it’s easy to predict a return to old ways of working. However, the reality is that the benefits from embracing digital solutions have been revolutionary for many industries and they will persist to provide value for businesses after Covid. For construction specifically, our research also showed that 68 percent of UK construction managers surveyed believe the ability to work remotely and off site will be crucial in the future. And, the majority believe that platform technology is the way for the construction industry to excel post-Covid, compared to traditional systems or bespoke software.

Undoubtedly the same is true in other industries with many workers realizing that they can save time and money on travel by conducting meetings over a conference call instead. Now is the time to capitalize on these realizations to ensure that businesses are continuing to build upon their digital transformation journeys.

With businesses now looking ahead at where to invest to safeguard their future, it’s important to adopt the right type of technologies which fit with their team’s objectives and how they want to work. For many companies, we’ve seen that for collaboration purposes, platform technology has offered a centralized source of data, accessible by anyone who needs it, exponentially increasing efficiency. Likewise, while the end of the pandemic is in sight, we need to carry on putting safety first and such technology can keep everyone on the same page to help reduce the number of workers needing to leave their homes.

The future is now

For a long time, we’ve all known that digital transformation is an essential enabler of the future of work. Yet, what we’ve experienced recently has only accelerated the need for businesses to adapt. Now is the time for companies to therefore consider how they can continue to put safety first and invest in the right assets to future-proof themselves.

There are undoubtedly more efficiencies to be gained as businesses discover new technologies to roll out. Above all, and especially considering the drastic decline in the economy during lockdown, revenue generation and prioritizing continued business success will be key drivers moving forward.

One platform technology holds much promise for businesses in the future. We can learn from how the construction industry adapted and how it has continued to work, and overcome hurdles, using such technology. Whether you’re an office worker, freelance artist or a teacher, digital solutions will prove invaluable in order to continue work efficiently and safely. Coronavirus has drastically affected how we live our lives and how we connect with others, but it has also opened our eyes to how resilient we can be, using different ways to connect and most of all, work productively.

Brandon Olivieri-O'Connor, Director of the UK&I, Procore