Insights from ConstrucTech Technology Day 2013

Yesterday I attended Constructech’s Technology Day 2013, which, I was told, “provides a platform for insight from top experts in the construction technology and software fields as well as the experience of contractors who have implemented leading-edge solutions into their daily businesses.” True to it’s promise, the day was instructive and insightful. I enjoyed panels and conversations with representatives from Hensel Phelps, The Cram Group, Box, Level 10 Construction, Webcor Builders, The Weitz Company, ConstrucTech Magazine, and others.

Karmyn Babcock, IT director with The Weitz Co., discussed strategies and experiences around applying innovation in a distributed enterprise setting.” In talking about the adoption of cloud technologies, she presented a graphic (below) that covered the Six S’s To Achieve Enterprise Class CoIT, which I traced back to posts by R “Ray” Wang —an A Software Insider’s Point of View blog post and early Harvard Business Review Blog Coming to Terms with the Consumerization of IT. Karmyn talked about how she used this framework to assess new technologies, noting that “simple, scalable, and sexy” applications meet business needs and experience high adoption rates, which ones that are “safe, secure, and sustainable” are often favored by IT but not as readily adopted.

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Digging deeper after the conference, I read Wang’s posts, which described An Enterprise-Class Checklist for Consumerization of IT:

From conversations with over 100 early adopters, we’ve found some elements that help IT teams and business leaders come to terms with the consumerization of IT. These six elements have emerged as a quick checklist for determining what kinds of consumer tech are appropriate the enterprise:

1. Simple. Solutions should embody design thinking at the outset. Technology should not require a manual. Solutions should be easy to use and self-service.
2. Scalable. Solutions should flex up and flex down as demand changes. Technology must work in a wide range of environments.
3. Safe. Organizations expect these solutions to not only integrate with ease but also not to harm existing systems or jeopardize how users perform daily work and operations. New technology must not adversely impact another proven system.
4. Secure. These solutions should pass encryption requirements, prevent data intrusion, and protect key intellectual property assets. Resources must be invested to fend off internal and external digital threats.
5. Sustainable. Consumer technologies must meet requirements for flexibility and adaptability over longer periods of time (e.g. 7 to 10 years). Platforms must allow users to extend and expand their functionality. Solutions should be extensible.
6. Sexy. Solutions must draw passion among users. Users must enjoy using the software.

A number of IT Directors talked about applying these same criteria in choosing new software solutions, with “sustainability” and “interoperability” via APIs being common topics. One speaker noted that the first question he asks about software is whether it offers an API; if it doesn’t, he immediately dismisses it as an option.

As you assess your IT needs, let us know if you find Wang’s framework useful. Of course, we’re delighted to tell you how FotoNotes’s Construction Solution matches up to Wang’s checklist.