AGC IT Forum 2018: recap & key takeaways
Last week, CCR attended the 10th Annual IT Forum hosted by the Association of General Contractors (AGC) of America in Chicago.
As we mentioned in our previous post, this brief, 1.5-day event is consistently one of our favorites each year. The show brings tech leaders from construction companies across America together to discuss the major topics the industry is facing right now.
We thought it’d be nice to pull together a recap of some of our favorite takeaways from the event to help keep your wheels turning and moving toward innovation.
KEYNOTE – Disruption: the new normal
The day 1 keynote (Stacy Scopano of Skanska Construction) was like a jolt of caffeine for a sleepy industry. Scopano leveraged a number of supported by a mountain of historical data and trends. The key premise of this keynote was that we have entered an era in time where “disruption”, or the complete reshaping of thought & process around a topic, has become commonplace. With the rapid developments in technology that lead to innovative new ideas, we’re seeing disruption of varying degrees at every turn.
In construction, we’re seeing a change in the way work is executed in the field, as well as new pre-construction and project management practices. Predictive analytics are beginning to crop up, as well as countless field technologies that will ultimately redefine what it means to “work in construction”.
If there’s one nugget to take away from this presentation, it’s that People + Process + Technology = Disruption. If one piece is missing, disruption cannot occur.
PILLAR – IT Strategy
The focus of this pillar of content was to cover developing an IT strategy that aligns with a company’s business strategy. The panel presentation discussed some common challenges faced by IT professionals when it comes to developing a strategy for technology, such as the rate of change in tech, vendor consolidation, integration, cost, and security. They also covered specific challenges faced by IT professionals in the construction industry when it comes to IT strategy: senior management’s approval, corporate priorities, and the general lack of tech adoption thus far in the industry.
All of these things compound to make IT strategy that much more critical in the construction industry. Some key takeaways for this panel session are:
- IT strategy should be tied to corporate goals. If you’re not working toward the same objectives as your senior leadership, you’re going to face a lot of resistance when implementing new tech.
- Communicate your strategies and the tactics you plan to execute to get there.
- Don’t be afraid to course-correct.
PILLAR – Security
Security is a hot topic on everyone’s minds lately. There are many facets and layers to IT security, but we loved that this session was straightforward and made one VERY strong point: be proactive and strategic when planning your IT services. Derrick Butts’ presentation emphasized a standardized policy, training, and enforcement in order to protect your team from both themselves and outside forces. Key takeaways include:
- Continuously evaluating your position so you can make smart, proactive decisions.
- Important to understand and know the capabilities of the players across your infrastructure.
- Know the weaknesses and limitations of your Cybersecurity Posture to avoid being compromised.
PILLAR – Infrastructure
While this track focused specifically on Cloud Infrastructure, it really hit the mark for us as a service provider. Wes Smith discussed the history of infrastructure from bare metal to virtualization to cloud computing, showing how people, processes, and technologies were impacted at each phase (and some predicted future-states, as well).
What makes this of specific interest to our team is that the need for reliable, on-demand bandwidth is only going to continue to grow as more companies migrate to cloud infrastructure. This technology relies so heavily on an internet connection that it is [essentially] completely worthless without one.
Key takeaway: consider the implications of making changes to your infrastructure – your personnel and process needs WILL change as you move to an off-premise solution.
Don’t miss next year’s event!
Overall, this was a highly educational event that supported the message of each vendor on the show floor (like us!). We are proud to continue sponsoring AGC events because of their belief in the power of technology to change the face of the construction industry.
If you’re not already a regular attendee of this event, we HIGHLY recommend it for all IT leaders in Construction. Next year’s event is August 8-9 and will be held in Chicago again. Visit the AGC website to learn more.