Data analytics and construction technology

Building innovation in an emerging digital world

In this Baker Tilly event featuring HITT Contracting, we explored Baker Tilly Digital’s ability to help companies grow their technological innovation capabilities.

Baker Tilly Digital assists companies with technological and digital innovation in four primary areas:

  • Transformation – We help organizations generate digital ideas and new technologies.
  • Data solutions – We help organizations process large volumes of data to help the business grow and improve.
  • Cloud infrastructure – We help modernize infrastructures to help organizations take advantage of the power of the cloud.
  • Application development – We help organizations break new ground and move into customized areas that have specific applications that add value to the company.

Why digital innovation matters

An easy way to visualize the importance of digital innovation is a 2017 research report from McKinsey Global Institute. McKinsey’s report indicated that the biggest barriers to innovation by construction companies are an underinvestment in IT and technology and a lack of R&D processes. As illustrated in the adjacent chart, a 14-15% increase in technology and innovation results on average in a cost savings of 4-6%, which of course is quite significant.

Construction can catch up with total economy productivity by taking action in seven areas

Some examples of digital innovation in the construction industry include:

  • Near real-time monitoring of site performance – How is each job performing? Is the site on schedule? How are you collecting data in a centralized manner? Are you progressing efficiently?
  • Integration with vendors – How do you make it easy to send subcontractors invoices and to get their data back so we can keep our billing cycle moving?
  • Automation of repetitive tasks – Are there any tasks that you can automate with technology?
  • Improved cost and schedule forecasting – Can you better identify where bottlenecks exist and raise the necessary red flags?
  • Advanced analysis of IoT data – Are you taking advantage of all the available data?

Under the umbrella of digital innovation, our focus is on four key areas – assess, ideate, experiment and build -- each of which is directly connected to a key question.

Four key areas of digital innovation

Using these four steps, Baker Tilly takes organizations from the challenge recognition stage all the way through to meaningful innovation in the marketplace. In essence, we walk you hand in hand through the digital innovation journey. This is how we use digital innovation to transform organizations.

Getting started

The four-step process that we use at the outset of the process begins with a current state analysis of an organization and continues with a thorough capability research phase. Then we map out the future state of the organization, and finally we outline the process improvements required for long-term success, including the pain points that we are hoping to solve and the experiences that we are recommending either be added or altered.

Driving digital innovation

So how does Baker Tilly advance from that initial assessment to actually creating something that is tangible, usable and valuable? It all happens in Baker Tilly Digital’s labs sessions, where the focus is growing an organization’s innovative environment through a combination of facilitated sessions, technical expertise and experimental resources. The preparation aspect of this process takes about four weeks, followed by a one- or two-day labs session and a ramp-up phase that can take anywhere from two to eight weeks.

HITT’s case for research and development

As part of the unique webinar, HITT took participants on a live tour of its state-of-the-art research & development facility, Co|Lab. HITT identified industry pain points such as the skilled labor shortage, endless cost escalation and a lack of industry-wide spend on R&D. These factors drive the national general contractor’s goals to alleviate rising costs, increase quality and productivity, enhance safety and speed to market, and other areas of impact.

Working toward these goals across methods, materials, technology and building performance components, HITT designed innovative elements into their facility including a real-time building performance analytics lobby display that tracks the facility’s net zero energy goals, the use of structural mass timber and the exclusion of almost all products that include Red List chemicals, or those harmful to human health. Ongoing research projects shared included IoT deployment infrastructures using Power over Ethernet (POE), building materials that incorporate high levels of recycled content and acoustic-friendly, movable conference rooms that can create multipurpose spaces.

How Baker Tilly can help

As noted earlier, Baker Tilly can assist your organization with building innovation using a variety of methods that can save you time, energy and money. Contact Baker Tilly principals John Runte and Dave DuVarney to discuss the ways Baker Tilly Digital can help your organization continue to grow with an influx of technological innovation in 2021 – and beyond.

Dave DuVarney
John Runte
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