Introduction to Practical Digital Construction Transformation

October 29, 2020

Intro to Digital Construction Transformation | The SignOnSite Blog

SignOnSite starting developing the Practical Digital Construction Transformation concept after noticing two distinct attitudes from businesses looking to adopt our product:

  1. Solution-seeking: This group searched for a solution to a set of problems and were open to assessing a wide range of options. Along with SignOnSite and other systems, they would evaluate their options based on the on-the-ground effectiveness at solving the problem.
  2. Capability-seeking: This group searched for a solution that could meet a list of pre-determined capabilities. They would assess their options based on how well the capability list was addressed.

Of those who chose SignOnSite as their solution, we saw a correlation between these attitudes and the success they had in their technology transformation efforts. Solution-seeking customers experienced far more success than the Capability-seeking ones, with quicker adoption, broader organisational buy-in and lower transition times.

We studied Solution-seeking customers to better understand their approach and to develop a framework that would help us create a better product for their needs. The outcome was the creation of the Practical Digital Construction Transformation concept.

Practical Digital Construction Transformation is the implementation of technology that solves problems at their source, working in such a way that makes people's jobs easier. It prioritises how things are done as high as what is being done. If a piece of technology isn't practical to use, its capabilities don't matter. 

This is in contrast to the digitisation approach, where existing processes or activities are turned digital without addressing the fundamentals of the problem being solved or who it involves. Turning a paper form into a PDF upload isn't going to provide much of a transformation. 

Put simply, its technology making jobs and tasks easier for the people doing them. 

Practical Digital Construction Transformation is about finding sensible solutions to the problems of today, using the technology that:

  • is robust: solves problems in the complex environment of construction as it stands today;
  • is reliable: can be used day-in-day-out, without onerous downtime;
  • is affordable: is a reasonable expense for its application;
  • is available: it can be purchased by most of the market;
  • is sustainable: has a practical service life and has a high probability of being suitable for long-term future use;

Some interpretations of digital transformation have promised sites filled with robots and drones, but have fallen flat on expectations. Practical Digital Construction Transformation acknowledges that people are the backbone of the industry and that solutions need to be built for the people. 


Practical Digital Construction Transformation helps people be more effective by giving them the ability to communicate or receive information quickly and accurately. As a result, people can:

  • be proactive (e.g. remotely order building supplies that are at risk of running out)
  • be more informed (e.g. see manpower on sites in real-time, and re-allocate as necessary)
  • reduce errors/risks (e.g. address early indicators of potential re-work or fatigue )

What it involves

Stakeholders in the design stage of building projects have been able to enjoy the benefits of Practical Digital Transformation for some time, with BIM, CAD and Document Management tools. 

Practical Digital Construction Transformation includes all components of a business and stages of a project:

  • Employees, including subcontractors:
  • Safety
  • Knowledge, skills and qualifications
  • Co-ordination and allocation
  • Performance
  • Reporting
  • Issues
  • Sites:
  • Workforce
  • Productivity
  • Safety
  • Reporting
  • Issues
  • Machinery:
  • Co-ordination and allocation
  • Maintenance and performance
  • Reporting
  • Issues
  • Planning/Project Management:
  • Scheduling 
  • Resource management 
  • Quality control and assurance
  • Risk management
  • Inventory/supplies management
  • Cost management
  • Issues
  • Contracts:
  • Conditions
  • Documents

There are tried-and-tested Practical Transformation solutions available, such as Procore for Planning and Project Management and SignOnSite for Employee safety and qualification management, and site management. 

How to do it

We will be diving deeper into how to execute on Practical Digital Construction Transformation over the coming weeks. We will be covering:

  • Benchmarking transformation maturity
  • Solutions into the different areas listed above
  • Pathways to transformation

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