Middle East expert backs CRM to condense construction data 'silos'

Middle East expert backs CRM to condense construction data 'silos'
The adoption of technology, such as CRM, can benefit construction firms in the Middle East [representational image].
Published: 23 July 2018 - 1:18 a.m.
By: Neha Bhatia

Construction companies in the Middle East would benefit by adopting customer relationship management (CRM) software, according to a local tech expert.

Jake Callaway, managing director of 4C’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) operation, said that while relationship management and networking are a key aspect of the construction industry, little has been done by the building sector to effectively manage its connections through tech-savviness.

While construction remains “a complicated business”, Callaway said ‘digital’ “has never been a defining aspect of the construction industry”.

“The case for digital transformation is still perceived to be a challenge to the status quo,” he added.

Calling the lack of tech adoption – especially for data management – a “tremendous lost opportunity”, Callaway explained: “The construction sector is built on relationships, but unlike other verticals such banking, hospitality and manufacturing wherein this also holds true, the segment has done little in the way of utilising technology to manage these relationships.

“Most often, awkwardly integrated systems are deployed which capture data from the many people who interact with the company and store it in disparate silos. Therefore, instead of creating a unified view of information across the business, organisations are left with unstructured data that holds little value beyond its primary function, representing a tremendous lost opportunity.”

CRM software systems can help to address these issues by streamlining information and providing the right data for a query. This is also significant when the volume of clients and suppliers in a construction firm’s database is considered.

“An intuitive CRM system can organise this data and make it easily retrievable, thereby increasing the efficiency of customer service and the quality of supplier relationships,” Callaway explained.=

“Going a step further, most leading CRM systems [also] feature modules designed and customised for the construction sector [to] specifically address key challenges, [such as], in-built contract templates and document controls that can be leveraged to optimise the proposal process.”

Tech implementation is rapidly gaining traction in the Middle East’s construction sector.

Last week, Parsons’ senior vice president and head of its built environment division, Gregg Welch, told Construction Week that construction developers are moving towards a tech-first model in the region.

“It’s encouraging to see that [developers] are understanding the benefit of [smart tech] because of not only its benefits to the end-user and to the owner, but also for the operations and maintenance (O&M) stage in the long term,” Welch explained.

“There’s been a lot of progress in the fundamental understanding of that importance over the last few years in the UAE. I think it’s a combination of the government, which sees [tech-first] as a necessary way to conduct business, as well as developers and [teams that] are providing the O&M services.”


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