By BUILDER Magazine Staff. Over 150 builders and business partners attended the Builder Technology Conference in Washington in June to hear how to develop a technology plan. Below, we've listed some tips from the conference speakers. Use them as an outline for your own plan-making process.
1. Get everyone involved. You need buy-in from top management, but you should also form a steering committee with members drawn from sales, IT, finance, and construction.
2. Analyze your business systems. Ask what you would gain by improving each one. How would making a particular system more efficient increase customer satisfaction or improve productivity?
3. Remember that software won't cure bad management. If you can't do something manually first, you can't do it with a computer. Remember also that you are a home building company using technology, not a technology company building homes.
4. Make a technology wish list. It should include new technologies for your Web site and intranet, as well as for lead, contract, selection, warranty, customer relationship, and construction management systems. Consider how each will integrate with the others.
5. Train your people to use any new technology. Otherwise, you are wasting time and money. Some vendors have training programs, so be sure to ask. 6. Make a commitment to develop an annual technology plan, just as you now develop an annual budget. Keep a running wish list of technology options for the next year.
7. Create a security policy. Remember that if you are connected to the Internet, you are not safe. Hold regular meetings to familiarize employees with common security problems. Develop a security policy--don't use obvious passwords or paste them to your computers.