This guide is for the subcontractor sector
This guide will interest anyone engaged in subcontracting within the construction industry and who wishes to better understand the issues that influence the effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT) within their business. However, it is structured to meet the specific needs of those charged with responsibility for making ICT investment decisions within a firm, such as senior board members or ICT managers. It recognises that some readers may be experienced, high-level ICT users while others could well be looking for guidance as to how best to ramp up their ICT use beyond a basic level. Accordingly this guide is structured to provide value to high-, medium- and low-level ICT users.
The material contained in this guide has been generated following a number of principles:
You should already be aware that there are problems that influence the way in which you engage with ICT in your organisation. Some of these are internal and can be directly influenced by your decisions. Others are external and the extent to which you can influence them is determined by a combination of your size and position in the industry. Indeed, some are so big that they are effectively outside the control or influence of any single organisation. Nevertheless, you will recognise the need to make decisions about the use of ICT in project situations on the basis of the best possible information.
In order to understand this further a useful concept used throughout this guide is that of a supply chain. For the purposes of this guide we have defined this as
A group of construction industry participants that have come together in order to complete a project
In the event that some or this entire group wish to use some measure of ICT, the following can be added:
within which ICT is used to facilitate intra- and/or inter-organisational communication and information flows.
We believe that it is increasingly likely that your organisation will operate in such a supply chain and that, depending upon your current experience with ICT, you will find it advantageous to identify and understand the most important issues that face you. Therefore, the next part of this guide will help you identify where your current use of ICT places you within the spectrum of construction industry users. It consists of a simple self-assessment task, and will place your organisation within one of three categories of user high, medium or low.
If you decide that you are a low-level ICT user, you should read the section that provides guidance for low-level users. You should also find it worthwhile to read the section about the self-assessment tools, and should obtain a number of benefits from completing the questionnaires and considering the information these produce once your responses are entered into the spreadsheets. If you decide that you are a medium- or high-level ICT user you should read this guide in sequence.