Who Should read this guide?
This guide is for the client sector
This guide will be of interest to anyone engaged within a client organisation that procures work from 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 most readers will be experienced, medium- and high-level ICT users, convinced of the need for ICT within their organisation. However, it equally acknowledges that for such readers, the major issue is deciding how to best encourage members of their supply chains to engage with them electronically.
What does this guide contain?
The material contained in this guide has been generated following a number of principles:
- For a given situation there is not a single right answer, but a number of solutions that have to be evaluated using a range of relevant factors.
- As there are as many solutions as there are solvers, factors for evaluation will emerge from collective wisdom.
How should the guide be used?
You should already be aware that there are issues that influence the way in which you engage with ICT in your organisation. Some of these issues 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 of such a magnitude 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.
In our research, everyone surveyed in the client sector was either a medium- or high- level ICT user. While the self-assessment tools were designed primarily for these groups, they are still applicable for low-level users.