When it comes to effective CDE (common data environment) implementation there are a few golden rules to bear in mind. Lisa Clements, Senior Project Information Manager at Amodal highlights the key requirements to consider when effectuating a CDE.
Most businesses will have some way of storing information and managing documents, even if it is via a collaborative cloud-based platform such as SharePoint. If businesses are opting to implement a CDE, they are doing so to maximise their processes and improve the way precious data is stored, all on a construction industry-specific platform. Some companies may be even switching from their current CDE to another. Either way, core questions should be asked before either of these journeys begin to achieve maximum value from a CDE.
What happens if implementation is ineffective?
The likelihood is that if businesses are starting afresh with a CDE, or levelling-up with a new one, they’re doing so for the benefit of the company. Before you begin however, you should clearly outline and reflect on your current processes – what do you do and how do you do it? Which methods fall short? What can be forgotten? How will a CDE streamline things? Ultimately, it pays to spend time planning and questioning your business and its processes before CDE implementation begins. Offering time for these discoveries will broaden the path to CDE implementation and will generally make things a bit smoother in the long-run.
It’s also beneficial to write down current learnings and be really transparent in terms of what you want the new system to achieve. One of the pitfalls of ineffective implementation is simply copying and pasting your processes onto a new system. In this situation, you’re unable to start a fresh as you’ve simply recreated what wasn’t working in the first place. Following a misguided approach such as this does irreparable damage in the long run, and you may not reap any of the benefits you wanted from a CDE originally.
Bring people on-board
Humans are pretty reticent to change, and new technologies and processes are no exceptions. In essence, implementing a CDE is all about managing the change that is happening for the benefit of the business and its employees.
To make change a bit of an easier ride, it helps to clearly communicate it to the people within a business. Produce a comms plan and engage current stakeholders. Create an environment where people feel as comfortable as they can with the change. The plane of implementation will be far less foggy if people are more involved.
Preparation and communication are key, yet so is being adaptable. During CDE implementation, the process will fluctuate. It is why it’s worthwhile to break the journey down into manageable tasks and take pitstops whenever you can. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a CDE implemented in 24 hours. Instead, businesses should follow a clear plan in which manageable deliverables are highlighted. Having progressive development in place – and tracing and reflecting on what’s happened – can shorten timelines and make people more prepared for the change.
One example would be to utilise a process that can be accessed and regularly reviewed by stakeholders. Perhaps hold regular meetings with information management providers to track changes and ensure tasks have been delivered by an agreed timeframe. A process or way of working such as this gives more ownership and enables businesses to go into a lot of granular detail. Ultimately, it can capture the changes – whether big or small – that are happening, so businesses reflect and document what is happening and who is responsible.
It’s important to remember that as the CDE implementation unravels, a business’s maturity will grow. Having the time to experiment and be agile will make a huge difference before the CDE is eventually rolled-out to the rest of the business. It pays to be prepared in terms of CDE implementation. Doing so – and being as transparent as possible with your people – will soften the transition to a new system.