Construction Industry, a Digital Laggard, Is Ripe for Change

Construction Industry, a Digital Laggard, Is Ripe for Change

Good morning. A lumber town in western Pennsylvania is an entire continent and a world away from Silicon Valley. Yet even here, in the community with the unusual name of Eighty Four, digitization is changing the way one company does business. Building materials supplier 84 Lumber Co. turned heads earlier this year with a controversial Super Bowl ad portraying the plight of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, CIO Journal's Angus Loten reports. Now, the 60-year old firm's new CIO wants to shake up the construction industry with the hiring of the company's first CIO.

The number of U.S. construction firms spending 1% or less of annual sales on IT grew to 70% last year, from 45% in 2015, according to JBKnowledge, a Texas-based IT consulting firm. It estimated that the construction industry "underspends cross-industry averages in regards to technology by upwards of 60% to 70%." A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP's Strategy & said some construction firms "are still using paper-based processes that can only be described as archaic."

Every year, the Project Achievement Awards recognizes America's leading construction and program managers and their innovative projects around the world. The project award categories included Transportation, Education, Water/Wastewater/Industrial/Power/Utilities, Healthcare, Commercial/Sports/Entertainment/Hospitality, Government, Residential/Mixed-Use, and Environmental.

Paul Yater, is a 25-year enterprise IT veteran, most recently with GNC Holdings Inc. as CIO and senior vice president. He also served in roles at Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. and H.J. Heinz Co. Now he is responsible for developing 84 Lumber's technology infrastructure and serving as a key member of its executive leadership team, the company said. He wants to promote a much higher level of systems integration, data exchange and collaboration. "This will jointly drive value and advance the digital enablement of our collective organizations and the industry as a whole," Mr. Yater says. "We need to identify more ways to leverage technology in everything we do."

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