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Digital Transformation: Optimize Operations and Empower Your Employees

Founded in 1877, global construction firm, Skanska, brings more than a century of expertise and a rich history of progress to the construction industry. Over the course of 130 years, what started as a small concrete manufacturing company in Sweden has evolved into a world leader in project development and construction, offering services in more than ten countries and employing more than 40,000 employees.

As one of the top five influential companies in the construction space, Skanska is committed to expanding its impact and delivering innovative, cost-effective, forward-looking building solutions wherever they’re needed.

With a global presence, Skanska’s success depends on their ability to effectively manage their team of thousands, despite being located across geographically distant locations. While any construction company will tell you that every project presents unique challenges, when a relatively routine assignment turned unusually complex for Skanska’s team of A-players, the organization recognized both the need to initiate change in their own organization, and an opportunity to address a complex issue affecting the industry at large: wide-spread resistance to modern technologies.

Despite the organizations monetary success and rapid growth, the project gone awry was the catalyst that prompted leadership to shift its attentions inward and identify Skanska’s own structural flaws. After evaluating their processes and analysing common obstacle, they soon realized that their project management system was the source of a majority of project bottlenecks. The antiquated on-premises data system wasn’t advanced enough to support the company’s rapid growth or its expansive network of geographically distant locations. The outdated software created barriers to collaboration between architects, engineers, and laborers, making it nearly impossible to develop a holistic view of projects and tasks, which resulted in decreased productivity and frustrated employees.

Leadership realizes the need for a more connected workforce 

In order to create more efficient process management systems, Skanska looked to Microsoft for a versatile yet easy-to-integrate tech solution that would facilitate fluid interactions and unify their team. In order to create the efficient workplace necessary to sustain their growth and advance their overall mission, Skanska decided to invest in modern technologies that would ensure the connectivity of their widespread team, enable their ability to collaborate and communicate effectively, and modernize their workplace. Their digital transformation initiative led them to Microsoft Surface Device the versatile and adaptable technology that helped Skanska streamline project management, boost productivity, and deliver better value to their clients.

“Our clients expect us to work smarter, work faster, and be more cost-effective,” says VP of Business Development Matt Sanborn.

With a long-established history of success through making timely transformations, leadership at Skanska recognized they had reached a pivotal point and would have to make a change if they wanted to expand their reach and extend their impact. The company’s original process management solution didn’t allow Skanska’s widely dispersed team to effectively communicate with one another, update projects in real-time, or share information in a timely fashion. The on-prem datacenter largely inhibited the team’s ability to provide real-time updates or information sharing. The team could only access applications or important files from a desktop, an obstacle with the potential to unnecessarily stall projects on various sites around the world. 

The process management system Skanska had in place was not empowering their workforce or encouraging ingenuity. Without being able to centralize projects, the team couldn’t appropriately prioritize tasks in the project pipeline and employees were being forced to table their creative efforts in order to manage tedious processional tasks.  Eventually, leadership at Skanska observed a decreased quality in the work being submitted to clients and began looking for the versatile solution the team needed—and one the company’s growth depended on.

Integrating innovative tech to unite a team and increases productivity

Skanska invested in Surface devices because of their versatile features and integration capabilities. As employees got familiar with the new devices, they began the leveraging the customizable features and collaborating with other team members more often and to greater effect, resulting in increased productivity.

With Surface, Skanska can enhance productivity on the go and ensure the connectivity of their widespread team. For instance, before Surface, there was no way for on-site and off-site employees to share information. So, if an on-site employee needed to get information from someone at headquarters or at their respective home office, they’d have to stall the project or proceed without the info. Now, the information is at the fingertips of employees everywhere.

In addition, Surface’s camera capabilities, drawing feature, and editing software facilitate seamless collaboration between teams, allowing multiple people to work on various projects at once with real-time updates. Surface features like touch screen allow employees to more efficiently tackle projects. “The touchscreen, the ability to draw and actively connect with what’s on the screen–it takes away the barrier that’s there with other products,” says Sr. Project Engineer Alex Abate. These features enable engineers and architects to spend more time doing what they’re good at than trying to overcome tactical barriers: “I don’t have to think about using hot keys or worry about using a mouse. I can go right to the screen, touch what I see there, and it removes the barrier between me and my work,” explains Abate.

After integrating Surface Devices into their process management system, Skanska was able to further develop their new modern workplace by transitioning to Procore, a cloud-based construction management software. Together, with Procore and Microsoft Surface Devices, Skanska’s widespread team is able to collaborate in real-time and effectively coordinate task and project assignments. The cloud-platform provided a place for Skanska to centralize projects and ensure every team received the same accurate information and updates. With automatic syncing capabilities, everyone is on the same page no matter what work site they happen to be on. “The processing speed is so fast,” said Superintendent Jason Ray, “I can open up multiple applications at one time and never have any issues with it crashing on me.”

Through integrating Surface devices, Skanska has been able to create an agile workplace, empower their workforce, and with no downtime. By investing in innovative technologies, Skanska leaders gave the organization and its employees the wherewithal to take on new and challenging projects. With their team’s ability to keep tabs on finance, safety concerns, project revisions, and the progress of each moving part of specific jobs from the convenience of their own device, Skanska has been able to deliver the high-quality work their clients expect while taking on new projects. Skanska’s new project management capabilities are powering the team’s recent and massive undertaking: remodeling the 400,000 square feet of office space on Microsoft’s Seattle campus.

Continuing a legacy of transformation and leadership

“Keeping up with the latest technology is important at Skanska because it lets us differentiate ourselves from our competition,” says Sanborn. “Being at the forefront of our industry through innovation helps us become more valuable to our clients and stand out from our competitors.”

After more than a century in business, Skanska understands that as technology changes the way companies operate, the quick-to-adapt companies that embrace change attract the best talent and put themselves at a great competitive advantage. Moreover, the company’s leadership has demonstrated the importance of listening to employees and taking a forward-looking approach to decision making in business.

By leveraging Surface devices to transform their process management systems, Skanska reinforces a legacy of harnessing the power of greater connectivity. The company’s new agile system has empowered their workforce to continue expanding their global reach and maximizing the impact of their efforts.

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