Field Notes: Procore Groundbreak

 
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This week we had the chance to attend Procore’s Groundbreak summit, a gathering of nearly 4,000 construction industry professionals and technology providers in sunny Phoenix, Arizona.

We’ve been going to Groundbreak for the past few years now, and it’s always an eye-opening experience. This year, we enjoyed meeting with partners and customers to hear about their challenges, as well as to demo our three new Procore integrations, including Virtual Walkthroughs now embedded within Procore and automatic photo documentation and location awareness within the Procore Observations and RFI management workflows. (Learn more about those new offerings here.)

Over the fours days of the conference, however, the larger story was about integration and insights, using technology to bring project teams closer together and to inform better decision-making and outcomes.  

 
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Breaking down silos

In an industry with many moving pieces and players, it was heartening to hear much of the discussion at Groundbreak center around breaking down silos across project stakeholders. Specifically, many of the new technology and features we saw from Procore and other vendors were aimed at getting owners, GCs and subs on the same page. And now, finally, information can be shared across projects to reduce double-entry. 

We’re big fans of unified data and team alignment ourselves, knowing that OpenSpace is often used for just that purpose. Procore CEO Tooey Courtemanche unveiled Procore for Owners, a platform with a wide range of tools to help owners plan projects, gain visibility into project progress, track subs and simplify handover. 

Transparency and trust

Along the same lines of breaking down barriers between project stakeholders, there was a general push toward greater transparency in the building process. Sharing more data, being more open about challenges, and increasing trust across stakeholders were key goals for many attendees. 

One highly attended breakout session, “Building Influence in the Field: How to build relationships between skilled trades, general contractors, and owners” tackled the topic head on, with speakers from Compass Datacenters suggesting GCs bring a project’s specialty contractors to meetings with the project owner to foster transparency and trust between all parties.

Data and analytics are coming

Discussion of data and analytics was everywhere at Groundbreak, with most presenters at least mentioning the importance of having reliable data and measurement systems in place to reduce risk and increase accountability. With the launch of Procore Analytics, it’s clear the industry is headed in that direction, but there is still a long way to go until we have an industry that is fully data-driven. Part of the challenge is a steep learning curve, as new tools and platforms enter the market, and part of it is a shift in mindset. Still, change is coming...and so is more data. As Hitesh Dewan, Director of Technology Integration at Roebbelen Contracting Inc. implored the audience in his presentation about automation on the job site, “Change is inevitable, growth is optional. It is up to us to grow.”