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STATUS OF E-BUSINESS IMPLEMENTATION IN THE CONSTRUCTION
BRYCE HARRIS TREFFINGER
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Bryce Harris Treffinger
I would like to extend special thanks to those people, without whose guidance,
encouragement, and assistance this thesis would not have been possible. I am especially
thankful for the time and energy Dr. R. Raymond Issa devoted to leading me in the right
direction and helping me prepare my thesis. I would also like to thank Dr. Robert Cox
and Dr. Ian Flood for serving on my committee.
I owe special thanks to my parents and my sister Seanna for their support, and to
Jared for his understanding and encouragement throughout the entire process. I would be
lost without their unconditional patience and love.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iii
LIST OF TABLES ..................................... .. .......... .................................... vi
LIST OF FIGURES ......................................... .................................... vii
A B S T R A C T ..................................................................................................................... v iii
1 IN TR OD U CTION TO TH E STU D Y ...................................................... ...............1...
Introduction .................................................................................................... ...............1
Aims and Objectives ..... ............... .. ........... ...................................... ...2
2 LITER A TU R E REV IEW .................................................................... ...............4...
The Electronic-B business Phenom enon .................................................... ...............4...
Com patibility am ong e-Business U sers................................................................... 14
Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Customer Satisfaction..................... 18
e-Business Applications.................................................................. 20
C a se S tu d ie s ............................................................................................................... 2 4
e-Business Strategy ........................ .. ........... ......................................25
3 M E T H O D O L O G Y ................................................... ............................................ 27
S co p e o f W o rk ............................................................................................................ 2 7
Survey M methodology .. .. ...................................................................... ............ 28
Selection of Survey Participants...................................................... ................ 28
4 ANALY SIS OF SURVEY RESULTS .................................................. .................. 31
Results of the e-Business Assessm ent Survey....................................... ................ 32
Respondent Profiles ................................... ......... ...... ...............32
S u rv ey F in d in g s .......................................................................................................... 3 5
5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ................................................53
APPENDIX E-BUSINESS ASSESSMENT SURVEY................................................57
L IST O F R E FE R E N C E S .... ......................................................................... ................ 64
BIO GR APH ICAL SK ETCH ...................... .............................................................. 66
LIST OF TABLES
4-1 Survey respondent em ployee position................................................. ................ 33
4-2 Adopted e-Business application adoption in the construction industry ................36
4-3 R espondent priorities. ....................................................................... ................ 45
LIST OF FIGURES
4-1: R respondents job title distribution ........................................................ ................ 33
4-2: Respondents employee size distribution ................................................... 34
4-3: Respondents distribution by annual revenue........................................ ................ 35
4-4: Distribution of adopted e-Business applications in 2000 and 2005 .......................37
4-5: Connection with suppliers, partners, and customers ...........................................39
4-6: Com pany supplied com putting devices................................................ ................ 41
4-7: Electronic business initiatives in the construction industry ................................43
4-8: Construction industry's prioritized goals ................................................... 46
4-9: Construction industry reasons for not implementing e-Business..........................48
4-10: Benefits realized by the construction industry with e-Business implementation...48
4-11: Im pact on revenue ............... ................ ............................................... 49
4-12: Construction industry's perceived benefits of e-Business implementation ...........50
4-13: Distribution of companies monitoring e-Business efforts.................................51
4-14: The construction industry's perceived ideas on future spending on e-Business
im plem entation w within their com pany................................................. ................ 51
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Building Construction
STATUS OF E-BUSINESS IMPLEMENTATION IN THE CONSTRUCTION
Bryce Harris Treffinger
Chair: R. Raymond Issa
Major Department: School of Building Construction
This study is an update of a previous study completed in 2000 dealing with the
implementation of e-Business in the construction industry. The main objective was to
determine if and how e-Business strategies have changed in the construction industry and
whether or not more of the top construction industries are using e-Business to their
advantage compared to five years ago. This was completed by conducting an e-Business
assessment survey. The survey was designed for the following purposes:
* Whether the construction industry has become more receptive to information
technologies and e-Business practices.
* Why companies use e-Business in their work strategies and how it impacts their
* What extent companies use these strategies, technologies, and applications.
* Whether companies plan to continue spending on e-Business applications
This survey examined previous use of e-Business strategies and applications in
recent years, We also identified up-and-coming technologies needed for the successful
advancement of internet technologies in construction industries. Tools such as wireless-
technologies, more-advanced web-based project-management software, customer-
relationship management, and bidding on the Internet are all becoming household
phenomena in the construction industry.
The data collected from surveys sent out to construction industry leaders was
analyzed. The information was compiled to determine how far the industry has come in
previous years, and whether companies will continue to use e-Business. Although slow
to embrace e-Business, the construction industry is taking an active role in e-Business
implementation. Companies are making plans for future improvements in efforts to
increase productivity and encourage cost savings.
INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY
A growing number of information technologies are entering the construction
industry. Cell phones, palm organizers, laptops, wireless email, and other wireless
technologies are all facilitating operations in the industry. Information Technology (IT)
is essential in any business operation. IT is the most advanced way to communicate
necessary information quickly, efficiently, and effectively. IT is driving the information
revolution. The Internet has made communication easy for every company; and is vital
for successful management, customer relationship management, and business-to-business
The construction industry has been criticized for its inefficiencies and traditional,
often outdated ways of conducting business operations. It is often difficult to convince
individuals in this industry to change their thinking. They often feel that if something has
worked for so long then why change it? Although the construction industry is beginning
to embrace technology little by little, it is still a slow process.
Technology is changing communication for the construction industry and also for
every industry, and individual. E-mail is essential in any workplace; it is difficult to find
a successful business without an e-mail address. In the construction industry, Project
Specific Web Sites (PSWS) are another technology enhancing business operations.
We conducted a survey to determine the construction industry's stance on e-
business compared to previous years; and to determine the future role of e-Business in the
industry. Industry leaders from small and large firms alike were surveyed in an effort to
get a broad range of opinions. The survey also aimed to determine construction leaders'
intentions of using e-Business applications, whether for ease of communication,
productivity, cost, or service. We also examined the impact of current e-business
application on revenue. We also examined effect e-Business systems are having on
productivity and profit to determine whether these systems will continue to thrive in the
Aims and Objectives
Our study was designed to measure the construction industry's attitude toward
Internet technologies and e-Business applications. Is the construction industry beginning
to embrace the technology of tomorrow and use it to their advantage, or are they stuck in
their old ways? How have companies attitudes toward e-Business changed in the past 5
years? Will these companies continue to evolve in their thinking?
One objective of our study was to determine if the general attitude of the
construction industry toward e-Business is beginning to change in acceptance of
technology, and how its acceptance of this technology can be used to the advantage of the
industry. Furthermore, if the industry has accepted this new idea, how have they
implemented e-Business applications into their current business operations?
Another objective was to measure the construction industry's e-Business against
whether these goals have been reached or are within grasp. We compared the results of
our survey with results from a previous survey to determine if e-Business attitudes have
changed in the construction industry; and if so, to what degree. We did this in the hope
of determining future acceptance and implementation of these e-Business applications.
Chapter 2 is comprised of the literature review which looks at and analyzes
different e-Business strategies and applications that are currently in use. Chapter 3
focuses on the methodology of the survey as well as the aims and objectives of this study.
The results that were obtained from the respondents to the survey are examined in
Chapter 4. Finally, Chapter 5, presents final conclusions and recommendations for
further research in this area of study.
This chapter takes a look at e-Business on the Internet, where it has been in the past
5 years, and where it is headed in the construction industry. We analyzed e-business
tools currently used in the construction industry for successful return on investment in
terms of company productivity, and time and cost savings.
The Electronic-Business Phenomenon
Electronic-Business (e-Business) has become a world-wide phenomenon. It is no
different than ordinary business. Internet technologies, intellectual property, and
customer superiority are combined and integrated with business activities which alter the
traditional business model of operations (Chang and Ping Li 2003). Companies large and
small, public and private, from any industry are using e-Business to organize business
communications and improve success rates. E-Business has become increasingly popular
over the past 5 years, improve technology is making easier to adapt and use from any
Owners are more demanding and industry leaders want information available 24
hours a day, 7 days a week. More adaptable programs and collaboration are desired.
Electronic marketplaces are emerging where the construction industry can go to find the
most appropriate manufactured products and services are being developed and being
made available to the construction industry. Lowering operating costs, increased
productivity, and improved customer satisfaction are a few of the realities of e-Business
strategies (Regan 2002). The improved productivity improvements offered by newly
developed e-Business services can reduce and often eliminate unnecessary mistakes,
time, energy, and costs, all while keeping projects on track.
The construction industry has great potential in realizing the benefits of e-Business.
Industry leaders need only to give up their old ways and turn to the computer for
improved company success. There is a great deal of opportunity, especially in
The Internet lets companies track projects, realize results faster, reduce risk, and
hold parties accountable for their actions. In the past, the construction industry seemed to
reject the Internet and its technologies because of the industry's deep roots in traditional
thinking; but the Internet has the potential to rid the industry of inefficiency and cost. By
sticking to the old methods of regular mail, couriers, and faxes the construction industry
often gets a bad rap for finishing projects late and over budget. "The vast majority of
people in the industry don't know what the hell these online services are. It's not a
technical question, it's a cultural one. The highest level of IT in the construction industry
is the fax machine" (Fisher 38).
Construction-industry leaders are leery of e-commerce because of the mere nature
of the construction industry. It is an extremely people-oriented business. Relationships
with suppliers and subcontractors have lasted for years: the option of using an unknown
subcontractor found online is unappealing to most traditional thinking leaders. However,
e-Business thrives on the people-oriented nature of construction; without human
interface, the systems would not succeed at all. E-Business requires an integrated
alignment of technology, operation, strategy, structure, and human interaction in a
continuously expanding network (Chang and Ping Li 2003).
The benefits of e-Business are being realized by several businesses in various
disciplines. Impacts realized by e-Business are not limited to reduced costs. Improved
predictability, productivity, reliability, and scalability, ability to detect defects, improved
levels of service, and extended market research are all pros that are attracting more
companies as well as software applications that allow users to get more for their money
(Issa et al. 2003). Swinerton & Walberg Builders(Fisher 2000) cut change order turn
around time by more than half by using Bidcom.com, an online project management
Because the construction industry is a multibillion dollar industry, the idea of
saving time and money on daily operations should be a real concern. The construction
industry claims that 60 to 80% of the total cost of management operation, including
capital, labor, materials and transportation, is directly attributable to information
management (Geissler 2001). This information management pertains to everything from
scheduling to ordering materials to designing and coordinating construction and shop
drawings. More time is actually spent on the business side of construction with sharing
information than is spent onsite actually constructing the structure.
E-Business Impacts. Companies are required to have well-structured business
cultures in order to survive in this technologically advanced world. The culture a
business takes on and makes their own has to be not just daily operations, but a complete
mindset that is developed over time (Issa et al. 2003). E-Business should be just that: a
mindset within a company's organization. It has reached that stage on a certain level. It
is unlikely that you will find a successful company without e-mail and Internet use.
However, to survive, e-Business should be adopted on a daily basis in order to keep up
with trends and stay a step ahead of competition. E-business has expanded the
construction market while making the world smaller (Issa et al. 2003). Perhaps this is the
reason more companies are setting up international offices, because it is easier to
communicate and stay organized with e-Business adoption part of the company plan.
Business-to-Business (B2B) e-Business. The opportunity for construction to take
advantage of business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce, or the exchange of services,
information and/or products from one business to another, that produce positive affects
for their company is significant (Webopedia 2005). B2B connects customer, supplier,
and partner applications, as well as business processes across the Internet. Supply chain
partners can use B2B for shared planning as well as synchronized manufacturing, and
distribution management. The main purpose of B2B is to automate business operations
Industries associated with construction, such as design, and facilities management
or various infrastructures such as commercial buildings, manufacturing plants, roads,
highways, public and private projects alike, together signify a worldwide market of more
than $4 trillion a year (Cleveland 2001). However, construction companies are not using
this B2B ecommerce to their full advantage. Such a huge industry as construction should
take notice of the growing technological trends and invest time and efforts into becoming
more technologically savvy in order to create greater successes for their companies. With
such a large amount of money at stake in construction projects worldwide, companies
could be using B2B ecommerce more to their advantage to streamline operations and
increase company benefits.
The advantages B2B e-Business can offer in terms of speed and cost savings need
to be realized by the construction industry. The construction process is much more
complicated than most other industries because of the variety of projects and the fact that
every project is unique from owner to designer to project manager. This fact can make
most standardized practices for other industries a nightmare for the construction industry.
Because there are so many people involved in any construction process it can be difficult
to process business transactions.
It is through "straight-through processing" that streamline processes involved in
construction can be achieved. This process involves entering the necessary information
one time into a system and allowing the system to take it through the process with
minimal human interface (Cleveland 2001). A Web-centric system, or an integrated
network of computer devices and information appliances that manages, stores, and
distributes information through WWW specifications, can support collaborative
environments more readily through a combination of Internet technologies. Among these
technologies are HTML-based Web pages with Java Applets, JaveScripts, CGI Scripts,
Databases, FTP, peripheral devices, as well as other new data formats (Rojas and Songer
Although project web sites are extremely useful in regard to team collaboration and
exchange of documents and information, it really does not have anything to do with B2B
e-commerce and the selling and/or buying of construction items and materials for a
certain project. It is merely the sharing of information for projects and nothing more.
"Without components, we are forced to revert to the traditional manual methods for
identifying and quantifying the materials we need to purchase and erect. We inject a
human right into the middle of our ecommerce transactions" (Cleveland 56). Dealing
with components are what makes processes easier thus streamlining activities and
speeding up processes.
Because the construction industry deals with a multitude of systems, coordinating
these systems becomes a task in itself. Implementing e-Business has been an obvious
obstacle that must be overcome. The complex nature of e-Business makes it difficult to
implement and manage, especially when there are legacy systems and security issues that
have to be implemented into the e-Business network as well (Perkowski 2003). E-
Business requirements are evolving so rapidly that a traditional requirements definition
based on the functionality desired is accommodating the ability to integrate future
technologies (Aberdeen Group 2001). This is great news because there a so many
systems that are faced with the problems of trying to integrate older programs causing
headaches for users. The ideal type of application should allow one firm to function in an
extremely adaptable network consisting of other companies, who coordinate both their
internal and external transactions via a high level trust for a highly shared interest (Chang
and Ping Li, 2003). Information passed from one system to another must be done
accurately so the outcome remains the same as when it was first introduced into the
system. It is difficult for each system in a project to understand all the different methods
the other systems have used to deal with the same components (Cleveland, 2001).
There are always implementation challenges, whether it is implementing
mainframe systems or implementing the latest web portal. (IT) is not the biggest
challenge. There are still challenges in changing business processes, getting them to take
advantage of IT, training, roll-outs, and getting the skill sets you need. Top management
has to be convinced that the investment is worth it (Gould 2003).
Currently in the construction industry, the extent of B2B ecommerce is that of
project collaboration websites where companies can share information such as
documents, drawings, schedules, RFI's, emails, among other project information. There
are also websites that allow for the buying and selling of construction materials through
electronic catalogs or through a process of reverse auction.
Reverse auctions. Auctions are familiar to most individuals. One person places a
bid on an item they desire. If another individual comes along and decides that they too
would like to purchase the item then they will have to place a higher bid on the item.
Sellers and buyers watch the item's price and bid appropriately until a specified date and
time have arrived. At this time the highest bidder will receive the desired item. Reverse
Auctions are exactly what their name implies. The bids go down instead of up. There is
only one buyer and a plethora of bidders who are all trying to compete for the item by
bidding the lowest price. Reverse auctions are most often done for services, such as in
the construction industry, rather than an actual item.
Reverse auctions in the government sector as well as well known retailers such as
Home Depot and Target have resulted in savings of 12 to 48 percent (Simpson 2005).
Reverse auctions offer other benefits besides cost-savings to tax-payer funded projects.
These auctions are usually hosted by a website where bidders can go and bid as well as
see other bidder's postings. This means that everything is visible. There are no hidden
secrets. Because the price goes down, management teams can become more
knowledgeable about their costs and waste by monitoring the auction.
Wireless technology. At a 2004 Construction Industry Institute conference,
wireless technology was heralded as the biggest breakthrough of e-business in the
construction industry to date. With the construction industry being a $3.9 trillion-per-year
industry, this means great things for the future. Wireless technology will allow business
transactions to take place from anywhere at anytime. Anywhere from 5 to 10% of a
construction project's cost can be saved using web-based technologies (McKenzie 2004).
Communication is faster and can be done on a more timely basis. Because of instant
access to information, wireless technologies save time and in the construction industry
time is money.
There are already new applications on the Internet that include project
management, e-marketplace venues, and real-time collaboration over the Internet. With
wireless as an option these tasks are made even more efficient. There is no need to haul
around heavy computer equipment in order to carry out a simple e-business transaction.
The construction industry often deals with problems that need to be solved in a moments
Wireless technologies allow connection to the Internet and thus e-Business
transaction from any portable device over any network to any data source or application.
They facilitate the use of IT technologies that include Personal Information Management
(PIM) synchronization, e-mail synchronization, access to corporate databases, access to
Enterprise Information System (EIS) applications, intranets, file sharing, and access to
the World Wide Web (WWW) (AberdeenGroup 2001). Wireless technology is allowing
the construction industry to work where they are most often, on the site and out of the
For wireless communications to work in today's mobile driven technology world,
continuous support over the unpredictable wireless networks of today is essential. To do
this successful wireless infrastructure should provide the ability to do the following:
Balance the support among millions of devices, Support messaging that is not
synchronized, Provide quick interaction, Preserve data, Guarantee the delivery of
services, information, and business transactions seamlessly, without fault, and without
change to the original content (AberdeenGroup 2001).
Web-based project management software is especially advantageous when used in
conjunction with wireless technologies. The accessibility of information on a web-based
management system changes from isolated to universal (Rojas and Songer, 1999). It was
only a few years ago that project information was physically in the office and the only
people that had access to that office would have access to that information. The web-
based systems offer access to project information to anyone who has Internet access. The
availability of information has made a complete 180 from limited access to fully
available. Wireless technology is only helping the situation in that in addition to these
web-based systems being available 24 hours a day 365 days a year, they can be accessed
from any location.
Companies who are realizing the benefits of this wireless technology are equipping
their employees with multifunctional phones that are capable of cellular service, two-way
radio, text messaging, and are always connected to the Internet enabling access to
intranets and extranets, e-mail, company calendars and date books, as well as being able
to collect and calculate data when and where it happens in the field. There are faster
connections, equipment, and other multimedia tools on the horizon that allow sounds,
images, and video as well as expanded e-commerce capabilities with which the
construction industry should take full advantage.
Wireless technologies, reverse auctions, and electronic catalogs are all useful tools
the construction industry has been familiarizing themselves with, however, there are
more opportunities for e-business then the construction industry is even aware of.
These new technologies do pose a threat to the construction industry. Owners are
going to see the virtual reality tools and believe that projects can be completed faster and
under budget. Project management is going to become more open and more complicated.
Building under budget and on time is not going to be enough anymore. "We live in an
age where technology can change business by managing information in new, dynamic
ways and creating collaborative, interconnected paths among crews, contractors,
consultants, and customers. Go wireless!" (McKenzie 9). The construction industry
needs to embrace the new technologies in order to stay on top and continue to achieve
Web based project management. The web based project site is a new software
tool that allows various individuals in the design and construction process to work
together over the Internet. The idea behind project Web sites is that information in
current design and construction projects are disorganized, which leads to failure in
communication, and misunderstandings, which in turn leads to conflict, cost, and
scheduling discrepancies. These project Web sites should offer a place that is easily
accessible, reliable, and a place for storing project information that can be accessed at
anytime. This should in turn allow a new level of access to project information that
should replace or diminish the use of communication tools such as telephone, fax,
overnight mail, facsimile, and email. It is also supposed to alleviate the use of those huge
binders that have become notorious on construction projects. A project Web site will
afford all the members of team with the same information in the same format so no
discrepancies should arise. This in turn should lead to better organized, better
communicated project. This project Web site idea is growing and more widely accepted
as the companies offering these services develop their ideas and grow with technology
When a construction project is in progress there are usually stacks of paper
including: plans, specifications, product cut sheets, shop drawings, correspondence,
schedules, operations and maintenance manuals, just to name a few. Time, money, and
thus paper could be saved if all this information was put on the project web based system.
Then in order to find information all that would have to be done is navigation to the site
at anytime information was needed. The information would be easier to find, better
organized, and take up a lot less space. Links to websites for the materials and products
used on the project could also be placed on the site. This would allow the owner to stay
up to date on product information and allow for easy contact to a particular manufacturer
without having to search high and low for contact information.
Compatibility among e-Business Users
Software application, as well as collaborative sites, and every company database
has their own information system that is unique, making incompatibility inevitable. The
exchange of information becomes difficult and often impossible spending valuable time
on recreating information in the attempt to exchange the information (Geissler 2001).
Vital information locked into a company's data base is underutilized and can often be
overlooked or has to be recreated costing valuable time and money. An example of this
detrimental situation is when only one individual in a company knows a piece of
information about a project. If this person is removed from the project then the
information is lost. It is better to have a central storage space where anyone has access to
all the information on a project. This way if someone leaves, their knowledge of the
project does not, and the project can continue seamlessly. With this in mind it is
necessary to establish standards that can be used by everyone at every stage in a project
so no discrepancies will occur.
Interoperability, or the free exchange of information across data barriers, is the
answer. The construction industry needs to stop wasting time with repetitive tasks and
create documents one time and be able to pass it on to the next software application
seamlessly without fault, corruption or loss of functionality. Insufficient interoperability
increases costs and allows for mistakes and missed opportunities for the construction
industry. It is estimated that the cost of inadequate interoperability in the United States
capital facilities industry to be $15.4 billion a year (Gallaher et. al. 2004).
"Imagine one company being able to "read" construction drawings generated by
another for cost-estimating data, then taking the same drawings and extracting
scheduling, maintenance and other project management data. Imagine the potential of
"mining" your computerized inventory, labor and delivery schedules to develop generic
invoices that would easily slip into any accounting package operated by all customers--
regardless of those customers' unique needs" (Geissler 42).
The International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI) has been developing a way to
translate information in different formats for exchange among different software
applications. Other significant organizations have joined the IAI in their efforts for
interoperability such as, the American Institute of Architect, the Associated General
Contractors of America, the Civil Engineering Research Foundation, the construction
Specifications Institute, the Design-Build Institute of America and the National Institute
of Building Services (Geissler 2001). This is exactly what the architecture, engineering,
and construction (AEC) industries need considering the vast amounts of crossover
information that occurs in these industries.
For instance, the invoice is a common transaction used across industries. The
problem is that "if you have 2,000 clients, you will have 1,900 different formats in which
invoices must be structured. That means that critical data such as job numbers, dates,
product quantities and more must be formatted differently for each client" (Geissler 43).
When companies have to reformat these or any transactions valuable time and money is
once again wasted and mistakes are likely to occur.
Computer-aided design (CAD) drawings are another issue among the AEC
industries. Once construction drawings are complete, shop drawings need to be designed.
Once the drawings are complete it is safe to assume that estimating programs, material
detailing programs, and scheduling programs would all be used. However, these
programs that generate all these documents are rarely if ever compatible with each other.
To aid in this problem, IAI is working on another project for Industry Foundation
Classes (IFCs). IFCs are object-oriented standards developed in ISO/STEP Express
language. This language represents building components and then communicates a
representation of the whole project as components linked to other components. The
computer model created, the IFC, can then be understood by other IFC software (Geissler
IAI is also assisting in the development of an extensible markup language for the
AEC industry of aecXML. This language is designed exclusively for the AEC industries
developed with standards that will be used by software companies to ease conflicting
programming problems which in turn should simplify life for everyone involved.
e-Business Language. Currently, the standard language of the Internet for
business transactions is the Extended Markup Language (XML). An XML format is a
collection of rules for tagging data with descriptive labels. Once the data is labeled, the
data can then be exchanged without regard to the vagaries of the numerous software
applications (Geissler 2001). This is a difficult language for the construction industry to
use because of the mass quantity of components present. With XML it is necessary to
standardize component labels and properties, such as change orders, windows, and doors.
To date small steps have been taken in designing a language just for the construction
industry called aecXML (Cleveland 2001). As stated previously, there is a need for
standardized labels within these languages in order for logical communication to occur.
Within the aecXML language there are two types of standardized labels, non-AEC
specific and AEC specific.
The aecXML framework includes sets of XML schema, or a meaningful
combination of one more elements and attributes, to explain information specific to
exchanges between participants involved in designing, constructing and operating
structures and facilities. The aecXML framework provides the AEC industry with the
standard language it needs to share any information over the Internet with other users.
The framework identifies the information exchanged between industry users as well as
processes ruling the exchange of that data (Weng and Zhu 2001).
Software with either aecXML format or IFCs will allow business processes in the
construction industry to become more streamlined while saving the integrity of data
transferred as well as valuable time and money. Sir Michael Latham, lead a study that
has been referenced as stating that with the implementation of interoperable information
systems would allow savings of approximately 30% to the construction industry (Geissler
2001). The North American IAI, estimates that with the use of IFCs and aecXML
formats in the AEC industry would yield $7.5 to $15 billion annually (Geissler 2001).
Autodesk Inc., GraphiSoft, Nemetschek A.G. and Olof Granlund Oy have been
certified as implementers of IAI' s IFC 1.5.1. Microsoft is also heading up programs that
will offer software with IFC 2.0. Timberline Software Corp., Bentley Systems Inc., and
Autodesk Inc. are also jumping on the bandwagon to develop programs that are
compatible with IAI IFC's (Geissler 2001). The continued production and organization
of software developers depends on the industry leaders not the software developers.
Once the industry sees the benefits and the ease at which it allows organization work
flow they be more willing to help define the standards for the software developers and the
success will continue to grow.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Customer Satisfaction
E-Business dictates fast and flexible response to increasingly dynamic market
changes, but it also requires stable and enduring relationships between companies and
employees as well as between companies and partners, and companies and customers
(Chang and Ping Li 2003). Customer satisfaction is one of the most important roles of e-
Business software providers. Customers determine the success of a company's website.
Customers have confirmed the benefits the e-Business technologies had on the speed and
cost effectiveness of deploying and managing integration projects. Consumers have been
gaining market power and they are in control as to the direction and pace of the economic
growth of the companies who host these websites. Companies need to be devoted to
customer satisfaction and be easy with which to deal if they do not want to lose
customers to competitor's websites. Business applications that offer personalized
customer services are especially important to most customers these days.
"In the online world, businesses have the opportunity to develop very deep
relationships with customers, both through accepting preference of customers and then
observing their purchase behavior over time, so that you can get that individualized
knowledge of the customer and uses that individualized knowledge of the customer to
accelerate their discovery process" (Krishnamurthy 3).
In order to keep customers interested and loyal to company's websites it is the
customer service and customized experience that keeps customers coming back.
Amazon.com employees never meet their customers face-to-face, but repeat customers
are flagged and if they encounter a problem these buyers are ushered to the front
customer services to speak with a high level manager. Sacks Fifth Avenue applies the
same concept to their "high rollers" by moving them to the front of the customer help line
when in need (Enos 2005).
"Customer-centric means figuring out what your customers want by asking them,
then figuring out how to give it to them, and then giving it to them. That's the traditional
meaning of customer-centric" (Krishnamurthy 2).
Improving customer experience online involves: identifying your customers' goals
as well as the company's goals, commit to organizing that great customer experience, and
then monitoring the customer experience as well (Hurst and Gellady 1999).
For customer service to be exactly that, customer service, it is necessary to organize
the company structure and consolidate customer's records so everyone has access to these
records with one click so there is no run around when assisting a customer (Enos 2005).
Customers do not want to deal with a company that is not patient or takes an interest in
their consumers. The website is the first place to treat the customers with respect. If
customers find the website too difficult to navigate or just plain unfriendly, they are not
likely to return. Companies will lose opportunities for sales, customer relationships, and
positive feedback which equal losses in revenue if they do not provide a site that is user
friendly. "The key driver of online success, or failure, is the customer experience" (Hurst
and Gellady 3).
Because customer satisfaction is such a big deal in keeping e-Business applications
running, the rate at which new and improved applications are needed is increasing.
Advanced e-Markets, redrafting and optimization of supply chains, and outsourcing of
business functions are all factors that drive the needs for flexible applications. The
technology that is used and defined for e-Business applications needs to be able to change
and be able to adapt to the constantly changing marketplaces and it is up to these
technologies to make successful businesses out of successful e-marketplaces.
Virtual marketplaces can be organized in one of two ways, either horizontally or
vertically. Horizontal markets offer common services to a variety of industries. These
services can include financial services, benefits management, maintenance and repair,
and operating equipment procurement process management. Vertical marketplaces refer
to a web site that combines unrelated materials and services that are used jointly for a
particular industry. The site then makes this collected data available to industry
members. In the construction industry, a vertical marketplace could provide an
application service, as well as a marketplace for the sale of goods and services for the
construction industry (Issa et al. 2003).
Virtual marketplaces can improve sales and distribution while reducing inventory
levels. Companies are able to distribute their products to a multitude of companies
worldwide that they otherwise might have never had contact. Amazon.com has been
heralded as the first company to be associated with the e-Commerce phenomenon. Their
e-marketplace was carefully planned and strategically placed, on the Internet of course.
E-retailing is a solution to a different type of storefront, a storefront that is
established online for the selling of products and services online. E-retailing allows
businesses to create, manage, and run business from their computer. The key trade that is
made is that real estate is traded for web space. Real estate is the main cost of physical
retailers, whereas web hosting, development and maintenance fees are the main costs of
e-retailing. That is why there is the old saying: location, location, location. Real estate
gets more expensive every year, and technology gets cheaper every year, and it gets
cheaper fast (Krishnamurthy 2002).
Successful e-Business sites are user friendly, easy to navigate, available across any
operating system. With this in mind, the cost that is put into these systems should be
carefully monitored and deliberately planned so as to not lose money with the end
product. In order to develop and plan for systems that are to be productive it is important
to keep the necessary components of a successful e-business strategy in check. These
necessitates are: the demand for real-time access to information, the need to integrate
base applications that are too costly to replace, to ability to collect information from a
vast number of sources, the ability to have different applications communicate with one
another to create a streamlined flow of information, the ability to communicate
wirelessly, and adaptation to change (AberdeenGroup 2001).
Issa et al. (2003) explained a model they created that shows the savings and
efficiencies companies realize when adopting e-Business strategies into their company
culture. They explain that because new trends force the construction industry to deliver a
better product with enhanced customer involvement and satisfaction, businesses must
expand their market globally so every participant becomes experienced in the part they
play in the whole business operation. Therefore, in order to produce the best quality
product while achieving ultimate customer satisfaction, everyone on the team needs to
work together. This can only be done through Internet technology. By implementing
Internet technologies and thus e-Business solutions, improved quality of work will satisfy
the client, improve efficiency of product development which in turn satisfies the project
team (Issa et al. 2003).
e-Business integration. As stated previously, the complex nature of e-Business
makes it difficult to integrate its applications into existing company software as well as
other e-Business application across the web for communication purposes. The
construction industry is fragmented between general contractors, subcontractors,
architects, engineers, owners, and developers. This is where e-Business integration
infrastructures come in. An e-Business integration infrastructure consists of several
layers of different technologies that provide communication, integration, organization,
and coordination services (AberdeenGroup 2001).
Investing the time to choose the right technology and supplier for e-Business
applications is critical. Knowledge of the supplier of the technology selected as well as
the credibility of the supplier are two important characteristics investors should be
looking for when choosing the best technology for their job. The development of a
strategic integration infrastructure can best be created though determining the needs of e-
Business and overcoming the obstacles e-Business can present. The result of strategic
planning for these infrastructures is long term benefits, which really makes it all worth it
in the end (AberdeenGroup 2001).
Some industry leaders feel it might be too late to get involved in e-Business
operations. However there are steps that can be taken to begin the road to e-Business
success. An e-Business framework should be set up in a company in order to begin the
implementation into the company's operations.
An e-Business framework should consist of three effects including: the
communication effect, the brokerage effect which allows access to global markets with
little cost, and the integration effect which decreases and improves the supply chain. An
organization model should then be established. The next step should be a ranking of the
opportunities that are available through e-Business transactions. Finally, for each of the
opportunities that were listed, a potential solution should be identified using one of the
three affects stated previously (Schulz 2003).
This is just a brief overview of an approach to get the ball rolling in the effort of
creating a successful e-Business framework. Careful research should be done in order to
create an e-Business framework that explores strategies with less risk and opportunities
for greater opportunities.
Robert Bosch Corporation. The Robert Bosch Corporation has experienced real
value in implementing e-Business applications into company operations. The director of
e-commerce at Robert Bosch Corporations said "In my mind, e-Business drives your
processes toward real time" (Gould 39). The implementation of at Robert Bosch
Corporation is pretty conservative in that they do not like to jump into the system without
knowing what is has in store for their company. They want to see the technology at work
and actually succeeding before adoption companywide begins.
The e-commerce committee will first introduce a project they feel will assist the
company. A return on investment of less then a year is then determined. After approval,
the project is then given a three to six month test project where it will try out its success
rates. If the test project is successful, the project is then issued companywide (Gould
Two of their e-Business applications include real-time inventory checks and direct
purchasing through an e-marketplace. Only a web-browser is needed to interact with
these applications. Bosch employees are describing these as "way better than what they
had" (Gould 39).
Siemens VDO Automotive. Siemens VDO Automotive is another company
applying e-Business applications into their corporate structure. Bill Macfarlane, CIO,
feels the automotive industry would benefit from e-Business for procurement, supply
chain management, and product development. Currently, Siemens uses web-based
auctions, RFP/RFQ management, supplier communications, and purchasing. With these
ideas for implementation, one of Siemens first e-Business applications was catalog-based
procurement. Next in line for e-Business at Siemens include: web-based requisitions,
with workflows, approvals, and budget controls. Macfarlane says web-based technology
"is the way to go. If you're not doing it web-based, you're missing the boat" (Gould 40).
TRW Automotive. TRW Automotive has begun using an online ordering system
to help boost sales. Now, between 50 and 60% of TRW's orders come through the
ordering system rather than by phone or fax. Another e-Business application is that of
online customization for products. Customers can configure products and submit them to
TRW for pricing (Gould 2003). TRW's e-Business applications have helped with
customer sales, inventory management, and supplier communication.
Primavera Systems. This developer of project management software, partnered
with PurhasePro.com, an online provider of Internet B2B procurement. The new
marketplace is PrimeContract.com and is intended for construction companies,
subcontractors, owners, and suppliers. The purpose is to speed up the purchasing process
of goods and services, as well as aid in effective review of bids and project contracts.
"The construction industry is ripe for e-commerce," says Joel Koppelman, president of
Primavera. "PrimeContract.com extends project management into the heart of purchasing
and procurement of construction materials, components and services" (Partnership 16).
Companies that begin to re-evaluate their technology needs and usage, evaluate
new Web-based solutions, and to develop, refine, select and prioritize a set of solutions
will be in a good position to realize considerable cost savings, increase operating
efficiencies and improve customer satisfaction and profitability.
E-Business is about the commitment and capability of companies in various
industries to utilize digital technology, emphasize intellectual property, and enhance
customer satisfaction across the business functions, thus changing the way of doing
business from a traditional company-centric stand-alone paradigm to a new network-
leveraged synchronized paradigm (Chang and Ping Li 2003). It is the future and it is here
now. Companies must embrace the new technologies if they want to survive in this fast
paced, dog eat dog world.
Chapter 3, will discuss the methodology of the survey as well as the aims and
objectives of this study. The steps used in order to select respondents as well as the
reasoning for selecting the respondents will also be clarified.
This study focuses on e-Business practices in the construction industry. Current e-
Business applications, available technologies, types of providers for e-Business
technology, as well as current users of e-Business applications were researched to design
a survey about e-Business in the construction industry today. The hypothesis on this
topic is that the construction industry is growing rapidly and beginning to embrace
technology and realize its benefits. They are using e-Business applications more every
year and experiencing high success rates.
Scope of Work
This study investigates the views of the construction industry on e-Business and e-
procurement. This information was obtained through the distribution of and response to a
survey (Appendix A) that was sent out electronically to construction industry leaders.
The questions on this survey were designed to determine the following: 1) the
willingness of the construction industry respondents to use e-Business and e-procurement
in future endeavors to help their companies make advancements in their field, 2) if they
are already using these tools in their company, how far have they come since they first
began using e-Business, 3) what type and size of companies are more likely to use e-
Business in their everyday activities. The survey was sent out via email, to 91
corporations selected from the 2003 Engineering News Record Top 400 Contractors.
These companies range from general contracting, project management, to design build
companies based throughout the United States. The companies also vary in workforce
size, geographical location, and annual profits. The main focus was to determine the
extent of e-Business implementation by general contractors.
The survey is designed to determine the current status of e-Business practices, the
construction industries implementation of e-Business applications, and the effects e-
Business applications have on the construction industry. Questions in the survey
concentrate on the size of companies, geographical distribution, revenue, current e-
Business practice, e-Business initiatives, e-Business processes, e-Business affects on
revenue, and past, present, and future plans for e-Business applications within their
A similar survey was conducted in the year 2000. The updated survey for this
study consisted of some similar questions as well as additional questions more specific to
the technologies of today. The results of the survey conducted in 2000 and the survey
conducted for this study will be compared along with any additional information obtained
from the new questions in an effort to determine any trends in e-Business in the
With answers to these questions as the goal a survey was set up in order to
determine e-Businesses effects on company processes. The survey was primarily multiple
choice with a few demographics questions. These sections were each designed
accordingly to obtain the information needed to compile and analyze the final responses.
Selection of Survey Participants
The survey was distributed to 91 contractors selected from the 2004 ENR Top 400
Contractor list, found at http://www.enr.com. Every fifth company beginning with the
number one ranking company on ENR Top 400 Contractors were selected ( e.g., 1, 5, 10,
15, ... ). This resulted in 81 companies from ENR Top 400 Contractors List. The
subsequent ten companies were then selected from The ENR Design-Build Companies
List that were also included on the ENR Top 400 Contractors List but were not selected
in the number sequence as previously noted.
Contractors with web sites were chosen first because of their obvious knowledge of
Internet use and its capabilities. If a company was selected and it was discovered they
did not have a web site, they were left out of the survey and the preceding company in
ranking on the list was chosen. If this company also exhibited the absence of a website
the company one rank above the selected company was chosen and so on until a company
with a website was discovered. Company information from their websites was
documented for follow-ups and evaluation of survey results.
This survey was prepared and administered via e-mail. The survey was sent out to
ninety-one companies with a fax number included for returning the survey. This survey
was arranged as an anonymous survey. The information about the companies will be kept
confidential, and the data gathered are pooled together. The analysis of results is kept
strictly within this study.
The results are based on responses from 20 corporations out of ninety-one
organizations selected from ENR TOP 400. The businesses surveyed represent project
management, general contractor, design build, and construction services companies
throughout the United States. The respondent companies varied in terms of annual
revenues, number of employees, and geographic region of operations. The data was
collected and analyzed for the study to determine growing trends and construction
industry changes in the past five years.
The next chapter, Chapter 4, will discuss the results that were obtained from the
respondents to the survey (Appendix A). These results will then be analyzed and
compared to a similar survey completed in 2000 (Issa et al. 2003) to determine any trends
relating to e-Business initiatives and adaptations in the construction industry.
ANALYSIS OF SURVEY RESULTS
The e- Business Assessment Survey is designed to determine the current usage in
the construction industry of e-Business applications and how those views have changed
in the past five years. The survey was aimed towards the construction industry's leading
general contractors and their response to e-Business initiatives. Since the survey was sent
to the most successful contractors in the United States it is assumed they are doing
something different to advance their business success rates. The survey questions
whether or not e-Business applications have anything to do with these companies
successes and if so, if they plan on continuing their use and /or advancing their
technology in order to better understand and utilize e-Business strategies. Questions
about company revenue size, number of employees, and geographical location were
asked in order to determine whether smaller or larger general contracting firms were
more willing to participate in e-Business. Information about current use of e-Business
applications, as well as future plans for investment was questioned to determine
companies' e-Business implementation plans. Most important e-Business applications
currently in use was also determined in order to assess applications that are most useful to
the construction industry.
The construction industry is beginning to realize the benefits of e-Business. With
the final results in, the ability to categorize companies' processes that worked became
apparent. As survey results came in it was obvious that some companies had been
working with e-Business for quite sometime and had worked through all the kinks and
now had e-Business working for them.
The e-Business Assessment Survey will be analyzed quantitatively to determine
whether or not e-Business is finding a place in the construction industry. The results will
then be compared to those results of a similar e-Business assessment survey conducted in
2000 (Issa et al. 2003). Additional questions were added to the present survey and only
those questions that relate to the survey in 2000 will have comparison analysis results.
Results of the e-Business Assessment Survey
The respondents in this survey are based on a 22 % return rate. Although this
seems like a low return rate, accurate information can still be determined as well as
growing trends within the construction industry. The job title of the respondents from the
2000 survey compared to the 2005 survey varied as shown in Table 4-1.
Of the responses to the survey, 5 (25%) were from executives: they all felt either
knowledgeable or very knowledgeable about the company's e-Business efforts conveying
the idea that the executives or senior level management makes the decisions about the
business operations that are taken on within the company. Three of the respondents
(15%) worked in computer systems management; they came in second with claiming
knowledge in company e-Business efforts with the same type of responses as senior level
management of very knowledgeable or knowledgeable. Thus, it seems that the company
executives and computer systems management work together in making decisions as to
what technologies the company will adopt presently and in the future.
Table 4-1: Survey respondent employee position
What are your job functions?
Profile % Profile %
Executive (CEO, owner, VP, etc) 7 35% 5 25%
Operations Management 1 5% 7 35%
Financial / Accounting 0 0% 0 0%
Sales / Marketing 2 10% 4 20%
E-Business Development 4 20% 0 0%
Computer Systems management 0 0% 3 15%
Consultant / IT Provider 1 5% 0 0%
Engineering 0 0% 0 0%
Other 5 25% 1 5%
TOTAL 20 100% 20 100%
Operations 5% Systems Other
Management 5% Executive
Other 20% Operations
Figure 4-1: Respondents job title distribution. A) For the year 2000 B) For the year 2005.
Firms with employee size ranging from 100 to 499 employees at their current
location had the greatest response to the survey. Figure 4-2 shows the employee size
distribution of all the firms surveyed compared to the survey in 2000. Because the
majority of the survey respondents are of similar employee size, the comparison of results
will be of even greater substance because of the companies' similar experiences in
relation to company size. Of the participants, 85% (17) had other locations within the
United States and 55% (11) had international locations. Companies with international
locations had utilized more e-Business applications as well as more types of connections,
other than phone, fax, and email, for communication with suppliers than companies that
operate solely in the United States. It is not uncommon for construction companies to be
spread across the nation and even the world because the project they construct are for
different clients and thus different locations demanding that they be on site to monitor
progress. The surveys show the apparent use of Internet and other technologies in order
to communicate from different locations.
1,000 to 4,999 500 -999 20 49 1,000 to 4,999
Emloyees Employees 50 -99 Employees Einloyees
3 8 Employees 1 2 500 -999
50 -99 18% 2
15% 40% 3 6% 12% Employees
EmployeFigure 4-2: Respondents employee size distribution. A) For the year 2000 and B) For the12
20their ranking on ENR's Top 49 100 499 contractors100 -499
EmThployees Employees Employees
0% 45% 52%
Figure 4-2: Respondents employee size distribution. A) For the year 2000 and B) For the
There is also significance in the fact that there is a greater distribution in size from
the 2005 survey. Keep in kind that the companies for this survey were chosen based on
their ranking on ENR's Top 400 contractors meaning they are successful companies.
There was a 6% (1) response from companies with 20 to 49 employees: although this is a
small company, they are making profits that could be attributed to e-Business efforts and
their ability to communicate and expand their services.
A company's revenue can be significant when it come to e-Business operations.
The amount of revenue a company brings in each year will determine their spending on
other company needs such as communications within the company structure. Figure 4-3
shows the distribution of the respondent firm's revenues. There was a 32% (6) response
from companies with revenue of one billion dollars or more. The companies in this
revenue bracket spent more money on networking, computer hardware, intranet/extranet,
and other e-Business applications than companies making a smaller revenue. This is for
the obvious reason that these companies have a greater need and a great source from
which to purchase the necessary items and tools.
$300 Mil to
$499.9 Mil $500 Mil to $1
6 1 Billion
$50 Mil to $99.9 $1 Mil to $49.9 32%
Figure 4-3: Respondents distribution by annual revenue
Selected results of the survey will be discussed in the rest of the section with the
following topics in mind: adoption of e-Business, communication tool usage, e-Business
initiatives, intended gains from e-Business implementation, and future plans and goals for
e-Business within respondent companies.
The first question on e-Business: "Are you involved in adopting any of the
following e-Business applications?" was asked of the respondents to determine the
current applications the construction industry is using on a day to day basis.
The distribution of e-Business applications implemented by respondent companies
can be found in Table 4-2 and Figure 4-4. It is understood that technology is a rapidly
growing phenomenon and that a lot can happen in five years. However, as shown in
Table 4-2, even after a five year time since a similar survey was sent out and analyzed,
there appears to be the same rate of e-Business implementation. Every company
surveyed is involved with e-Business applications, in some form or another, within their
company. The most widely used e-Business application in 2005 is that of
extranet/intranet at 75% (15), and project management close behind with a 70% (14)
adoption rate. This survey also shows more adoption in the wireless category than in
previous years. The previous survey in 2000 showed 0% adoption of any kind of
wireless technology. Presently 45% (9) of companies are utilizing the wireless
technologies in part because of technological advances as well as greater user familiarity
with this technology.
Table 4-2: Adopted e-Business application adoption in the construction industry
2000 Results 2005 Results
n % Internal OutSrce n % Internal OutSrce
E-Procurement 8 40% 3 0 5 25% 1 4
Customer Relationship Mgmt 6 30% 3 0 10 50% 9 1
Workflow 8 40% 3 1 8 40% 7 2
Supply Chain Management 5 25% 2 1 3 15% 2 0
Extranet/Intranet 13 65% 7 1 15 75% 12 2
E-Commerce 9 45% 4 0 6 30% 3 3
Kwldg Mgmt./ Data Warhse 9 45% 5 0 9 45% 7 3
Internet Infrastructure 12 60% 5 1 10 50% 9 2
Enterprise Resource Planning 5 25% 4 0 7 35% 6 1
Accounting / Finance 11 55% 5 0 13 65% 9 5
Project Collaboration 10 50% 4 5 11 55% 7 6
Project Management 14 70% 5 4 14 70% 8 8
Digital Exchange / Auction 1 5% 0 1 9 45% 2 6
Wireless 0 0% 0 0 9 45% 6 1
Comparing the outsourcing of e-Business applications to internal development by
the companies, it is found that there is more outsourcing now than five years ago. This
could be due to software development and greater understanding of the construction
industry and its standards as well as its unpredictable operations that need flexible
programs that can be used from project to project. The presence of more outsourcing also
has to do with companies using their internally developed programs in combination with
outsourcing in order to create an application that works best for their company. Although
there is still a great deal of internal development, this likely has to do with company
preference of already in place processes, especially in the extranet/intranet category. It is
difficult for the construction industry to move on from something that they believe is
working and does not need to be changed.
Extranetilntraiet r m
Accounting r -
Digital Exchaige 2005
,~.j..-. K* fl.~L-~ A' -
knowledge iMgt i Data M.
Enterprise Resource Planning
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80%
Figure 4-4: Distribution of adopted e-Business applications in 2000 and 2005
Accounting and finance tools are among the most implemented tools and are used a
great deal at 65% (13) with most internally developed. Project collaboration tools are
also automated and used widely among construction industry leaders. These tools are
designed to help companies organize their information about a project in one place,
usually a website. This allows the information to be accessed by anyone working on the
project, at anytime, from any place. Thus resulting in increased productivity and a more
streamlined approach which saves time and money, which is why construction industry
leaders have embraced these tools.
Digital exchange has made great progress that most likely has to do with project
collaboration tools and the software that is associated with these tools. More software
has come out that is focused on construction industry standards in the past five years that
allows for easier exchange of information over the Internet. This explains the increase in
use and adoption responses. It is easier than ever before to exchange information on the
Internet. Wireless capabilities have allowed digital exchange as well as project
collaboration tools to be used more widely in the construction industry. Wireless has
gone from a 0% usage in 2000 to 45% (9) over the past five years. Although more than
45% of companies require cell phones, which use wireless technologies, respondents
were most likely considering wireless connections for laptops on site and for wireless
data exchange over the Internet. The combination of these three tools has helped each
tool alone and explains their greater adoption in the construction industry.
There was a change in the construction industry's thoughts on e-Commerce, e-
Procurement, and supply chain management in terms of less use for these applications.
They are still among the least adopted applications even though they have great potential
in saving money and streamlining operations. The lack of applications using these
services in the construction industry has lead to a lack of expertise in these areas simply
because there is not enough industry specific operations out there for these companies to
use that work with their business operations.
The construction industry is embracing e-Business application slowly but surely.
The number of adoptions of these applications is sure to rise especially with the new
generation of individuals getting ready to enter the construction work force. They are
more computer savvy and have the expertise and experience to introduce new operations
and applications into the construction industry that can only help propel the construction
industry into the computer age.
Communication. The respondents were then asked about the connections they
have with their suppliers, partners, and customers. The purpose of this question was to
determine exactly which methods of contact they are using to stay in touch and to
exchange information with suppliers, partners, and customers. Figure 4-5 shows the
distribution of respondent connections with customers and suppliers
Phone / In Poerson
Wireless U 2005
Public Market Place 2000
Private Market Place
Centralized Internet Info mgt
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50', 60 70% 80% 90% 100%
Figure 4-5: Connection with suppliers, partners, and customers
Although the survey indicated that the construction industry most often uses the old
method of communicating by phone or in person there is an increase in the use of e-mail
by respondents. This use of e-mail expresses the fact the construction industry is using
the Internet on a daily basis to conduct its business operations. The facsimile has been
around for a while and because everything is not completely automated it is necessary to
keep this communication tool in connection with the other most widely used tools, phone
and e-mail. Because the construction industry is people oriented and face time with
customers, suppliers, and partners is important, the use of the phone should not by any
means be eliminated, just enhanced. The use of cell phones, cell phones with Internet
capabilities, and cell phone Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) is only making
communication easier and more effective.
Again, the use of wireless technologies has taken a leap in the past five years in the
construction industry from 5% (1) in 2000 to over 35% (6) in 2005. Electronic data
exchange (EDI) is somewhat related to wireless in that wireless can increase the use of
EDI. The more places you are able to exchange information the greater the chance that it
will be used. Thus, with the increase in wireless communications comes increased EDI
The use of public and private market places is pretty low considering the recent
surge in digital marketplace presence. The US construction industry is heavily dependent
on personal relationships and seems to still work by word of mouth, asking around and
using past suppliers and manufacturers for business operations. With the growing
popularity of wireless computing, this trend is bound to grow because the construction
industry will be able to reorder an item from a digital marketplace at a moments notice
should something go wrong with a current building material.
Another question was asked of the survey participants about company requirements
for mobile computing devices to connect with others. "Does your company require or
supply employees with any mobile computing devices in order to connect with others"
was asked to determine how connected these companies hope to be with clients,
suppliers, and even within the organization itself Figure 4-6 displays the distribution of
supplied computing devices to employees.
Phones with Internet Capabilities
0% 10% 20, 30 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100 ,
Figure 4-6: Company supplied computing devices
Although not every company required their suppliers to have mobile computing
devices, all the companies surveyed supplied their own employees with cell phones and
60% supplied cell phones with varying capabilities i.e. some supplied BlackBerriesTM
which supply users with e-mail, speakerphone, instant messaging, and Internet browsing
among other capabilities. The construction industry is a fast paced business. Employees
are rarely at their desks and are often on the move. Decisions often come down to last
minute details and project managers should be available at a moments notice. Cell
phones make this possible which is why they are so widely issued to construction
Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) are the next most popular computing device with
which to supply employees with 60% (12) of companies supplying their employees with
these devices. PDAs have similar capabilities as BlackBerriesTM without the ability of a
phone. Internet access is common, along with personal organizers, day planners, e-mail,
and word processing are all available on these devices. Keeping track of high profile
project, meeting minutes, and schedules are all made easier with the use of PDA's.
Tablet PCs are becoming more popular. Because they hold more information than
PDAs, larger projects can be tracked on organized with these devices. They are larger
than a PDA but are just as mobile. With wireless becoming more readily available and
55% of companies requiring wireless devices, tablet PCs are beginning to showing up on
more construction projects.
Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are only used by 10% (2) of the respondents.
Most companies have been using GPS system on equipment on the jobsite in order to
track use, productivity, as well as to prevent theft. It is also used in automobiles as a
direction assistant with helping users with finding locations of points of interest.
With the apparent use of these mobile computing devices it is clear that the
construction industry is embracing new technologies and looking for new ways to
increase productivity. These devices simplify processes and streamline workflow which
is exactly what the complex construction industry needs. After all time is money in this
Electronic Business Initiatives. The next question "Which of the following
Internet-related IT initiatives are you currently working on or plan to be involved in?"
was designed to determine what e-Business applications were being implemented into the
construction industry. It is also designed to determine where the construction industry is
lacking in terms of their e-Business efforts. Figure 4-7 displays the distribution of e-
Business initiatives in the construction industry. Current practices and future
implementation on procurement, supply chain, transactions, e-commerce, project
development, intranet/extranet, e-markets, order tracking, partnering, and communication
were all covered to determine the industry's needs. Ninety percent of the companies that
responded have implemented e-Business initiatives and have plans for future e-Business
initiatives within their organization. Such a high response rate indicates that the
construction industry is ready and willing to implement e-Business initiatives.
i ii r
I~ I~I -
I~ I~I -
- I I -
0% 10% 2(1 30 '., 40% 50 ., 60%
Figure 4-7: Electronic business initiatives in the construction industry
Project Development and Intranet/Extranet tools are the most used and/or are slated
for greater use. Greater use of Intranet/Extranet at 60% (12) versus 55% (11) in 2000,
was no surprise considering its high response rate earlier with e-Business applications.
The respondent companies also have a strong focus on project development and complete
organization of project systems. This is also no surprise with the high response for
project management applications stated earlier. Companies, most likely, have plans to
continue their use of these initiatives with plans to develop these areas further.
Communication was the next leader in initiatives although it decreased 10% from
60% (12) in 2000 to 50% (10) in 2005. This decrease could be attributed to the fact that
the respondents feel this area is important but that they are more focused on other areas at
present. However, as stated previously, communication in the construction industry is
key. With a constant need to keep in touch with suppliers, clients, and everyone involved
on the project, communication is extremely important to construction industry leaders.
These tools are important to maintain and increase productivity while reducing costs and
staying on schedule.
The survey indicates that e-Procurement and e-Commerce are likely to be adopted
in the near future. Respondents are aware of these tools but do not have the ability or
knowledge at present to implement these into operations. As stated previously, these are
the items that are outsourced indicating that the respondents are not as aware of these
information applications as much as other activities and applications.
However, the survey indicates they are willing to take on these tools in the future
as a means to increase productivity and improve business operations.
Prioritized goals of the Construction Industry. "Please rate the following from
the least important to the most important according to your business goals." This
question was designed to determine technologies the respondents saw as most important
in furthering their company's business operations as well as the future structure of the
company. Table 4-3 shows the respondents priorities and their rankings in order to
determine how or why they plan on implementing certain e-Business initiatives. Figure
4-8 shows the distribution of the respondent companies' goals.
Table 4-3: Respondent priorities
Business Goals 2000 2005
Avg Min Max Rank % Avg Min Max Rank %
Increased Internal4.9 4.0 5.0 1 65 3.8 1.0 5.0 3 37
Increased External 4.9 4.0 5.0 1 65 4.5 2.0 5.0 5 68
Enhanced Customer Relationships 4.9 4.0 5.0 2 60 4.6 2.0 5.0 1 74
Expansion of geography 2.8 1.0 5.0 12 15 3.1 2.0 5.0 10 11
Innovation of product/services 3.9 3.0 5.0 6 20 3.5 2.0 5.0 8 11
Shorter, accurate transaction 3.7 2.0 5.0 7 15 3.3 1.0 5.0 9 17
Transparent market 2.8 2.0 5.0 12 5 2.5 1.0 5.0 12 7
Expansion of Partnership 3.5 2.0 5.0 10 15 3.0 2.0 5.0 11 5
Reduced capital costs 3.5 2.0 5.0 8 25 3.9 2.0 5.0 4 32
Reduced travel costs 3.5 2.0 5.0 8 10 3.4 1.0 5.0 7 15
Increased productivity 4.6 4.0 5.0 4 45 4.6 2.0 5.0 2 70
Increased predictability 4.7 4.0 5.0 3 50 4.6 3.0 5.0 2 70
Reduced defects 4.1 3.0 5.0 5 30 4.5 3.0 5.0 4 58
Improved industry standards 3.2 1.0 5.0 11 5 3.8 2.0 5.0 6 21
The survey results indicate that customer relationships are of most important
concern for leading construction companies ranking second in 2000 and moving to the
number one goal in 2005. Increased productivity and increased predictability is a close
second, moving from fourth and third respectively to tying for second. The construction
industry is especially concerned with reducing cost, and increasing productivity and
predictability which will in turn reduce costs as well as save time. Reducing defects and
improved communication with suppliers, customers, and partners, ranks at number four
as a main goal of construction industry leaders. Increased internal communication is not
as high of a priority as it was in 2000 moving ranks from number one in 2000 to number
three in 2005, probably due to the fact that companies have developed their internal
communication and are now focusing on broader communication applications. Improved
industry standards as a goal has taken a leap from ranking eleventh in 2000 to ranking
sixth in 2005. Construction industry leaders seem to be figuring out that the more
standards that are developed, the greater their ability to communicate effectively, and
with minimal confusions. Most of the business goals have not changed a great deal in
five years since 2000 because of their similar rankings from 2000, which brings forth the
trend of the construction industry's goals. These goals should help in the further
development of applications geared toward the construction industry's goals as well as
allowing the industry to see exactly what e-Business applications it needs to implement in
order to achieve their goals.
Enhanced Customer Relationships
Increased Internal Communications
Reduced Capital Costs
Increased External Communications
Improved Industry Standards *m EJO
Reduced Travel Costs S20
Innovation of Product Delivery
Expansion of Geography
Expasion of Partnership
Transparent Market _
0 1 2 3 4 5
Figure 4-8: Construction industry's prioritized goals
Business to Business Exchange. "In the past 5 years has your company
participated in an industry-specific Business to Business (B2B) exchange?" This question
was designed to determine whether or not the construction industry is moving away from
its traditional ways of buying and selling products and services. It is not clear as to
whether or not the construction industry is familiar with this practice because 35% (7) did
not know if their company had participated in B2B exchange, 40% (8) said no, and
another 20% (5) said their company had participated in this application. These results
show that B2B exchange is not implemented as much as desired due in part to it process.
The B2B exchange process involves entering information into a system and allowing the
system to take it through the process with minimal human interface (Cleveland 2001).
The problem with this is the mere complexity of the construction industry and its
systems. The construction industry deals with a multitude of systems and coordinating
these systems is difficult without the loss of information or change of data.
Implementing B2B exchange is an obvious obstacle that must be overcome and is on its
way to working within the construction industry.
Obstacles. "What has held you back from conducting e-Business?" This question
was designed to help industry suppliers, software developers, and e-Business experts
determine what they can do to help the construction industry in their e-Business efforts.
Everything from lack of security and industry standards, to cost of the application is
covered in this question. Figure 4-9 displays the obstacles the construction industry is
facing with conducting e-Business. Because e-Business is so new to the construction
industry there are few precedents of companies who have implemented e-Business
applications with real time documented results. Construction industry leaders are most
likely at the point in their e-Business implementation and they are all waiting to see what
successes and benefits they have reaped from their efforts.
Another reason the construction industry is wary of implementing too much e-
Business at one time is because of the lack of expertise. E-Business is new to
construction; however it is still fairly new to all disciplines which indicates that there is
going to be a lack of expertise in this area across the board. However, with the increase
in computer literacy among the workforce, the implementation of e-Business is sure to be
on the rise.
Lack of Successful real time examples- U
Lack of expertise in e-Business and construction
Lack of Industry Standards
Lack of Security
Cost of Networking
Cost of EDI
Lack of Infrastructure
Cost of e-Business applications
Lack of Appropriate laws and regulations
0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45%
Figure 4-9: Construction industry reasons for not implementing e-Business
Benefits. "If e-Commerce applications have been implemented in your company
within the past 5 years, has your company seen significant improvements in any of the
following areas?" Figure 4-10 displays the results of benefits with which the
construction industry has experienced with the implementation of e-Business
applications. The ability to retrieve project information with ease and allowing for more
effective use of time are the greatest benefits realized by the respondents in this survey
with 40% (8) feeling these were benefits their company was realizing. These benefits
really go hand in hand, because with the better use of time comes cost savings which is
the next benefit the respondents felt in which they were taking part.
More effective use of time
Easier to retrieve project information
0% 10% 20 30% 40% 50%
Figure 4-10: Benefits realized by the construction industry with e-Business
When these construction industry leaders first implemented e-Business into their
daily operations they had a few ideas about what they wanted to accomplish. The
question "How would you characterize the impact of your e-Business initiatives on your
main source of revenue" was designed to determine if their e-Business efforts were
actually helping their company in the way they most expected it to help in reducing cost
and increasing revenue. Figure 4-11 displays the 2005 respondents feeling on how they
perceive e-Business' impact on revenue.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Figure 4-11: Impact on revenue
Most of the respondents felt that their e-Business adoption was somewhat
significant with 35% (7). The upper portion of respondents at 45% (9) felt there was
some sort of impact on revenue by the e-Business implementation. The four that did not
respond were also the same individuals that felt they were not knowledgeable in their
company's e-Business efforts.
Figure 4-12 shows the distribution of responses to the question. "Your company's
e-Business efforts are primarily intended to?" The survey showed that an overwhelming
number of respondents implemented e-Business in the hope of increasing productivity,
which leads to more effective use of time, and in turn cost savings. The construction
industry is big on getting things completed as fast as possible with the least amount of
steps. It is evident in this response that the construction industry "getting done" attitude
is what is driving the decisions on e-Business adoption.
0% 10% 20% 30-. 40% 50', 60% 70., 80%
Figure 4-12: Construction industry's perceived benefits of e-Business implementation
It is somewhat surprising that earlier in the survey the top goal of these respondents
was to enhance the customer relationship and here they are more focused on increasing
productivity instead of improving customer service. Perhaps the industry feel that by
increasing productivity and delivering projects that are on time or earlier will increase
customer satisfaction and thus the customer relationship.
Future Spending. The question "your company quantifies and closely tracks the
value of its e-Business efforts" was designed to determine if these companies are really
paying attention to whether or not e-Business is working for them or not. Figure 4-13
displays the distribution of respondent replies. The responses here varied across the
board. It was difficult to determine whether or not the construction industry is really
paying attention to e-Business implementation. Although the industry is beginning to
embrace e-Business, it still seems to be a new practice. Tracking is on a case by case
basis and will most likely be monitored in greater detail in the future after companies
have experienced it for a while where greater results can be realized.
3 -%Strongly Agree
Figure 4-13: Distribution of companies monitoring e-Business efforts
The last question in the survey is "Do you expect you spending on e-commerce to
increase, decrease, or remain the same in the coming year?" With what the construction
industry knows about e-Business and what applications they use on a daily basis, they are
able to determine whether or not they will continue on the same track or move to a
different approach as far as their business operations are concerned. Figure 4-14 displays
the range of responses received from the survey.
Stay the Same a i-
0% 10% 20-, 30% 40% 50 *' 60%
Figure 4-14: The construction industry's perceived ideas on future spending on e-
Business implementation within their company
The respondents show no signs of wanting to rid their operations of e-Business
implementation. Either way they plan on continued spending on e-Business in the
construction industry. The companies feel that e-Business implementation is benefiting
business operations and that continued support for it is crucial to business success.
The next chapter, Chapter 5, will present final conclusions and recommendations
for further research in this area of study. E-Business has potential for an even brighter
future in the construction industry. It has already begun is forward shift, and it seems as
though there is no turning back.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Electronic Business definitely has a place in the future of construction operations.
Its benefits have already begun to show successes within the companies they have been
implemented. Easier project coordination, more effective use of time, and cost savings
are all promises that e-Business is delivering. However, in order for e-Business to
succeed in the first place industry leaders need to determine their goals and company
standards. An understanding of what customers want and how to find these customers is
one area they need to develop in order to design e-Business for communications.
Companies also needed to assess their products and services to determine how to market
themselves and what was required to turn their company into a productive, profitable
Today, virtually all companies use the Internet in some sort of fashion and they will
continue to expand their use and knowledge of the Internet as new uses emerge. As stated
previously, the construction industry claims that 60% to 80% of the total cost of
operation, including capital, labor, materials and transportation, is directly related to
information management (Geissler 2001). The construction industry is a global network
that can use the Internet and e-Business to connect to suppliers, customers, and partners
The results of the "e-Business Assessment Survey" have indicated that, contrary to
popular belief, the construction industry is actually implementing e-Business solutions in
order to streamline operations. Not only is the industry already implementing e-Business
applications, but they are also ready and willing to embrace new applications as long as
there is evidence that implementation will prove successful for their own company in the
Increased productivity by the respondent companies was the overwhelming
response to the perceived benefit of e-Business. However, the other benefits realized by
the respondent companies that was a more tangible response was that of finding more
effective use of time, and the ability to retrieve project information with greater ease.
The majority of the respondents felt that because of these real and perceived benefits, e-
Business implementation in the construction industry made either a significant or very
significant impact on their companies business operations.
Plans to continue spending within respondent companies also expresses the
industry's desire to continue e-Business implementation in the future. At this point in
time, however, the construction industry has only scratched the surface of what the
Internet can do for them and they have a long way to go before the industry realizes the
maximum return the Internet and e-Business have to offer. The fact that the industry has
only scratched the surface is not the fault of the construction industry but the complexity
of the discipline and the inability, at present, for so many different systems to collaborate
with accurate results.
Most e-Business applications are not designed to fit the complex nature of the
construction industry. With the development of greater technologies and the aecXML
language, e-Business will have a greater presence in the construction industry. In the
near future, aecXML will allow for greater integration among systems as well as
functioning in the adaptable networks made up of other companies who coordinate
internal and external transactions all in one place.
The study shows that the construction industry is taking an active role in e-Business
implementation and that companies are making plans for future internal and external
improvements in order to increase productivity and encourage cost savings.
Recommendations for Future Research
While the results of this survey provide valuable information about e-Business
implementation in the construction industry, further research is necessary in order to
increase maximum potential of this phenomenon within the construction industry. Since
the construction industry as a whole conducts the same types of business processes just
on different scales according to company size and project specifics, surveys should be
conducted industry wide. The survey should seek a larger number of responses by
sending out the survey to a larger number of industry leaders with a web presence not
only those on the ENR top 400 contractors list. It would also be helpful to send the
survey to the same companies so tracking of specific companies can be analyzed yielding
more accurate results instead of just a random sampling every time.
There should also be a type of measurement for productivity in this study because it
was the greatest perceived benefit of e-Business. It was only a perception because there
was not a developed form of measurement to date that could be used in conjunction with
Additionally, it is recommended that future studies focus on the progress of the
integration of e-Business applications amidst the complex business operations of the
construction industry. The trends toward enhanced integration and interoperability will
result in even greater improvements in productivity, time management, and reduced
E-BUSINESS ASSESSMENT SURVEY
Informed Consent Form
M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Construction
PO Box 115703
Gainesville, FL 32611-5703
Fax (352) 392-9606
I am a graduate student in the Rinker School of Building Construction at the University
of Florida. As part of my course work I am conducting a survey, the purpose of which is
to determine the use of e-Business solutions in the construction industry. I am asking you
to participate in the survey because of your close connection with these issues, as a
participant in the construction industry. Participants will be asked to fill out a survey
lasting no longer than 20 minutes. You will not have to answer any questions) you do
not wish to answer.
Your survey will be conducted in your workplace, after you have read this informed
consent. Only I will have access to the survey that you fill out. The statistical data
collected from your survey and others will be documented in my thesis. Although, your
identity (if you choose to reveal it) will be kept confidential to the extent provided by the
law and your identity will not be revealed in the final manuscript.
There are no anticipated risks, compensation or other direct benefits to you as a
participant in this survey. You are free to withdraw your consent to participate and may
discontinue your participation in the interview at any time without consequence.
If you have any questions about this research protocol, please contact me at (352) 373 -
7379 or my faculty supervisor, Dr. R. Raymond Issa, at (352)-273-1152. Questions or
concerns about your rights as a research participant may be directed to the UFIRB office,
University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611; Ph: (352) 392 0433.
By filling out the provided survey, you give me the permission to report your responses
anonymously in the final manuscript to be submitted to my faculty supervisor as part of
my course work.
I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily agree to participate in the
study and I have received a copy of this description.
Signature of the participant Date
This survey has been designed to find out how the construction industry adopting
the Internet tools and e-Business strategies as well as the plans for future
implementations. Please take a few minutes from your busy schedule and participate in
the survey. Upon completion, please either fax it to (352) 846-2772 or mail it to us at:
Dr. R. Issa, Attn: E Business Survey, Rinker School of Building Construction, Box
115703, Gainesville, FL 32611-5703
1. What are your job functions? (PLEASE CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
OL Executive (CEO, Owner, VP, etc)
OL Operations Management (Project Manager, Project Engineer, etc)
OL Financial/ Accounting
OL E-Business Development/E-Business Strategist
0L Computer Systems Management
0L Consultant/IT Provider
LI Other (Please Describe)
2. How many people are employed at this location and in your entire organization,
including all of its branches, divisions, and subsidiaries? (PLEASE CHECK ONLY ONE
At this In this In the International Entire
Location State U.S. Locations Organization
L 10,000 or more LI LI LI LI LI
aL 5,000-9,999 aL Li Li Li Li
Li 1,000-4,999 aL Li Li Li Li
L 500-999 aL Li Li Li Li
L 100-499 aL Li Li Li Li
L 50-99 aL Li Li Li Li
L 20-49 aL Li Li Li Li
L 10-19 aL Li Li Li Li
L 1-9 aL Li Li Li Li
3. What was your company's revenue in the year 2004, in US dollars? (PLEASE
CHECK ONLY ONE)
Li $1 to $49.9 Million LI $300 to $499.9 Million
Li $50 to $99.9 Million LI $500 Million to $1 Billion
a $100 to $299.9 Million
a $1 Billion +
4. Are you involved in adopting any of the following e-Business applications?
(PLEASE CHECK ALL THAT APPLY AND INDICATE IF YOU ARE DEVELOPING INTERNALLY OR
OL E-Procurement 0L LD
DL Customer Relationship Management DL LD
aL Workflow aL La
DL Supply Chain Management DL LD
0L Extranet/Intranet LI LI
DL E-Commerce DL LD
LI Knowledge Management/Data Warehousing LI LI
LI Internet Infrastructure LI LI
LI Enterprise Resource Planning LI LI
LI Accounting /Finance LI LI
LI Project Collaboration/Project Specific Web LI LI
Sites (e.g. E-Builder, Project Talk,
Constructware, Endeavor, etc.....)
LI Project Management (e.g. Prolog, Expedition, LI LI
LI Digital Exchange/Auction LI LI
Li Wireless LI LI
Li None of the above (PLEASE SKIP TO QUESTION
5. What type of connections do you have with your suppliers, partners and
customers? (PLEASE CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
LI Phone, in-person LI Public Web-based market places
Li E-mail DL Wireless
LI Fax LI Centralized Internet Based
LI Electronic Data Interchange LI Telecommunications
LI Private Web-based market places Li Other (Please specify)
6. Does your company require or supply employees with any of the following
mobile computing devices in order to connect with others within your
organization: (PLEASE CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
DL Cell Phones DL Wireless connections
Li Tablet PC's Li GPS systems
Li PDAs Li Other
LL We do not require mobile computer devices
Q Phones with Internet Capabilities
7. Does your company require or supply employees with any of the following
mobile computing devices in order to connect with suppliers, partners, and
customers: (PLEASE CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
L] Cell Phones
L] Tablet PC's
0L Phones with Internet Capabilities
LI Wireless connections
OL GPS systems
OL We do not require mobile computer devices
8. How knowledgeable are you about your company's e-Business efforts? (PLEASE
CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
OL Very Knowledgeable 0L
Somewhat Knowledgeable 0L
9. Over the course of one year, what dollar values do you buy, specify, recommend,
or approve in purchases of the following products or services: (PLEASE CHECK ONLY
ONE PER COLUMN)
$500,000 or more
$400,000 to $499,999
$300,000 to $399,999
$200,000 to $299,999
$100,000 to $199,999
$50,000 to $ 99,999
Less than $50,000
Service/ Materials/ Electronic
Support Equipment Commerce
10. Which of the following Internet-related IT initiatives are you currently working on or
plan to be involved in? (PLEASE CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
Li Supply Chain
Li Transaction Processing
Li Project Development/Project Specific Web Site
Li Intranet/ Extranet
Li Order Tracking
Li Deliver Center over the Internet
11. Please rate the following from the least important (1) to the most important (5)
according to your business goals.
Very Somewhat Important Not very Not
Important Important Important Important
5 4 3 2 1
Increased external business U U U U U
Increased internal U U U U U
Enhanced customer ] ] ] ]
Expansion of geographical U U U U U
Innovation of product/service ] ] ] ]
Shorter, accurate transactions ] ] ] ]
Transparent market U U U U U
Expansion of partnership LI LI LI LI LI
Reduced capital costs ] ] ] ]
Reduced travel costs U U U U U
Increased productivity and U U U U U
Increased predictability and U U U U U
Reduced defects and accidents U U U U U
Improved industry standards U U U U U
Other (PLEASE SPECIFY)
12. In the past 5 years, has your company participated in an industry-specific
Business to Business exchange?
LI Yes, If Yes Please Specify
aL Do Not Know
13. Please tell us what has held you back from conducting e-Business? (PLEASE CHECK
ALL THAT APPLY)
LI Lack of Security L] Cost of networking / telecommunications
LI Lack of industry standards LI Lack of infrastructure
LI Lack of appropriate laws and LI Lack of expertise in e-Business and construction
regulations LI Lack of successful real time examples
OL Cost of EDI
LI Cost of e-Business applications
14. If e-commerce application have been implemented into your company within the
past 5 years, has your company seen significant improvements in any of the
following areas: (PLEASE CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
LI Easier to retrieve project information LI Cost savings in any department
LI More effective use of time LI Schedule Efforts
LI Labor management
15. How would you characterize the impact of your e-Business initiatives on your
main sources of revenue?
OL Very Significant Li Somewhat Significant Li Somewhat Insignificant Li Insignificant
16. Your company's e-Business efforts are primarily intended to: (Select Only One)
OL Increase Revenues OL Reduce Costs OL Increase Productivity OL Improve Service
17. Your company quantifies and closely tracks the value of its e-Business efforts:
(Select Only One).
OL Strongly Agree 0L Agree 0L Disagree 0L Strongly Disagree
18. Do you expect your spending on e-commerce to increase, decrease, or remain
the same in the coming year? (Select Only One)
Li Increase Li Decrease Li Stay the Same
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Aberdeen Group, e-Business Infrastructure Integration: Practical Approaches. An
Executive White Paper, (2001). Aberdeen Group, Inc. 2001. As Seen on 29 Jan
Chang, Sung-Lung Steven, and Ping Li Carl H. Peter. How to Succeed in E-Business By
Taking the Haier Road: Formulating E-Business Strategy Through Network
Building. Competitiveness Review, Vol 13, Issue 2, 2003, 34 46.
Cleveland, A.B. B2B in the Construction Industry: Putting First Things First,
Leadership & Management in Engineering, Vol. 1, Issue 1, Jan 2001, 56-57.
Enos, Joel. Clik nA ith Customers, Ziff Davis Smart Business, As Seen on 9 Feb 2005,
Fisher, Susan E. Can Construction Adapt to Online Markets? InfoWorld, Vol. 22, Issue
20, 15 May 2000, 38.
Gallaher, Michael P., Alan C. O'Connor, John L. Dettbarn, Jr., and Linda T. Gilday.
Cost Analysis of Inadequate Interoperability in the U.S. Capital Facilities
Industry. NIST U.S. Department of Commerce Technology Administration: NIST
GCR 04-867. 2004. As seen on 9 Feb 2005 <
Geissler, Richard. Building Data Bridges. Roads & Bridges, Vol. 39, Issue 2, Feb 2001:
Gould, Lawrence S. Suppliers Talk about E-Business: It's Becoming Business As Usual,
Automotive Design & Production, Vol. 115, Issue 6, Jun 2003, 38 40.
Hurst, Mark, and Emily Gellady. Creative Good White Paper: Building A Great
Customer Experience to Develop Brand, Increase Loyalty, and Grow Revenues.
CreativeGood As seen on 9 Feb 2005
Issa, R.R.A, I. Flood, and G. Caglasin. A Survey of E-Business Implementation in the US
Construction Industry, ITcon, Vol. 8, 2003, 15-28.
Krishnamurthy, Sandeep. The Amazon. E-Commerce Management: Text and Cases, 27
Sept 2002: 1-45. As seen on 19 Feb 2005:
McKenzie, Kevin. Wireless Technology Helps Improve Bottom Line, Business Journal:
(Central New York), Vol. 18, Issue 13, 26 Mar 2004, 9.
O'Brien, William J. Implementation Issues In Project Web Sites: A Practitioners
Viewpoint. Journal of Management in Engineering, May/June 2000, 34-39.
Partnership Creates E-Commerce Marketplace for Construction Industry, Facilities
Design & Management, Vol. 18, Issue 11, Nov 1999, 6.
Perkowski, Michael. Is E-Business Finally Living Up to Its Hype? Cio Insight, Issue 30,
Sept 2003, 73 89.
Regan. Doing Business on the Internet, Organizational System Research Association, 17
Feb 2002, As Seen on 15 Feb 2005
Rojas, Eddy M., and Anthony D. Songer. Web-Centric Systems: A New Paradigm for
Collaborative Engineering, Journal of Management in Engineering, Vol 15, Issue
1, Jan/Feb 1999, 39 -45.
Schulz, Yogi. How to Cook Up a Quick E-Business Strategy. Computing Canada, Vol
29, Issue 10, 23 May 2003, 24.
Simpson, Catherine. Reverse Auctions: Before Bidding, Know Your Base Costs. Fort
Worth Business Press, Vol. 17, Issue 13, 26 Mar 2004, 32.
Webopedia. Definition ofB2B e-commerce, Webopedia, As Seen on 21 February 2005:
Weng, Ray, and Yimin Zhu, aecXAL Framework, International Alliance for
Interoperability. 25 June 2001, As Seen on 16 Feb 2005:
Bryce Treffinger was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on May 2, 1981. She and her
family moved to Orange Park, Florida in 1987. She attended elementary school, junior
high, and high school in Orange Park, Florida.
After graduating from high school in 1999, she attended the University of Florida
Gainesville to obtain her Bachelor of Design in the College of Design, Construction, and
Planning. After completion of her bachelor's degree in 2003, she attended the M.E.
Rinker, Sr. School of Building Construction at the University of Florida to obtain her
Master of Science in Building Construction, ,which she was awarded in May 2005.
Shortly after graduation (May 28, 2005) she was married.
The future holds bright things in store for Bryce Treffinger. She plans to work for
a large commercial construction company where she will use her knowledge and skills in
design and construction management, learned from the University of Florida, to lead a