Industry News

Getting the Green Light for Your In-House Drone Program

January 25, 2018

If you’ve recently been asked to lead drone operations at your organization, you’re probably asking yourself a lot of questions. How do I get started? What obstacles are ahead of me? How do I get executives to sign off on a proposal?

As the person launching your drone program, you’ll need to work closely with key stakeholders to get your operation off the ground. Here are seven tips to help you get the green light in 2018.

Develop a Clear Plan of Adoption

To ensure your drone program is a success, create a clear plan of adoption. You can use this plan to gain executive buy-in and sell your program internally. This process will require you to think critically about the challenges your company may face along the way and how you will address them head on through the execution of your strategy.

Putting any new technology into place can be a lot of work, especially when it’s something like drones that often have safety concerns, privacy concerns… It was something we had to come at very tactfully.

- Ryan Moret, Field Solutions Manager, McCarthy Building Companies

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Start small with an in-house drone program

Start Small. Think Big.

Each in-house drone program involves its own unique set of challenges. From standardizing protocols and overseeing safety, to ensuring data security for your company, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed at first. And things only get more complicated when working with drones on a larger scale. That is why it’s so important to take it slow and get it right the first time — before you grow.

This approach means starting small, proving the value drones can deliver to your company, and scaling operations after an initial proof of concept. You have to get things right early on and build upon your success down the line.

DroneDeploy in-house drone program

Identify Immediate Opportunities

We’ve found that the best way to kick things off is to identify opportunities for drones to provide immediate value to your company. You might ask yourself, “what is the lowest hanging fruit with the highest rate of return?”

For most, this means starting out by solving fundamental problems, such as improving team collaboration with easy-to-share drone maps and models, tracking site progress from the air, or using drones to make quick and accurate measurements in the field. You will need to spend some time considering the best place to start before tackling complex workflows and more substantial problems.

I think the goal at the end of the day is how the team is utilizing this technology to improve our process.

- Grant Hagen, VDC Manager, Beck Group

DroneDeploy Software

Focus on the Business Outcomes

We know drone technology is exciting. But when you’re trying to sell your drone program internally, it’s important to focus on the benefits drones can provide — not just the technology itself. You’ll want to demonstrate how your company stands to benefit from the technology.

What do you want to achieve? Will drones save your team time? Will they reduce the overall budget spend? Can they make you more productive? Will they improve site safety?

These are the messages executives are going to respond to most. Speaking their language from the start will go a long way to getting your program off the ground.

Management & collaboration

Think About Data Management and Collaboration

A company of any size should be concerned about drone data management. Be prepared to put together a plan for managing the data collected by your drone fleet. How will you store this data? Who will be in charge of it? How will you share it with stakeholders? These are questions executives will want to know.

At the end of the day, we’re coordinators and communicators. We pull a lot of people together to try to build very complex jobs, and we can’t do it alone. We want the best product for our clients at the end of the day, so communication and collaboration are very important to us.

- Ryan Moret, Field Solutions Manager, McCarthy Building Companies

Managing your team’s drone data doesn’t have to be complicated. Learn more about DroneDeploy’s data management and collaboration tools here.

Assemble Key Stakeholders

We’re willing to bet that drone data will benefit more than one person or team in your company. So it’s important to consider who will be able to take advantage of the insights your drone program provides.

Once you’ve identified the team members, who stand to gain value from drones, get them to provide support for your program. Make sure key stakeholders are involved early on and can offer suggestions and voice concerns from the beginning.

Go From Proof of Concept to Scale

We recommend launching with a proof of concept. This project might be as simple as implementing drones on a single site. Start small and prove success to the company. We often hear from our customers that it’s easier to show than to tell.

Make sure this proof of concept is a part of your adoption plan — along with how you plan to scale. This stage might come when you’ve hit key metrics or achieved the initial goals you set out from the start. Will you take your success from one job site to ten? Will every team get a drone? These are the questions you must answer. And it’s essential to communicate how and when to consider scaling from the outset.

I think you’ll see a lot of industrial companies starting with an internal operation and working with legal to make sure they’re doing things right.

- Hunter Cole, Virtual Design Coordinator, Brasfield & Gorrie

Where to Learn More

  • Want to hear from the experts? Learn how to develop a bulletproof plan of adoption and get corporate buy-in for your drone program by registering for our upcoming webinar, Getting the Green Light for Your In-House Drone Program
  • Read more about setting up your in-house drone program in our free eBook, Preparing for Takeoff.
  • Just getting your drone operation off the ground? Read our lessons learned from helping companies large and small get their drone programs started here.
  • Learn more about drone data management tools in this post.

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