While there are many challenges that can face the construction industry when it comes to adopting new technology, that does not appear to be the case when it comes to construction companies and cloud software. Multiple studies have been done that show that not only is the cloud becoming more of an everyday reality for the construction industry, but the industry is leading the way versus other industries when it comes to their usage of the cloud.
Adoption is on the rise
The Associated General Contractors of America found that 85% of construction contractors used or planned to use a cloud-based solution in 2017. This is compared to 2012’s findings, which showed that number was closer to 16%. This goes to show that the desire to use the cloud has been growing exponentially over the past 5 years. On top of that, a recent construction technology report found that compared to other industries, construction companies were 5% more likely overall to consider the cloud. This would imply that construction is an industry that is ahead of the trends.
Leveraging to the fullest extent
Focus Research published a report in 2012 that found companies mostly had a renewed sense of optimism about the future of cloud computing in the industry. Companies were already aware of the waste produced by the construction company when it came to drawings and revisions. They knew that the cloud had the potential to save at minimum hundreds of dollars on reproduction costs. As cloud systems now begin to take over the world of IT, small construction companies can feel they have the same level of computing power as a large construction enterprise and can leverage the use of this newer technology to the fullest extent.
Construction job sites are mostly remote, or not in your traditional office or workspace. Regardless, the job sites are not at the office. Because of that, these job sites have a tough time being able to use any traditional legacy software outside of the office premises. Being able to have project management and job costing capabilities at the office is great for planning purposes, but things change in real-time, and you are not leveraging your software to it’s fullest extent if you are not taking advantage of cloud opportunities that are available.
Connected job sites & easy sharing
So what functionalities does cloud software provide that make implementing one worth it? There’s plenty, but the most important is the ability to keep your jobsites connected.
Before the cloud, the only real way to check on the status of a project was to have managers phone in progress, have fax machines hooked up on the job site to send important documents, or even just go visit in person. All of these tasks take too much time out of your day or were cumbersome and clunky to begin with. With the emergence of the mobile phone, people are connected now more than ever and can access important data over the web right from the device they always carry in their pocket. Letting employees access this company data on their own personal devices can be a hot-button issue, so you will likely see more and more construction companies purchasing devices intended for use in the field.
Once your job sites are connected, you can take advantage of one of the best perks, which is the ability to easily share data from office to site or from site to site. There is a lot of hierarchy to deal with in the construction industry, which means many sets of eyes need to come across information in a project. The easiest way to share all of this data is via a cloud solution, where data is available in real-time.
Avoid purchasing expensive hardware
A huge argument for new construction companies using cloud software versus traditional on-premise options is the low cost of entry. Using an on-premise server solution means that a company can only have as much hardware as it can pay for. Not only does the company have to purchase the servers the software would be maintained on, but there also needs to be dedicated IT staff who take care of managing it.
Another benefit of paying on a subscription-based pricing model (as cloud solutions will generally be billed at) is the ability to adjust the software to your needs as they develop. Your company may foresee growth in the future and purchase a software solution to handle that growth, but ultimately, if your projections are wrong, you’re dealing with a sunk cost. Simply put, a lot of companies do not have this kind of capital upfront to make a mistake, and seem to enjoy the scalability a cloud software can provide.
Supports small construction companies
We’ve already mentioned that new construction companies prefer the cloud given its low cost of entry. Notwithstanding technical challenges, cloud computing may help accelerate the uptake of IT within SMEs of construction mainly because of the pricing models it supports.
When you invest in software, regardless of whether you purchase or begin a subscription with a solution provider, you will likely be spending the same amount over the course of ownership. However, the barrier to entry for a subscription-based solution is far lower. Companies will generally only ask for setup costs at the initial agreement, which may include the cost of training for your employees, or help provided to get any necessary access to the solution. Billing for the cost of the service will be billed on a monthly or yearly basis. Funds are always tight for a new company starting off, and being able to pay for access to a software in monthly installments is going to be far preferable than making a big investment in a program you have never used before (as well as sound more appealing to any decision makers who are writing the checks).
There are many benefits to cloud software, and many reasons why construction is an industry leading the way in adapting to the benefits cloud software and applications provide their business. The fact remains that if you feel your company can get by staying where it’s at, just know that your competition is already on the move implementing new technology in order to stay ahead of the curve. It’s imperative to pay attention to these important construction technology trends so your business can succeed well into the 2020s.
Author Bio: Russ Davidson is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Software Connect, a company that provides free software and application recommendations based in Milwaukee, WI. Since 1996, we’ve helped thousands of companies find the best solution for their needs by understanding software requirements and pointing them in the right direction.