A Case for the Cloud – Why Construction Managers Should Implement Hosted Services
Our industry has long since been regarded as one of the least digitised in the world, but the tide is quickly beginning to turn. One such technology that has been widely implemented is cloud storage, with construction enterprises large and small placing their trust in hosted networks.
Some stakeholders in construction are understandably cautious about the security of cloud computing, but the advantages on offer are hard to ignore. We have covered six of the biggest benefits you can expect when incorporating cloud technology into your enterprise.
Boost Productivity by Working from a Mobile Office
The most notable benefit of cloud support in construction is the ability to access vital project information anywhere in the world. Mobile devices are now sophisticated enough to act as legitimate workstations, allowing professionals to check data or make project revisions during a site visit.
Prior to the advent of cloud software, contractors would have to makes manual notes when on site, and subsequently input this data when they returned to the office. Very few industries persist with manual data entry in 2018 when there are faster and more accurate methods available, but handwritten notes and bulky physical plans are still a common sight on construction projects.
It might not seem like a major productivity issue, but time spent on manual data entry in 2018 is essentially wasted when there are more efficient methods available.
Enhance Real-Time Collaboration
Ensuring that every stakeholder has access to the right information at the right time can be a major challenge in construction. Contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and others are expected to collaborate effectively from remote locations, and cloud storage supports this aim.
Rather than digging through emails to find older versions of a document, collaborators can simply access a centralised cloud platform to easily source the information they require. This transparency also helps communication between departments, mitigates the risk of lost data and ensures that the necessary updates can be uploaded remotely to save time.
As for document confidentiality, managers can even apply permission levels to certain files to ensure that users can only access data that is strictly relevant to their work.
Utilise Big Data from Past Projects
One big advantage of using a centralised source of information is the ability to refer to previous work for comparison. In the past, construction professionals had no way to make use of old project data – even in recent years, information was often scattered across a series of spreadsheets and documents. Hosted services allow managers to store and access large repositories of relevant information, which can be valuable at various stages of a project lifecycle.
Keep Moving with Multi-Platform Compatibility
All that cloud adopters need to check information or make revisions is an internet browser and a steady connection. Users can access their standard workstation, or use their tablet or smartphone when travelling, attending meetings or visiting a worksite. From a productivity standpoint, construction professionals are able to organise their day far more efficiently than they once could.
Once you make the switch to the freedom of cloud compatibility, returning to a local platform will feel like a major step backwards.
Manage Data Security Effectively
Many construction professionals are still reluctant to trust a third-party with their vital project data, no matter what assurances are offered. In reality, hosted cloud storage likely offers greater data protection than most businesses can muster in 2018. Providers are subject to high-level global compliance standards, and all necessary security updates are automatically applied.
Cloud storage also mitigates the risk of data loss from blackouts, HDD crashes and similar malfunctions. By reducing your reliance on hardware, you lessen the risk of having your equipment let you down during a meeting with key stakeholders.
While your enterprise will be comprehensively protected by the privacy policies of your chosen cloud provider, it is vital that you understand the nuances of the hosted service before placing your trust in it. It’s a good idea to know exactly how to proceed in the unlikely event that your server stops functioning.
Future-Proof Your Enterprise
While migrating your business to operate on a cloud platform can be time-consuming and costly, most of the effort required comes up-front. Hosted services are scalable based on the future projections of your business, and the level of service you require can be expanded or reduced with ease.
The initial costs you incur when switching to a cloud provider will be absorbed by improvements in productivity and reduced running costs. It’s also worth remembering that the cloud solution you select is likely to be cheaper than the equivalent physical hardware, not to mention easier to maintain.
Cloud-Enabled Construction Software from Exactal
Exactal offer a selection of platforms that support cloud storage, including our CostX® takeoff and estimating range and our ConnectX project management platform. Our entire CostX® range can be deployed in the cloud through Amazon S3, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, with additional storage providers to be supported in future versions. Our ConnectX construction management platform is fully accessible via the cloud, and offers a group of six integrated modules to streamline project delivery.
To learn more about CostX® and ConnectX or to plan a demonstration of either platform for your business, don’t hesitate to contact Exactal today.