Today’s modern data technologies are transforming the way contractors do business. We’ve seen increased cloud adoption, a shift toward mobile technology and an ever-growing amount of data collection (and, in many cases, deeper data analysis). It’s clear there has been a significant technology shift in the construction industry, yet many contractors are still feeling their way through these changes. So what can you do to take advantage of these solutions to make smarter business decisions?
To make the most of new information technologies, you need to know how they all work together and what’s worth (and not worth) the investment. When used wisely, leading-edge construction software and technologies can bring a significant return on investment and make your organization more productive and profitable.
Cloud Computing Is Construction’s Future
Construction businesses have historically housed their systems and data in a central location, usually the main office. These central storage locations were easy for people in the office to access, but not necessarily for the rest of the team. As barriers to cloud adoption and concerns about security issues have decreased in recent years, more contractors are opting for cloud-based solutions that people throughout the organization can access from anywhere, any time.
These solutions lend themselves to real-time or near-real-time access to data, which provides many benefits. Among them: better communication and collaboration, less time spent searching for data—or waiting on others to provide data—and smarter, more informed decision-making.
Consider moving your operations to the cloud so that your projects can reap the benefits.
Communication Has Gone Mobile
Mobile devices affect practically all areas of our lives these days, both personally and professionally. While there’s been some concern about personal device use on construction jobsites (particularly related to data security), mobile isn’t going away, and most contractors recognize that it’ll be a part of business going forward. According to JB Knowledge’s 2017 Construction Technology Report, 83.1 percent of contractors believe mobile is important or very important.
Mobile devices make communication and collaboration on the jobsite easier. When used in conjunction with a cloud-based software solution, mobile devices can facilitate easy access to data for those out on the jobsite. Field teams can also enter data from the field via browser-based applications, making information quickly available to the back office.
Deploying the right, integrated mobile applications in the field can keep project workflows moving and give you the ability to evaluate job progress, mitigate potential risks, easily file reports and much more—all in real time.
Use Analytics to Achieve True Business Intelligence
So, we’ve seen that more contractors are storing data in the cloud and relying on mobile devices to access and input data in the field. Those two moves are greatly improving construction collaboration. But it’s what you do with your data from a strategic perspective that will actually lead to better decision-making.
That’s where analytics come in. Businesses need technology that can help them go from data (a set of values) to information (data given context and put into categories) to intelligence (information analyzed to better understand what’s actually going on).
Analyzing data will help uncover patterns that can streamline processes and lead to better planning for future jobs, rather than just reacting to current jobs. This involves looking beyond lagging indicators that show what’s happened in the past, to leading indicators that predict what will happen in the future. Predictive analytics in construction can really begin to benefit a contractor’s bottom line.
There are now business intelligence solutions specifically designed for construction. These tools can bring significant value in extrapolating and understanding the wealth of construction data available. Look for these tools as apart of an integrated construction ERP package.
Unite the Office, Team and Field
When used together, cloud-based software applications, mobile technologies and analytic solutions can create a clear, real-time picture of what’s going right and wrong across the project and the organization, allowing contractors to make smarter decisions.
To connect these technologies even further, consider the benefits of a unified, integrated software solution. At Viewpoint, we connect the office, team and field with construction-specific ERP platforms that store and process data in the cloud, are easily accessible anywhere, any time, are empowered by mobile solutions and rich functionality and provide the tools to achieve real, measurable business intelligence.
To learn more about how an integrated software solution can help your business, watch one in action.