Innovative technologies have allowed the construction industry the ability to access data in real-time at the job site on almost any mobile device. It enables companies to finish projects swiftly and below budget.
The construction industry is one that is plagued with errors in invoicing because the information doesn’t get recorded until much later, sometimes many weeks later. By the time the data comes back from the field, is entered into the system and reviewed, and sometimes mistakes have been made. That makes it near-impossible to accurately predict a projects costs or what work is actually in progress.
Outdated construction software would often not allow reports to be run until all aspects of a project were done, or until all data had been entered. A company could find itself waiting for weeks just for something to be entered to see the report. No alerts are set up to let the people who need the information know when it is available, so again it sits without being viewed. Manually entering days old data is full of repetition and human error which can cause a huge mistake and inevitable delay. In comes new construction software to save the day.
A Walk in the Cloud
Cloud computing is a new buzzword that entered the industry just a few short years ago, and more and more technology companies are jumping on board. Cloud computing simply put, allows data entry in real time. Project managers are no longer tied to the office. They can be out at any project, entering pertinent information on their smartphone or tablet.
While it may seem a bit unnerving to have all of your information floating around some where, rest assured it is secure and encrypted and is stored directly on a server. Only those with proper authority will be able to access the software, and the information stored. Even within your company, you designate who is able to see particular information, therefore critical or confidential information is only seen by the people authorized to see it.
Due to the increase in cloud computing, applications are becoming more powerful, more user-friendly, and with a greater ease of use that we have ever seen. All of these factors make it simple to get the data you need, faster and more accurately. Software programs have become more integrated and therefore your whole company can work together with the ability to access data in real-time. Accounting programs work well with the field programs and vise-versa.
As with any industry, construction software developers are not all the same. Always be on the lookout for scams. Some may say their software is cloud based, but may not be accessed with mobile devices. Or they still require in office back up, so the information isn’t truly entered in real-time. The bottom line is, unless it is designed strictly for the cloud, it will not work well in the cloud. This is where all construction software is headed, some are getting there faster than others.
Because work is done in the cloud, it is virtually accessible anywhere there is an internet connection. No longer are project managers running back and forth to the office to get the information they need and relaying it back to the office to be entered into the computer. Data is entered while out on the job site and immediately everyone involved with that particular project can see it. Cloud based software also allows for the work to be done off-line and and syncs when an internet connection comes available. This is a must have since construction happens everywhere. One contractor commented about just that subject, “I reviewed draw requests from 35,000 feet in the air on WiFi on a flight to China over Siberia.”
To make smart decision in the construction industry you need all the facts, all the data and most up-to-date information you can get. Unfortunately, in the past that data would be old and bad decisions were made. It’s hard to get a picture of how a project is progressing if the information is weeks old. Real time data entry allows for accuracy, whether it be for time sheets or total project cost. Problems on the project can be addressed swiftly, and overages can be fixed. Construction company owners and those who are backing it financially, can also get a window into how the project is going at any given time.
As stated earlier, cloud computing allows for real time data entry and therefore if a problem arises, which it surely will, it can be addressed immediately. Conflicts will not be as prevalent as in the old way of doing business, but having all data entered in real time will solve problems in hours, not days or weeks. How much money has your company wasted because you had to shut down for a significant amount of time due to a problem? Cloud computing reduces, or eliminates such things from happening. Following a paper trail can be tedious and difficult, where pulling it up on a tablet or computer just takes a few clicks. Besides helping the project to move along at a smooth rate, it helps the construction company save money.
The construction industry knows one thing will always happen on a project – change. Construction projects change frequently due to specification change, client changes it or after diving into the project you see it just needs to change. Contractors can make a significant amount of money on changes and improvements to the original plans, however these changes need to be made in an efficient manner. With out dated software, a lot of time was wasted running back and forth between the job-site, the office and the client. Cloud based software allows for everyone to access data in real-time and therefore make quick decisions to keep the project moving. Project managers are able to do their jobs better and be proactive instead of chasing problems and changes.