Story at a glance:
- Cloud technology can help bridge the current gaps many businesses in the construction industry face.
- Hyper fast network connectivity is making cloud performance comparable to or better than traditional in-house networks.
- Cloud technology can help you with project accounting, risk management, project management, payroll management, and more.
The construction industry currently faces a plethora of challenges, including supply chain issues, material shortages, project delays, and a qualified worker shortage. In an industry with already slim margins, this makes it increasingly difficult for firms to deliver projects on time and within budget. Fortunately, cloud technology can help bridge the current gaps many businesses face, as it helps perform necessary tasks much more quickly and with fewer resources.
I’ve previously discussed cloud technology options as well as how technology can help win work and attract workers. Today we’ll take a closer look at how cloud technologies can help construction businesses manage successful projects.
Where Cloud Solutions Deliver
The cloud provides high-performing and reliable technology solutions. The remote data centers that support the cloud have scalable infrastructure and are connected by high-speed networks. Hyper fast network connectivity is making cloud performance comparable to or even better than our traditional in-house networks. Cloud options can also provide peace of mind in proven disaster recovery protocols, helping you keep your mission critical solutions up and running whenever you need them.
Some might already be convinced of the benefits of the cloud, but with so many solutions available it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. Here are a few business areas where cloud technology can provide immediate business gains:
Cloud solutions provide a real-time snapshot of project financials, so you always know where you stand. Utilizing a cloud accounting solution can help you understand the true financial impact of past projects to assist in making smarter project bids.
Cloud solutions enable you to manage subcontractor compliance and automatically track key areas like lien waivers, certified reports, insurance certificates, and more to minimize liability in the field.
Having real-time insights helps you quickly identify potential issues before they become a serious problem. This can reduce your organization’s risk and increase project profitability.
Always having up-do-date records enables you to prepare payroll efficiently and accurately for your employees while complying with regulations.
Time and Expense Management
Automating these processes allows you to capture all the time and expense involved in projects while keeping people focused on business goals, not administrative tasks.
Managing your documents in the cloud helps you gain greater control of your documents and maintain a clean audit trail. You can organize, store, and route all versions of drawings, RFIs, invoices, lease agreements, contracts, and more to keep your business moving.
Utilizing cloud solutions in some or all of these business areas helps increase mobility, which is more important now than ever. Having anytime, anywhere access to project critical information helps keep teams in the back-office and field in sync while streamlining operations, increasing efficiency, and improving collaboration.
Increased Business Visibility
Companies need to remain agile and take corrective actions quickly. While technology plays a large role in providing a heightened level of insight, a business must also dive below the surface to fully evaluate their business health. Taking the time to honestly assess a company’s business efficiency can help highlight which areas are going well and which could use improvement. Here are some key business areas to consider:
For full visibility into the business, a construction company needs a solid reporting system that can synthesize all data into meaningful project summaries, field reports, and financial statements. This is critical for identifying and solving problems at both the project and company levels as well as creating a process that is made much easier with the right technology in place.
Construction companies have a lot of data across multiple projects—documents, emails, plan revisions, change orders, etc. Thankfully technology is able to perform the tedious work of tracking and filtering this information. An automated alert system that is tied to accounting and operations software can provide more immediate and actionable information by sending a text, email, or desktop notification when certain conditions are met. It filters through high quantities of information and helps get the right information to the right people at the right time, so a company can act quickly if an issue arises.
Analyzing data helps a company understand “why” behind performance. To reduce or avoid analysis paralysis, first identify what areas need improvement and focus on only a few important aspects. Consider building a robust dashboard to provide a visual snapshot of key performance indicators (KPIs) and other business metrics all in one place. An effective dashboard presents information clearly, quickly, and compellingly, providing more intuitive access to critical project and accounting details.
In today’s competitive and complex environment, proactively identifying business and project performance trends, considering the impact of outside factors, and planning for best- and worst-case scenarios helps you better manage projects and improve business forecasting. Predictive analytics and multiple advanced features like data mining, modeling, and machine learning allow systems to make predictions based on past results.
While improving the key areas of reporting, monitoring, analyzing, and predicting can go a long way in increasing a company’s business visibility—an issue weighing heavily on many is the ability to win new work. Technology, particularly a solid estimating solution, can help estimators produce more accurate bids in less time, often while improving the company’s bid-hit ratio.
Revisiting your business assessment regularly and making adjustments as necessary helps maintain your business health and puts you in the best position to survive times of uncertainty or crisis. The right technology can help you seamlessly incorporate these considerations into everyday business operations.
Integration is Key
Now that you have a sense of what business areas would benefit most from cloud technology as well as what areas are important for you to monitor, it’s time to bring it all together. Pairing your business visibility practices with the right technology can help you find, filter, and focus on the information that matters most.
As mentioned above, automated alerts and a robust dashboard are highly effective business monitoring tools. Automated alerts provide more immediate and actionable information, while an effective dashboard provides a visual snapshot of KPIs and other business metrics all in one place. Having a clear picture of project and accounting details can greatly improve employee productivity and ultimately impact your bottom line.
Regardless of what cloud technologies and tools your business invests in, it is essential that they are integrated. Using an integrated software system eliminates the need for timely and error-prone double data entry. It ensures you’re always using the right data and makes your business information easier to use, allowing for timely measurement against KPIs.
Always having the right information available goes a long way in helping you make the best decisions for your business. Cloud technology usage in the industry will continue to increase as businesses seek more mobility and flexibility from their solutions. Businesses that are utilizing integrated cloud solutions will be in a better position when it comes to winning work and consistently delivering successful projects.