06 Jun

How the Cloud Is Working to Build Stronger Construction Firms

Construction company owners have always had to find a balance between back-office tasks (paying bills, billing, payroll, etc.) and the need to be on the job site. In the past, this division led to long hours, difficult communication and slow growth. Thanks to advances in technology and the ability to handle many business tasks while on-the-go, smart owners are now utilizing the cloud to help them become more agile, productive and competitive.

The 2015 Construction Technology Report from JBKnowledge surveyed over 2,000 construction industry professionals and found that the use of mobile devices has steadily increased over the last three years. According to the survey, almost 70 percent of respondents reported using a tablet daily for work and 97.6 percent used a smartphone. This is a staggering 25.6 percent increase from 2014.

The growth in mobile device usage directly corresponds to a need for better tools and software to perform essential business functions, such as project management, document sharing and file storage on the go. The cloud provides such tools, giving construction professionals greater freedom and the ease of accessing vital information anytime and anywhere. Here are a few ways the cloud is working to build stronger construction firms.


Better Collaboration

Considering the total number of people that are involved in the various stages of a construction project, including clients, architects, engineers, designers, contractors and employees, there is a definite need for transparent collaboration to ensure the project is managed correctly and stays on track, both in time and dollars. By using a cloud tool like Nomadesk or Dropbox, contractors have instant, secure access to essential files.

Tim Dutton of Double T Custom Services, a small construction company out of Northwood, New Hampshire, is witnessing these benefits first-hand. He explains that he used to spend hours sending files to his clients and then talking to them on the phone to discuss those changes, which he then had to spend more time relaying to his subcontractors. He states: “Some days it felt that was all I’d do — it was such a time waste! Since we started using Dropbox to access and share files, that has all changed.”

Now, Dutton uses Dropbox to share and access files from his smartphone, so he can instantly answer questions and make informed, on-site decisions. He explains that this simple change saves him an enormous amount of time and helps him run a more organized operation.


Streamlined Operations

Many construction companies run multiple projects at once, with project managers and team members scattered at different locations. These employees then have to travel back to their main office to perform system-dependent tasks, such as project updates. This was true for True Value Homes (TVH), a company that operated out of 17 different sites and had a main headquarters where its employees performed essential duties. Not only was this a waste of time, but it also created an increase in their operational costs. To solve this problem the company moved to the cloud and began offering web-based applications to over 500 employees. Instead of heading back to corporate with piles of paper in tow, TVH employees complete all the necessary functions wherever they are and on any number of devices.

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