Cloud-based solutions are the smart choice for all types of construction business
Construction projects require instant, reliable access to data. Projects of all sizes run on shared information, whether that be related to scheduling, costs, risk, or resources.
Traditionally, information would have been stored on local computer drives or ring-fenced on local networks. Communication with partners or contractors outside of a business may have entailed sharing documentation and data by email or export/import from unconnected databases, which as well as being slow also introduced the chance of error or data loss.
Nowadays, however, there is a smarter option: the cloud.
The increasingly popular choice
The benefits of using the cloud are becoming better understood. The recent Flexera 2021 State of the Cloud Report highlighted the increase in cloud computing, especially in light of Covid-19: by the end of 2020, 29% of large-scale enterprises in the US reported their use of the cloud being significantly higher than planned.
The construction industry was originally built on a pen and paper approach, like many others. Site plans and project charts acted as the precursor to cloud-hosted databases. The challenges of digitizing large projects over multiple sites with emerging technology have previously contributed to a degree of continued reliance on these more traditional approaches, however, these challenges are starting to be overcome and the picture for the construction industry is now changing.
With the availability of multiple SaaS solutions and the affordability and utility of mobile-enabled devices that can be used on site, the use of the cloud in the construction industry is on the rise. The benefits are significant:
Construction projects come in a range of sizes. A cloud-based solution can be tailored to any size project, and can also be flexible enough to increase or decrease in size depending on requirements.
This scalability is a huge advantage for construction projects because scope can often change within a project lifecycle. The cloud is ideally suited to deal with these changes in scope, as capacity can be adjusted accordingly, and pricing can be structured to take account of these changes too.
Using a cloud-hosted data solution means that all members of the project team can access whatever information they need instantly, from anywhere in the world.
As information is uploaded and shared in real-time, there is no lag between data being logged and it becoming available elsewhere. For the construction industry this is hugely important because projects often operate from a location separate to the project team HQ, or indeed might operate in a number of different geographical locations. Using the cloud means that everyone is working from the same single set of documents, with no problems arising from missing updates or poor version control.
Disaster recovery is smoother if things go wrong
One of the major problems with storing data locally (apart from the problems of data-sharing) is the risk of data loss through some sort of physical event. This might be a flood, a fire, a hardware problem with a server, or access by someone not authorized to do so, for example.
Using the cloud rather than local storage means that if a problem like this occurs then the disaster recovery process is a lot smoother than if the information is kept locally. Also, using portable devices to instantly upload information to the cloud means that paperwork can’t get lost, and vital local IT equipment won’t get damaged. If a construction delay claim is filed, then it’s critical to have a full and complete audit trail of project activity. Secure data storage in the cloud helps ensure this is available.
The cloud is an integral part of the future of the construction industry
As more and more businesses move towards using the cloud for their critical functions, the advantages become ever more apparent. It’s clear that the cloud offers significant benefits to the construction industry in terms of agility, scalability, reliability and security.
DRMcNatty has an experienced team on hand with multiple decades of experience in project management specific to the construction industry, as well as world-class technology solutions for hosting in the cloud. Our expertise in both areas makes us ideally suited to help construction businesses with their transition to cloud-based operations, creating a future-proofed industry ready to take on new challenges in the digital age.