Connecting the Dots: How Cloud Platforms Enable a Connected Approach to Construction Success

Technology advances put construction companies on solid ground for improved long-term resilience. Companies that act quickly and collaborate seamlessly are best poised for success.
By Ray Bagley
October 17, 2020

A large portion of the construction industry is still operating on software that has been in use since the 1990s and early 2000s—software that locks information on somebody's desktop, in somebody's personal file structure or maybe inside a company, which makes it difficult to share or access remotely.

Although the construction industry has a reputation as a technology laggard, the fact is that many construction companies have been modernizing their systems and processes for years in order to remain competitive and keep up with client demands. The pandemic provided additional motivation for many who had been slower to adopt more modern solutions. Many who thought they were never going to move to the cloud, or that cloud-based solutions didn't have the benefits they needed, have indeed made the move to the cloud over the past few months.

As construction executives continue to navigate the complexity of the digital transformation as well as the economic impact of COVID-19, they are exploring new technologies to improve their daily operations and help them maximize profits. One technology trend that has risen to the top is the use of cloud platforms to connect all of stakeholders to the right data, at the right time, to make the right decisions

Cloud-based solutions are enabling stakeholders to collaborate, access and share data in real-time from anywhere, which helps accelerate project processes and team productivity, ensuring everyone is on the same page whether or not they’re in the same place.

Cloud-enabled solutions enable a connected construction approach that provides all customers along the project lifecycle with confidence by improving productivity, quality, transparency, safety and sustainability. Here are four key ways companies are relying on cloud solutions now more than ever.

Run the Business Better

Cloud is king in these days of dispersed workers, and many contractors are using the capabilities of the cloud to run their entire businesses better - from digitized employee on-boarding through streamlined job costing and project management workflows. Cloud-based enterprise resource planning solutions and integrated data, project and field management applications provide sweeping value to contractors, especially around real-time collaboration, enhanced security and integrated functionality throughout the entire organization. Cloud-based solutions bridge the gap between the field and the office to connect contractors’ people, projects and processes in real time, which is more important now than ever before.

Easier Estimating

The ability to access information on-the-go with an internet connection and collaborate via the cloud has become a game-changer when it comes to estimating. With cloud-hosted estimating, estimators and project managers benefit from increased mobility, able to have access to the same items, assemblies, and projects, when they need them—from anywhere, anytime. With shared access to the same information, teams can better collaborate and maintain productivity while managing remote and mobile work setups, now a necessity for many.

Subscription-Based Solutions

Cloud capabilities also enable subscription-based solutions that help eliminate large upfront costs and make it easier to better manage cash flow. This allows contractors to focus on their core business without having to worry about the hosting, administration or technology upgrades. By moving to a subscription-based payment model, contractors can count on a predictable monthly payment without worrying about variable technology costs, while also gaining access to technology upgrades, cloud services and support. Subscription licensing also allows contractors better manage solutions end users, expanding access to data and functionality relevant to specific construction roles.

Connecting the Construction Continuum

Collaboration platforms hosted in the cloud can connect project stakeholders from across the construction continuum, giving architects, engineers, project managers, field crews and owners more easy access to the data they need to make informed decisions. Having a single source of project information accessible via the cloud facilitates the coordination of these stakeholders, even from multiple trades, and provides a seamless workflow from design to fabrication to construction.

Contractors can now tear down silos that cause inefficiencies by making a move to the cloud. For example, project stakeholders can share, review, coordinate and comment on data-rich constructible models, schedules and critical project information in real time from anywhere, which can help reduce costly miscommunication, improve coordination, and keep projects on schedule and on budget.

The Way Forward

There is no way of knowing what challenges the future may bring, but technology advances will be instrumental in setting construction businesses on solid ground for improved long-term resilience. While the construction industry will always have its peaks and valleys, companies that are able to act quickly and collaborate seamlessly will be best poised for success.

by Ray Bagley
Trimble Connect is Trimble’s open collaboration tool that connects the right people to the right data at the right time.

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