Don’t Go Mobile Without the Cloud; Everything You Need to Know About Cloud-Based Construction
Mobile devices have revolutionized the construction industry. At the forefront of this change, cloud - based construction management apps are providing significant productivity improvements on jobsites. Is your construction technology up to speed?
Like most things in life, not all apps are created equal, and a construction app that doesn’t include cloud–based project management capabilities might be bottlenecking your team’s efficiency. So, if it’s on your mobile device, it’s automatically part of the cloud, right? Not always. It’s easy to be deceived; both cloud computing and mobile computing involve initially accessing the Internet with a device and using wireless systems to get to your files and data. While a construction app or software might look like it has all the bells and whistles with a sleek interface, without being powered with cloud computing, it’s a lot like using a pen without the ink. If you want to work and collaborate remotely, visit a jobsite and have the details you need or even communicate with your team while you’re at a conference or on vacation, you’ll need both a mobile device and a cloud–based construction management platform to get the job done.
So, how many construction companies are benefiting from end to end use of cloud computing on their projects? According to a recent study from Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), 85% of construction contractors use or plan to use cloud-based solutions. While this statistic is promising, looking at the extent of cloud usage paints another picture. In fact, the survey cites that only 10% of contractors say they use software apps that are fully cloud-based Whether your company is fully immersed in cloud–based construction management software or just starting to dip your feet, a thorough understanding of how the cloud enhances your project is critical to staying ahead in the future of the construction industry. In our post, we’ll help you understand the difference between a pure mobile app and cloud–based software. We’ll also explain the specific benefits of the cloud for the construction industry and your projects.
Mobile vs. Cloud Computing in Construction: How to Determine the Difference
Although there is overlap, plain mobile apps vs cloud–based project management apps are distinctly different and construction professionals today are finding unique jobsite benefits that only the cloud can offer. However, while they are two different types of technology, when they are used together, they allow you to access the data you need from anywhere.
The easiest way to tell the two apart is by the role they play in communication:
When choosing a construction app for your cloud projects, it’s not about choosing mobile over the cloud or vice versa. The sweet spot involves the combination of these two technologies: mobile cloud computing (MCC). But before we get into the benefits of combining mobile and cloud computing technologies, let’s take a closer look at their differences.
The main problem with relying on email? It doesn’t provide a central location for information gathering or dispersal. Emails can be sent out to multiple people, but the resulting chain of communication is confusing at best, if not downright unusable. McKinsey & Company hypothesizes that the average worker spends 28% of their workweek managing email, and almost 20% searching for internal information (or other workers who can supply them with that information). Using cloud-based software for communication streamlines this process by keeping all information and history on a project in one location that can be accessed by everyone. It reduces the time employees spend searching for information by 35%, minimizes confusion, and ultimately saves both time and money.
Email also struggles to consolidate information that might be necessary to reference a specific issue. For example, an RFI or punchlist item may need to link to a document, sketch, markup, or photo. Emailing these things out at different times and to different people can lead to information being lost, resulting in disjointed communications. Thankfully, with cloud-based construction software, all reference materials can be tied to a specific RFI or issue number so nothing gets left behind or lost in the mix.
The ideal software program would also provide space for team members to communicate directly via the RFI or issue in a more efficient and reliable way. Instead of an easily misplaced email in an already cluttered inbox, comments and project history would be attached to the issue number — so that the entire team has access. A program with these types of features — as well as the ability to set due dates — enables accountability, transparency, and ultimately a more time and cost-effective project.
For many industries, email is a wonderfully efficient communication tool, but when working on construction projects, it’s often the cause of more heartache than success. Do you use email for work? How do you communicate with your project team?