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What construction leaders must know about the Cloud

The cloud has been a formidable technology to help businesses improve business outcomes. The cloud is driving productivity, enabling better collaboration, improving resource utilization, and reducing costs. Almost every industry today, be it healthcare, banking, retail, etc. is moving to the cloud to leverage the wave of efficiency it promises and to add competitive advantage by gaining the capability to respond to market needs faster.

The construction industry, however, has been lagging in cloud adoption. The winds, however, now are propelling the industry towards cloud acceptance.

The construction industry is facing the perfect storm

Research shows that the construction industry is facing a series of challenges ranging from a serious talent shortage to a staggeringly low 1% increase in productivity. Besides that  , almost 70% of industry professionals report that they struggle to meet deadlines while 40% of construction companies had to refuse new projects owing to the talent shortage. Besides this, there are larger-scale challenges in timely project completion, better human resource management, and improving operational efficiencies.

The industry also has to seriously look at improving their project delivery capabilities as research estimates that 98% of construction megaprojects suffer cost overruns of more than 30% while 77% are at least 40% late in timely completion of projects. Such project overruns can increase the average project cost by up to 80%.

Given the key role of the construction industry in the economy, leveraging  available technological advancements to unleash a wave of efficiency does make sense. Also, to leverage the potentially transformational opportunities promised by technologies such as AI, IoT, etc. it becomes important to first leverage the cloud.

Drive a significant productivity difference

The cloud can make a significant productivity difference for the construction industry. Non-digitized construction projects processes cause a significant drain on construction productivity because of the complexity and variables involved.

Given the dynamics of this industry, it is imperative to improve processes, digitize them, make them extensible, accessible, and scalable.

Cloud technology helps in driving productivity and enables digitization at scale without demanding massive infrastructure investments. The cloud also makes it easier to consolidate disparate point applications into one comprehensive business system and completely transform processes and drive productivity.

Enable automation for timely project completion

Project service automation is now essential for construction companies to ensure timely project completion. Project service automation helps in providing accurate project information to owners, general contractors, and specialty contractors at every stage of work. It does so by linking the processes and people in the organization to create a single source of truth while providing a complete 360-degree view of the project.

Project service automation helps companies accurately simplify the management, tracking, and submission of estimated and billed project time, streamlines RFQ, bid evaluation, and tenders while reducing manual data entry errors.

Using the power of the cloud, Project service automation helps construction companies manage and coordinate effective workflows and assign and manage resources easily without incurring heavy infrastructure costs to meet automation and subsequent analytic needs.

Simplify complex construction needs

Construction projects are very complex and as such successful project completion demands seamless coordination between the job site and the back office. Construction management solutions powered by the cloud can help simplify complex construction needs by automating on-site and back-office activities. Further, cloud-based construction management solutions provide clear and granular insights into project progress, time and attendance, documentation, reporting, and other concerns or issues.

A cloud-based construction management solution connects teams anytime, anywhere, provides greater flexibility to resource management, consolidates document management into a central repository, and makes it accessible whenever needed.

Improve project management

Construction companies can further streamline project management and make it more efficient to drive better and timely outcomes using the power of the cloud. The cloud allows construction companies to integrate the back-office with the field site, streamline supply chain operations, manage specialty contractors, handle risks, optimize construction processes, and increase profitability to provide visibility of a project’s implementation and impact.

The construction industry is flooded with data. This flood will grow as technologies like IoT, digital twins, BIM, etc. start making inroads into this industry. However, without the computing prowess of the cloud, the industry can neither store large volumes of data nor fulfill the computational needs of advanced analytics.

Integrated cloud solutions can help construction companies unify data across all fields, sites, and contractors thereby eliminating a major pain point plaguing the industry today. Clarity and visibility into project performance, variance, and margin gain/fade give construction companies the capacity to mitigate project risks as well.

Further, the cloud can help these companies connect the business with intelligent business applications and enable the use of technologies, such as predictive AI that need greater data computing capabilities.

Manage field operations with ease

The construction industry also must look at ways to simplify field operations given complexities like multi-disciplinary teams and contractual workers, etc. while balancing managing unpredictable projects in large-scale and critical infrastructure. Managing operations such as attendance and logging across multiple projects and sites can be a cause of significant heartburn.

Cloud-based applications can ease the burden and help construction companies manage field operations with greater ease by instantly connecting the office to the field. Digitizing this process eliminates error-prone paper timesheets, handwritten daily logs, and effort-intensive manual workflows. These cloud-based solutions provide a consolidated view of critical information such as project progress, site observations, quality checks, attendance, equipment, and safety submissions while also ensuring that construction drawings and documents can be securely published, shared, and modified to meet the project needs.

The cloud enables robust access management and allows organizations to enable configurable role-based access empowers all field users such as technicians, craft workers, electricians, specialty contractors, etc. to clock in hours, see their projects and assign tasks from a single sign-in.

In conclusion

The cloud is the future of everything digital. While construction is the least digitized industry across the globe, it is time for it to shake off the old and adopt a new avatar. As construction technologies mature and begin to account for the unique needs of this complex environment, adopting the cloud is going to be the first step to take advantage of the latest technological innovations in this space.