Aren’t you sick of being bombarded with technology buzzwords and cloudy claims that don’t make sense? Is software really making a business impact and strong ROI?
To find out, we surveyed more than 1,600 construction professionals in our second-annual study, On Center Software’s 2016 Industry Trends & Assessments. We made sure the respondents represent an accurate cross section of who you are and where construction companies are in software adoption.
The survey asked for key business factors improved by construction software. Seventy-four percent ranked “minimizing errors and rework” as very important. “Increasing estimating production” was second most important at 73 percent and “increasing the bid/win” ratio was the third most important business improvement at 70.6 percent.
More than 50 percent of the construction professionals surveyed attribute revenue growth and profitability to software technology, with nearly 33 percent claiming considerable growth is due to technology.
So what does cloud computing mean for a construction business? The ability to connect a de-centralized workforce. Many are using Google, Microsoft, or Apple software to store large amounts of plans, prior projects, costs, vendors and material suppliers, and access it from anywhere. We’re no longer restricted by physical location, security and space. Employees don’t have to be on the same network, let alone in the same state, to collaborate on a project. Also, the cost of IT equipment and maintenance is drastically reduced.
A few months ago, we had a transformer explode and a major electrical fire take out our headquarters. We did not have power, internet, computers, phones or anyway to serve our customers at our physical location. If ever there was a time where the business stakes were high, this was it. There was a real possibility our year could have been ruined if we had not learned from Hurricane Ike and migrated our systems to the cloud.
One of the most important benefits with cloud technology today is the ability to “recover” from disasters. When choosing tools for the company, it is important to have the flexibility to avoid disasters with our additional technology purchases. Our power outage lasted over 30 days and we were fortunate our IT manager had put our customer relationship
management, phone systems, accounting software, file storage, and email in the cloud. We showed up on a Tuesday morning for work, found out there was a fire, and our entire staff went home to login and continue working.
Mobile phones, tablets and laptops have replaced the powerhouse workstations of the ’90s. Construction companies show an uptick in use of mobile devices which correlates with the need for real-time collaboration. Sixty-six percent now use laptops. Smartphones are used by 41.5 percent and tablets by 37.2 percent of contractors in the industry. The access to this mobility gives companies the opportunity to not put six- and seven-digit revenue figures at risk. In our case, the fire had a moral impact but not a productivity impact. Each team had access to their email, files, and customer information to ensure the company continued on even though the office was closed.
So, the answer is fact: Software does have an impact on profitability, both to the bottom line and the productivity of people. It may not always be in the manner we initially thought but at the end of the day your software should minimize the risk construction companies carry.
For the complete industry report, visit www.oncenter.com. If you have questions about software applications for construction, send me an email at Kyle.Hamer@OnCenter.com.