How Software-as-a-Service Benefits Construction ProjectsJuly 30, 2017
Research by Gallup shows that sometimes only 2.5 percent of companies complete 100 percent of their projects. Their research also shows that around 27 percent of projects experience cost or schedule overruns. Construction projects often involve strict deadlines, diverse partners, and uncontrollable variables, so they need scalable software solutions that come with cloud-based benefits.
Software-as-a-Service Meets the Construction Industry
Software-as-a-Service refers to subscription-based solutions that allow clients to access the same platforms via the Internet from multiple locations. The SaaS application will be hosted and operated by a third-party software vendor, so they will take care of all the hardware and software. They are responsible for software installation, updates, and system backups. This eliminates the need to hire additional IT staff and it significantly reduces the internal IT staff’s workload. Cloud-based Software-as-a-Service solutions allow universal access, whether by web or mobile, to key data and files. Private cloud solutions eliminate risks through secure hubs that automatically notify users of updates. SaaS service providers offer the most up-to-date security and intrusion detection to ensure confidentiality and peace of mind.
Construction project staff, suppliers, and stakeholders may be locally located at temporary, on-site accommodation or an international office with an opposite time zone. Those who are in a managerial capacity will likely often travel between sites and offices for multiple projects. The time, mobile and geographic nature of construction projects require centralized solutions that promote decentralized communication and collaboration. Realistically speaking, only cloud-based software solutions can resolve the complex challenges that come with project members working in different locations who all need access to the same logistics, procurement, document management and cost control systems.
Construction companies that deploy cloud-based solutions will enjoy specific operational benefits. For example, document management is enhanced because interactive platforms and supporting applications make easier to send bids, request reports and receive BOLs. Cloud-based collaboration encourages BIM updates because clients can easily send architects change order requests. This provides contractors with access to the information needed to determine the exact amount of materials now needed and to make the necessary changes to the labor and construction schedules. BIM models, CAD drawings, and multimedia presentations are becoming so big that it’s difficult to pass them along to vendors, subcontractors, and product partners.
There are also a couple of additional advantages for construction companies that use Software-as-a-Service solutions. For example, they can bill costs directly to the project, so it becomes an operating expense instead of a capital expense. The costs associated with specific project activities can sometimes be generated through customized reports. Some construction management solutions are individually scalable, so project managers can increase or decrease the complexity of the project’s module based on the size, stage, and scope of their projects. Mobile support drives efficiency because project team members will likely use tablets and smartphones over laptops to view, edit and share documents.
Lower Initial Investment Costs
SaaS makes cloud software a more affordable option for construction companies that are not ready to commit to long-term systems. Commercial software systems can be extremely expensive to implement and maintain. A more affordable option is Software-as-a-Service because organizations aren’t forced into committing to a system or paying start-up fees. This is why many small- to medium-sized contractors prefer to use online applications that offer full features. The pay-as-you-go method of SaaS offers financial flexibility that many small construction businesses in the past could never enjoy. Cloud-based solutions are may inclusively include software, support, updates, maintenance and hosting services.
When selecting a SaaS provider, consider verifying that they offer first-class hosting environments that come with mirrored backups or alternative data centers. Software that is deployed in the cloud provides affordable ways for construction companies to enjoy enterprise-level solutions. Construction companies that use the best software are more likely to be more productive and profitable.