Why making the move to SaaS is a necessity
by Craig Courtemanche
March 24, 2015

Many industries have been hesitant to adopt software-as-a-service (SaaS) enterprise solutions, and the construction vertical is no exception. The construction software marketplace is chronically underserved and the benefits of cloud-based platforms underleveraged.

BRIEF 7 Reasons to Switch to the Cloud

Team projects require seamless collaboration, accurate data and mobile accessibility. However, project teams continue to rely on outdated project management methods like virtual private networks (VPNs), spreadsheets and even paper to run their projects. These processes limit accessibility to current project data, drastically impacting the project schedule and the budget. Cloud-based construction software centralizes all project information in one place, giving the entire team access to real time project data. Data is stored securely and is ready to be used and shared by all team members at any time.

1. Secure, Real-Time Data Storage

Cloud-based construction software frees organizations from the headaches of creating and maintaining a securely hosted IT infrastructure with costly hardware setup and maintenance fees. Instead, project data is kept on remote servers maintained and secured by continuously-updated SaaS applications. Those servers are located in off-site data centers with restricted access, emergency power supplies, redundant data connections and other safeguards.

In-house servers tend to only support certain operating systems and have compatibility issues with older software, requiring costly upgrades and ongoing maintenance. Team members suffer from arduous login processes, slow VPN connections and clunky remote desktop applications, and are often times forced to hunt through emails with outdated attachments. This often results in the use of inaccurate data.

2. Better Mobility

With a cloud-based construction software solution, teams are no longer chained to their physical location. Solutions offered by cloud-based construction software companies grant employees freedom from their desks and computers by allowing them to access project information from anywhere with their mobile devices. Whether in the office, at home or on the job site, the mobility of cloud-based platforms puts real-time project data at the fingertips of the entire team.

Many software solutions also require a constant Internet connection in order to run. Some SaaS enterprise systems have made their platforms available offline, though, giving users access to their data in the most remote locations. Team members can easily input the details on site, saving both man hours and traveling costs.

3. Informed Decisions on the Jobsite

With SaaS, the whole team has the power to easily and securely deliver real-time, up-to-date project information with any Internet-connected device. Every time a change is made, all members of the team are kept informed with the latest information.

When project teams have constant access to project data, they can make decisions based on accurate data rather than guesswork. From customer, vendor and employee contact information to project data, like drawings, contracts, daily logs, RFIs and submittals, users have access to all the data they need no matter where they are.

4. Increased Collaboration

Construction professionals still clinging to old project management processes can generate a huge gap among project teams, shattering collaboration and costing the industry thousands of dollars in IT costs and project delays.

Outdated project management processes lack standardization and automation between the job site and the office. Teams are days behind schedule, communications are overwhelming and project schedules are delayed due to a lack of accurate and timely delivery of project information.

With the cloud, companies no longer have to waste precious hours and dollars revising, reprinting and redistributing paper-based documentation. Consider the cost savings of a construction process that approves RFIs in half the time, accelerates the submittal open-to-close process and ensures every project team member has access to the current set of drawings. The ability to diagnose problems in real-time will resolve issues more quickly and increase efficiency and project margins.

5. Improved Project Efficiency

Teams can significantly increase their project efficiency by eliminating the costly rework brought on by deficient version control. Construction software organizes drawings so that only the most recent master set is displayed. With these easy-to-use drawing management applications, project teams can not only review sheets, but markup drawings with annotations or text comments, approve changes and distribute updated plans to the entire project team in a matter of minutes.

6. Project Data Visibility

This synchronization of information not only gives teams access to pertinent project data, but also project progress and health, giving stakeholders a big picture view of every aspect of a project.

With cloud-based construction software, communications are tracked and archived like an electronic filing cabinet. The entire change history across all iterations as well as documentation of who made those changes is tracked, which increases accountability. This allows project managers to see if anyone has failed to view the most recent set of plans, forcing users to be on the same page and schedule to avoid potential delays and rework.

This transparency also doubles as a risk-avoidance tool by providing key stakeholders visibility into project health from bidding to closeout. They are able to analyze the project's performance to identify risks before they become issues that impact the overall success of the project.

7. Functional Scalability

Every team member, from the project manager to a subcontractor, requires access to project information in order to successfully complete their tasks and remain on schedule and within budget. With SaaS enterprise solutions in place, construction firms can add users as their business and projects expand.

Changes to new users, implementations and other operational revisions or improvements are seamlessly adapted by the project.

In today's rapidly changing business environment, adjusting to new technology is a necessity. Construction software will increase your project organization, collaboration and efficiency by streamlining communication and centralizing documentation, minimizing risk and delays and ultimately boosting profits.