3 Technology Trends Changing the Construction Industry

May 4, 2017

Construction Technology Trends

In the construction world, your clients expect constant project updates – even when you’re tied up on a jobsite. If you don’t have access to the most up-to-date project data and reports, you won’t be able to answer their questions in a timely manner, which may set the stage for ongoing customer and project conflict.

Luckily, technology is changing the construction industry making it easier than ever to communicate, collaborate, and manage projects from anywhere, anytime, and on any device.

Check out these three top construction technology trends that are taking off in 2017.

1. Cloud-Based Technology

Our construction clients are often surprised when they learn how simply and effectively the cloud can solve common productivity roadblocks. Popular construction solutions such as Sage Service Operations and Sage Construction Project Center provide contractors with easy, cloud-based access to schedules, work orders, and a wide variety of project documents in the office or on the go.

Today’s construction companies are choosing the cloud to:

Reduce capital expenditures – sometimes you know you need better technology, but it’s hard to layout capital for the purchase of software, plus the servers, databases, and workstations to run it. With a cloud model that leverages pay-as-you-go subscription pricing, you preserve the money you’d normally spend on IT infrastructure and up-front software purchase.

Cut down on IT headaches – you know blueprints and bidding, but you may not know computer maintenance and IT troubleshooting. With the cloud, you don’t have to. Cloud vendors usually handle all the server maintenance, software updates, and IT hassles for you so you can focus on your business.

The Cloud is NOT All or Nothing

As you explore new technology solutions, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to use the cloud for everything.

To save costs while maximizing productivity and control, many construction companies choose a “hybrid cloud” model, in which peripheral applications like field-service and document management functions are moved to the cloud, while critical back-office functions such as accounting stay on-premises. This approach can help you test the waters as you discover what the cloud has to offer.

Cloud TechnologyDid you know? The term “cloud computing” may sound like it has celestial origins, but you can track the term back to old technical diagrams from decades ago which often featured a cloud graphic to symbolize the Internet. Another commonly used graphic for the Internet was the globe, so it’s pure chance that we don’t talk about the convenience of “globe computing” rather than cloud.

Expert Tip: Not sure where to start with the cloud? We suggest focusing on your employees in the field. Cloud apps that help your jobsite team stay up to date with project changes or that help you remotely track labor hours can provide big time savings on a small budget.

2. Mobile Technology

Unless you’re hosting your annual holiday party, it’s unlikely that your construction company will ever have all your employees in the office at the same time. Mobile technology helps you keep your employees up to date even when they’re away from the office.

Construction contractors use mobile technology on the job because it helps them:

Make every jobsite into an office – when your employees can clock in and out from the field, send and access project updates remotely, manage change orders, initiate purchases, and accept materials at the jobsite, your company will save time and increase productivity effortlessly.

Implement new software within hoursconstruction software may form the backbone of your business. But mobile software apps like document collaboration, service dispatch, and analytics dashboards can provide extra convenience for things that aren’t necessarily mission critical. That also typically means that these add-on mobile apps can be set up within a few hours so you can get right to work.

Both mobile and cloud technology work hand-in-hand. Cloud moves the technology and information to the internet, mobile allows you to access it all.

Expert Tip: Mobility is convenient, but security is key. Keep your sensitive data protected with Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions and look for those that offer data encryption as well as remote data wiping for lost or stolen phones.

3. Collaboration Technology

Successful construction projects require team communication, so why are we still using one-on-one email and phone calls for planning, scheduling, and sharing documents?

If you’re using the internet to deliver cloud-based apps and you’re using mobile devices to access those apps from jobsites, it’s only natural that you’ll also want to offer your employees technology that helps you bring everyone together.

At its core, collaboration technology provides a single centralized location for all construction-related documents, processes, and communications. In short, everyone involved in the project has access to the same up-to-date information – like drawings, schedules, job information, and reports – and can provide their own real-time input and updates as they work. Collaboration technology gets everyone on the same page including vendors, partners, subcontractors, and clients.

Collaboration technology can take many forms and touch many different parts of your construction business. Take the bidding process for example. Building and managing bidder lists is not an easy task and neither is tracking the sheer number of back-and-forth communications throughout the process.

But you can make things easier and far more efficient for everyone by giving estimators, bid coordinators, subcontractors, and material suppliers online access to a centralized bid collaboration hub like Sage Bid Management. In fact in our recent article that provides 5 Critical Steps to Winning More Bids, we explain how leveraging the right technology is key to improving bid speed and accuracy – and collaboration plays a big role in that.

Expert Tip: make sure the collaboration solution you choose offers an audit trail so everyone can find the most recent changes and updates.

Building a Strong Foundation

By leveraging the right technology in your construction company, you’ll have the ability to bid faster, collaborate better, respond the customers quicker, and ensure everyone on your team has access to the most up-to-date project at all times … in the office, at the jobsite, and everywhere in between.

2017 Construction Industry Survey

Keep Up on All The Construction Trends

Construction Industry Survey ThumbnailClick below to request a copy of the 2017 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook conducted by Sage and The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) .

This detailed 13-page report takes a deep dive into the challenges, opportunities, and trending technology that’s shaping the construction industry in 2017 and beyond.

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