Importance of the Cloud in Construction Management
Weather has quite an impact on construction projects. But when people are talking about "the cloud" and construction management these days, that's probably not what they're referring to. They're most likely referring to cloud computing, which involves a network of remote servers storing, processing, and moving data across the Internet, something that "local" servers and personal computers used to exclusively do. This new technology affords users a great deal of more freedom and flexibility, as it allows them to work and access information from many locations, using an increasing number of devices with digital capability.
So how exactly does all of this affect the construction industry? It's not as though bulldozers need to surf the Web. But traditional equipment is becoming increasingly automated and self-aware. Prototypes of such equipment exist now that use online searches to help carry out tasks. In the meantime, construction management is becoming increasingly reliant on various types of construction software to carry out administrative tasks, like completing daily reports. Older construction products that could be used on computers were certainly faster and more efficient than typewriters and carbon paper. But these software programs were limited, as well. These programs were often difficult to install, and updates often notoriously tied up every machine in a office. Formats for daily reports were often limited to infamous bulky spreadsheets, and add-ons such as photographs and additional reports had to be manually and awkwardly inserted.
But a software program like Raken for daily reporting utilizes cloud computing technology to allow devices like smartphones and tablets to serve as roving offices. With Raken's cloud computing in construction users can add to and complete reports, and share this information in real time with other users. They can also issue notifications, and add both photos and videos to these documents. And because such reports can be created from cars, meeting rooms, etc., using cloud construction software like Raken means staff doesn’t have to waste time returning to site trailers or firm offices to complete reports. Because data can be viewed over multiple screens, it reduces the need for physical meetings as well. And Raken allows reports to be stored for up to ten years on the cloud, reducing the need for physical storage space and potential damage to stored physical documents.
Cloud-based software providers can also easily update and customize product, and also serve as the product's IT specialists, reducing the need for firms to devise their own IT solutions. Managers shouldn't assume that they're completely done with construction software programs that arrive in a box. If they have found such a program that works effectively for them, they shouldn't hurry to throw the baby out with the bathwater. But given cloud computing's explosive growth and many applications, including within the construction industry, now is the time for managers to be considering their options, and how their firms can best utilize them.