Cloud solutions: even the construction industry cannot escape the digitalisation that is rapidly transforming our society and economy. There is an increasing amount of digital information available and computing power is increasing exponentially. In addition, more and more advanced digital technologies (AI, IoT, edge computing, data science) are seeing the light of day or are being developed at a rapid pace.
If construction companies make good use of the technical possibilities that are now abundantly available, digitisation is not just a challenge. It is also an opportunity to work better together, to communicate more efficiently and to meet the demands (fast, abundant and sustainable builds) that the current market places on construction companies, more easily. A good digital document management system (DMS), for example, makes information much more accessible.
But many construction companies are still wrestling with the question of how they should make their journey into the digital future. Do they go for the cloud or do they choose to (continue to) work with a local network? Although it can be exciting to make the step to the cloud, it has many advantages. Find out why working in the cloud is the best solution for construction companies in 2022, and beyond.
Is a cloud solution right for me?
Many construction companies still find the cloud exciting. Is it secure enough? Am I not losing control over my IT landscape and services? And can I still decide where to store my important and business-critical data? These questions often lead to cold feet. Some companies don’t dare to make the transition to cloud-first after all, and instead, opt for alternatives such as a local network or a locally shared drive.
That is a shame. In the early days of the cloud, security and privacy were often cited as reasons to be cautious about switching. But the medium has now reached the stage of maturity. Many of the arguments (loss of control over data, lack of security) against intensive use of a cloud solution, are no longer convincing in today’s IT climate.
Especially in the construction industry, where you often have to deal with various parties, it is important that everyone always has quick access to the latest information.
The benefits of a good cloud solution
A good cloud solution offers numerous advantages compared to a traditional local network. We list the most important ones for you.
Better and easier document management and exchange
A document management system in the cloud makes it easier to exchange and edit documents together. Adding and sharing documents in your central information environment? Managing user authorisation at document, folder or project level? And immediate recording of all actions or changes within a document? With a DMS in the cloud, it’s all a piece of cake.
Working in the cloud also enables automatic version management. With an information management system in the cloud, building professionals no longer have to think about the important question of whether they have the right version in front of them. They no longer need to sift through various systems and information silos. From now on, all documents are in one central location and everyone is always working with the latest version, thanks to automatic consecutive version numbers.
Especially in the construction industry, where you often have to deal with various parties (contractors and subcontractors within sub sectors such as kitchen, sanitation, structural work, tiles, flooring and electricity), it is important that everyone has quick access to the correct and latest information, at any time. A good and flexible document management system is priceless. With functionalities such as smart search, searching for files becomes a lot easier, while you can send large files or large quantities of documents with a few mouse clicks. You also have the option of sending them with a password, so that only the right people can read them.
You are able to take a local drive to the construction site, but it is far from convenient. A cloud solution, however, ensures that all your employees and external parties have easy access to current and important information. From any location and any device (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone). It doesn’t matter whether you work with text documents or complex 2D or 3D drawings. Which is very convenient.
The lines between the office and the building site are kept short, while external parties such as subcontractors always have an overview of the latest project status. This way, project communication and cooperation are effortlessly raised to a higher level.
Less maintenance work and costs
Met een SaaS-cloudoplossing hoef je ook minder tijd en geld te investeren in het onderhouden van je IT-landschap. Updates en veiligheidspatches installeren? Dat is de taak van de cloudprovider en gebeurt dus automatisch, zonder dat je zelf extra geld of mankracht hoeft te investeren. Bovendien hoef je met een cloudoplossing ook niet om de zoveel jaar je hardware te vervangen. De cloud biedt een hoge mate van ontzorging bij het up-to-date en AVG-proof houden van je IT-landschap.
With a modern cloud solution you, and countless other customers, invest in a party that takes care of security outstandingly.
With a modern cloud solution you, and countless other customers, invest in a party that takes care of security outstandingly. The level of security provided by a large and specialised cloud provider is usually much higher than the level of security you can guarantee for a local network, in-house. For cloud providers, managing cloud solutions is their core business.
These IT specialists not only have data centres (owned or leased) that are optimally protected against fire and burglary, they also have high-quality security software. Regular updates fix vulnerabilities and security holes before hackers can exploit them. And in case something does go wrong? In that case, a good cloud solution offers more options for backup and recovery than a local network.
Processing and sending large files
In construction, you often work with large files. CAD drawings or 3D building plans, for example, are equivalent to many MBs. Sending these files from a local network to employees in the field or to external parties, is not always convenient. It takes a lot of time and they don’t always arrive correctly, for example, because many mailboxes limit the size of attachments that can be received.
With a cloud solution, you don’t have that problem. Everyone involved in a project can consult detailed construction plans and drawings. In a convenient and user-friendly information and document management system. Whether it is on the construction site, in the office or on the road. It is also possible to comment on drawings and share them with colleagues and external partners.
Considerations in cloud adoption
A cloud solution brings construction companies many advantages. But there are some points to consider. Because a cloud solution only works if you can go online, it’s important to choose a provider that guarantees good performance and reliable uptime.
Also, think carefully about your cloud strategy. As a construction company, you need to have control over who can see which document. This includes a good role and access system. That’s why a good cloud DMS allows you to manage users’ roles, so that random outsiders cannot snoop around in the management folder, for example.