Benefits of Cloud-Based Construction Software
For construction professionals, one of the biggest benefits of cloud-based software and storage is mobility. Being able to manage any aspect of your business anywhere you have an internet connection and a mobile device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop is vital these days.
Another great benefit of moving to the cloud is the money your company can save by reducing IT costs. The cloud can help eliminate the need for costly server and computer upgrades and maintenance as well as having to keep up with software licenses. You can also scale your cloud computing needs as your business grows and expands. Cloud-based software can also lead to better collaboration and distribution of information.
There’s an ever-growing list of providers of cloud-based solutions tailored to the construction industry. These companies offer a wide range of solutions from estimating and takeoffs, to managing contracts, subcontractor and supplier bids, cash flows and budgets and scheduling. Options range from complete solutions for managing all aspects of your construction business to individualized services such as project management or payroll solutions.
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing your cloud-based software solutions. You want to choose solutions that are going to assist you in running your business more efficiently and smoothly and that will enable you to have faster project delivery. Before you commit to anything you should always request a free demo. The same way you wouldn’t purchase a piece of heavy equipment like a backhoe or a skid steer without a test drive you shouldn’t invest in any sort of cloud solutions without testing them out first.
Here are some things to consider before investing in any type of cloud-based solution:
Cost – In order to do a true cost comparison you need to determine what your current computing costs are including all your software licensing and hardware costs. If you move your entire software and storage needs into the cloud, the need for costly servers will be eliminated because you won’t need the processing power you had before to run all your software. You also need to be aware of the costs of the cloud services you purchase such as whether there will be an increase should your business grow and you need to add more users.
Support – Is there support for your system 24/7? What kind of turnaround is the vendor required to meet when an issue crops up? You want to choose a provider that always accessible and that can resolve any issues in a timely manner.
Ease of Use – You want to make sure that you choose a solution with an Application Programming Interface (API) that is straightforward and easy to use. You don’t want something so complicated that it takes your employees months be able to use efficiently. This is where that free demo comes in handy.
Safety & Security – Everyone wants to know that their data is safe and secure. Any provider should routinely backup your data. Most providers have multiple data centers where your data is mirrored to provide enough redundancy should something critical happen to the main center where your data is stored. In the same line, you want to know that your data is secure. You want to choose a provider that will encrypt your data and provide data-leak prevention.
Reliability – From time to time computer networks go down and there’s little to do to prevent it. You want a provider that can offer service priority and that uses multiple network paths to ensure the service is always available.
Compatibility – You want to choose solutions offer scalability. Your cloud-based software services should be able to grow with your business as it grows or shrink if you have to downsize. Be sure to thoroughly read and understand the service level agreement before making any decisions.