CMiC Construction and Capital Project Management Blog

How to improve information governance with construction software

Posted by Jeff Weiss on Mon, Oct 05, 2015 @ 09:47 AM

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How to improve information governance with construction software

Construction firms have had to quickly catch up with the progressive advances being made in the technology sector, embracing novel trends as they arise to maintain pace with market conditions and boost profit margins in the process. With the right construction project management software in place, many companies will find that the ebb and flow of their operations is generally smoother, risk is reduced and disruptions more easily avoided over time. 

One of the more important matters involved in these changes is construction document management, as the whole point of so many trends is to enhance the ways in which remote workers can access necessary information. Leaders who take a proactive approach to these matters and work to more rapidly modernize their systems with specialized software will likely be able to gain a competitive advantage before long, and there is plenty of guidance to be found. 

Tips from the pros contributor Pete Ransome recently listed some of the more important aspects of document management, focusing specifically on the information governance processes involved in human resources departments. As a note, companies can indeed find centralized solutions that will assist with everything from accounts payable to human resources and beyond, as well as ones that have been specifically developed with construction needs in mind. 

According to the author, centralization is among the more important matters involved in the modernization of document management systems, while compliance should be a high priority right from the outset of the relevant initiatives. As Ransome indicated, virtually every human resources department - regardless of which industry the firm operates in - will have to comply with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act at all times, and this legislation covers document management systems. 

Construction firms will also need to ensure they comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards when using centralized systems in the accounting department to send and receive payments or store relevant data. Ransome went on to urge leaders to maintain control of the data stored and shared within the document management systems, and focus on building collaborative power through these solutions while lowering costs as much as possible. 

All in one?
Construction firms might not be able to identify one solution that supports literally every management function they have in their operations, but certain options can come relatively close to this stature, especially when the provider offers customization tools and support. Regardless of whether the need is in the human resources, accounts payable, field operations or other departments, software can help to dramatically refine the performances of managers relatively quickly. 

Cloud-based options are becoming more common, though firms that are concerned about sensitive data to the point of not desiring these choices can always look for on-premise services that have a similar level of power. Again, always work with a firm that can closely align its services with the specific and unique needs and requirements of the business, as this will maximize efficiency. 

Tags: Construction Financial Management

The benefits of centralizing construction technology management

Posted by Jeff Weiss on Fri, Oct 02, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

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The benefits of centralizing construction technology management

One of the more revolutionary aspects of modern information technology is the immense interoperability seen among systems of all types, ranging from platforms and infrastructure to apps and devices. This has made it easier than ever before to centralize the oversight of various construction project management technologies and tools, enable significant cost reductions through bundled services and enhance the value of data generated through operations. 

Construction firms should be looking to either integrate their various management tools into a more centralized environment, or use a service that includes all of the functionality that the firm needs to handle accounting, projects, enterprise resource planning and more. Organizations from virtually every industry are beginning to focus more on these types of efforts, showing just how strong the efficiency gains can be when the projects are completed properly. 

Integration up
International Data Corporation recently reported that the integrated infrastructure and platforms market is growing rapidly thanks to the high demand across sectors and regions for more centralized backend systems. As a note, infrastructure is essentially comprised of servers and networks that support every component of IT, while platforms are generally used to develop, manipulate and host apps, mobile or otherwise. The act of integrating the two will essentially reduce maintenance demands and other long-term aspects of management. 

"We have a tale of two markets; integrated platforms is contracting while integrated infrastructure systems are growing rapidly," IDC Enterprise Servers Senior Research Analyst Kevin Permenter explained. "Organizations are leaning away from workload-specific platforms and toward general-purpose, multi-workload hardware solutions. We expect to see this trend continue through 2015."

According to IDC, the global integrated infrastructure and platform market saw $2.4 billion in investments in the second quarter of 2015, which is 1.7 percent higher than the recorded volumes from the same period in 2014. The analysts went on to note that storage has appeared to be the greatest driver of investment in this market, expanding at a staggering 44 .8 percent growth rate between the second quarters of 2014 and 2015. 

Finally, integrated platforms alone held 36.6 percent of the overarching industry's share, while integrated infrastructure saw 15.5 percent growth to take up the remaining portion. 

More reasons to streamline
Although many firms will think it wise to choose different apps and software for varying tasks, such as tools that can only be used for financial, accounting, project, payment, ERP or procurement processes, this is not always the best choice. What's more, a high rate of leaders tend to select out-of-the-box solutions that promise to work properly for all different types of organizations, regardless of their needs or objectives. 

For construction companies, leveraging a centralized solution that brings all of these tasks into one place, and is specialized for their specific requirements and goals, will always be the best path forward, and options are available today that fit this description. Working to integrate various management frameworks will go a long way toward improving efficiency and intelligence across the business. 

Tags: Construction Technology

Construction firms must modernize content management

Posted by Jeff Weiss on Thu, Oct 01, 2015 @ 09:20 AM

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Construction firms must modernize content management

Virtually every new technology and trend in IT to surface in the past decade has been related to the ways in which information is stored, shared and managed, helping organizations of all kinds become more intelligent and unified in their collaborative processes. Regardless of the size of the business or which industry it might be competing within, enterprise content management must be a priority moving into the next few years, as failure to properly handle these responsibilities can quickly take away from the benefits of modern technologies. 

Construction firms will benefit largely from modernizing their content management strategies, especially considering how quickly the complexity of project management is rising amid the introduction of new technologies and market demands. So long as firms take an intelligent approach to deploying these solutions, they will be strongly positioned to progress from an operational standpoint, as tight information governance and content management tends to translate to improved performances. 

Inside the market
As evidence of the growing demand for more advanced content management systems across industries, Research and Markets recently released its latest report that predicted massive growth in the coming years. According to the analysts, the enterprise content management market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 19.5 percent through 2020, rising from $24.6 billion in investments this year to $59.9 billion by the end of the decade. 

The core reasons behind this progress generally involve the explosion of data volumes that has taken place in the past few years and is expected to continue on at an exponential rate for decades to come. Construction firms have likely already begun to experience these major increases in their own data volumes, and might quickly begin to see how expensive legacy-based storage and other traditional content management systems can be at this scale, especially those that have gone paperless. 

Research and Markets pointed out that processing, search and extraction times can be improved by more advanced content management systems, and are among the core reasons why so many firms are beginning to invest in these technologies. Furthermore, the researchers argued that such adjustments to strategy and technology can go a long way toward boosting a given organization's ability to fluidly navigate complex decisions.

Other reasons to invest
In the construction industry, the ability to move quickly on new opportunities is vital to maximizing profit margins and revenues, and many firms have started to leverage cloud, mobile and other solutions to bolster their agility. To ensure that these types of new strategies in IT come with high returns and benefit end-users - whether they are in the field or a physical workplace, content management will need to be streamlined and brought up to speed with modern demands. 

Leveraging a content management tool developed with construction firms in mind can help to further improve the efficiency and effectiveness of these deployments, especially when those solutions integrate with other construction project management software. 

Tags: Construction Project Management

Can cloud-based construction software be secured?

Posted by Jeff Weiss on Wed, Sep 30, 2015 @ 10:42 AM

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Can cloud-based construction software be secured?

When cloud computing first entered the marketplace, the biggest obstacle standing in the path of widespread adoption was related to security fears, with leaders believing that information stored in these environments would be far more susceptible to breach than when kept in traditional systems. Although there has been plenty of progress in this regard, the fact remains that many decision-makers - even those who have already deployed cloud services - are under the impression that the cloud is inherently less secure than legacy IT assets. 

However, this is simply not the case, and plenty of research has been released to argue that the cloud will often be a progressive step in the right direction for companies that are trying to secure their data thanks to the centralization of management and monitoring. The right cloud-based construction project management software will keep information protected from unauthorized viewers and loss, and the technology will also have to be supported by strong policies that accurately identify risks. 

A new approach
The selection of cloud-based software will certainly have a major impact on the success or failure of an organization's security performances, but leaders need to recognize the indirect steps that will need to be taken as well. CIO Magazine recently listed a few recommendations to cloud users who are concerned about their data stored in these environments, affirming that agility will be critical in this regard given the rapid shifts in risk and threats. 

According to the news provider, more firms are beginning to experiment with hybrid and "dynamic" IT environments that involve several cloud services and potentially some internally hosted tools, and the changeover will need to be handled with care. In fact, perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the cloud would be included in the transition away from existing systems and toward new ones, which is why agile and constantly refined strategies are so critical. 

The source pointed out that firms will need to get serious with employee training and awareness, as security threats facing the cloud - and virtually every other technology - are increasingly tied to negligence and poor preparation. Finally, CIO Magazine added that the cloud-based software should be managed similarly to options that were once hosted on internal platforms and servers, with leaders taking ownership of the data stored therein rather than relying too heavily on the vendor to do so. 

Security centricity
Although the average construction firm does not handle as much sensitive information as a health care provider or government agency, decision-makers in the industry need to remember that one breach can cause a world of damage. Given the recommendations above, leaders might benefit from the use of a software provider that can handle both internally hosted and cloud-based frameworks, especially with respect to integration and streamlining. 

In a word, those that offer more flexible options for these assets can be a boon to security, as such a major portion of the battle against data loss and theft is involved in the alignment of technologies to specific business needs. 

Tags: Construction Technology

The importance of modernized construction document management

Posted by Jeff Weiss on Wed, Sep 30, 2015 @ 10:41 AM

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The importance of modernized construction document management

Virtually every new trend in technology to surface over the past two decades has come with some significant impact on information management or another, with the underlying movement being a rapid transition to digitally centric data governance strategies. The paperless office has spread quickly due to the efficiency gains that accompany these transitions, while reports have indicated that such changes can also improve reporting accuracy. 

Construction firms that are still reliant upon antiquated information governance strategies and technologies will not be likely to enjoy smooth operations in the coming years, as more moving parts within general operations continue to shift in this direction. However, with the right construction document management systems in place, field and office workers will be better prepared to handle their responsibilities, while decision-makers will be granted more timely and valuable insights as well. 

Investments are up
Technavio recently released the results of its latest report on the global document management systems market, affirming that demand for more advanced options is fueling increased revenues among providers of the technology. As a note, construction leaders will need to remember that current trends in IT are increasingly reliant upon backend content and document management solutions to function properly, including the Internet of Things and mobility. 

According to the researchers, this market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of roughly 14.2 percent between this year and 2019, while the bulk of the spending on these items will relate back to software licenses, subscriptions, implementation and maintenance. Because so many firms have started to leverage the support of a managed service provider to overhaul their document management and general IT capabilities, this CAGR might be even higher at the end of the day. 

Furthermore, the analysts argued that virtually every task involved in document management, including processing, approvals, sharing and destruction, will be handled within these more advanced systems as companies become more reliant upon them. For this reason and many more, leaders will need to ensure that they are choosing the right document management systems for their specific and unique needs, while cloud-based options might be the best around given the need for remote data accessibility in construction. 

Construction in the cloud
Again, the use of assets related to mobility, the IoT and other core trends impacting construction IT will be heavily rooted in the document management systems used for information sharing and access. Although there are countless cloud-based document management tools available in the marketplace today, not all of them will be tailored to the specific needs and demands of construction firms, and spending on these will not work to the company's advantage. 

Rather, choosing a cloud-based construction document management solution will propel the firm in the right direction, especially when the tools are customizable and the provider can help with integration and optimization. Looking forward, construction companies that strike the right chord with these modernization efforts will be in the driver's seat when the digital revolution hits its peak. 

Tags: Construction Project Management

More reasons to invest in ERP software

Posted by Jeff Weiss on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 @ 05:53 PM

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More reasons to invest in ERP software

Enterprise resource planning can sometimes be a challenging aspect of corporate management, but is one that is vitally important given the immense disruption that can be caused when orders go awry and inventories are short. In construction, the skill with which ERP is handled will tend to dictate the success or failure of virtually every project, and companies need to ensure that they are prepared for the various issues that could potentially throw projects off track. 

Although many businesses were still relying upon traditional approaches to ERP in the recent past, more are now beginning to use more advanced cloud and on-premise options to improve the efficiency and accuracy of these processes. Construction firms that have not yet considered the prospect of modernizing their ERP solutions and strategies should do so soon, as this can make all of the difference when novel complexities and disruptions arise. 

Getting it right
Manufacturing Business Technology Magazine recently explained some of the ways in which firms can ensure that their ERP investments yield the performance improvements and strong returns on investments expected among decision-makers. Construction firms should always keep in mind that the ERP market is highly diversified and robust, meaning that specialized options are available that were built specifically for the needs of the industry rather than being a cookie-cutter option. 

According to the news provider, the provisioning stages can be difficult because of the sheer volume of products on the market today, but this can be alleviated by knowing the company's requirements and objectives ahead of the final purchasing decision. When construction leaders understand the entirety of their goals with respect to short- and long-term ERP utilization, the best options will be far easier to decipher, whereas poor research into these matters could lead to the wrong decision. 

The source pointed out that the various management demands of the software itself should be considered as well, with a specific focus on the types of support the vendor offers for integration, optimization and long-term maintenance. As is the case with any major investment, firms will want to have an accurate perspective of what it will take to capitalize on ERP software throughout the entirety of its lifecycle, and the right vendor can often help with these assessments. 

Always specialize
As mentioned above, construction-focused ERP software is available in on-premise and cloud models today, but this does not mean that every firm in the industry will have the same needs from those tools. Features should be considered relatively early on, and leaders might benefit from identifying a service that can be further customized and personalized to ensure tight alignment with their organization's specific needs and objectives. 

Agile solutions that can be more comprehensively tweaked for optimal outcomes will almost always be the most financially sound options for construction firms, and leveraging a provider that will help to get the tools into motion more quickly can boost the immediate impact of these investments. 

Tags: Construction Technology

Construction software boosts reporting processes

Posted by Jeff Weiss on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 @ 05:53 PM

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Construction software boosts reporting processes

Accounting and reporting are two of the more critical aspects of construction project management, and errors or inefficiencies involved therein can quickly hinder a firm's reputation in the market and potentially even hold back projects from completion. Years ago, companies would need to take a highly manual approach to these processes, which had plenty of negative impacts on engagement, reporting accuracy and more, making optimal financial performance a difficult prospect at best. 

However, construction accounting tools have become far more powerful and affordable in the past few years, and can quickly overhaul the processes involved in reporting and management for the better, especially when companies leverage tools that are specifically built for their unique needs. Regardless of which industry a firm might be competing within, the use of the right software can go a long way toward optimizing reporting and accounting processes in virtually every department of their business. 

The HR example
Workforce management and the accounting and reporting processes therein will need to be tight to ensure the strongest possible performances at all times, as well as the greatest level of continuity. Accounting Today recently reported that reporting software based in the cloud can have a profoundly positive impact on HR departments in every sector, affirming that the time to deploy these solutions is now and arguing that compliance, engagement and more can be boosted. 

Cloud-based solutions tend to be more customizable and powerful than traditional software, and can be especially advantageous in an industry such as construction where so much work is completed in the field and moving parts abound. According to the news provider, cloud-based accounting tools will boost collaborative power, connecting individuals in distant locations and standardizing the tasks involved in reporting for more effective management performances. 

What's more, the source pointed out that accuracy in reporting will be inherently improved when some of the more repetitive manual tasks are overhauled through automation tools, which can further bolster decision-making among leaders. When the reporting and accounting procedures taking place in accounting, human resources and other departments are optimal, managers will have a more accurate view of all the moving parts involved in construction project management, helping them to keep operations tight. 

Purchase the right solutions
Simply put, business leaders will have a proverbial universe of options available to them when looking for construction accounting tools, but only a few will fit their specific needs and objectives. The best place to begin searching for these solutions is a firm that offers construction-specific accounting and management tools, rather than a cookie-cutter product that is marketed as being the right choice for all industries. 

The best tools will be highly integrated and functional, meaning that accounting, project management and other procedures can be handled more efficiently under one set of controls rather than disparate systems. Looking ahead, the construction market is expected to continue healing from the lows experienced during the recession, and these software solutions can help to make the most of increased demand. 

Tags: Construction Financial Management

The value of enterprise mobility in construction

Posted by Jeff Weiss on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 @ 09:47 AM

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The value of enterprise mobility in construction

Enterprise mobility has been a transformative trend across industries and regions in the past few years, and especially among businesses that are heavily rooted in field work and service, such as construction. Unfortunately, many companies have struggled to maintain control of their data and systems while simultaneously supporting mobile users, which can spell disaster from a security and productivity standpoint shortly following deployment of the strategy. 

On the other hand, there are plenty of solutions that can be used to streamline enterprise mobility management, including ones specifically made for the construction industry and based in cloud computing environments for optimal accessibility. When construction firms leverage these types of technologies, the sky will be the limit for performance improvements and efficiency gains, as smartphones, tablets and portable computers can be exceptionally strong drivers of productivity so long as they are properly enabled. 

Construction project management has long been rooted in remote and field work, and granting employees the power to excel in their responsibilities through BYOD and other mobility programs can help to modernize operations at large. With the right cloud-based solutions, construction businesses will be able to maintain security of their systems and data while simultaneously granting access to core apps and information to authorized users, regardless of where they might be. 

What to look for
Technavio recently reported that more organizations are beginning to invest in enterprise mobility management solutions across industries, and that this bodes well for the trend at large given the long-standing suggestions of analysts that these policies need to be supported by relevant tools. However, just because purchasing volumes are going up does not mean that companies are choosing the right solutions for their specific needs. 

On the whole, Technavio estimated that the enterprise mobility management market would expand at a compound annual growth rate of roughly 35.4 percent between last year and 2019, at which time the majority of firms should have a solution in place. For construction firms, this means that there will be plenty of options available thanks to heightened competition between providers, and choosing the right tool is critical to enjoying the benefits of the technology and maximizing returns on investment. 

First and foremost, the mobility tools should be targeted at construction industry players, and capable of integrating with other management software and solutions through cloud-based environments. Leaders will also want to find software that can centralize and streamline the basic reporting and accounting functions in field work, allowing employees to keep up with these tasks no matter where they might be. 

Furthermore, there are solutions available today that can be used even when an Internet connection is not available - which can be especially powerful in construction given the remote areas that work might be handled. 

Bring it all together
One of the greatest advantages of modern management technology is the ability to connect various procedures and responsibilities in one centralized environment, as this will inherently boost visibility, transparency and efficiency. Construction project management software can now be used for a range of objectives and needs, including field service management, accounting, project oversight and enterprise resource planning. 

Firms that have not yet begun to provision these solutions will need to do so soon, as competition is heating up and the need for optimal efficiency and accuracy throughout operational management frameworks has never been higher. Working with a provider of construction project management software that can assist with integration and optimization processes might be the best bet moving forward, as this will ensure speedy deployments and strong functionality. 

Tags: Construction Technology

Software increasingly important in construction project management

Posted by Jeff Weiss on Fri, Sep 25, 2015 @ 09:30 AM

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Software increasingly construction project management

Thanks to progressive advancements in the software industry, digital tools and solutions are becoming more powerful, affordable and specialized with the passing of each year, helping companies in virtually every sector find services that perfectly align with their needs and objectives. The construction industry has been no stranger to this, as businesses therein remain aggressive in their adoption of new management software, gadgets and other technologies that can help them become leaner, more productive and highly resilient against risks. 

Decision-makers in the sector who have not yet considered the prospect of leveraging more advanced cloud-based construction project management software and devices should consider doing so soon, as this can quickly help to increase the competitive edge in the marketplace. With so many novel options available and some that will be specifically built for the construction industry, the time is now to get moving on provisioning and strategic management. 

The safety component
RE Journals recently listed some of the technologies that are driving the construction industry in the right direction, with a specific focus on how these tools are reducing risk and helping businesses to create safer working environments. As all leaders in the sector know, safety has to be the highest priority to maintain continuity of operations, protect the workforce and ensure that all projects are completed properly and sustainably. 

According to the news provider, drones and wearable technologies are helping to monitor processes more efficiently and empower employees on the ground-level, while 3-D printing is also beginning to make some headway in strategies for a variety of purposes. However, the biggest category, which should not be all that surprising, involves software, as these particular solutions can have such a positive impact on virtually every aspect of construction project management, including risk. 

The source pointed out that apps are increasingly leveraged to automate and otherwise streamline reporting procedures, which can inherently boost the effectiveness of financial risk management and threats to project completion. What's more, RE Journals noted that solutions based in the cloud that can be accessed remotely are making waves today, especially given the immense level of field work that takes place in the construction industry. 

Centralizing management
Some companies will purchase one tool for one purpose, meaning that a multitude of apps might be in place at any given time, and this is rarely the most efficient approach to provisioning and long-term management. Rather, solutions are available that come with diverse and robust functionality, allowing the firm to make one purchase and even acquire necessary add-ons as time goes on and projects evolve. 

This is not only the most affordable way to get the construction project management tools necessary, but also the smartest given the value of centralized, streamlined solutions that keep all of the necessary functions in one place. From a data management perspective to one that is focused on performance improvements, cloud-based construction project management software that has a strong set of capabilities will be best moving forward. 

Tags: Construction Project Management

Cloud-based ERP booming across industries

Posted by Jeff Weiss on Fri, Sep 25, 2015 @ 09:28 AM

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Cloud-based ERP booming across industries

Cloud computing software has represented one of the hottest markets in corporate IT for nearly a decade now, as more entities work to overhaul their traditional systems and implement more powerful, affordable and user-friendly options. Although there is a proverbial universe of options available today, certain categories have been a bit more highly demanded than others, and enterprise resource planning is certainly near the top of the totem pole. 

Construction firms of all sizes have been a bit more aggressive in their adoption of ERP software and other management tools, as these solutions can go a long way toward reducing inefficiencies and waste while driving visibility of operations. Construction management software can also help leaders get a handle on the demands, requirements and opportunities of the modern era a bit more smoothly, rather than trying to navigate novel landscapes with antiquated compasses. 

Continued growth
The Market Research Store recently released a report on the global cloud-based ERP software market, affirming that the past few years have been highly advantageous for vendors as the technology is in high demand across a range of industries and regions. According to the study, 2015 will mark five years of healthy increases coming in at 14.2 percent compound annual growth rate and showing a clear sign that organizations are indeed getting on board with these technologies. 

''Increased adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) software by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is one of the major positive trends in the Global SaaS-based ERP Software market," the analysts explained. "Low initial investment and faster deployment are the major reasons behind the increased adoption of SaaS-based ERP in SMEs. SMEs are benefiting from the ability of SaaS-based ERP software to manage their robust business operations in an affordable pay-per-use model without having to invest in traditional on-premise ERP software."

As a note, smaller companies are far from the only ones that can benefit from cloud-based ERP software, as larger construction firms will be able to centralize many of their backend management and oversight responsibilities with this powerful technology. Additionally, while smaller firms might feel the financial benefits a bit more given their lower profit scale, major enterprises might even be able to see exponentially higher amounts of savings and performance improvements.

Provisioning considerations
Bdaily recently listed a few suggestions for decision-makers who are beginning to provision ERP software, noting that the core questions to ask involve the functionality of the tool, the requirements involved in integration and how the technology will impact operations. The news provider argued that upgraded information should also be on the table, with leaders ensuring that the ERP software will last and remain functional for the full life cycle, rather than being antiquated in a short period of time. 

According to the source, decision-makers should also be looking for ERP software providers that specialize in their specific industries, rather than trying to purchase an option that simply does not closely align with needs and requirements. 

Tags: Construction Project Management