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BIM awareness and adoption rates reach new heights

  
  
  

 

Contractors have been utilizing 3D imaging tools to orchestrate their construction projects since the turn of the millennium, but not until recently have software suites such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) become widespread in their popularity and functionality. Organizations are now making BIM a top priority when it comes to the adoption of construction software, recognizing its value at every stage of the project life cycle. Now that BIM has hit the mainstream, business leaders can no longer ignore the power of this revolutionary technology. 

A rapid rise to the top
The speed with which an IT trend saturates an industry generally indicates its influence and importance for businesses within the sector, and BIM is a prime example of such a phenomenon. More contractors are realizing the differentiating effects of BIM in the construction operation, and decision-makers everywhere are now becoming familiar with its capabilities. For those who may still be uninitiated or unclear on the subject, here's the National Institute of Building Sciences' definition of BIM, as offered by Eureka Magazine:

"A building information model is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility," explained NIBS, according to the source. "As such, it serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life cycle from inception onward." 

Surveying over 1,000 construction professionals from all corners of the industry, the NBS National BIM Report speaks for itself with regard to the undeniable impact of this modeling technology. Compared to the 58 percent of organizations aware of the software in 2010, 95 percent of survey respondents claimed familiarity with BIM this year. Implementation has also seen a boost, with 54 percent of firms using BIM in some capacity, compared with a 39 percent adoption rate the year prior. It's clear that BIM is on the map as a truly game-changing solution. 

The importance of integration
While BIM has become one of the most popular technologies in the world of construction software, organizations are still in the process of mastering these tools, especially when it comes to integration with existing application suites. One of the key necessities for BIM success is the development of a unified database on which digital elements must communicate with one another, since 3D models require financial and scheduling information to be maximally effective. This has led to a shift in BIM priorities, with firms looking to add new dimensions of value to their deployments. 

"More and more assets are being 'built with BIM', and this provides a fantastic opportunity to revolutionize the way in which users interact with the information contained in those assets," explained the NBS BIM Object Standard, as quoted by Eureka Magazine. "To achieve this, the digital building blocks that create virtual assets need to be standardized."

For instance, a company may benefit from the use of an isolated 3D BIM environment, but the advantages of a 5D system - one that includes the elements of time and cost information - are undeniable in a fast-paced construction environment. Firms are raising the bar for the capabilities of their BIM tools, piecing together disparate ERP and scheduling suites with the modeling components of their software. This heightened standard of functionality leads to improved performance, increased efficiency and the reduction of waste on the job site. 

Future BIM functionality
Contractors have their work cut out for them in terms of building stronger BIM systems, focusing on app integration and interweaving the functions of these tools. There are still countless advancements to be made in this area of construction technology, however, as Construction Week Online pointed out. For example, companies are bringing BIM's capabilities to new stakeholder groups within the organization, broadening the scope of its influence and letting employees access its resources in powerful new ways. Mobile devices are just one example of how the BIM frontier is always pushing forward.

"It's now not just modeling - it's management and mobility - it's across the whole design and build operation," explained Ahmed Fahmy, senior application engineer at Bentley Systems, to the source. "The technology is way beyond just building. And it's not just for the design team. There is a need to contribute so that the model contains the level of data which everyone needs."

Internal construction and design teams aren't the only ones benefiting from BIM's expanding footprint, as external groups such as clients and business partners are now also looking to get in on the action. If orchestrated properly, a contractor can turn its BIM environment into a fully collaborative domain in which various contributors can access and manipulate the modeling technology in a synchronized manner. Soon enough, companies will consider BIM integration a required measure for participation on a contract, internalizing the value of this software on a deeper level. 

ERP Forecast: 6 Trends impacting construction software

  
  
  

Construction software tends evolve in stride with the world of enterprise IT, with leaders in the sector interpreting overarching trends in a way that benefits their unique goals. Enterprise resource planning solutions are perhaps the most significant benchmark of progress when it comes to developments in the software realm, as these services play a central role in every firm's tech strategy. ERP systems also typically reveal the technological savvy of an organization, as smaller IT trends are often reflected in these deployments.

It is through continuous evaluation and revamping that construction firms can gain competitive advantages with ERP, a process that includes understanding the most impactful advancements in the field. These six trends are making a splash across the ERP environment, and here's how contractors can use them to gain an edge. 

1. Collaborative channels: As construction operations grow more complex and rely on a wider variety of business units to function optimally, ERP must be easily accessible by a range of end users within and outside of the organization. Since enterprise-level contractors are handling several projects, clients and subcontractors at any given time, ERP needs to function as a channel for collaboration as well as productivity. IT leaders should assess their deployments to ensure smooth and consistent communications from one team to the next. 

2. Predictive capabilities: Since ERP is a primary tool for financial decision-making, analytics that offer predictive insights will be invaluable as these systems develop over time. Next-gen platforms should be able to forecast materials and inventory needs in real-time, while providing a deeper understanding of the supply chain's strengths and weaknesses. An article from Enterprise Apps Today noted that analytics are a must for any new ERP deployment, and legacy solutions may require an upgrade if intelligence capabilities are lagging. 

"Business intelligence and analytics features are becoming more of a standard function in ERP systems," said Derek Hitchman, solution consultant at SCS Cloud, as quoted by the source. "This trend is being driven primarily by executives who are expecting intelligent data from their software that can be used to make decisions rather than simply the raw numbers." 

3. Mobile developments: Employees across the construction sector are already taking full advantage of the BYOD policies introduced by their employers, but many contractors still don't deliver a complete set of ERP functions to the mobile environment. This severely limits the flexibility and productivity of staff members on the job site, meaning that future deployments must feature a wider range of capabilities if mobile objectives remain a priority. Contractors should focus on bringing back-office ERP fully into the mobile environment. 

The types of devices expected to connect with ERP systems are also expanding in variety and scope, a recent article from ERP Software Blog pointed out. For instance, wearable technologies are just around the corner for the manufacturing sector, a field commonly linked to construction as far as tech developments are concerned. Additionally, the Internet of Things is bound to impact construction operations, introducing a plethora of sensors and equipment add-ons that feed continuous streams of data into unified systems.

4. Cross-platform integration: Standalone ERP deployments still offer value to an enterprise operation, but organizations miss out on several powerful advantages by keeping these platforms separated from project management and CRM systems. In other words, contractors need to integrate their resource planning tools with other software solutions early and often, ensuring that data can flow seamlessly from one domain to the next. Enterprise Apps Today noted that breaking down application barriers is a critical success factor for all firms. 

"Previously, many companies wasted a lot of time hunting for insights across siloed departmental databases," said Victoria Adesoba, BI Market research associate at Software Advice, according to the source. "So being able to aggregate CRM, accounting, and HR and conduct predictive analytics in one suite is highly convenient and efficient. It's a function that businesses want, and in most cases need."

5. Greater BIM functionality: More than four-fifths of construction and design firms have some form of Building Information Modeling system in their arsenals, according to Building Design Construction's 2014 BIM survey, and these software components are proving critical throughout the project lifecycle thanks to real-time guidance and quality control. Still, many of these deployments are underpowered, leaving much to be desired in the way of ERP enablement. 

The BIM platforms of the future will deliver ERP-based insights including cost and schedule functions, adding new dimensions of control where designers and construction teams need them most. 

6. Future-proof support: Business leaders can't rely exclusively on internal tech teams to navigate them toward ERP success, especially with so many developments to juggle at once. That's why, according to Deloitte analyst Bill Allison, the best systems will evolve using learning functions that optimize efficiency wherever possible. This "process automation based on scale and repetition," will ensure a company's "adaptable response to often-changing events," in the words of Allison. 

5 Tips to optimize CRM for your construction business

  
  
  

Client relationships are vital to any business, but given the long-term, contract-oriented nature of the construction industry, these partnerships are even more vital to the health and development of an organization. That's why firms in this sector need to place heavy emphasis on the optimization of their CRM platforms, enabling stronger marketing campaigns, accelerated sales cycles and stellar communications throughout the span of the project's execution. After all, these functions can make or break a company's competitive edge in a service-centric market. 

With so many software options available at the enterprise level, however, corporate leaders may struggle to pinpoint exactly what they need from a client management system, especially if an organization is looking to overhaul its deployment from the ground up. Take a look at these five tips to make the most of CRM investments for construction firms:

1. Identify end-user demands: In today's business world, every IT decision must be made with a richly informed knowledge base, and CRM strategy is no exception to this rule. But before scanning the market for the right fit, a company must determine what its ideal system looks like, down to the granular details. As CIO Magazine recommended, project leaders should gather feedback from a wide range of internal sources, gaining insight into the demands and expectations of sales, marketing and on-site teams to get a well-rounded vision of their new CRM parameters. 

"Research the potential CRM ROI for every concerned employee and department before CRM purchase," said Nikolaus Kimla, CEO of Pipelinersales, according to the source. "Find out what each of them really wants from CRM, and what it needs to do for them."

2. Start with a strong foundation: Once an executive team has a clear game plan, it's time to proceed with the CRM selection process, in which a number of vendors and systems must be compared side-by-side. When weighing these options, a firm should keep its unique objectives firmly in mind, not wavering from its course or compromising its values for flashy features and gimmicks. For instance, a construction company will want to team up with a vendor that knows the nuances of the industry, making the installation process pain-free and minimizing time-consuming alterations. 

3. Train or remain the same: Whether a long-standing CRM system is undergoing some minor tweaks or a company is opting for a forklift upgrade, end users will need to be educated on the details of these changes in order to maximize the return on these software investments. Ideally, the CRM vendor will develop and distribute its own training modules to support adoption, but if this isn't the case, the tech department may need to take things into its own hands. A firm should also tweak its educational resources based on CRM's intended use within the organization. 

"Companies need to focus on training employees to consistently utilize the CRM effectively," said Miranda Palmer, business consultant with ZynnyMe business coaching. "Schedule regular mastermind sessions to [teach] employees [how to] train their colleagues how to best utilize the CRM for maximum results."

4. Step into the mobile arena: Countless examples have come forth in recent years highlighting the power of enterprise mobility, and while most construction firms have embraced the use of these devices in their daily operations, many CRM systems still fall short of mobile functionality. Construction firms should recognize the impact of mobile on the quality of the client experience, empowering customer-facing teams with these tools to promote strong interactions regardless of the context. As CIO pointed out, there should be no limit the to functionality of these on-the-go systems. 

"Mobile capabilities allow users to easily keep track of customer interactions and manage leads, proposals, opportunities, projects and files from any device, at any time," said Anthony Smith, the founder and CEO of Insightly, as quoted by the source. "For companies with employees that are consistently in and out of the office, this can improve effectiveness and productivity."

5. Brace for the future of CRM: Just like any other core enterprise software component, CRM systems are constantly evolving and changing with the times, meaning a company should prioritize flexibility when teaming up with a vendor. As SuperOffice recently pointed out, freedom of choice should be top of mind in the CRM selection process, considering an organization's objectives and priorities will shift significantly over time. A partnership based on communication and collaboration can help ensure the long-term relevance of a CRM deployment. 

For example, social CRM is a groundbreaking trend that many organizations are only just becoming familiar with, and few CRM systems are designed to integrate with networks that generate leads and connections. A future-proofed platform can easily integrate with third-party add-ons that bring these features to the table in a fast, user-friendly manner. This type of flexibility is invaluable in a digital world moving at such a rapid pace of innovation. 

Do your stakeholder groups have the ECM tools they demand?

  
  
  

While certain construction software solutions are designed for particular use cases and special circumstances, enterprise content management impacts nearly every area of the organization, from the orderly environment of the back office to the hectic atmosphere of the job site. While various stakeholders will approach these systems with different intentions and expectations, IT leaders have to ensure that each group of end users is given the support they need to accomplish their unique tasks. This requires an all-encompassing approach to ECM, rather than a series of fragmented solutions. 

That's why decision-makers should account for a wide range of ECM objectives and opportunities when crafting their strategies, maintaining a big-picture view of the organization's content demands and allowing for top-down visibility into each area of its operations. Here are three distinct stakeholder groups that utilize different functions, but ultimately demand a cohesive ECM strategy:

1. Financial teams in the back office
From overseeing transactions and budgets to tracking payrolls and supply chain processes, the finance department of a construction organization is responsible for ensuring smooth and efficient capital management. Now that so many offices are transitioning to the paperless standard, digital content is becoming the norm in these operations, requiring quality ECM tools across the financial domain of an organization. After all, the ability to access relevant, accurate information in a fast and reliable manner is the big difference-maker when it comes to sound financial management. 

Unfortunately, too many contractors fall victim to an overly complex and sprawling structure of ECM platforms, leaving end users confused and frustrated as they face critical deadlines. CMS Wire pointed out that most organizations have more than five separate repositories of information for employees to navigate - far from an efficient strategy. Despite their efforts to consolidate content on a single platform, companies often find themselves with more systems than they bargained for, leading to an overwhelming array of disparate ECM environments.

"What in fact ends up happening is that you had four repositories before you started [implementing a new system]. When you finish you have five or six. Ultimately you end up with more and more content sprawl across all these places," said Alex Gorbansky, CEO of Docurated, as quoted by the news source.

That's why construction leaders should seek out an ECM solution built specifically for the unique financial needs of their industries rather than selecting generic platforms. Software engineered for contractors has the workflows and functions necessary to take control of budgets and maintain a firm grip on content of all types. 

2. Sales and marketing representatives
Business development programs have their own ECM needs, but according to CMS Wire, sales and marketing staff spend a great deal of time rummaging through poorly organized content systems to find the information they need to craft campaigns and close new deals. In fact, the source noted that due to poor ECM strategies, these business units can waste up to 70 percent of their time in non-revenue generating activities. In such a fast-paced setting, sales and marketing reps have minimal margin for error, and need quick-acting solutions that deliver data on the fly.

A recent report from APQC and the St. Charles Consulting Group revealed that 43 percent of survey respondents claim their organizations are minimally or not at all effective at managing enterprise content. Contractors can tackle this problem head-on by deploying ECM solutions specific to the marketing and sales demands of the construction industry, simplifying and strengthening these processes for representatives. 

"Stakeholders are pleading for real-time, on-demand access to the content that is 'right' for them in order to do their work effectively. While technology is an enabler, the bulk of best-practice attributes focus on people- and process-related tactics to engage employees, solicit content, and link people to available resources," said Phil Davis, managing partner with St. Charles Consulting Group.

3. End users on the construction site
Finally, content is crucial to the job-site operation, and this arena brings a varied range of demands to the table. From pictures to blueprints and 3D models, on-site end users aren't only looking at the standard spreadsheets and reports that typify ECM deployments - they expect a multimedia experience to flesh out their project visions and guide them toward their goals. Contractors must consider the unique needs of their on-site stakeholders and integrate an ECM system that reflects these requirements. 

"Effective content teams are attuned to the needs of content stakeholders and end users inside their organizations," explained Lauren Trees, Knowledge Management research program manager for APQC. "They understand their audiences and provide tools and processes that align with how people want to contribute, access, share and reuse organizational knowledge."

With such a varied operational landscape, large construction firms have an especially dire need for consolidated, transparent ECM solutions. Decision-makers who deploy industry-specific solutions will stand to benefit across the organization - and all of its stakeholder groups. 

CRM for construction: 3 must-have features

  
  
  

The modern construction site is a balancing act of materials, equipment and most importantly, people. The world's best contractors know that to execute a multi-tiered project on time, within budget and up to exceptional standards of quality, they need to manage stakeholder relationships with the utmost precision and professionalism. That's why so many construction organizations are deploying CRM-style software solutions to support their connections with the multiple business partners they rely on from one project to the next.

Of course, the unique nature of the construction industry makes CRM implementation a challenge, especially if a company is operating at the enterprise level with a multitude of parallel contracts and commitments. Have a look at these three essential features for construction CRM platform that business leaders must make sure are prioritized in their next deployment:

1. Cross-platform connections: The most powerful CRM systems are able to draw from a wide variety of digital resources and aggregate this information for quick, easy end-user access. The fewer barriers between platforms such as ERP and project management exist within the architecture, the faster and more effective the CRM module will be - simple as that. Organizations that deploy dedicated construction software suites can avoid the hassles of cross-platform integration thanks to an environment readymade with unified data sets and app structures. 

2. Automated analytics tools: Manual analytics programs are valuable, but it's hard to justify the tedious, task-heavy process required to derive value from these systems. That's why automated analysis functions are so important in a modernized CRM setup, eliminating the burdens of manual data-entry and number-crunching to deliver immediate, relevant insights into construction operations. Tien Anh Nguyen, director of market insights at venture investment firm OpenView, recently told Enterprise Apps Today that the data within CRM can be overwhelming, demanding automated analytics. 

"When we dug deeper into the datasets, the skeletons kept coming out and forcing us to review and revise our analyses, or even redo them to ensure that our insights were still true," Nguyen explained, according to the source. "Often, the insights and data you uncover point toward conducting new analyses, which will require even more data preparation work."

3. Total mobile enablement: High-priority subcontractor and client communications must be maintained at all times, and urgent messages can't be put on the back burner when deadlines are looming overhead. That's why mobile capabilities are such a vital part of today's CRM setups, allowing end users to participate in key conversations and functions no matter where they may be. According to a blog post from Forrester analyst Kate Leggett, mobile CRM is one of the biggest trends to sweep the IT arena in 2015.

"[Connected devices] offer deeply personalized engagement delivered in context, better planning and anticipation of future customer needs, proactive, and even preemptive service with faster resolution, lower costs in times of failure and better customer satisfaction," explained Leggett.

Construction CRM is a must-have tool for all contractors, but these features will bring an organization's deployment to the next level of performance and productivity. 

Making the leap to mobile: 6 tips to transition ERP

  
  
  

Enterprise resource planning software is easily one of the most vital components in the modern contractor's IT arsenal, allowing decision-makers to organize their financials and capital assets in a clear and efficient manner. With the quickening pace of job site operations, however, business leaders miss out on a lot of value by keeping their ERP systems restricted to desktop workstations in the back office. Simply put, contractors that are able to bridge the gap to the mobile domain and equip on-site employees with powerful ERP functions stand to realize massive performance and productivity boosts. 

Of course, many obstacles stand in the way of IT teams looking to go mobile with their ERP systems, and even with a robust set of capabilities in their current construction software suites, achieving a mobile standard is not so easily done. Contractors must address the roadblocks in their paths and create a migration strategy that brings flexibility and functionality to the mobile environment. Here are six tips that business leaders can follow as they transition their ERP systems into the world of mobile:

1. Start with the right software: A contractor can't expect to be satisfied with a mobile deployment if it doesn't already have the best possible ERP software in place for its particular needs. In fact, an industry-specific solution is especially important for navigating the mobile landscape, as employees will have less time to sort through extraneous features and functions when hard at work on the job site. As a recent article from Enterprise Apps Today pointed out, having a strong core ERP program is crucial to ensuring a smooth transition to mobile, emphasizing the importance of the user experience. 

"I cannot overestimate the criticality of the user interface," said Adam Cheatham, an ERP consultant for Panorama Consulting, according to the source. "There is an expectation that mobile will be easy to use. If it isn't, there will be issues with adoption and your mobile strategy will suffer."

2. Develop BYOD policies: When it comes to executing on the migration phase of the mobile strategy, IT teams want to provide a painless, straightforward process for all end users. This means overcoming barriers such as hardware compatibility and operating system integration, as well as building a strong bring-your-own-device policy that allows all employees to easily hop on the mobile bandwagon. Companies that can swiftly add new users to their mobile ERP system regardless of their device type avoid many of the roadblocks that typically slow down mobility strategies. 

3. Prioritize data security: Contractors can become so preoccupied with creating high-performance mobile strategies that they often neglect the protection of the data that flows throughout their infrastructures, a grave oversight in a world that has become rife with digital threats and other privacy hazards. Employees should feel that their personal information is protected when using their own devices, and private data of clients and subcontractors should also be secure at all times. Strong access controls and authentication practices are a big part of creating a safe IT environment. 

"Basically setting employees up to have access to whatever data they have access to in the office on their mobile devices," Cheatham continued, according to Enterprise Apps Today. "This could create both audit and security issues if data is stored directly on devices."

4. Train and educate end users: Even if end users are very familiar with an ERP's desktop deployment, there are bound to be some adoption hiccups when transitioning to the mobile domain, especially if a contractor is taking the leap for the first time. IT teams must set up structures of feedback, support and training to ensure that employees can quickly and comfortably pick up on the nuances of the mobile software and accelerate the value a company expects from its investment. This requires a deep understanding of the tools and the unique elements of its mobile version. 

5. Be able to work offline: While many mobile strategies hold their own when connected to Wi-Fi networks, they lose their value when the connection is lost, leaving employees high and dry when they need the software most. Decision-makers deploying a mobile ERP strategy should make sure that their system allows end users to remain productive even without direct connectivity. The best construction software solutions can be used regardless of a local Wi-Fi presence, letting employees create reports and edit blueprints at all times - everything will be synchronized later when a connection is found. 

6. Ensure total app integration: ERP is indeed a central component of a contractor's software arsenal, but other tools such as project management and content creation modules must be integrated with this core feature set if contractors are to realize the full potential of their mobile deployment. Leveraging a dedicated construction management software suite allows companies to enjoy a complete range of functionality on the go, avoiding data silos and other inconveniences. 

3 Game-changing trends in sustainable construction

  
  
  

Sustainability is more than a passing buzzword in the construction world - it's one of the most powerful movements to ever sweep the sector, impacting the economics, politics and business strategies that comprise its dynamics. Not only are business leaders eager to develop environmentally conscious practices in order to attain a competitive edge, but activists are also pressuring legislators to implement standards that require more sustainable procedures across the industry. It's only a matter of time before the construction arena has to live up to a greener set of expectations.

While most industry leaders know that a paradigm shift is taking place before their eyes, many are finding it challenging to implement actionable strategies and solutions that bring their operations up to speed with the green standards coming into play. To guide companies through a successful transition toward a more sustainable future, here are three developments from the world of sustainable construction that will help point leaders in the right direction.

1. Green equipment and materials procurement: Nearly every aspect of the construction operation can make a positive environmental impact on a project, and while procedural standards play a major role in this equation, decision-makers tend to begin their green efforts with the procurement of more sustainable equipment and materials, according to a recent article from EHS Today. The source noted that construction leaders everywhere are looking to replace their gas-guzzling machines and vehicles with systems that use fuel more efficiently. 

While purchasing a new fleet of trucks or swapping out heavy-duty equipment for new machinery may not seem like a smart business move, the source explained that government emissions regulations are ramping up across the globe, meaning that a proactive approach to the issue may be the best way to handle the situation. This also goes for materials standards, which will be a major topic in 2015 as contractors will see greater business opportunities in retrofitting older structures with more sustainable components. Contractors should rethink their procurement habits now to ensure success later on. 

2. BIM and the art of waste reduction: Building Information Modeling solutions saw massive spikes in popularity throughout 2015 as companies realized the operational advantages of these powerful design and project management tools. Now that the new year is underway, contractors are discovering that BIM also yields major benefits in terms of efficiency and waste mitigation, offering more precise materials estimates and proactively identifying construction conflicts. As a recent article from Environmental Leader pointed out, green BIM tools are the way of the future for sustainable design and execution.

"Green BIM helps us and our project stakeholders, such as architects and designers, to make informed decisions earlier in the design process," said Skanska's Business Development Director and resident BIM expert Tiina Koppinen, according to the source. "This makes a greater impact on the resource efficiency and performance of a building or infrastructure project."

Comprehensive BIM solutions also give contractors greater insight into the financial impact of their sustainable efforts, ensuring that new materials, equipment and labor standards don't lead to budget misalignments or procurement mishaps. Construction teams that coordinate their green initiatives with sound financial strategies will certainly be the victors in the forthcoming era of competition, and smart use of BIM resources will play a major role in balancing these two priorities.

Finally, BIM's impact outlasts the construction process itself, promoting more efficient maintenance and repair practices to ensure that green efforts are upheld long after the project has been completed. 

3. Sustainable supply chain solutions: Much of the sustainability conversation takes place beyond the job site itself, stretching out across the supply chain and into the global domain. It is in this arena that construction firms can positively affect the environmental situation worldwide, but only if they have the knowledge and resources to and improve upon their current strategies. As an article from Alternatives Journal pointed out, non-government organizations are making a hard push in raising awareness of these issues, hopefully illuminating the truth for construction leaders. 

"Environmental literacy is needed across government, business and consumers, to meet the challenge," said Renee Gratton of the Construction Resource Initiative Council, according to the source. "Landfills are municipal. The province is the regulator. And, materials are an international trade matter. The supply chain is ultimately international, with local and regional intricacies."

While the sustainability formula is a complex, multi-faceted equation, companies and NGOs must take a collaborative approach as they strive to achieve objectives such as zero-waste construction practices and net-zero water and energy standards. As more public and private sector groups pool their expertise and resources in an effort to realize these goals, the construction sector will be much better equipped to minimize its environmental impact while generating momentum for the global economy. 

ERP Feature Spotlight: CMiC Mobile

  
  
  

Enterprise mobility is a natural fit for the construction industry, as today's job site operations must be coordinated with total precision across teams, subcontractors and clients in order to promote the best possible project outcomes. While most companies have stepped into the mobile domain by procuring devices and developing homegrown software solutions, far too many contractors fail to attain their mobility goals as a result of obstacles such as app integration, BYOD policy challenges and a number of other risks that these strategies tend to present. 

With a dedicated mobile solution designed for construction, however, contractors can finally tap into their full mobile potential while avoiding common pitfalls and risk factors. CMiC Mobile is a company's greatest asset when venturing into the world of enterprise mobility, and can be the key to unlocking the productivity and performance that business leaders expect from these groundbreaking tools. 

Unparalleled connectivity
The magic of mobile lies in the ability to communicate consistently and effectively across multiple teams and business partners on the fly, all while maintaining a vision of the project's trajectory and gradually progressing through key contract checkpoints. This is exactly where CMiC Mobile excels, offering a fully integrated set of on-the-go functions that synchronize automatically with back-office operations and databases. Employees on the job site can receive orders, request approvals and execute key reporting tasks without ever having to leave the construction zone. 

With the CMiC Mobile suite in its arsenal, a company's workforce is not limited by haphazard ports of enterprise applications - financials, project data and partner communications have all migrated to the mobile arena without a shred of lost functionality, empowering on-site employees with a complete digital tool set that was once only available on desktop systems. From business intelligence features that provide real-time analytics insights to journaling capabilities that offer stakeholders daily updates of contract progress, CMiC Mobile is a comprehensive suite for on-site performance. 

Productivity online or off
Unlike other mobile solutions which require devices to constantly be connected to the Web, CMiC Mobile can be taken offline while retaining its full capabilities. Employees can create reports, capture images, edit documents and update data sets no matter their location, and the software will synchronize with back-end systems automatically once a connection is found. This eliminates the hassles of reliance upon finicky Wi-Fi networks and allows for a truly free-roaming construction operation. Wherever a team can take its devices, it can also take CMiC Mobile, with or without the Web.

All contractors understand the benefits of mobility, but most are held back by software limited in either functionality or flexibility. CMiC Mobile offers both of these benefits while delivering a feature set crafted specifically for the construction operation. This simplifies the integration and adoption process, promoting fast deployment that makes an immediate impact on productivity. It's time for contractors to put an end to their mobility woes and leverage a product created for their exact needs. CMiC Mobile is the solution that will help them realize their mobile goals without the risk.

ERP Feature Spotlight: CMiC Enterprise Planning

  
  
  

Successful construction project management can be summarized by two key components: planning and execution. Even if an organization has all the necessary equipment, expertise and partnership resources it needs to fulfill the demands of a contract, it can't maximize its potential unless its strategy is crafted with precision and carried out with the utmost scrutiny. For this reason, CMiC Enterprise Planning is a vital part of any construction ERP deployment, providing the forecasting insight and guidance a company needs as it sets to work on projects of any type and scope.

A glimpse into the future
Decision-making at the enterprise level demands quality, relevant information from all corners of the operation, as well as a clear view of the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead. With the support of a dedicated Enterprise Planning suite, contractors can generate accurate forecasts for internal teams and external stakeholders, basing their predictions on tangible data sets collected across the ERP system. This accelerates bid and approval processes while building trust with clients and partners, as well as mitigating the risks associated with "ballpark" estimates and generalities. 

Project and financial forecasting also come together in the Enterprise Planning platform, connecting the dots between contract checkpoints and the budgetary demands that each step will present. Every aspect of the strategy is laid out with project's goals and finances, creating a holistic plan that everyone can follow. This allows stakeholders to get a panoramic view of the contract's trajectory and leaves no ambiguity as construction teams set to work on the project. 

Multiple perspectives
Whether a company is prepping its workforce for a project a week in advance or procuring materials for a contract that won't begin for another several months, decision-makers need maximum visibility of their outlooks regardless of the timeframes in question. Luckily, CMiC Enterprise Planning offers a variety of schedule scopes through which business leaders can strategize on immediate and long-term levels. Project supervisors can even map out their day-to-day plans in order to maximize the value of every second spent on the job site. That is the true meaning of efficiency.

Identifying opportunities
Complete enterprise planning isn't just about managing activity on the job site and in the finance department - business development and partnership cultivation are also critical to the future trajectory of an organization. That's why CMiC Enterprise Planning includes an Opportunity Management platform in which marketing and sales teams can build connections and campaigns that help drive their brand to new heights. This allows a company to spark new growth and nurture the partnerships that have built its reputation thus far. 

Since the module's resources are integrated across the rest of the ERP system's applications, these departments have access to all the data and information they need when interacting with potential clients and long-term connections. It's these fine-grain details that can set a company apart from the competition when it comes to bringing in new business or locking down a major repeat contract.

ERP Feature Spotlight: CMiC Enterprise Content Management

  
  
  

The modern construction project is not only a complex job site operation, but also a test of a contractor's ability to manage and organize the massive streams of data generated day after day. From email correspondences and financial reports to digital blueprint resources and graphics-heavy files, it's nearly impossible to keep up with the flow of information unless teams have a dedicated solution to address the issue. That's where CMiC Enterprise Content Management delivers incredible value, offering a centralized platform to collect and organize key digital resources of all kinds.

Consolidated content 
Over the course of a construction project, files and documents may be scattered across various hard drives, email accounts and personal devices, making it difficult to maintain complete control of critical information. With an ECM platform, however, supervisors can track and organize content from all corners of the digital domain, dragging and dropping resources from their original locations to a central vault that synchronizes across systems automatically. No longer will team members have to rummage through archives and databases in search of a particular document or image - everything is in its right place. 

Integration across apps
Because construction content is generated and stored in such a wide range of enterprise applications, businesses can't afford to suffer compatibility issues when orchestrating operations on a large scale. With CMiC ECM, applications are readily integrated with the platform, allowing users to seamlessly transition from one tool to the next without running into consistency problems or having to copy information across various modules. The software is built to interact with other CMiC features without a hitch, built on a unified data set that always maintains the most relevant information.  

The most compelling use case for ECM's compatibility is its integration with CMiC's Building Information Modeling solutions BIM 360. With this level of coordination, design and construction teams can see much deeper into their BIM structures, as these models are now supplemented with data from the ECM platform. This allows images, reports and budgets to be easily accessed within the BIM module, saving end users time and energy as they enjoy the power of synchronized content at their fingertips.

Deeper analytics insights
CMiC ECM lets construction teams take a comprehensive approach to analytics, accelerating the discovery of patterns and best practices that would otherwise require additional third-party support. Since data sets are synchronized automatically across the system, supervisors can enjoy real-time insights in the form of professional reports and spreadsheets - valuable resources that can serve to solidify procedures and relationships with business partners. Analysis can be presented in a variety of formats and detail certain components of the project's development to meet specific demands.

Finally, the analytics systems of CMiC ECM can be structured in a range of customized arrangements, delivering powerful insights for team members, partners and executive leaders alike. This allows construction firms to focus on refining particular aspects of their operations while maintaining a big-picture perspective on the overall capabilities and challenges of their business.

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