5 Ways Managed IT Services Can Help Your Construction Business
There is no shortage of technology tools available to automate tedious manual processes, enhance efficiency and trim costs for better profit margins. Still, 52% of contractors rely on pen and paper for everything from bids and estimates to project management. And the construction industry historically spends the least on technology – with IT budgets of less than 1% of annual revenue. But in house IT staff isn't the only option for firms looking to implement strategic IT solutions - many are turning to Managed Services Providers to help them level up their technology. Here are 5 ways MSPs can help your construction company gain a competitive edge through technology:
1. Setting the Foundation
Email, phone systems, and office productivity tools are essential for construction employees. For SMBs in particular, the focus is often on getting the work done rather than on maximizing solution efficiency. A skilled IT professional can help you achieve both, and determine which solutions, managed services, and cloud-based offerings are best for your company. Furthermore, an IT provider can implement these technology “business basics” to make them accessible, convenient, and easy to use – whether your users are in the office or on the job site.
2. Tapping into Automation
Automation is very accessible and typically results in higher productivity. Technology also reduces human error – and for 30% of prospective buyers, improved accuracy is the top reason for seeking new construction software. However, it's not always easy to see where automation and workflows can be implemented to improve productivity when you're 1) too busy working through the chaos and 2) lacking the technology expertise to map those workflows to completion. A knowledgeable IT team can help identify which processes can be automated; recommend the technology power tools that will be the most effective for the size, needs, and objectives of your business; and help integrate solutions into your technology infrastructure.
Learn how Nauset Construction underwent a Digital Transformation with iCorps' help!
3. Using the Right Tools
As many architects and engineers already utilize advanced technologies such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), the need for collaborative tools will accelerate. The struggle involves the ability to review and share an increasing number of associated documents that are usually too large to send via email. In addition, as mobile devices become more common on jobsites, the ability to extend mobile access to core applications becomes vital. Clearly, “adopting specialized construction software is quickly becoming a necessity, rather than a choice” for construction companies. An IT team that specializes in construction industry software and mobile technology can help you integrate the right tools into your infrastructure to facilitate and streamline collaboration.
4. Building a Support Structure
Similar to other aspects of your business, technology requires attention and often, special skills. Hardware needs ongoing maintenance and regular updates; software requires regular patches and upgrades. As your business grows, processes will be required to on-board new employees seamlessly and quickly – including everything from setting up payroll and new email accounts and devices to establishing secure access to company applications and systems. And, with the extensive amount of information generated with each project, you’ll need solutions for long-term information management and storage. A dedicated IT support team can perform regular maintenance, answer user questions, troubleshoot technology issues, and establish the processes that will keep your users productive and your business running smoothly.
5. Keeping the Workplace Safe
While technology has its advantages, there are risks, too – from cyber threats to system crashes to natural disasters that can cause data loss and downtime. A recent survey by JBKnowledge indicates that “policies and procedures to secure [cloud] solutions are not in place at construction companies.” Similarly, “over 30% of respondents are using personal devices at work that their companies neither secure nor have policies in place for data stored on them.” Specialized IT knowledge is necessary to provide the strategic guidance as well as implement the proactive processes and solutions that can help you mitigate the associated risks and potential impact on productivity and your business.
While there are common barriers to technology adoption in the construction industry, a dedicated IT team – whether it’s your own or a trusted IT partner like iCorps – can help you incorporate technology proactively into your environment – and set your company up to compete more effectively and efficiently in today’s technology-driven world. For more information about Construction technology, reach out for a free IT business consultation.