M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal — Owners, Developers & Managers — September 25 - October 15, 2020 — 3B


O wners , D evelopers & M anagers

ntering 2020, no one could have anticipated the events that over- Addressing mobility and communication pain points can boost competitive advantage As the construction industry again hits “Play,” the time is right for change E

on any device and from any location, integrating disparate data, reducing or eliminating errors and delays across the entire operational process. Modern tech platforms can also help boost efficiencies by directly connecting the field with decision makers and the historical data stored back at the office on any given job or client. There is no substitute for the ability to instantly ac- cess work details, plans and schedules. All of this is now possible through easy-to-use, cloud-based software applica- tions designed specifically to

offer remote users access to the same data available via office desktop computers. With a few simple clicks, these cloud-based solutions help authorized personnel – from accounting staff to project managers and field supervisors – to simply drill down from the most complex to the simplest details. Work order signoffs can even be easily captured and stored electronically with other documents ranging from sche- matics, blueprints, contracts and material specs, to change orders, photos, spreadsheets and inspection reports – all

available from one centralized electronic file. This includes the ability to seamlessly integrate informa- tion from multiple IoT edge devices, wearables, connect- ed sensors and equipment through mobile platforms that enable the seamless integration of business applications and cloud-based services. From a necessary evil to profitability advantage Yet despite the clear benefits, the idea of switching from a legacy accounting system to one of the latest cloud-based software applications can be

daunting. Beyond cost, “user acceptance” is always one of the most difficult challenges to overcome. Quite frankly, few like change, especially when it disrupts accepted, workable practices and accompanies any measure of downtime or new training procedures. The good news is that unlike the often clunky and wholly disruptive implementations of the past, reputable suppliers are now working with busi- ness owners to offer layered adoption strategies based on a company’s most pressing continued on page 16B

turned tried a n d t r u e operat ional approaches a c r o s s a l l industries – and among c omp a n i e s f r om l a r ge to small. The construction

Michael Mullin

sector is no exception, with many projects grinding to a halt as spring arrived, and op- erational teams shifting from centralized offices to remote workspaces. Yet the world on “pause” cre- ated an opportune moment to assess key business tools and protocols – including weak- nesses that had already been impacting profitability and competitive advantage. And as things begin to move toward a new (albeit redefined) equi - librium, many companies are positioned to embrace strategic change and new best practices for moving forward. Consider technology. Today’s construction space is highly mobile, with much of an organization’s day-to-day op- erations taking place at the job site. Project data is being gener- ated in the field. The ability to access real-time updates and make timely informed decisions have become necessities both in the office and at the build site. As such, using office-centric equipment (think desktops and PCs) as the main tools to record and store data has become in- herently inefficient. And a lack of – or delayed – communication between team members in their various lo- cations can lead to the failed exchange of timely, accurate in- formation and project updates. Further, most construction and development companies have full histories of “siloed” data that is difficult to access and, therefore, provides little value from a business intelligence perspective. Addressing operational pain-points Today’s robust, cloud-based applications geared specifically to the constructionmarketplace bring mobility, transparency and functionality that address- es traditional pain-points like ineffective office/field commu - nication, project estimating and time reporting. They enable real-time access to information

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