Head in the ‘Cloud’


Best Practices

Innovative systems eliminate moisture,

Being “in the cloud” is the latest catchphrase in technology discussions, but the term has many definitions. Some say it refers to virtual servers that allow users access to stored data via an Internet connection. Providing access in this manner is referred to as “cloud-based” or web-based servicing.

Others expand the cloud to include applications used outside a company’s firewall. As InfoWorld has noted, moving to the cloud can mean anything, from increasing data capacity without having to invest in additional infrastructure to licensing new cloud-based software.

Cloud computing and the construction industry

The construction industry balances back office functions – billing, paying invoices, running financial reports, payroll, planning logistics – with the physical presence needed on the jobsite or in a client’s office. Today’s technological solutions must be able to serve users in both work settings.

As a result, making mission-critical business applications available remotely is a hot topic. Remote access allows staff to work from any location. With the amount of consolidation, decentralization of offices, travel-based positions, and project work being done in different regions of the country or even internationally, the ability to offer solid, remote access technology to employees is critical for a construction company’s success.

For many companies, solving this challenge means moving some of its applications to the cloud. One construction company, True Value Homes (TVH), is able to give any employee with proper credentials access to these applications through a secure, web-based environment.

Before the move, TVH was running operations on 17 sites, and employees had to be in the office, so that all papers needed could be brought into the central office for processing and approval. Whereas TVH once had 100 personal computers for 100 employees, now 500 users can access its web-based applications.

“We want to make sure that our employees get the best out of their workplace,” says Arun Nehru, TVH’s director. “What we are telling employees is that [wherever you need to work], the applications are available from office, home or outside. They need not come to [the] office to work.”

Collaboration between contractors, owners/clients

Leveraging cloud-based services also extends beyond the workings of a single construction company. As Constructech’s 2011 IT survey notes, “Today’s construction professional also needs to be highly collaborative. The word ‘team’ has taken on a whole new meaning in the construction industry. Every team needs to obtain a high level of transparency and accountability for the property owner. Overall, construction companies will be more collaborative, using technology to connect all project team members – from subs and general contractors to owners – in one central location.”

Yet, it is highly unlikely that each of the project team members uses the same back office business management applications. So, as general contractors, subcontractors and owners individually look to the web to leverage its capabilities, it will be critical to look at ways technology can ensure the secure and timely exchange of project information between them.


As noted by Constructech’s 2011 IT survey, contractors will then take project information “to the jobsite with mobile devices, applying a host of applications.” As the survey reports, construction companies are “carrying out project management, scheduling, punchlists, and time tracking tasks in the field today.”

This is evidenced by growing momentum in the use of mobile technologies in the construction industry. Yet, the type of device varies. According to the survey, “The smart phone is still one of the most commonly used devices at the jobsite (81% of survey respondents). Laptops (69%) and tablets (26%) also receive a significant response.” Given the advances in and adoption of tablets during the last few years, growth is anticipated in the use of the tablet in the construction industry as well.

Given the fast-moving area of mobility, today’s business solutions need to support the highly mobile workforce of the construction industry.

Leveraging technology for the future

Does that mean that your construction company needs to scrap everything it is using today for cloud-based applications? In today’s economy, companies are looking toward extending the applications they are using into the cloud, when it makes sense.

Jon Wittyis the VP and general manager for Sage Construction and Real Estate, a division of Sage Business Solutions (SBS).

Related Posts

  • 40
    August 2011 Business Building Can’t Find Enough Good Help? By George Hedley Builders, contractors and subcontractors continually complain that they can’t find enough trained help to get all their work done. People, or a lack of them, is their biggest problem. This leads me to believe that construction business owners…
    Tags: construction, work, business, company, industry
  • 40
    February 2012 Best Practices Enabling Mobility in Your Construction Firm By Diane Haines Your construction or real estate company balances back office functions – billing, paying invoices, running financial reports, payroll, planning logistics, etc. – with the physical presence needed on the job site or in a client’s office. Just…
    Tags: construction, office, industry, survey, project, companies
  • 36
    April 2011 Business Building Are You Keeping Up With Tech? By George Hedley Are you finally convinced computers are here to stay? Many construction companies still haven’t embraced technology as a required business tool to be a leading company that stays ahead of the competition, maintains loyal customers, and always…
    Tags: business, project, companies, construction, technology, company, contractors
  • 35
    June 2014 Software and Technology Streamlining the Masonry Industry By Jennifer Morrell It’s no secret: Software and technology play an important role in how mason contractors not only run their companies, but perform on the jobsite. According to a recent report from Sage Construction and Real Estate, “Information Technology Trends…
    Tags: construction, technology, contractors, business, project, company
  • 33
    May 2011 Software Executing Projects Profitably By Mike Gillum   Mobile Connect project view No one ever said managing a construction project was easy. A successful mason contractor must be able to efficiently and profitably manage everything from materials and labor to equipment, budgets and schedules. Traditionally, contractors have managed…
    Tags: project, contractors, construction, access


Zachary Zuldema 1st Place (2nd Year) Winner Interview at the World of Concrete

Zachary Zuldema 1st Place (2nd Year) Winner Interview at the World of Concrete

Bill Dentinger 2015 Inductee MCAA Hall of Fame

Bill Dentinger 2015 Inductee MCAA Hall of Fame

John Smith, Jr.

John Smith, Jr. receives the 2015 MCAA C. DeWitt Brown Leadman Award

2015 MCAA Fastest Trowel On The Block Winner

2015 MCAA Fastest Trowel On The Block Winner

Daniel Furr 1st Place Winner

Daniel Furr 1st Place Winner (First Year), Masonry Skills Challenge

Synpro Products

Masonry Magazine Video News Interview: Michael Goyne

Hydro Mobile Inc

Interview with Kevin O'Shea of Hydro Mobile, Inc.

Interview with Mark Kemp – Chairman, MCAA

Interview with Masonry Contractors Association of America Chairman, Mark Kemp

Mortar Net Solutions

Interview with Steve Fechino from Mortar Net Solutions

Pullman Ermator

Interview with Lyndon Kelsey of Pullman Ermator

Keene Building Products

Interview with Jim O'Neill of Keene Building Products