Time is money in any business, but that’s especially true in the construction industry. You need excellent communication and coordination between management and workers and the ability to oversee contractors and order materials quickly. For that, you need top construction planning software and your company needs a comprehensive IT strategy. Just as you subcontract out certain work in your construction projects because it’s more efficient, your IT needs are usually better served by those who can deliver at less cost and more effectively.
The construction industry as a whole has historically spent the least on technology. However, commercial contractors are realizing that if they wish to stay competitive in the industry today, they have no choice but to integrate leading technologies into their everyday business practices. With an increased focus on security and network infrastructure management, commercial construction has begun to turn to managed services providers to handle their IT needs.
Managed IT services gives construction firms an entire team of IT professionals capable of dealing with a variety of complex and unusual issues as needed, at a fraction of the cost of a single in-house IT technician. MSPs handle troubleshooting, system updates and upgrades, and new tech implementation, freeing up in-house IT staff to focus on more pressing business needs.
By partnering with an MSP, commercial construction companies benefit from remote monitoring and management of their on-premises IT infrastructure at flexible levels of support. Advanced systems warn of any issues that must be immediately resolved, while ensuring that the network stays up and running at all times.
Here are a few specific ways that MSPs can be particularly beneficial to the commercial construction industry:
1) LOWER OPERATIONAL COSTS
Outsourcing IT needs to a managed services provider eliminates the need to pay salaries, benefits, or 401k to an in-house IT team. Furthermore, since most of the MSP’s operations are conducted offsite, commercial contractors can reduce the amount of physical space and equipment needed for IT purposes.
With the state-of-the-art technology offered by a managed services provider, there will be no need for constant tech upgrades, further reducing operational costs. Construction firms can redirect their funds saved by outsourcing to managed IT services towards other areas of the company where the need is greater.
2) REDUCED DOWNTIME LEADS TO INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY
In the commercial construction industry, time is money. When critical technology fails to operate efficiently or is subject to regular disruption, production schedules are interrupted, leading to costly delays and lost working hours.
Working with a team of IT specialists can greatly reduce downtime related to network issues. Because software and hardware are operating at maximum efficiency, staff can work more effectively and collaborate more easily.
From cyberthreats to system crashes to natural disasters, any number of technology-related events could lead to data loss and extended downtime. Cyberattacks, in particular, can cripple a company in a number of ways: financially, legally, and in the eyes of the public.
Many construction companies are living dangerously, with improperly configured and unmanaged firewalls and extremely basic antivirus systems. Fully managed and layered cybersecurity systems and services can help protect users and data from cyberattacks.
4) CLOUD SERVICES
With the extensive amount of information that’s generated with each project, it’s important that commercial contractors have solutions in place for long-term data management and storage. Cloud-based services help support the technologies that run a company’s critical core applications, such as estimating, accounting, project management, document management, and scale management.
In addition to providing easier access to info on the go, cloud technology allows secure file-sharing and access across the network, reduces the risk of cybersecurity threats and costs, ensures the speed and quality of technology, and offers disaster-proof storage for the company’s most sensitive data.
Migrating to the cloud also makes it easier for executives and managers to order materials, oversee subcontractors, and manage cashflow. A construction company will inevitably grow, but it will also experience seasons where business is slow. Cloud-based solutions allow construction firms to scale up or down as needed.
5) REGULAR MAINTENANCE AND 24/7/365 SUPPORT
Partnering with a managed services provider means construction companies can count on regularly maintained systems and around-the-clock support, cutting down on the probability of technology failure at critical times and allowing businesses to run smoothly without suffering from significant downtime.
Hardware needs ongoing maintenance and updates, and software requires regular patches and upgrades. MSPs perform monthly updates and preventative maintenance, ensuring that hardware and software remain running at peak efficiency to minimize the risk of reoccurring problems.
Many managed services providers offer 24/7/365 support via a remote help desk staffed by a team of IT experts. This “always-on” approach guarantees that whenever and wherever technology-related issues happen, immediate support is available. Commercial contractors that partner with MSPs can expect quick responses to service calls, increasing project efficiency and collaborative communication.
6) AUTOMATION OF PROCESSES
Commercial contractors have a number of technology tools at their disposal which can automate tedious manual processes, enhance efficiency and productivity, and trim costs to increase profit margins. Still, over half of all contractors rely on pen and paper for everything from bids and estimates to project management.
A knowledgeable IT team can help a construction company identify which of its processes can be automated, recommend the technology tools that will be most effective for the business, and help integrate solutions into the existing IT infrastructure.
7) DATA BACKUP & DISASTER RECOVERY
Two things that construction companies absolutely cannot afford are the loss of valuable data and missed deadlines. Fully managed backup and disaster recovery services ensure that data is safe no matter what while giving contractors the confidence that they can and will meet all important deadlines.
A trusted MSP establishes backup systems that provide for both the security of sensitive information as well as the ability to continue to access that information. A robust disaster recovery plan helps minimize downtime and data loss in the event of a natural or cyber disaster, so businesses can continue almost instantaneously.
In order for a construction company to function successfully, real-time seamless collaboration among architects, engineers, contractors, onsite project managers, and office staff is essential. With frequently changing staff and the number of users onsite, construction teams need support and collaborative tools that make teamwork easy.
Adopting specialized construction planning software and a comprehensive IT strategy are quickly becoming necessities for commercial contractors. A professional IT team specializing in construction industry software and mobile technology can help integrate the proper tools into the company’s infrastructure to facilitate and streamline collaboration.
Partnering with a managed services provider can help commercial contractors enable a mobile workforce while maintaining control of sensitive data and securing the network. MSPs can maximize the performance of a company’s in-house systems to ensure uptime; transition the business to cloud-based operations and services; provide support for third-party applications by liaising with vendors; and address ongoing technology issues to bring them to a permanent resolution. Schedule a consultation today to find out how ICS can help ease the day-to-day operations for your business.