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May 18, 2020

Confronting COVID with the Cloud


There is little doubt that the current environment for businesses across almost every industry is challenging. From full-scale shutdowns to social distancing, it has forced many companies to pivot in dramatic fashion. Like any crisis or major shift, it can also shine a light on which companies were prepared for the unknown, and which ones are simply hoping to survive.

For years, many analysts and consulting firms have advised that the construction industry should shift to a business model that is less reliant on manual processes, particularly paper-based documentation and reporting. This is not because these outside experts feel that the industry doesn’t need robust record-keeping, but more that over-reliance on in-person visits to a home office to file reports or update existing project documents is hugely inefficient. Not to mention the fact that hand-written reports tend to lead to more errors, simply through mistakes in transcription.

The need to keep teams connected in real-time is more important than ever, along with eliminating unnecessary human contact, like daily visits to the home office. Already, states are lifting restrictions on jobsites so that in-process projects can again move forward. However, experts forecast that social distancing requirements will continue for the foreseeable future, making it more important than ever for construction companies to have a solution for continuing to work without visiting the home office, and staying connected to teams remotely.

Fortunately, cloud-based construction software tools like Sage Intacct for Construction make this transition possible. Project collaboration platforms and mobile field tools are designed to increase efficiency from the field and eliminate unnecessary in-person visits to the home office. Continue reading for insights on how cloud technology will allow jobsites to keep working in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Capturing Data while Managing Remotely

There was a time when the need for cloud-based collaboration platforms was based wholly on responding to the increased demands of clients and schedules. Going into 2020, the construction industry was booming with activity, with many firms experiencing the happy problem of backlogs stretching out months. With many experts predicting that the economic recovery will come swiftly in the coming months, there’s little doubt that construction companies will soon return to the activity they were experiencing prior to COVID-19. But what will the jobsite landscape look like with social distancing concerns and clients still expecting that projects be completed as close to their original deadlines as possible?

This is where cloud-based collaboration tools like Sage Intacct for Construction come into play. Tools that streamline the sharing of documents remotely via automated processes can remove the need to provide manually created documentation and negate the need to visit the home office or job site simply to share status updates. Combined with mobile teleconferencing platforms that almost every major industry is utilizing right now, jobsite updates and team-based communications can happen effortlessly with no need for paper-based document sharing or in-person visits – all while vital data from the jobsite is still being recorded and disseminated across the entire team, including architectural partners, subcontractors, and owner groups. And given most home offices are shuttered temporarily, work-from-home productivity is more important than ever.

In addition, cloud technology can allow workers to check in remotely, which helps preserve necessary social distancing requirements and eliminate clustering on jobsites. Time entry tools that enable workers to check in via their personal mobile device, or enable a supervisor to check in all workers if personal devices are not available, helps ensure multiple workers aren’t touching the same touchscreen, all while capturing the necessary data to gauge manpower and possible shortfalls in productivity as workers ebb and flow out of the jobsite.

Speaking of the field, these advancements in cloud-based construction software technology are also designed to help those workers safely continue their jobs without the need for face-to-face contact with project management teams. Mobile field software allows field teams to remotely respond to RFIs, submit daily field reports, and have mobile access to other key project materials like submittals, commitments, and change orders. While the current environment may make the lack of in-person contact seem like the most valuable feature, cloud-based mobile construction software also delivers huge gains in efficiency and reduces lost productivity associated with travel time and searching for project documents.

Overcoming Obstacles and Staying Connected 

The need to stay connected is more important than ever: to clients, partners, and teammates. Personal health and well-being is also essential, all the while staying committed to the jobs we were hired to do. While it may seem more challenging than ever to do those things, cloud-based construction software makes these obstacles more manageable – all while delivering the benefits that cloud technology has been enabling for years.

United Solutions understands the need to stay agile while protecting your workers, and we’re pleased to offer virtual consultations to ensure project teams have access to the cutting-edge cloud technology they need to do their jobs at the highest level possible. .  

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