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Managing IT across multiple construction work sites

Construction companies, unlike many other industries, have an operating landscape of multiple working sites, with a reliance on information to be accessible anywhere, not just a central hub. Traditionally, companies require only snippets of information, or the most basic level of data, to be available remotely, requiring employees to return to central office to access the full breadth of data meaning managing IT across multiple locations is a big requirement.

However, in a construction environment, employees operate remotely, moving from site to site, and sometimes never return to the main office.

As construction companies grow, the number of sites to be connected increases. More site builds mean more communication points for the company to manage, maintain and keep in the loop.

Communication points don’t just include managers, but also project managers, engineers and builders and other sub-contractors. Each role requires different information.

From a technology perspective, managing IT means that systems need to have the flexibility and capacity to be able to work in this operating environment. All information needs to be able to be accessed remotely while still maintaining high security standards.

Cloud solutions are becoming more affordable and sophisticated with some great options available in the market. For example, solutions such as Microsoft’s Office365 provide companies with large, corporate servers with security and flexibility already built in, offering a legitimate solution to the problems posed by having multiple sites.

Cloud computing has the capacity to benefit the entire construction company “team”. Nowadays, the “team” can consist of subcontractors, suppliers and governing bodies, who are all invested in the project and require certain information on the project. Cloud computing can allow all parties to access and collaborate on information, increasingly visibility of the project and reliability of the information in the system.

It also gives access to a range of different devices, from computers, to tablets, to smart phones. This is important as mobile devices are the most prevalent on a work site, allowing more information to be accessed immediately, rather than off site. This can help increase productivity and efficiency with plans and specs being checked at the time, rather than later.

As a construction company, it then becomes important that you choose IT vendors who understand the implications of having an organisation with multiple work sites and are experienced managing IT in the construction sector. Asking vendors if they know how to support these multiple sites is an important question before entering into a partnership.

This is just one important aspect of being a construction company IT vendor. There are other questions that also need to be discussed with vendors prior to an engagement. Optimus have published a guide to choosing IT vendors that outlines the six key questions that you should be asking.

Download the free eBook “Avoiding the IT cowboys” to learn more about choosing the right vendor for you.