Every contractor in the construction industry has most likely used the Internet for business at some point in time. You can use the Internet to research projects, products, subcontractors, and/or stay in-the-know on industry news. But the Internet can also be beneficial for business management.
A term that’s certainly not new but has been gaining momentum in recent years is “cloud computing.” What is it? While there are many definitions for cloud computing (do an Internet search and you’ll see) cloud computing basically refers to using the Internet as your source for storing and accessing information. How does this relate to business management for asphalt contractors?
Many contractors use software programs that have to be installed onto a computer. They are then limited to only accessing the information recorded on that software program from the computer it was installed on. Using cloud-based systems means contractors can enter and access information from any computer or mobile device with Internet access. This can include project management, ERP systems, timesheets and more.
“The cloud provides online storage of your information,” explains Linda Tucker with ProjectFootage.com, a cloud-based solution for construction projects. “This storage allows 24/7 remote access to information through any internet connection on many devices: smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktops.
“You no longer must manage your data from one computer in your office,” she continues. “Project plans, documents, videos, photos, etc., are all accessible anytime and anywhere by anyone. All parties are able to stay on the same page. Updates and the progress of the project are now in real time. Budgets and schedules can be kept tight by closely monitoring the progress of a jobsite. This is done bridging the gap between the office and the field — hence the cloud. “
It’s easy to get started using a cloud system. ProjectFootage.com provides customizable cloud hosted microsites for your projects. A user launches a project and uploads all jobsite data. Users may now create a project and share a project’s latest videos, photos, audio files, documents, and user comments. ProjectFootage.com provides built-in tools to collect, share, and transfer media and current posts to multiple users. User passwords can be established with assigned permissions. Depending on the desired permission, you control outside user uploading, downloading, viewing or user comment posting. Your project may be setup to be kept privately or can be accessible to public search engines.
Easy access for everyone
Cloud systems allow every person involved on a project to have access to all the information on that project from anywhere.
“ProjectFootage.com was first introduced in the construction industry to help job contractors share job progress with their clients in different locations,” says Tucker. “Owners, project managers and lenders are able to view the up-to-date progress without the necessity of emailing and downloading large files. Furthermore with the ability to post documented comments, project collaboration is easy. The overall result is time savings. Data is not transferred to several people over and over again with each modification. It’s loaded in one location for viewing and editing.”
Cloud systems are used as the hub where everyone can upload their critical piece of the project and leave it there, knowing that it is secured and safe and may be accessed whenever and wherever needed.
“The speed of uploading a large file is minimal when compared to other types of sharing,” says Tucker. “Email programs typically have size restrictions, ground delivery is expensive and slow, faxing is likewise slow and not always perfect.” ProjectFootage.com uses cloud technology to store your project videos, photos, audio files, documents and notes for the duration of the project. “It’s a knowledge repository for your projects, large or small,” says Tucker.