Every contractor in the construction industry has most likely used the Internet for business at some point in time. Many contractors probably 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 cloud computing? The cloud has often been an image associated with the Internet. 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.
One example of cloud computing is Internet banking. Internet banking allows you to view and make changes to your bank accounts from any computer or mobile device with Internet access. How does this relate to business management in the construction industry?
Many contractors who use software programs that have to be installed onto a computer 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.
While it seems the construction industry is just starting to embrace cloud computing solutions, one thing to note is that cloud computer can benefit construction businesses of all sizes. While some software solutions may be geared toward larger businesses, working "in the cloud" can be a great option (and possibly a more affordable option) for construction companies of all sizes.
Additional resources for construction cloud computing:
Construction Cloud Computing (www.constructioncloudcomputing.com)
TechBrief: Cloud Computing and the Construction Industry (www.naylornetwork.com)
Wired Wednesday: The Construction Industry & Cloud Computing (imogoblog.wordpress.com)