Cloud technology has become an essential differentiator for many of the construction industry’s top firms, and it’s no wonder: cloud solutions offer powerful flexibility when it comes to data storage and analysis. Specifically, the cloud makes it possible for construction firms to maintain a single, reliable database that is easy to access from both the field and the office. Considering that the construction industry remains one of the least digitized sectors, firms gain a major advantage with cloud adoption.
The benefits of cloud technology aren’t exclusive to construction, however. Across all industries, use of the cloud is widespread and on the rise, In fact, by 2020, it’s expected that cloud spending will reach an estimated $200 billion, according to IDC. Contributor Louis Columbus rounds up an assortment of recent studies in his Forbes Roundup of Cloud Computing Forecasts. He points out one particularly impressive finding from a 2017 BDO Technology Outlook Survey, which found that 74% of CFOs said cloud computing will have the most measurable impact on their business in 2017. The Internet of Things (IoT) came in a close second, with AI, 3D printing, virtual reality and blockchain technology falling far behind. While all these technologies are promising, cloud computing is proving itself the most useful across industries.
In the construction industry, the cloud has helped firms store and manage the massive amounts of data that construction projects generate. In the past, there was no way for contractors to make use of all past and current project data. Firms typically used pen-and-paper methods to track ongoing data, which meant that any big data analysis would require massive amounts of manual data retrieval. When digitization began, data could be captured and stored, but it was often scattered throughout folders and spreadsheets. Managers and executives were basing decisions on old document versions with outdated data, and they couldn’t get a bird’s eye view of operations.
The cloud also helps construction firms avoid having to purchase expensive hardware. With on-premise server solutions, companies only have as much hardware as they pay for. Servers need to be purchased, powered, housed and maintained by internal IT, which requires a significant upfront investment and ongoing costs. It’s also possible for firms to over-purchase on hardware if their growth predictions turn out to be false. Pay-as-you-go cloud services eliminate this issue and make it possible for companies to change their storage plans as business increases or decreases. As a result, construction firms have been able to use the cloud to scale more smoothly and with less risk.
The benefits already seen by adopters of cloud technology are only expected to continue. Serverless architecture will allow IT infrastructure to be more flexible and responsive, data security is expected to increase exponentially and advancements in IoT technology will provide businesses with new ways to make use of databases, software and networks. In the coming years as cloud technology advances, it’s expected that all businesses will have made the switch to the cloud. In other words, transitioning to the cloud is not a matter of if, but when.
Are you considering a cloud implementation? Don’t do anything before you read The Most Common Mistake in Cloud Adoption.