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By Duane Craig
July 31, 2017
The field and the office share an uneasy union where they can easily go off in different directions. Information or data in one file, doesn’t match what’s in the other. Either the office doesn’t get information to the field teams in time or the information the field teams gather doesn’t make it back to the office in time, leaving everyone to struggle with making the best decisions. There is a solution though, it has a long name but a shortlist of four main benefits — a comprehensive platform.
Massive, Accurate Connectivity
Your projects require hundreds of connection points, including:
All the variants of all those connections, going in all directions.
Without a comprehensive platform, some connections will miss the mark, guaranteed. What the right platform does is it makes it easy to connect everyone in the first place, and it also manages those connections. To date, that’s an aspect that’s been elusive.
Connectivity is only valuable when it happens. The problems to date with the typical forms of connectivity are that they rely on humans to make the connections. Let’s face it, when it comes to details people often peter out. So, the comprehensive platform takes over, and once it knows the rules you assign, it handles making sure the right people are connected, and that they get the right information. People actually do “get the memo.”
Information Collection Without Hassles
Way back before the desktop computer revolution, collecting information on construction projects was abysmally slow. Not only that, but collecting information almost totally relied on meeting with someone face to face, or waiting to connect with someone by telephone, walkie talkie, or some other communications device. The idea that you could instantaneously look at the most recent information while the other person was doing the same, was a thing of science fiction.
What has happened since that time is nothing short of amazing. Today, with the comprehensive platform offered by Procore, collecting data that fuels great decisions on modern construction projects is quick and comprehensive. Meanwhile, sharing data isn’t dependent on a specific operating system running on a specific device.
But, there’s a very subtle background advantage to data and information collection on a comprehensive platform. APIs, or application programming interfaces, work the magic of bringing data in from disparate sources so your digital renaissance isn’t held hostage by proprietary computer coding. Basically, your data and information are free. They’re free to interact with each other and to live together in any form you choose. The days are finally here when construction can harness all the digital advantages that other industries have had for decades.
Dynamic, Relevant Collaboration
Along with data sharing on a comprehensive platform comes new forms of collaboration. How often have you wanted to view something in the field at the same time as the person who is standing right there? Have you ever thought that if you could just see what was going on, as it happens, you could make better decisions? Well, now you can. A comprehensive platform improves collaboration through new levels of transparency in real time.
That’s just part of the story though. There are often multiple levels of review on construction projects. The contractor wants to see the sub while they both interact with a member of the design team. Everyone’s work is dependent on someone else’s, so collaboration has all these links you have to chain together so it is most effective.
That’s where the platform excels because it knows no physical boundaries. A wall, a room, or hundreds of miles disappear in the platform. What you’re left with is the information or data, the person or their text, the other people who have a stake in the process, and pure focus. Everyone who needs to be involved, is involved, and that’s magic for collaboration.
But, what about all those other organizations, and companies you have to work with on a typical project? How do you get all their relevant data input and collaboration when they already own their own project management or scheduling programs? With a comprehensive platform, it’s as easy as asking them to login. Most already do something similar every time they login to Facebook or Google+. It’s simple, quick and gives all those other project participants the same advantages you get from the comprehensive platform.
Much of the data you use in construction has accountability aspects. You wouldn’t approve an alternate form of a steel connection if the engineer didn’t say it was okay to use. The specification for that steel fastener is critical to the safety and longevity of the project. But, as a super or project manager, you don’t want to be held accountable for its function. A comprehensive platform makes it easy and timely to issue and track approvals for critical, and not-so-critical project components.
Accountability is also important for decisions regarding budget, whether it’s regarding quality or how a system or component functions. Covering your ass is important but even more important is the safety of everyone working on the project, and all those who will come after. So, when you are able to assign and track accountability with nothing more than a mouse click or the tap of a screen, think about the savings in time. But also consider just how much more quickly people will make better decisions, and you’ll understand the platform’s power for keeping things accountable.
It’s been a long time coming. For too many years, construction was singled out as a non starter when it came to technology. But just like when it combines hundreds of tons of materials, and thousands of labor hours to raise a skyscraper, construction just needed the right tools. The comprehensive platform is the tech tool it’s been waiting for.
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