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Construction Operating Systems: What you need to know, but are afraid to ask.


Today is going to be a good day. You've kicked it off with a big cup of joe at the office watering hole. There’s a buzz in the room, and one phrase in particular that seems to be on everyone’s minds: construction operating systems.

We get it, keeping up with industry lingo is exhausting. You just mastered the cloud. You use it, understand it, and can mention it in a sentence without a millennial rolling their eyes at you. And now this? To your credit, the term is so new that we don’t blame you if you don’t quite understand it yet.

But one thing is clear: it’s not just the latest trend, it’s the newest era in construction––which means it’s only a matter of time before your boss tries to engage you in a conversation on the topic. So, instead of walking into your next meeting with no response, be invaluable with answers.

Here are the basics of what you need (and are expected) to know, but might be afraid to ask about construction operating systems:

What is a construction operating system?

A construction operating system is a term for the central, cloud-based software that helps connect every single point solution, device, and person across your entire construction company from bidding to closeout.

How does it work?

Using an Open Application Platform Interface (Open API), all of your favorite point solutions––regardless of brand––are connected. Your project management, bid management, quality and safety, and job costing solutions work harmoniously under the same roof. Then, a construction operating system takes the data from all of these applications and gives you real -time, easily-digestible, and trendable insights from one centralized hub.

What is an Open API?

Essentially, it’s Rosetta Stone for software code thats allows two programs to communicate and interact freely with one another (with the help of a translator, so to speak). For example, with an Open API your project management and accounting solutions can speak the same language and bilaterally exchange information. When your systems communicate seamlessly with one another, your field teams don’t have to wait for office staff to confirm with their accounting software that they are within the budget..because the field teams already have that information within their project management solution.

What is Data?

You collect data on a daily basis just by doing your job. Each time you complete a daily log, make an observation, or submit a change order, you are collecting data. With thousands of these submitted on a single jobsite every day, you’re left with an overwhelming amount of information, or data.

A construction operating system automatically does the math for you and presents you with the results rather than the equations. And data is currency to executives and owners because it allows them to make informed decisions about their project based on facts, not guesswork. So, opting out of interpreting your data is like lighting a stack of cash on fire.

If I want a construction operating system, do I need to upgrade my devices?

Absolutely not! The beauty of cloud-based software is that you never need to buy new hardware (aka devices) in order to upgrade your software. It’s all done automatically for you. And not just once a year but...Every. Single. Day.

I’m not sure if I have a Construction Operating System. How can I check?

This is an extremely new concept in the construction industry. Currently, there are very few companies that offer real, unconditional Open APIs. Because of this, chances are you might not have a construction operating system yet. Check to see if your software solutions offer limitless integration possibilities and access to a truly high level overview of all of your applications in one dashboard. If you don’t have either of those, you don’t have a construction operating system.

Now for the ultimate question: What’s the big deal?

Well, it’s a huge deal. For the first time in history, the lifecycle of construction has the potential to be unified and effortlessly predictive. Imagine having the ability to accurately forecast next year’s profits before you start a single build, or prevent accidents before they happen. That’s the kind of predictability that construction operating systems have to offer. That’s the stuff your boss really wants to know.

So, commit the above answers to memory. It’s a step in the right direction of providing your company with the keys to the future of construction. But don’t stop there. Make yourself invaluable to your company by continuing to research the ins and outs of construction operating systems.


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