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Learn from the Best: 2016 Executive Insights

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Back in distant 2012, a well-known multinational software company was preparing to delve into cloud computing and thought it might be a good idea to see if the idea had any traction with the They commissioned a polling organization to ask this question of more than 1000 randomly selected Americans. “Do you know what The Cloud is and how it works?” The result did not speak well for our collective future. As the poll summary itself explained in 2012…

 “A new national survey by Wakefield Research showed that most respondents believe the cloud is related to weather, while some referred to pillows, drugs and toilet paper.”

Ahem. Today, the research firm Forrester predicts that public-cloud services will grow at a compounded annual rate of 22% through 2020, making cloud services a predicted $236B market that year. That’s $1 million x 236,000. This speaks loudly to our collective adoption of the Cloud’s founding rhetorical question: Why install cumbersome computers on the premises when you can have all that machinery on someone else’s premises, and access all that brilliant processing power over the Internet? (I’m paraphrasing here).

“Public cloud services are the biggest disruption in the tech market in the past 15 years––and adoption is accelerating.”

Cloud-based tech is such a roaring success precisely because it speaks to our collective empowerment as workers. We want to leverage all the good stuff the Digital Age offers, while off-loading the bad stuff––repairing and maintaining the hardware that seems to always run slowest when deadlines are approaching. Forrester’s report goes on to sing its own praises to the Cloud in no uncertain terms: “Public cloud services are the biggest disruption in the tech market in the past 15 years––and adoption is accelerating.” The Cloud, the report adds as a grace note, is “decimating” on-premise service and storage.

 Building Information Modeling (BIM), data-crunching, mobile reporting dashboards––the tech revolution in construction is officially underway. We’ve gathered a spread of comments from construction’s Executive Suite; a random sampling of opinion to see where the Chief Executive thinking is these days on the subject of construction’s use of the new digital tools and solutions. 

Vince Sarrubi – Webcor Builders CIO

The cloud has brought collaboration to the collective construction masses.  In the past, there were construction collaboration platforms available for online review and real time collaboration. Unfortunately, the cost of these platforms limited their availability to larger contractors and subcontractors. Cloud technology, and its decreasing cost of entry, has brought low-cost collaboration and electronic document management to companies who could not previously afford cloud's power. (courtesy CIO.com)

Fred Ode – Foundation Software CEO/Chairman 

Thirty years ago, data security meant you had a heavy metal filing cabinet, and user error meant you accidentally left a drawer open. The Internet is more complex and has a lot more threats: Imagine someone jiggling the handle of that filing cabinet 24 hours a day. We’re as secure as we choose to be. Restricting and auditing access rights and implementing Internet-use policies are essential, regardless of whether your company works on the cloud or strictly on premise. You can put client data behind an inch of steel, but that won’t mean anything if you keep the key right on top of the lockbox. In the same way, cloud accounting can be absolutely safe when paired with reasonable and responsible measures to protect your data.  (courtesy Construction Executive)

Tooey Courtemanche – Procore Technologies CEO/Founder

The construction industry has been underserved when it comes to technology, which is why we work with our customers to develop a construction project management platform that reduces the application footprint of construction professionals.The first step was to give the industry a voice, the next was to identify issues the industry didn’t know they were facing. Once we did that, we could set off to build a product that put the needs of the construction professional first.

John Chaney – Dexter + Chaney Executive Chairman

The economies of scale afforded by cloud computing make hosting costs nearly always lower than the costs involved in purchasing, maintaining, and regularly updating your own hardware and software. Adopting cloud-based software puts your business and operational applications into the hands of anyone who needs them, anywhere they are working, from virtually any device. Real money is saved when accurate job information can be entered once as it occurs and be automatically routed, shared, and processed by everyone who needs to be involved. (courtesy Construction Executive)

John Witty – Sage Construction and Real Estate Vice President

Remote access allows staff to work from any location while still managing their workload throughout the day. With the amount of consolidation, decentralization of offices, travel-based positions, and project work being done in different regions of the country or even internationally, being able to offer solid remote access technology to employees is key for any successful construction company. For many companies, solving this challenge means moving some of its applications to the cloud. (courtesy dcd.com)

 Mark Bryant – PCL Construction CIO

I don’t think you can have a great mobility strategy without cloud and data. Those three things have to go hand in hand. And if you can’t integrate those technologies together, they’re not going to work. In a 60-story building, you can imagine the inefficiency when you have hundreds of workers on a jobsite.… If they have that information at their fingertips, they’re going to be much more productive and efficient. (courtesy USGNN.com)

Kermit Baker – American Institute of Architects Chief Economist

Over the next 5 to 10 years, we can expect virtually every nonresidential construction project to have a digital design. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is rapidly growing in popularity, because it allows a much more thorough analysis of construction and building life-cycle costs; such things as the likely implications of cost inflation for specific construction materials, energy costs, and impacts of natural disasters. This will ultimately translate into developing more digital designs for existing buildings, since a growing share of project activity in recent years has been rehabilitating and retrofitting existing buildings as slower population growth and sustainability initiatives have increased the lifespan of existing facilities. (courtesy AIA)

Bill Brennan – Skanska USA COO

You have to communicate your overall plan and goals to everyone, and you have to win over every generation in your firm—the Baby Boomers and the “Tweeters.” (courtesy ENR)

 As is evident here, an industry that once had its doubts about the application of technology to the art of building is taking a closer look. The reporting tools and data-gathering features that define the new cloud-based project management solutions are changing the construction sector for the better. Just ask the industry execs who make the decisions. 

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