From purchasing to maintenance, construction management software incurred a high cost of ownership. Only large-sized companies with a dedicated IT department could maintain such a solution. Web-based construction management software leveled the playing field. No smaller and medium-sized companies could benefit from the efficiencies of construction management software without the high initial investment and ongoing IT maintenance.
Life before web-based construction management software
Before web-based construction management software entered the scene, large-sized companies were the dominant users of construction management software. Only large-sized companies had the infrastructure and resources to manage client-server software implementations. The IT departments purchased servers and computers that met the minimum processing speed and memory requirements. Additionally, each computer needed to have the software physically installed. The information was then uploaded to the server. The IT department installed everything locally from the servers to the software on the computers.
Whenever the construction management software vendor released updates, the IT department would upgrade the server and the application on each computer. Depending on the software update, sometimes the IT department would need to purchase new hardware. It was a resource-intensive and expensive endeavor, which explains why large construction companies were the main customers.
What is web-based construction management software?
Different from on premise software, users access web-based software through an internet browser. There is no application that the IT department needs to install on the computer. Additionally the user only needs an internet and an internet browser. The application accesses data from servers located outside the local network. Web-based construction management software levels the playing field. No longer do companies need to IT resources or invest in capital expenses like servers. This makes web-based construction management software accessible to more companies.
Benefits of web-based construction management software
Eliminate paper-based processes
Many companies decide to implement construction management software to eliminate paper-based processes. Tracking documents such as daily logs and RFIs on spreadsheets and word documents becomes extremely difficult to manage. Too many times documents got lost completely or stuck in an individual’s inbox or hard drive. Web-based construction management software serves as a virtual filing cabinet for information. No more binders of paper or excel logs. Web-based construction management software enables everyone on the team with access to the most updated information.
The beauty of web-based construction management software is the ease of accessibility. Construction happens in the field. Team members can update information directly from the jobsite. Occasionally, project managers run from meeting to meeting and jobsite to jobsite. They often catch up on their paperwork from home early in the morning or late night. Users no longer need to be tied to the office or create virtual private network (VPN) to access construction management software. All one needs is a computer and an internet connection to be productive.
Web-based construction management software opens up the challenges to the field. Prior to web-based construction management software, team members in the field would drive daily logs and timecards into the office on a weekly basis. With field access to enter jobsite information and issues, web-based construction management software delivers real-time communication between the field and the office. The information is instantly available so that the team in the office can begin communications with the General Contractor, create purchase orders, and process time cards. No longer is anyone driving paperwork back to the office. The information is available in real-time via the web portal.
Data back up and security
Ensuring appropriate backup of information and security of servers is another major reason that on premise software is so resource intensive and expensive. Because the IT department of the construction company was solely responsible for the maintenance of the hardware, they were also responsible for installing appropriate backup and security of the information. With all the constant threats to malware and security breaches, this can quickly overwhelm an IT department.
With web-based construction management software, the vendor is responsible for the backup and security of the data. Many web-based construction management vendors leverage a third party provider for data center services. The software vendor and the data center work together to ensure compliance and security of information. Additionally, the IT department conducts data backups to ensure business continuity in the event of breach, data loss, or emergency.
As mentioned previously, traditional on premise software required the IT team or the user to download and install updates in order to utilize the latest version. Without physically touching every user’s computer, there was no guarantee that all the users updated their software accordingly. Moreover, the IT department must do this every time there was an update.
With web-based construction management software, the vendor release updates to the server. There may be some minor configuration (or enabling of the new features) that the System Administrator needs to do. However, every user has access to the latest and greatest software updates.