Construction Information Technology Blog

Cloud Computing in the Public Sector

Posted by Dave Robertson on Aug 20, 2013 7:00:00 AM

In our previous post Cloud computing in 2013, we have clearly established that the cloud is gaining popularity in the business world. This brings us to the next question: What about the Public sector? How far along is cloud adoption in governments around the world? Unsurprisingly, cloud computing has been implemented in various countries since 2009. Some of the leading countries are the United States of America, Japan, and United Kingdom.

The CIO Council report states that in September 2009, the US government announced the Federal Government's Cloud Computing Initiative, aiming to greatly reduce waste, increase efficiency, and lower operating costs. At the same time, Market Research Media also reported that the U.S. government launched Apps.gov, a portal dedicated to cloud computing applications for government agencies.  Vivek Kundra, U.S. Chief Information Officer described it as "an online storefront for federal agencies to quickly browse and purchase cloud-based IT services, for productivity, collaboration, and efficiency." He further stated that cloud computing is the next generation of IT in which data and applications will be housed centrally and accessible anywhere and anytime by various devices.

Meanwhile, according to an article by the IEEE Computer Society and cloudbook.net, Japan announced its Kasumigaseki Cloud in May 2009, which aims to greatly reduce cost while improving integration and collaboration amongst its various ministries. It is scheduled to be completed by 2015. The name Kasumigaseki (as explained in this article) is the name of an area where most government buildings are located in Tokyo, but the literal meaning of kasumigaseki is "fog's gate".

In early 2010, the UK government introduced the G-cloud government infrastructure, an online catalogue containing details of cloud services available for the UK public sector, much like the U.S. Apps.gov website. The G-cloud official site also listed reducing costs and increasing flexibility as some of its aims in adopting the cloud technology.

cloud public sector

Today, there are countless research papers and reports on various countries' government adoption of cloud computing. KPMG and Frost & Sullivan both wrote more in-depth reports around this topic. Although the cloud is not yet a dominating standard, most developed countries with sufficient infrastructure are at some level of cloud adoption while formulating their long-term national strategy. Thus, cloud computing has established itself as the next logical step in both the public and private sector of the IT industry.

Topics: Electronic document management, Cloud computing

2013 Construction Project Management Benchmark

Posted by Dave Robertson on Apr 29, 2013 6:30:00 AM

Software Advice, ­­a demand generation company (headquartered in Austin, Texas­­) has just released their 2013 Project Management Software Benchmark Report, a study that gauges software adoption and effectiveness in the construction project management industry.

Over the last two months, Software Advice surveyed 230 construction industry professionals about their project management practices and outcomes. While the survey surfaced many important findings, three key points stood above the rest:

  1. softwareadvice reportConstruction project management software produces superior outcomes. Construction project management software users were the most likely to report that their system met their needs, with 72 percent of users indicating satisfaction. They also reported finishing projects on time and on budget more frequently than any other type of software user.

  2. Construction project managers are embracing Cloud technology. 57 percent of survey participants relied on Cloud-­based software to manage their construction projects. This indicates that project managers are open to using software hosted and maintained off­site.

  3. Preconstruction planning is a top challenge and priority in 2013. 56 percent of participants reported that inaccurate project estimates were an obstacle to delivering projects on budget. Meanwhile, 70 percent noted that changes to building plans were an obstacle to delivering projects on time. In recognition of these challenges, project managers stated that they would focus on the estimating, takeoff and bidding processes as a top priority in 2013.

In 2013 and beyond, Software Advice will be tracking how well technology evolves to help project managers address these challenges and priorities on the job site. For more information on this survey, and to access a detailed report analyzing findings, visit the 2013 Project Management Software Benchmark Report.

Topics: Construction industry, Construction software, Cloud computing

Are we going mobile any time soon?

Posted by Dave Robertson on Mar 19, 2013 8:29:00 AM

I am often asked for my perspective on the potential for using tablets in the field for construction. I was in attendance at the Associated General Contractors of America’s recent annual conference. It was clear from the presentations delivered to delegates and the company’s attending to display their wares that information technology (“IT”) is quickly being recognized as an essential tool in creating increased efficiencies throughout the life cycle of a project, both off site and on. Many of the presentations were entirely focused on IT issues and solutions and the majority of the vendors in the Constructor Expo pavilion were pitching their IT solutions. I am old enough to remember when the majority of issues and vendors at these conferences related to methods of construction or construction materials.

mobile construction

There was a good deal of attention paid to the use of mobile applications. Presentations were made on its use for safety management, for superintendent’s daily reports, using it to submit time sheet/payroll data as well as functions like creating and managing punch lists and accessing documents and project information. Some of the applications could be utilized on a smart phone but most are designed for tablets. Key to all of this is having adequate access to high speed internet connections to make it all work. So the answer to this question is short and sweet … mobile is already being used on the jobsite and its use will only grow from here.

Topics: Online tools, Construction industry, Cloud computing

Cloud Computing in 2013

Posted by Dave Robertson on Jan 11, 2013 7:30:00 AM

Cloud computing is on the rise. About a year ago, a KPMG Survey titled “Embracing the Cloud” concluded that there is an increased readiness to accept the Cloud and harness its benefits. The vast majority of business executives surveyed expected Cloud-related investments to increase in 2012. More recently, a similar survey conducted by T-Systems in late 2012 found that 44% of those business executives are willing to take advantage of more cloud computing solutions in the future. Furthermore, a recent Forrester Research states that half of all enterprises in North America and Europe are planning to create budgets for cloud-related investments in 2013. In the same way, Gartner’s yearly tech prediction also identifies cloud computing as one of the major influence to a worldwide increase of IT spending in 2013. There is a clear global trend towards Cloud computing.

So the next question would be “Why move to the Cloud?” There are many benefits of cloud computing, particularly cost-savings, flexibility and greater efficiency. With cloud computing, there is no need to invest in expensive hardware or software development and maintenance. Companies can improve their business processes through an on-demand, proven technology usually offered at a fraction of the development cost due to economies of scale. This provides businesses who are early adopters with a new form of low risk competitive advantage. Moreover, the Forrester Research report suggests an era of new IT responsiveness and efficiency addressing the economic inflexibility that ails on-premises IT.

All this hype about Cloud services is for good reason. The Cloud simply works when properly executed. According to this article, a recent survey conducted by the Navint Partners, which interviewed chief execs of companies with over 5,000 employees, concluded that many CIOs are happy with the result of moving to the Cloud. The majority (90%) of the respondents claimed they had gotten all of the predicted savings and nearly two-thirds (64%) of the respondents noted a significant impact on their business process efficiency and effectiveness. Also, 80% of the respondents said that the Cloud gave their company a competitive advantage.

cloud computing survey

Keri Brooke, VP marketing at Host Analytics, said: “Businesses are embracing the cloud and realizing it offers tremendous value and advantages over on-premise applications. This new research reinforces the industry’s shift to a more modern, effective and safe way of doing business.”

It is clear that if your company is not yet using Cloud services, it is very likely that you are missing out.

Topics: Saving money, Software management, Cloud computing

Construction Technology Predictions vs Survey 2012

Posted by Dave Robertson on Mar 15, 2012 9:48:00 AM

As discussed in our previous post, the predictions around the technology trends for 2012 place emphasis on emerging technology trends such as:

  • Cloud computing
  • Advancement of seamless, cross-platform mobile application
  • More intuitive, integrated, and self teaching software

Although the predictions have been established, we need to take a look at what the construction companies are actually doing this year. A recent survey conducted by The Sage Group gauges the opinions of its construction and real estate customers on questions relating to Construction Industry Technology Trends. Some of the key findings include:

  • technology efficiencyNearly 60% of the respondent believes that increasing efficiency via technology is the most important action to carry out.
  • However, 45% of the surveyed companies do not understand cloud computing.
  • 34% of the respondents indicated that they would increase the use of smartphones/PDAs mobile technology in 2012.

One of the conclusions I draw from this information is that the industry has accepted that it is important to identify technology that can improve the efficiency of their business however they are uncertain what solutions best fit their needs. Rather than trying to understand the supporting technologies and deferring important decisions it may well be better to simply identify the solutions that make sense from an application perspective, satisfy yourself that they are secure and then get on with reaping the benefits of the proven systems that are already available today.

Topics: Construction industry, Cloud computing