The construction industry has a well-known reputation for lagging behind the technological trends, and though the notion is worn out at this point, it still largely holds true. However, as more and more businesses seek pandemic recovery through the adoption of new technology, the industry is beginning to show more openness to innovation.
In a recent Deloitte survey, 76 percent of engineering and construction executives indicated that they are likely to invest in at least one digital technology in 2021.
But let’s face it. While investing in new technology can overcome massive data and efficiency flaws in a construction company’s operations, choosing the right tools can be a daunting task, especially when it involves multiple stakeholders with varying opinions and priorities.
Regarding cloud technology, there are a few common misconceptions that can foster reluctance if left unaddressed, and stakeholder buy-in is vital to keeping everyone aligned during implementation.
In this article, we’ll dispel several cloud technology myths, review the different types of cloud solution deployments, and offer tips on how to engage a cloud solutions vendor.
4 common cloud technology misconceptions
Many business owners and executives like the idea of moving to the cloud but are held back by one or more frequently touted myths about cloud technology. These are a few of the most common:
- “Cloud technology is too expensive.”
Owners cite technology cost as a barrier to moving to the cloud, but cloud technology brings great value and cost savings. The cloud decreases IT spend because the cost of managing servers and deploying expensive upgrades are gone. Plus, businesses benefit from a high ROI and low total cost of ownership.
- “It is not secure.”
Contractors and business owners are often hyper-vigilant when it comes to data security. However, cloud providers offer enterprise-grade security, covering a business from all angles: physical network, application, and data. Furthermore, highly secured environments managed by cloud providers work continuously to stop threats. Constantly upgraded protections ensure construction businesses can focus on their day-to-day operations.
- “It is too slow.”
Business operators may hold the belief that cloud technologies are slower than their on-premises solution, but this is simply not the case. Highspeed networks connect remote data centers that support the cloud. Fast network connectivity makes cloud performance comparable or even faster than in-house networks.
- “It is not reliable.”
While some business heads believe their on-premises network infrastructure is more reliable than a cloud solution, they could be at risk of losing data if they’re not performing backups on a regular basis. There are also external factors at play that can create major setbacks, like natural disasters. Cloud technology proves to be more reliable in these instances, providing peace of mind that solutions can be back up and running wherever and whenever they are needed.
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Cloud deployment options for construction companies
It is important to understand what a “move to the cloud” might look like for your organization. The good news is that there are several options a business can explore to migrate their data to the cloud:
Self-hosted private cloud
For companies with a strong internal IT resource or a trusted IT partner, a private cloud solution may be a good option. For this scenario, a contractor would manage the move on their own and internal staff would handle updates, maintenance, security, and support. There is a high upfront investment to set up a private cloud, and a business would also be responsible for costs associated with ongoing maintenance and upgrades.
The benefit of a third-party option is that the contractor does not need to use internal resources to manage the solution. The third-party company would manage the technology, including the updates, maintenance, security, and support. There is typically an upfront investment and monthly or annual fees for the hosting service.
Cloud native or software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution
The most modern and robust cloud option is the cloud-native or software-as-a-service solution. With a subscription to this technology, the business is provided with automatic updates, maintenance, security, and support. Data migration and software implementation are typically the main costs, with an adjoining monthly subscription fee.
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Tips to engage a cloud solutions vendor
If your business is considering a move to the cloud, here are a few suggestions for engaging a vendor:
- Prior to contacting a vendor, identify which deployment to the cloud best fits your business needs. Once decided, make a list of requirements that are necessary for the adoption of a solution. Make sure you outline these needs to the potential provider upfront so they can be addressed early on.
- There are a few other considerations when evaluating providers, such as whether they have an open application programming interface (API). An open API means the solution integrates more easily with other solutions developed for your space, freeing businesses from restrictive software that they might outgrow in a few years.
- Evaluate the security features. To ensure the protection of company and client data, inquire about the security features that the vendor provides. Ask if the vendor conducts external audits and whether they hold third-party certifications that further qualify them to protect sensitive information.
- Inquire about their support hours. It’s important to understand what level of service you are signing up for upfront. Do you get a dedicated customer support specialist with your contract? What are their support hours? Do they provide regular check-ins or one-on-one sessions to discuss best practices?
Cloud technology is playing an increasingly more important role in the current business landscape, and while the initial transition from traditional, on-premises software to a modern cloud solution can seem costly and complex, the result is a more-accessible, more-reliable, and more-secure tech stack that offers contractors greater flexibility in dealing with whatever lies ahead.
By evaluating both the specific needs of your business and a vendor’s ability to meet these needs reliably, you can ensure a smooth implementation and reap the numerous long-term benefits that only a cloud solution can provide.