In the construction industry, short turnarounds on building projects – often many at the same time – can leave you with very little leeway to worry about anything that is not related to construction. As such, your company’s IT setup can become an afterthought, even though it plays an intricate part in all your operations.
So how good is your IT setup? Follow Bright’s 10-point checklist to find out:
1. What IT support does my company really have?
This is the first question you should ask yourself. Are you outsourcing your IT solutions? Do you have a dedicated IT team or IT expert at your disposal? Do you have assistance with construction industry specific issues like on-site trailer-desktop failures or issues with subcontractor-billing? What is the response time when an IT issue is raised? What are the service level agreements and how consistently are they met?
2. How up to date are our IT tools?
The construction industry is a fast moving one, with innovative technology such as 3D scanning and mapping becoming more prevalent. If you are running on antiquated systems, you’re at risk of falling behind smarter, faster-moving competitors. So ask yourself: what is our IT roadmap? How do we make sure we are aware of new IT developments? What is our update policy for software and hardware? Are there new technologies that we could test now?
3. Do I understand my IT solutions?
Every field has its own specific requirements; the construction industry is no different. Do your current IT solutions help or hinder in your day-to-day activities? Maybe some of the solutions in place are not optimal for things like remote building site management, and new solutions need to be put in place. Survey your colleagues and staff to uncover their needs and pain points.
4. Does my IT support understand my business goals?
You don’t need to be an IT specialist; that is after all why you’ve hired one or make use of third-party services. But your IT support must reflect the needs of your business and the intricacies of the construction industry. Do they? When did you last review them? Does your current provider understand the issues?
5. My IT requirements vary, how easily can I scale my usage?
The number of projects you have running, as well as the number of subcontractors and temporary staff you employ, may vary regularly. You need your IT to scale alongside your business requirements. Cloud based solutions, like Microsoft’s Office 365 and corporate security solutions are designed to fit your fluctuating head count, which in turn, is more cost effective.
6. Has my company outgrown its current IT partner?
It is easy to expand rapidly and organically in the construction industry. What was a five-person operation just a few years ago, may have evolved into a 100-employee business now. Your IT team might be doing everything right, but just not have the resources to accommodate you anymore. Is your IT support as responsive as it used to be? Do they work with similar-size clients?
7. How uniform is my company’s IT setup?
You need to be running the same systems and follow the same procedures across the board at all levels of your company. If not, you are at risk of miscommunication, loss of data and an increase in human error. How consistent are your IT practices? Are there documented standard operating procedures? What reporting do you and the board get about their operations?
8. How secure is my network?
A strong IT suite and well defined compliance and security rules ensure you do not lose data and can recover quickly from any catastrophe within a construction industry-acceptable time frame. In addition, ensure you’re well protected from third party invasion and digital theft. When was the last time you ran a penetration test and a security audit?
9. How much does it all cost?
What IT solutions do you require to stay on top of the construction industry and what do they cost? Are you vastly over-budgeting your IT and running systems at a loss? Or have you under-budgeted? You may be paying too much for lousy IT services but, equally, there is a risk of being penny wise and pound foolish. By underpaying and treating it as a tax on the business, you may be missing on a smart investment that could have a big return.
10. Is my IT ecosystem futureproof?
IT is a long-term investment. It is not enough to just have the latest software and hardware, they need to be futureproof. Are the structures you have in place agile enough to grow with your company and stay on the cutting-edge of the technological advances?
Whether you are a startup or own three satellite offices around the world, a well thought out IT-strategy only adds to your arsenal of resources to grow your business and increase revenue.
If you have been wondering about your own IT requirements, why don’t you download our guide to find out more?