The construction world is changing. We're seeing more and more technology and connectivity being used every day. From smartphones that provide you with a bubble level and billing apps to digital blueprints and social media apps to manage your business page, mobile technology is becoming more prevalent every day. But what are the advantages of using cloud-based takeoff software instead of traditional packages? We thought you'd never ask:
Advantages of Cloud-Based Takeoff Software
Cloud-based software, which is also referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS), is what you have when the software you are using is located on a remote server that you access over the internet. Though you may have some portion of the software installed on your mobile device or computer, most of the capability is on the remote system.
Serious IT Advantages
Before connectivity became as pervasive as it is today, using this type of software remotely could be challenging. But with today's data networks, it's very easy to use this software from any number of locations with virtually any computer or mobile device. This is especially helpful when you're on a job site and need to check the numbers from your bid or take a closer look at the building plans. Instead of having to call in or drive to your office to check the information, you've got it right at hand on the tenth floor of the new structure by just pulling your phone out of your pocket.
The first change you'll see is a lower overall IT budget. Instead of having to purchase high-end ruggedized laptops fit to survive a work site, you can buy a $200 tablet and have it work just a few minutes out of the box. SaaS services are often less expensive than their permanent, hard-copy counterparts. Because the software is automatically updated across the board to all users, you don't have to worry about whether the version you're using is up to date or not.
Better Financials and Growth
Cloud-based software is also partially responsible for decreased costs and increased growth. Recent research by Vanson Bourne found the following results when businesses switched to cloud-based software:
- An average company growth of 19.63%
- An 18.8% improvement in process efficiency
- An average reduction of operating costs of 16.18%
- A 15.07% reduction in IT spending
- A 16.76% reduction in IT maintenance
Makes it Easier to be Green
It's also a more energy-friendly solution. Instead of having computers running idle at your company, the only power used is at the data center where the server and software are stored. Rather than having to jaunt across town to attend a meeting with other project stakeholders, you can meet virtually and work out any issues without having to leave your home, office or job site. Is there some confusion about what was in the specs when you're on the construction site? A moment or two spent pulling them up on a tablet clears up the issue without wasting time, energy and fuel driving back to the office or going across the site to find a copy of the specs.
Prepped for Fast Growth
What about rapid scaling? If you're suddenly going from a company of 20 to a company of 100 because of a couple large jobs, that can create some serious issues – if you're using traditional software. You'll need to purchase new computing devices, get the software installed and customized and make sure it's secured properly.
If you're using cloud-based takeoff software, many of your new hires already have a device of some type, the software requires virtually no work to install and security is at least partially left up to the software company. Need to add more people? Just upgrade your software plan or purchase additional licenses and you're done.
Better Collaboration and Accessibility
Cloud-based takeoff software
gives you better options for collaboration. Simply assign tasks and deadlines to different team members as they arise in the estimate and takeoff process. This makes collaboration much easier, even when everyone is at different locations. Do you have a question about a particular part of the plan? Highlight that section and leave a note instead of tracking down half a dozen people across a dozen phone numbers and ten job sites.
Because the software company's income depends on accessibility to the software, these companies will work to provide you with the best possible uptime. Most companies aim for 24/7/365 access and 99.99% uptime to keep you connected. That means when there's an emergency on the job site on Thanksgiving weekend, you can just pull up the information on your phone at your in-laws without missing the game or dessert.
Less Office Time = Better Profits
What about updating prices? This onerous task is one that you can avoid with cloud-based takeoff software. Much like the automatic updates mentioned above, pricing databases are also updated at the server by the software company. Good-quality takeoff software also provides you with tools such as being able to create your own assemblies for ease of estimating and comparison of your total estimated costs against average estimates for similar projects across the country.
This type of software often includes compatibility with accounting packages and analytics. In allowing you to automate this part of the process instead of having a larger office staff, you can lower overhead. Because you're not spending as much time managing, you can stay out of the office for longer periods of time.
Cloud-based software has a long list of advantages, making it much easier to do business from where you're at. If you're interested in seeing what cloud-based takeoff software can do for your company, why not sign up for a credit-card-free trial of Esticom
? In addition to giving you an easy way to handle takeoffs, it also automates your backend processes with compatibility with QuickBooks, MS Office and Adobe Acrobat. Esticom helps you do what you do best – constructing a better future.