Modern construction companies run lean, adopting the lean manufacturing model. Anyone on the team who isn’t actively working on projects needs to have a clear purpose and benefit for the company as a whole. That makes it easy to ask: is there a real point to having a construction IT team? Why have your own when you can just take malfunctioning equipment to a break/fix IT specialist?
In this blog, we’ll explore what a construction IT department specializes in, why it’s worth having professionals maintaining your technology, and whether you should hire IT experts as internal employees or outsource to an external team.
Learn more about what goes into externally managed IT support services and whether hiring one is the right choice for your company by downloading Impact’s eBook, Does Your Business Need a Managed IT Service Provider?
What Does a Construction IT Team Do?
Construction companies are taking on new technologies to improve productivity, fitting in with the connected construction trend. However, while this tech is designed to be easy to use, it’s not necessarily easy to implement or fix if something goes wrong.
And when something does go wrong, it’s quite costly for small to mid-size construction businesses to handle. Not only is work brought to an unexpected stop while the technology is malfunctioning, you also have to pay top dollar for a break/fix IT provider to come in and make the necessary adjustments to get up and going again.
That’s where a construction IT team comes in. Not only can they help you install new tech so it works perfectly with your other programs, but they’re already on contract and sometimes even on site to fix issues when they arise. Plus, they maintain your software and hardware so problems come up far less frequently.
Just like you clean, service, and maintain any other piece of construction equipment that your employees use, an IT department can help you do the same with your technology.
Types of Technology Used in the Construction Industry
Below, we’ll explore some of the different types of technology construction companies use and how IT specialists can improve them.
But if you’d like more help determining exactly what tech your own business could benefit from the most and why, download Impact’s checklist, What Technologies Do You Need for Connected Construction, using this form!
You’re probably already on the cloud – even before the pandemic, 85% of contractors either already had or planned on shifting to cloud-based software solutions. There are tons of benefits for SMBs using the cloud, including flexibility, cost savings, and increased scalability. They only increase for construction companies with mobile sites where it’s impractical to have physical documents.
But all of this only comes when you’re integrating your cloud technology properly. If you’re not careful, it’s too easy to get technology that lacks interoperability, leading to cloud sprawl. If the point of the cloud is to ensure that information easily flows between all programs, you need specialists on board who can make those connections happen.
Another concern with relying on the cloud is what happens when your field team needs to access a large file. Blueprints and plans are so detailed that they can become quite large, making them impractical to load from the cloud on a mobile device. That’s where hybrid cloud and on-premise server solutions become useful. An IT professional can ensure that they’re regularly updated and running smoothly.
Instead of making guesses from anecdotal or historical data on bids for future projects, you can implement software that analyses data from all of your cloud platforms together and helps you craft more accurate estimates. You’ll have a much easier time staying on budget and on time when an AI-based program has taken new factors into account and helped you produce realistic numbers for bids.
Having an IT team ensures that your tech foundation is solid. That’s crucial for allowing these business intelligence platforms to draw from all of the necessary data and produce more accurate and precise analyses.
The modern construction company relies on mobile technology. Whether your staff uses their own or you have company-owned devices that are handed out to key team members, the communication and file-sharing benefits of mobile tech can’t be denied.
A construction IT department is the team that creates and enforces your bring your own device (BYOD) policy or controls company devices. They can monitor usage to ensure that your staff has everything they need to do their jobs (but are only using the devices to do their jobs), and they can install software and wipe information before and after projects. With the right tools, they can even do it remotely.
Finally, when you have a team dedicated to handling your technology, you know you have someone monitoring the location and status of all company devices. As your staff move from site to site, you have someone whose job it is to ensure that your tech doesn’t get left behind, broken, or stolen.
While you should also consider having a dedicated cybersecurity team for a complete layered strategy, an onboarded IT team will ensure you have the security foundations in place to handle the most obvious vulnerabilities. From helping to enforce security best practices on mobile devices to implementing password policies for your software, they ensure that you have at least a foundation of security.
There are differences between IT and cybersecurity standards, and for true protection from bad actors, you should have both. But it’s impossible to have effective cybersecurity without having an IT team solidifying your base level of technology first.
In-House vs Outsourced
Once you understand that modern technology requires specialist attention, the question becomes whether you want to hire IT professionals in-house or outsource to a construction IT company instead. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, unfortunately. Which option is right for you will come down to the size of your business and the full extent of your technology needs.
Having a team in-house ensures that you have access to experts whenever you need them. Your team will fully understand your tech infrastructure, in addition to your business goals, and can make decisions accordingly. However, such a team can also be extremely expensive. Plus, if the department is limited to just one or two individuals, if one of them ever leaves or goes on vacation, you’re stuck.
Another option is to outsource your tech needs to a managed service provider (MSP). It’s a much more cost-effective option, and while you won’t be their only client, they have a much deeper bench of specialists and more advanced software, so you still receive constant attention. Plus, you don’t have to worry about any individual taking PTO or leaving the company entirely.
Modern business technology is no longer optional in the construction industry. And if you have tech, you need people to make it work. The best way to make sure it’s running smoothly and stays operational is to have someone who regularly maintains it. Whether you hire in-house staff or outsource to a different team, the most effective way to do that is onboarding a construction IT team.
Make a decision about hiring individuals or working with an MSP by downloading Impact’s eBook, Does Your Business Need a Managed IT Service Provider?