Construction companies, be they large or small, have some unique aspects of their business that make them a different kind of business from others that rely on a managed service provider. With programs like CAD, construction project planning and procurement of materials are unique to that industry and would require an MSP that is dedicated to the construction industry.
Construction companies do use typical IT software and hardware for standard office tasks and accounting functionality. What really sets this industry apart, however, is how collaborative it is. Workflow does follow traditional paths such as design, construction, and testing. There is also a role played by industry compliance and security in all aspects of the industry.
But success is dependent on collaboration between architects, engineers and the actual foremen and workers at the on-site level. An MSP must be able to manage this team and collaboration in real time. This is why many larger construction companies use an internal IT team rather than outsourcing to an MSP that isn’t fluent in CAD or certain planning software.
When it comes to construction companies, not all MSP’s are created equal. You need one that can specialize in the construction industry and has your best interests at heart. Some things to look for are:
Access to highly trained and specialized staff.
Supporting the technologies that run your critical core applications such as estimating, accounting, project management, document management and scale management.
Extensive experience with supporting software such as Sage, JD Edwards, Quickbooks and Autocad Solutions.
An MSP that provides Mobile Device Management (MDM) and remote access solutions that allow your team to have access to anything, anytime and from anywhere.
Affordable and comprehensive services, such as standard IT solutions, to go along with the specialized services.
Any good MSP will do a few basic things for every type of industry, but these things are just as important to the construction industry as any other industry. You want one that will be available when you need them as well as one who is up-to-date with current technology. Hiring an outside IT company will save you money. Having IT in-house means paying them a salary and possible benefits and 401k. Hiring an outside company negates the salary and 401k, which becomes the problem of their company not yours.
The MSP will perform monthly updates and preventative maintenance, keeping your software and hardware running at peak efficiency, cutting down the probability of failure at critical times. When the system is running efficiently and smoothly, that equals peace of mind and best of all, profits.
By using a third-party IT provider, you are more likely to stay ahead of new cyber threats and viruses. An MSP makes it their business to stay up to date on new cyber threats and hackers so that they can keep your business ahead of these threats and running smooth. Should something get through or hardware breaks down, you have an experienced and dedicated team you can call to fix the problem. Most MSP’s are available 24/7.
The MSP can run an analysis of your IT environment to prevent issues such as having to add equipment and up the budget given. This also serves to give your business a deliverable, comprehensive executive summary of your company. The summary shows any vulnerability in your system as well as the pros and cons of your current network. It will also give you the MSP’s recommendations for any adjustments to your current technology.
Never one to rest on their laurels, tech giant Google started a project that could revolutionize the construction industry. Beginning as a project for Google X it has spun off into its own company, Flux.io. Essentially a cloud-based platform, Flux is a collaborative platform that allows architects and construction engineers to work together in real time on a project. It sports an advanced analytic engine and state of the art simulators.
With the ability to translate data from multiple programs such as Excel, ACAD, and Rhino into a single platform, various collaborators could work simultaneously rather than one at a time. All computations are done in the cloud, so no worries that your system will slow down or cause it to freeze. Flux.io is touting that it will save 30% to 50% in manufacturing and construction costs. Overall, Flow has the potential to save the construction industry over $120 billion a year.
As technology gets better and new software makes the collaboration process more streamlined and easier to communicate with members of your team, the need for dedicated IT grows even bigger. Whatever IT service provider that you choose to go with, make sure to get the system analysis to check for any vulnerability in your network. The MSP will be able to tell you what is essential and what isn’t while saving you money.
Brian Gray, MCP, is the President at Kraft Technology Group, LLC (KTG), an affiliate of KraftCPAs PLLC. Within his role, Brian is responsible for all aspects of service delivery to our clients. Brian has a decade of experience working for managed service providers. He has worked with clients in a variety of industries, including financial services, accounting, legal, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.