The Construction Executive's Guide to Business Visibility: Mobilizing

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In the construction industry many of the most critical business decisions happen on the jobsite. This interactive e-book shows construction executives how mobile technology can provide greater access to decision making data in the field. Learn about what to consider before purchasing mobile devices and solutions, the role the "cloud" plays in providing greater business visibility on the jobsite, and suggestions for creating a mobile policy. The e-book includes a spotlight on how to mobilize the collection and approval of field employee time.

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The Construction Executive's Guide to Business Visibility: Mobilizing

  1. 1. The Construction Executive’s Interactive Guide to Business Visibility PART 5: MOBILIZINGPART 5: MOBILIZING
  2. 2. In the construction industry, decisions aren’t confined to a desk or executive boardroom. Many of the most critical business decisions happen on the jobsite. Consequently, it’s not surprising that it is here—amid the mud, brick and rebar—that the use of mobile devices is exploding. In fact, according to a McGraw-Hill industry survey, 93% of respondents use some sort of mobile device on their construction sites. How are the best-run construction firms deploying mobile solutions? What are the most important considerations before purchasing tablets, smartphones, and mobile solutions? And what business benefits can you expect to gain from anytime, anywhere connectivity? This e-book aims to answer these questions and provide Job Ready tips you can use to ensure your business visibility is as mobile as you are. 93% of construction professionals use some sort of mobile device on their construction sites. 2 WHENEVER. WHEREVER.WHENEVER. WHEREVER.
  3. 3. IN THEIR OWN WORDSIN THEIR OWN WORDS Whatyourpeers and experts sayabout mobility. “Field personnel can access plans, documents, and other job-related data from their mobile devices. It is less expensive in both the short and long term to invest in the technology that keeps our team productive in the field.” Maeva Mayes Office Manager Dean Crowder Construction “We see two big trends in the construction industry today: mobility and collaboration. By putting the data in the cloud, building team members can gain access to project information on mobile devices. This helps keep all project participants involved.” Jon Witty General Manager and Vice President Sage Construction and Real Estate Solutions “The increased popularity and use of laptops, smartphones, and tablets means that a contractor’s IT network can now extend to virtually any location, whether it’s a remote job site, hotel room, or office trailer.” Brian J. Thomas Partner Advisory Services Weaver LLP “We can now lower cycle times on projects and integrate wireless mobile applications to full back-office systems. We are sure that those contractors who select these solutions will see dramatic productivity benefits.” Tom Gebes President BuilderMT 3
  4. 4. 4 WHY MOBILITY MATTERS LEARN THE THREE C’S WHY MOBILITY MATTERS LEARN THE THREE C’S Mobility is without a doubt changing the way we work. Case in point: Three out of every five workers say they don’t need to be in the office anymore to be productive.1 When asked how “anytime, anywhere” connectivity helps them be more efficient, construction professionals most frequently responded with one of three answers: convenience, communication or collaboration. 1 Convenience When field personnel have to call office staff for the latest project information or are tied to the job trailer to request or submit reports, it can interfere with project progress. Mobile solutions enable these frontline workers to access details and execute tasks with a smartphone or tablet. It’s convenient and it keeps projects moving. 2 Communication According to a 2012 ENR survey, communication is the number one way mobile tools improve jobsite productivity2 . This communication can entail simply taking pictures with the mobile device and sharing them online with the project team. Or the level of communication can include deeper capabilities, such as accessing back-office financial data on demand or submitting and approving employee time worked on a project on mobile devices. 3 Collaboration General contractors ranked collaboration as the second most important overall factor for using mobile tools in an ENR study. It’s easy to see why: A construction project can involve thousands of decisions, made by dozens of people, from multiple companies. Time is money. So when a significant issue arises, such as a flooded foundation that requires engineering and retrofit, the speed at which the issue gets escalated and communicated to the engineering firm, subcontractors, owners, and other stakeholders has a direct bearing on how profitable the project is. 1 http://mashable.com/2011/08/09/mobile-workers-infographic 2 Engineering News Record, August 2012 construction survey
  5. 5. The shift from email in the office to “email everywhere” was the first baby step in what is becoming an all-out sprint toward connectedness. With the widespread use of smartphones and tablets, contractors are looking for new ways to access information and execute tasks on the go. Cloud-based software and apps—particularly those connected to back-office systems— are key to enhancing workforce productivity and the expediency of informed decision making using mobile devices. The most useful cloud applications for construction are those that push meaningful information to field personnel in digestible bites to support decisive decision making at the job site, and those that enable project leaders to execute tasks (such as collecting and approving labor time remotely) and instantly share information with the home office. No matter what the cloud solution is used for, simplicity is a must. THE ROLE OFTHE “CLOUD” IN MOBILIZING THE ROLE OFTHE “CLOUD” IN MOBILIZING Top 5 Motivators for Adopting Cloud Technology: 58%1. Flexibility and scalability 2. Reduced operating expenses 3. Efficiency 4. Reduced capital costs 5. Redundancy and disaster recovery 45% 42% 40% 35% Source: 2011 IBM Tech Trends Report, published by IBM’s developerWorks. 5
  6. 6. 6 MOBILITY SPOTLIGHT: COLLECTING AND APPROVING FIELD EMPLOYEE TIME MOBILITY SPOTLIGHT: COLLECTING AND APPROVING FIELD EMPLOYEE TIME A cloud-based solution for time entry and approval can boost business performance. Workers get paid via direct-deposit—on time, and accurately. Project managers are able to understand the true impact on the budget. The payroll administrator, at the office, processes the information. The project manager, working from home, reviews and approves timesheets. The superintendent, working in the field, approves the time report on his tablet. An employee enters his time from a jobsite using his smartphone.
  7. 7. The productivity benefits of mobility are clear. However, as the number of employees who do their jobs outside the secure boundaries of your home office increases, so too does the risk of compromising your company data. What follows are four suggestions for developing an enterprise mobile security policy plus a short video that illustrates how Microsoft technologies simplify the security challenge. Suggestions for creating a mobile policy: 1. Determine if you will issue company-owned devices, enable employees to bring their own device (BYOD), or do a combination of both. Understanding the costs involved and your risk is very important in this step. 2. Specify which devices your company will support, including which mobile operating systems. If you are supplying the devices, clarify who is eligible to receive them. 3. If your employees are able to use their own devices for work, consider using a container approach, such as mobile device management (MDM) software, which keeps corporate information separate and appropriately secured. 4. Specify and communicate security guidelines to guard against a data or security breach. These guidelines should include password protection, auto- locking, and encryption. Put into place the ability to enable a “remote wipe” if a device is lost or stolen. SECURING MOBILE DEVICES AND YOUR COMPANY DATA SECURING MOBILE DEVICES AND YOUR COMPANY DATA Learn how the cloud will reshape construction: 7
  8. 8. 8 BUYER’S CHECKLIST FOR MOBILE AND CLOUD SOLUTIONS AND APPS BUYER’S CHECKLIST FOR MOBILE AND CLOUD SOLUTIONS AND APPS The era of business mobility has arrived. But investing in mobile and cloud solutions for the construction industry requires special consideration. To achieve maximum value, use this checklist to help ensure you’re investing in a solution that will hold up to the demands on the job site and wherever else your work takes you. The solution: Is designed for the construction industry. Has the ability to connect to your office systems, such as your job costing and payroll software. Enables your selected construction project team to work together with shared information. Provides full administration control over who sees what project and which details. Maintains projects, people, documents, and/or back-office financial and operations data securely. Makes it easy to invite new people from various companies to a project. Documents projects from preconstruction through post-construction services. Requires little or no training. Is accessible anytime, anywhere. Three factors to consider before buying a mobile device: 1. Durability—Can the device stand up to the rugged conditions of the job site? Some mobile device manufacturers are introducing more durable models. There are also rugged cases you can purchase as accessories. 2. Screen size—If you are going to review documents and drawings, it’s important to choose a device with a screen that’s large enough for proper display. 3. Network speed—Project managers won’t wait around for connectivity. Look for a 4G LTE device that can handle the data-intensive apps and programs.
  9. 9. Read the entire five-part series on business visibility: Sign up to be notified when new eBooks are available: Share the Sage Job Ready website with your peers: 1 Reporting 2 Monitoring 3 Analyzing 4 Predicting 5 Mobilizing Download the business visibility basics poster: Business without blind spots. Five Types of Visibility Every Construction Firm Should Have Get Job Ready visibility with Sage. Reporting See what happened already. Monitoring Learn what’s happening now. Analyzing Understand why it happened. Predicting Know what might happen. Mobilizing Access it from anywhere. High-performing construction firms can synthesize large amounts of data into snapshot reports, summary reports, and financial statements. • What variances exist between project costs and the contract? • How many safety issues have there been? • What is my debt-to-equity ratio? • How long does it take to collect receivables? • How productive is my labor? • What is labor costing me per hour? • What is my gross profit margin? • Does one of my subcontractors have insurance that expires this week? These reports show project activity at a glance, including change orders, safety, labor, equipment, schedules, and more. Bankers and bonding agents demand audited statements that measure the health of your company. To ensure information accuracy, it’s important to be able to drill down to the source data. These instant notifications are triggered when certain conditions are met and sent through email or text message. A strong project dashboard can display important project metrics on a single page. KPIs help you know where your projects and company stand on a variety of issues. Knowing what’s happening across all your projects can help you think more strategically about the future. Using standard spreadsheets to crunch numbers and display data can be helpful in evaluating business performance. The ability to create custom reports ensures you don’t have to wait around for over-burdened IT folks to build reports for you. To evaluate future projects and buyouts, it’s essential to be able to look at past performance and adjust based on shifting variables—such as material costs, labor costs, and interest rates. The ability to access key project information securely on mobile devices can help your people make informed decisions—even while away from their desks. Project and Field Reports Financial Statements Drill Downs Alerts Dashboards Key Performance Indicators Cross-Project Analytic Reports Spreadsheet Analysis Ad-hoc Report Query Historical Data Mining Mobile Reports Construction executives must be able to filter through data to track major risk areas and act quickly. With a clear line of sight into project and financial data, your construction or contracting business can think boldly and act decisively. Strong analytic capabilities help executives assess the company’s performance and plan business strategy. Spotting trends and forecasting costs are critical to ensuring project profitability. If project leaders and executives can’t access key details while on the road, it can bring the work to a halt. Helps you answer questions like: Helps you answer questions like: • What type of work is most profitable for my business? • What impact are change orders having on my projects? • What subcontractors are performing at the highest level? • How closely do my estimated costs resemble my actual costs? Helps you answer questions like: • What is my projected margin? • What might happen if labor costs continue to run over by 10%? • How at risk is my project for cost overruns? • Am I better off buying or renting equipment? Helps you answer questions like: • Labor productivity • Labor cost per hour • Projected margin • Change orders Gives you anytime, anywhere access to details like: ©2012 Sage Software, Inc. All rights reserved. SPK 12-02417 10/12 ©2013 Sage Software, Inc. All rights reserved. Sage, the Sage logos and the Sage product and service names mentioned herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of Sage Software, Inc., or its affiliated entities. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FIVE TYPES OFVISIBILITY EVERY CONSTRUCTION FIRM SHOULD HAVE LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FIVE TYPES OFVISIBILITY EVERY CONSTRUCTION FIRM SHOULD HAVE Sign up for Job Ready notifications. We’ll let you know when new e-books and other valuable tools and resources are available on the Job Ready website. 9

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