The iPad is the New Hammer
BY RUSS TAYLOR, CEO & FOUNDER, FUSION OF IDEAS
There are three main factors that drive the demand for mobile technology in the construction industry: leadership request, an increasingly mobile workforce and the growing need for real-time information. According to a recent study, more than 80 percent of construction professionals surveyed said that mobile capabilities are "very important" in improving their workflows.
While the adoption of mobile technology, in general has been growing for the last several years, smartphones and tablets remain the most widely used devices in the construction field. Instead of several types of devices, construction executives are favoring using single devices for multiple purposes. Advanced software solutions are integrating more features and functionalities than ever, which means fewer types of devices and software are needed to get the same job done.
OFF-THE-SHELF VS. CUSTOM APPS
In order for mobile technology to be productive, it must be supported by good software. A mobile app can improve workflows such as easing the dispatch of real-time information from the main office to the field, reducing administrative workload and minimizing paperwork for faster billing and time tracking.
With so many options for apps, how do you choose the right one for your mobile strategy? Off-the-shelf mobile apps have the benefits of quick deployment and lower development costs. But it’s rare to find an off-the-shelf app that suits the exact needs of your company.
The ideal application is a customized one that can be designed around a workflow to meet your individual business needs. With a custom app, businesses can access, transport and analyze company information quickly and easily. For example, a project manager can report construction errors immediately while building a system, which will then send automatic notifications to the person responsible for fixing the error.
Executives can then use real-time data from connected devices to make faster and smarter strategic decisions. And finally, a good application should also feature an engaging and easy-to-use interface.
Here are some questions to consider when choosing the right app for your business:
- What are the business issues that need to be resolved?
- What features and functionalities are important to your business?
- Who will be using the app and how tech-savvy are they?
- How will the app integrate into your existing workflow?
One of the main considerations when planning a mobile strategy is how the updated technology will integrate with existing processes. Fortunately, most app solutions integrate the mobile application with desktop capabilities so that individuals in the back office and the field can update and view any information at any time. The capabilities of mobile technology are far more beneficial when they can be shared with all involved persons. It can also be beneficial to have a web admin portal that allows authorized users to manage content being displayed to each group of users.
"When you have a workforce that is comfortable with technology, it can only mean good things. It naturally creates more efficiency," according to one IT director.
"Developing the app kicked off our momentum as a company to be more open to technology; it’s opened up doors and avenues of being able to save on workflows, save on productivity and get things done as efficiently as possible."
Russ Taylor is the CEO and founder of Orange County, Calif.-based FUSION OF IDEAS, a mobile integrator that helps businesses maximize mobility in their organizations through brand experiences, integration logistics and custom app development. Founded in 2003, FUSION OF IDEAS has partnered with some of the world’s top brands to transform their business processes and elevate their brand equity using smart mobility solutions. Visit www.fusionofideas.com.