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As we begin the 98th Annual AGC Convention in Las Vegas on March 7 – 9, a couple of recent surveys point out that construction managers are, to borrow a phrase from Dickens, living in theAll your files, where and when you need them most.best of times and the worst of times (at least technologically speaking.)

Some background… “The 5TH Annual Construction Technology Report, 2016” from JBKnowledge surveyed over 2,600 construction professionals and came to the perplexing conclusion that firms increased investment in new construction information technology while at the same time increased the use of manual project management tools like spreadsheets, FTP, email, and CSV files.

Another recent survey brings us farther down this same path.  Research firm Software Advice presents more proof that manual project management tools are as popular as ever:

  • 52% of construction firms still rely on paper and pen to manage projects
  • Almost 40% of firms report dissatisfaction with their current information technology solutions, and
  • Budgets for IT and construction tech hover at approximately 1% of annual revenues, where companies in other industries average 3%

These contradictory findings highlight that information technology decision-makers in construction firms report that finding the “right” new solutions for use on their projects is harder than ever.

The reasons? Too many choices, budget constraints, and lack of a coherent workflow between all these applications.

There are now literally thousands of innovative yet standalone digital tools available for site survey, takeoff and estimating, blueprint management, bidding, project scheduling, wearables, change order administration, photo and video management, drone operations, vendor management, cloud storage, punch list tracking, CAD, BIM, and project collaboration… the list can go on forever.  

So the choices are many, but one important gap our construction clients share with us is that replacing manual processes with digital apps takes a little planning to avoid creating multiple data silos between these apps.

Eliminating risk in construction is always the issue here. Tried and tested manual tools may be slower, but experienced project managers count on the dependability and predictability of a project workflow they’ve perfected over 20 or more years. If you want a project manager with a portfolio of 10 projects going on at any one time to even slightly change a proven workflow, you have to prove it. If digital and mobile apps don’t communicate with each other, and many do not, there’s no efficiency gained. Project teams still need to manually move updated drawings and project documents from one vendor’s cloud to another. Often more than a few times a day. These data silos kill promised productivity.

As each app added to a project workflow stores data in a separate storage silo, search for the right document can be as slow as if you were working with paper documents. So email and spreadsheets don’t seem that much slower than dealing with a herd of digital apps requiring separate logins and manually pulling data from one app and manually reloading it into another.

With Egnyte, everything has changed. Egnyte Connect is a smart content collaboration platform that transforms the digital workplace from a cacophony of confusing tools into a symphony of time-saving digital workflows. Egnyte Connect empowers your project teams to collaborate on joint documents regardless of where they are stored. The platform intelligently finds the closest path to your content based on the user location – in the cloud or on-premises – so there’s no latency on large file downloads.

And more importantly, Egnyte Connect is an open platform that integrates with most of the best of breed construction apps your teams may already be using.

Construction firms like Tutor Perini, Devcom, PC Construction, and Balfour Beatty use Egnyte Connect to optimize workflow and eliminate these data silos.

To fully take advantage of a digital construction workflow, you need a content platform that:

  •             Easily integrates with other widely-used construction apps         
  •             Has a content-centric, business-first design
  •             Fully embraces and extends cloud apps your project teams already use
  •             Manages your project documents in the cloud and on premises
  •             Does not lock you in with one application or storage vendor

Egnyte is storage agnostic and is uniquely positioned to collect, analyze and classify all activities surrounding your construction content no matter where it’s stored. Egnyte Connect gives you universal control over your content without regard to where and with which app it is created, accessed, edited, or shared. With Egnyte Connect, firms can safely replicate manual workflow with a digital workflow using apps and devices already in use.

There are additional challenges to digital workflow.  Cost, employee training and education requirements, the need for sophisticated and expensive IT support, and lack of integration between these exciting new tools are limiting the use of fairly simple to use construction apps that have been proven to substantially accelerate project delivery and increase project team efficiency.

Egnyte’s open architecture aims at eliminating the complexity of using technology. Creating an intuitive, cost-effective solution that lessens complexity and can show return on investment is our goal. Creating a seamless workflow that eliminates silos of data and adapts to the unique project requirements in construction is available now, from Egnyte.  

If you are joining us at the  98th Annual AGC Convention , stop by Lounge 3 to ask Egnyte’s workflow experts if we can help out with some of those slow manual processes in your current workflow. You can also enter a drawing to win a brand new Phantom DJI drone!

We hope to see you there!