Plug Construction Apps into a Central Environment with Egnyte
Construction, like any industry, relies on software throughout all phases of a project. From inception to completion, a plethora of programs come into play to facilitate each task at hand. The unfortunate part of having so many applications working side by side is that they treat the data the same way—side by side, in their own silos. Very often, data produced by these applications moves and morphs into the next phase—a bid becoming the basis for a contract, for example. It no longer becomes a question of how the data is accessed, but where.
Egnyte’s secure governance solution allows today’s popular construction applications to plug into a central, secure common data environment in a way that not only protects the data (the lifeblood of the project), it preserves the single source of truth so that team members are only working with the latest versions at all times. From design changes, to drone images and 3D scans, rework is seriously reduced because files in a central, secure repository are accessed from anywhere, from any device—even in low or slow bandwidth areas like remote job sites.
Let’s take a high-level walk through the phases of construction and see what that might look like on a typical project, understanding that throughout all phases, typical correspondence tools like Microsoft 365, Google Workplace, Zoom, and Slack play key roles throughout and integrate into Egnyte as well.
Three activities make up the pre-construction phase: opportunity, design and bid. Here’s how each activity breaks down:
All successful construction companies maintain a healthy pipeline of business. If there is nothing in the pipeline, then there is no business. It’s that simple. In order to build this pipeline, or backlog, the business development team gets busy with research data, pitch documents, and all activity that keeps their finger on the pulse of the construction landscape where they can best serve.
At this stage, the applications tools at their disposal would range from general administrative software like Microsoft 365, Google Workplace, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Slack to CRM tools like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. Of course, construction-specific tools like Bluebeam and Procore also play a role at this stage.
Egnyte integrates the data from these and other applications in a protected centralized repository where files could be marked for offline access. Additionally, a powerful metadata search capability also allows for easy location of files. The admin staff can also create project folders at this stage, integrating basic project details like start and end dates.
At the outset of the collaboration with the project, the engineering team manifests the vision by using a variety of applications like Autodesk BIM360, Navisworks, and Revit for new builds, as well as other sophisticated tools like Faro Scene when taking deep dive 3D scans for revitalization projects.
This is an exciting stage with a flurry of correspondence flying back and forth, along with innumerable meetings to review and stay on track. Of course, tools like Bluebeam experience increased use for clash detection and edits, and all of the previously mentioned administrative tools continue to serve throughout this process as well.
Egnyte’s role becomes increasingly more important here as large files need to be accessed quickly and the latest needs to be available at all times. Where large scans are concerned that can be a challenge when they can often take place in low, slow or even non-existent bandwidth areas.
This is where offline access is critical—where the scans are stored on a local drive, then sync’d to the cloud once that drive is within range. Egnyte also constantly analyzes user behavior to keep the information in the right hands at all times—a critical requirement at this stage of a project.
Once the design has been approved, it’s time to reach out to the supply chain for quotes. Applications like Procore, SmartBid, and Pype have built-in features to simplify this process, while Bluebeam Revu plays a key role in preparing the bid documents. Signature applications like DocuSign, AdobeSign or SignNow are introduced at this stage to deal with any changes.
Egnyte ties all of these together with the use of share links - direct links to the bid documents that the subcontractors use to formulate their bids - and upload links - links sent to the supply chain inviting them to drop their bids in a specific folder. The upload links can also include expiration dates so that bids cannot be accepted after the deadline. This puts an end to the exhaustive searches through inboxes to make sure every last bid has been received. Again, all data lives within the same folder structure accessed by all the applications.
The team has been identified and it’s time to get the contracts signed. The estimating team has done its job and can now hand off to the executive and project management teams. In addition to the applications mentioned in the Bid stage, signature applications - DocuSign, AdobeSign, SignNow - can also be used to send and validate the contracts. Any analytics information collected at the Opportunity stage from applications like Microsoft Power BI can now be incorporated to start tracking stats as the project moves into the next phase.
Egnyte’s ability to apply granular permissions means that the visibility now switches to all stakeholders needing access to the new project data. The data stays securely in place in the pre-established project folders, it now has a new audience.
Construction (Project Management)
When the project is in full swing, the level activity moves to more job-specific tasks like field drawings, reporting, safety, clash detection, scanning, drone images, videos - the list can seem endless at times. Applications like Bluebeam, Procore, Autodesk (PlanGrid, BIM 360, etc), StructionSite, Drone Deploy and Faro take center stage and are doing much of the heavy lifting to bring the project to completion.
Egnyte’s integration to these applications is crucial at this stage as it keeps the data secure and current while working in each applications’ respective native environments. Regardless of the connectivity on the jobsite, Egnyte also keeps the field and head office connected thereby minimizing rework and keeping the workflow steady with little to no downtime waiting for uploads or downloads.
Arguably the most sensitive part of the process, the retention held back at the beginning of the project is not paid out until the punch list is complete and all documentation has been handed over to prove reasonable completion. Despite straightforward expectations, it is not uncommon to see final payment go unfulfilled. Applications like Pype, Raken, StructionSite, DroneDeploy, Procore, and SmartVid IO play important roles in helping subcontractors keep track of and produce all necessary documentation to release the final payment.
Egnyte’s integration into these applications is enhanced by its ability to apply bespoke document retention policies as well as legal holds. The metadata search also facilitates and supports these integrations by finding any “strays” that also may be crucial for closeout. In gathering external documentation, like O&M documents for example, the same upload links used in the bidding phase can be used here to request data from the supply chain, again necessary for closeout. Finally, since everything lives in its own project folder structure, the overall ease of locating closeout documents increases exponentially.
Throughout the process, Egnyte teams up with powerful construction applications and gets the job done.
To learn more about different applications that integrate with Egnyte check out our democasts:
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