Cloud-based software solutions aim to increase productivity
by Jason Krankota
Historically, the construction industry has been one of
the slowest to adopt new technology. But that is
changing as software entrepreneurs turn their
attention to the needs of the deskless workforce. The ubiquity
of mobile devices, powerful cloud computing, 5G, and the
Internet of Things (IoT) are all making it possible to put
robust technology into the hands of deskless staff, including
The venture capital industry has taken notice—funding for
construction technology has seen a steady uptick since 2013.
Deployed strategically, new tools can help construction teams
resolve many challenges, including:
Revenue, Risk, Resilience, and Retention
Accounting standards and cash flow
Revenue recognition is always top of mind in the industry.
For the past several years, the Construction Financial
Management Association (CFMA) has sought to ensure that
the new Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) rules
around revenue recognition are favorable—or at least not
punitive—toward the construction industry. As these new
rules are implemented, firms will need to refine strategies for
how to bill against contracts and tie revenue to either a
percentage of completion or work-in-progress schedules.
Mobile technologies that expedite communication between
the office and the field can also help speed the flow of
information and serve as key components in each firm’s
enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
Tablets and handheld phones let field staff capture data and
send it back to the office electronically. GPS-enabled time
cards can record employee work hours and location on a
42 SEPTEMBER 2019 | Ci | www.concreteinternational.com
mobile phone. IoT devices can measure equipment run time.
Cash management is probably the biggest challenge at any
construction company, and effective work-in-progress (WIP)
schedule management is critical. Key to the challenge is
coordinating between the subcontractor to confirm that a job
is complete, the project manager to verify completion, and the
accounting department to bill the owner and sync everything
with the WIP schedule. This is also an area where drones and
mobile apps can increase the speed and accuracy of data
delivery to finance.
A firm’s finance staff also needs flexibility and precision
control over making and timing payments. With cloud-based
payment-automation software, a project manager sitting in a
truck can review a payment file, prioritize subcontractor
payment schedules, and approve payments immediately,
without having to return to the office to sign a stack of checks
and back up documentation. Subs get paid faster and the job
keeps moving forward.
Construction carries more risk, especially out on the
jobsite, than many other industries—and insurance costs are
rising. Some companies are investigating captive insurance
programs, in which multiple companies pool their assets and
fund their own risk by placing money under management so
they do not have to pay such exorbitant premiums.
Insurance companies have responded with more flexible
products to try to help companies control their costs. Before
considering a captive insurance program, companies need to
undergo a thorough assessment of their financial stability.
While an ERP system can facilitate most of that process, a