Is cloud computing the answer for construction companies struggling through the economic downturn?

Miree Le Roy - Thursday, November 17, 2011
There’s no denying the economy is struggling.  The ripple effects of the 2008 ‘Global Financial Crisis’ are still being felt across the world, worse in some places, but still being felt all the same. Australia hasn’t been quite as hard hit as our European and North American counterparts, but there is still a noticeably sluggish feel to the economy compared to the boom years of 5 – 10 years ago.

One of the sectors that has seen a slump all over the world is construction, and with a slump comes reduced profits, and ultimately less confidence in ‘expensive’ investments such as new software.

But software could actually be a smart investment during a downturn. As John Chaney pointed out in the CFMA’s May/June issue of Building Profits, in previous economic downturns the contractors who have emerged stronger from recessions are those who have embraced new technologies.

Cloud computing is one such new technology that is becoming a buzz in the IT industry. And, according to Joe McKendrick of Forbes, in the present economic climate cloud computing makes sense. Cloud computing is essentially like renting a house.  You pay a monthly fee to use the software housed on someone else’s servers, and the fee is calculated on a per user basis, so you only pay for what you need.

This means less upfront costs for your own infrastructure and more flexibility and innovation to customise software. Updates and maintenance are also taken care of by the software provider, and the data is backed up and safe in the event of a natural disaster or power outage at your office.

Cloud computing is paving the way for small business start ups and larger companies to test new innovations without a large capital investment and long term commitment. Through developments in cloud computing, construction companies are able to, in the middle of a downturn, invest in new software to help streamline processes and save money. And this is exactly the kind of innovation and forward thinking needed to steer construction companies through the current economic downturn and come out stronger at the other end.

If you’d like to know more about the cloud version of IPM’s project management software, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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