In the information age, nothing is more valuable than data. Data is one of those tricky, intangible assets that we can’t really put a monetary value on, but we know it’s precious. We have pins and code tokens to access our money, and it’s no different with data – passwords and logins protect virtually every company’s data set in the world today.
These days, you would be crazy to hide your money under your mattress. Well it’s the same with data. In an information rich world, it’s madness storing valuable project information on an individual person’s laptop, or (and I have seen this done, believe it or not) on an external portable hard drive.
Many smaller companies may feel they can’t afford to invest in specially designed software to store their project information safely and securely, but I think the question is whether you can afford not to. Although the protection of your information against loss or (in very extreme cases) theft is one major benefit of dedicated project management software, it’s not the only one with relation to security of information. There are a number of other benefits in having your information stored securely in one place:
Future opportunities and learning from previous experiences
Everything that happens on a project can teach you something for the next one. The mistakes that were made and the things that worked well all provide good guidelines for how to tackle future projects, and whilst the very next project may not necessarily benefit from any of this data, one five years down the track might. But what if the project manager who worked on the previous project stored all his data on his own personal laptop, which was wiped when he left and handed to another staff member? All that valuable data is lost.
Easy information access in the event of claims and disputes
No one likes it, but it’s a fact of life that in construction there will sometimes be disputes. The best way to tackle these is by constantly arming yourself with every possible piece of evidence that can back up your position – emails, contracts and records of phone conversations all make up a wealth of data that can back you up in the event of a dispute, a possibly end up saving you a lot of money. And it’s no use having all this data scattered between different people on the project team, or worse, in people’s memories.
Safety from tangible threats
With developments in cloud computing and storing your data on external servers, your project information is also continually backed up and safe from more tangible threats, such as physical damage to your offices and servers through natural disasters, or blackouts and server failure.