Information is everywhere, and I don’t just mean that there’s a lot of it. I mean that it’s stored everywhere—in the cloud, on hard drives, on any number of other various storage devices. For example, not that long ago, my wife was searching through dozens of CDs looking for a specific photo. After a few hours of loading and unloading CDs from the computer, she eventually found it, but decided at that point to start storing all of the family photos in the cloud. She thought this move would make finding specific photos easier, but now she has to remember if the photos were saved to a photo site, posted on Facebook or Instagram, or if they’re still on the camera. While cloud computing has certainly put everything a click or touch away, remembering which application to click or touch can be just as tedious as remembering on which CD or USB drive your documents are.
One of the biggest benefits of the cloud is accessibility. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can get to all of your data, but that data may still be stored in various locations within the cloud. So rather than worrying about whether you put the files you need on a USB drive or CD, and where they are located, you have to remember if your files are stored in applications such as Google Drive, Dropbox, SharePoint, etc.
In the construction industry, knowing where your data and documents are plays an important role in the success of any project, and ultimately any business. Having a good document management system with plans and specifications all in one place means your project team has the most recent information. Centralized document repositories such as FTP sites, SharePoint and Dropbox have been around for a number of years, but project team adoption and document control have created roadblocks. Often times, team members may not use a particular application or documents may be stored in various locations in order to control access and editing.
Centralized Documents and Construction Software
Fortunately, the market has listened, and software developers are providing tools to help contractors share and control access to documents—I know, because I’m one of them. Not only do these applications provide universal access to documents in the cloud, they provide users with the ability to control who can see and edit specific documents. With all of your project documents in one location, your teams not only have the most recent information at their fingertips, they’ll spend less time searching through folders and applications, giving them more time to do their jobs and after work, if they’re like my family, posting photos of their dogs and kids on Facebook.
How do you keep your documents centralized?