4 Advantages You Gain When Buying a Cloud-Based Document Management System
January 26, 2021
Managing a successful build means successfully managing the mountain of construction documents that goes with it. It can get complicated very quickly, especially when working on high-level projects that generate a lot of data. The solution? Cloud-based document management.
With construction historically being a paper-based industry, it might seem an unusual shift to go from unrolling large blueprints on a table to simply clicking a button to access those same plans on a computer screen. But there are distinct and considerable advantages to managing your documents “up there” in the cloud.
Improved access to and control of data and documents
Think of how many times project team members couldn’t locate the latest version of a document because it was hiding in someone’s email inbox, USB drive, desktop or file cabinet, not to mention change orders that went unfulfilled because those who were to do the work didn’t know about it. These challenges only serve to hinder work output and create unnecessary delays. You can end this kind of disorganization by storing all of your project-specific emails, drawings, change orders, contracts, RFIs, blueprints and document comments in the cloud. In addition, investing in a cloud-based document management system gives your project team on-demand access — from any device with an internet connection — to the items they need, when they need them, to keep all phases of the project on track.
Naturally, not everyone on your project team needs full access to all files. There will be certain sensitive or proprietary documents for which you will want to limit accessibility. You can do that, even assigning markup permissions versus simply viewing permissions. Document modification tracking in the cloud is another helpful option that creates a digital trail of who worked on which file, when, and what changes were made.
The benefits of cloud-based document access also go beyond the actual construction phase. Post-build, it enables facilities crews and contractors to easily find and share documents to carry out any regular maintenance, emergency repairs and future alterations.
Increased document safety, security and backup
With such vastly improved access, you might wonder if cloud storage jeopardizes the safety and security of your documents and data. It’s a valid concern. Believe it or not, your project information is likely far safer in the cloud than in a paper-based environment. Here’s why.
For one thing, there’s no risk of document loss, theft or misplacement, and no danger of damage to files from physical vandalism, extreme weather or natural disasters. Further, if you tend to work on files housed on a computer hard drive, frequent backups to the cloud ensure you can retrieve those synced files should you experience a hardware problem that might otherwise compromise them.
Your next question might be if all that sensitive data and documentation is at risk of being hacked? Fortunately, with cloud services using more and more advanced encryption and firewall devices, these threats have become greatly reduced. Plus, the nature of cloud protection being innately more sophisticated than onsite-managed computer security also helps.
Substantial cost and time savings
Have you ever felt like you were on a perpetual “paper chase” hunting down elusive hard copy or spreadsheet files? Frustrating, right? Think of it another way. That paper chase you’re on is not only frustrating, but also equals wasted time. But with cloud-based document management software, you get to reclaim precious time you would have otherwise spent on repetitive document search and rescue missions.
You will also remove the monetary outlay for physical storage of the piles of paperwork larger projects generate. And you reduce the costs for maintaining local servers that would have housed digital files that commonly to consume hundreds of gigabytes of space.
As an added bonus, your IT staff will be freed up from servicing software updates, operating as tech support and maintaining licensing because your cloud software provider does all of this with their own equipment and IT teams.
Construction is an exercise in constant collaboration. Cloud-based document management software has streamlined this process, providing everyone — craftspeople, contractors, project managers, clients — access to the same, most current “single source of truth” so they can work together more effectively. That’s a huge consideration when your projects are substantial and involve hundreds of project team members interacting with thousands of details and moving parts. Because no matter where anyone is, whether it’s in the back office or the job site or a remote location, they’re able to work on the latest versions of the same files. Edits, changes and updates are made in real time, and immediately available to those who need them. And opening up collaboration channels this way facilitates easier, faster review and decision-making on those changes, translating into higher levels of productivity.
When all is said and done, perhaps the most significant commodity that is saved by implementing a cloud-based document management system is time, which equals money. One solution designed especially for the construction industry, InEight Document, offers a user-friendly experience that streamlines document control and collaboration for improved decision-making and timely project completion. How can Document benefit you and the projects you work on? Find out by scheduling a demo to learn more.