We’ve all heard the expression ‘a bad workman blames his tools’ and you’ve also probably bit your lip rather than responding with your true feelings! That’s because we also know that without the right tools for the job, it’s practically impossible to see the best results for both your customers and business alike.
You would find it much harder to build a fence without a hammer and, in the same way, it’s more difficult to build a bigger construction company without the right IT tools and software supporting your business processes.
Construction Technology is at the heart of the industry. From hardware such as aerial drones for surveying and technical 3D printing software, right through to more traditional elements like mobile devices and cloud platforms to store your emails and documents – all are designed to make the management of your business easier compared to past methods.
So which are the right IT tools for my construction business?
Understanding the answer to this question is the first step in a successful IT strategy. A full audit and review of your existing IT hardware is a good place to start. This is because from here, any gaps in your existing IT setup can be identified.
For example, if you’re running outdated software on your office computers then it’s likely you’re leaving yourself open to security risks. Or alternatively, if your server is old enough to be classed as a listed building, then it’s possible you could lose some of your critical data.
Next, ensuring your business has a fast, reliable internet connection is key, whether you’re at head office or out on site. There are many ways we can provide a professional business broadband connection wherever you’re working, such as a leased line or satellite connection or by utilising 5G. Making sure your connectivity is reliable can save your business time and money in the long term, by ensuring outages and costly downtime are avoided.
The next step is to make sure you have the right applications available to help your construction business to operate effectively. We can advise on and provide all of your essential software and application requirements – including Office 365, Job Management Software and Mobile Device Management.
Once your business has the IT foundation laid to succeed, what next? It’s important to ensure you have support available to resolve any IT issues quickly. This is where a specialist IT Support provider, that is an expert in providing support for construction companies will help. At Curveball Solutions, our IT experts are on hand to provide support, responding remotely and quickly to any support requests.
Understanding the IT problems construction companies face
Your IT Support company should be demonstrating that they understand the specific challenges you face in your industry, along with the fundamentals of an IT Support plan which all businesses should expect as part of their monthly service.
There are several areas where busy construction businesses can face issues, including:
Unexpected or fluctuating IT costs
There are more pressures than ever on your business cash flow. Whether it’s your raw material costs, fuel expenses or a shrinking customer base due to wider market pressures, an unexpected software bill or IT upgrade can really leave you feeling frustrated. If the worst happens and disaster strikes, recovering your critical data can also be an expensive exercise.
With an effective IT Support plan, you can manage these costs monthly, and your IT company can also help you access the best price for any new hardware you need.
Too much IT downtime
When you’re serving customers daily, it can be hard to treat those common IT problems with the priority they need. Even if your emails have gone down, there are usually ten phone calls also demanding your immediate attention. A professional IT company should be on hand to access your computer workstation or mobile device remotely to get you reconnected fast. It’s no longer the case that you need to be on hand to be walked through your IT fix over the phone – your IT company can often crack on in the background whilst you work.
Multiple IT service providers
One of the most stressful parts of managing your IT can be the fact that the associated services are disjointed, with multiple service providers delivering different elements such as your IT Support and Security, Telecoms, Mobile and Connectivity.
Life is easier when working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) as your IT, Communications and even Utilities services are managed by the same company -with one point of contact delivering multiple services your business simplifies admin, saves time and avoids complications.
There is also value in making sure the left arm is talking to the right! By taking a 360-degree approach to elements like your day-to-day support, data backup and mobile device management, your IT company can really make sure they’re delivering the best results for your business.
What IT support does my construction company need?
For construction companies of all shapes and sizes, remote IT support is the backbone of keeping on top of any IT challenges that crop up intermittently. This is because it provides the best route to resolve any technical issues which result in common problems such as loss of email connectivity or access to specific work laptops or mobiles.
In addition to this there are also some more specific IT support services which are particularly important to construction companies:
Remote IT Support
As mentioned above this is the core of any service, however all remote IT Support is not equal! It’s possible to provide 24-hour remote system monitoring across all your mission-critical IT systems to identify and resolve any potential problems before they can escalate and impact your IT performance. Whether you feel like your existing provider is leaving you wanting with slow response times, is charging you extra for additional support requests or you simply need extra support for your IT team during busy periods, a Curveball Solutions IT Support package can solve your problems.
Ransomware attacks are a growing problem for construction companies, particularly if you work on larger-scale developments or government contracts across the country – so investing in adaptive IT Security to prevent malicious activity is a must! However, a good IT Support provider will include this as part of their service.
Remote IT Support is particularly important if you’re working in dangerous areas on building sites or if you have offices across the UK, changing locations as you move from project to project.
If you frequently move from site to site, we can also support you with procuring robust IT hardware, plus any necessary hardware protection.
It’s important to remember that a good IT company is only remote in the sense that they don’t need to be on-site to fix any issues. They should still be on hand with unlimited phone and email support to keep you in the loop or to organise any work required on-site.
It’s easy to overlook the traditional telephone call when you think about your IT, but even this will be 100% digital from 2025 due to the planned ISDN switch off. Although this is mandatory, the good news is that there are significant benefits to your construction company when moving over to a digital setup for your telephone lines.
Certain types of digital phone lines, such as SIP trunks, have no physical landline connection associated with them. This means that a traditional landline number can be linked to a work mobile device and managed across multiple locations or even when working on-site.
Moving to a cloud-based phone system can help you save money on your telecom bill, given that internet-based phone calling software such as 3CX is cheaper to run for your daily phone operations.
Business Broadband, Connectivity & 5G Internet
With both your computers and phone lines running via the internet, it’s even more important than ever that you have reliable and fast business broadband. If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed your connectivity, then it’s very likely that improvements to your current solution and be made, whether this is a quicker connection or lower monthly costs.
If you’re only based on a site for a short period of time, mobile 5G broadband is the perfect way to get your site office online quickly and cost-effectively too. Mobile routers are much more reliable since being upgraded to the 5G network, providing you with more uptime based on a stronger, quicker connection.
Mobile Device Management (MDM)
More and more construction companies are taking a mobile-first approach to how they structure their business communications. Therefore, providing all of your active team members with mobile devices, Mobile Device Management is an essential part of your IT strategy.
Using MDM software, it’s possible to remotely manage the setup of devices such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones on both Android and Apple. This includes installing the relevant apps your staff need to hit the ground running – from emails to automated backups and device security scanning. It’s also possible to set permissions around what users can access, blocking social media apps and websites for example.
Once up and running, it is also possible to access all your mobile devices remotely to monitor usage or fix any day-to-day problems which may arise over time.
Vehicle Tracking & Cameras
Your vehicle fleet is one of your most important business assets for day-to-day operations, so it’s important that you protect them from both criminal intent, such as theft and damage, but also wider misuse. Vehicle cameras can help protect you from these risks and also provide additional safety for your team members if they are working alone or in situations where they may be vulnerable.
Vehicle tracking software can also be installed across your entire fleet, allowing you to view all your vehicle locations at any time. This can also include additional information like travel speeds and route planning to help staff members travel directly to site.
So how do I build an effective IT plan?
As with all good construction projects, it’s important to start with a strong foundation and a well thought out plan. We offer a Free IT Health Check which is designed to highlight any vulnerabilities within your existing setup and identify the right technology solutions to support your business operations and success.