Leveraging cloud technology for enhanced construction ROI.

As technology continues to reshape the landscape of industries worldwide, the construction sector stands at the forefront of innovation. Embracing digital transformation is no longer a luxury but a necessity for companies seeking to remain competitive in today’s dynamic market. At the heart of this evolution lies the seamless integration of cloud-based solutions, empowering businesses to streamline operations, enhance collaboration, and drive productivity.  

Cloud innovations have already revolutionised the way construction businesses communicate, share data, and collaborate on projects. With an evident shift away from traditional labour-intensive methods, construction companies are now prioritising cloud platforms to improve collaboration and efficiency. According to Gartner, more than 70 percent of enterprises are expected to use industry cloud platforms to accelerate their business initiatives by 2027.  

To drive the optimal value of their technology investments, construction companies must select the latest cloud solutions that can deliver maximum return on investment (ROI), providing benefits such as enhanced scalability, bolstered security, and improved accessibility. For instance, cloud workplaces can be used to quickly and efficiently provide crucial software for tasks ranging from tendering and awarding contracts to Building Information Modelling (BIM) and making it centrally accessible. By enabling real-time collaboration among stakeholders, improving document management, and enhancing communication channels between teams; cloud services can reduce project timelines, and operational costs while improving overall efficiency. 

Dominik Birgelen is CEO of oneclick AG.
Dominik Birgelen, CEO of oneclick AG.

Key benefits of cloud in the construction sector  

1) Boosting productivity  

Cloud solutions can support construction companies by helping them improve project operations, timelines, and workflows. Construction operators traditionally utilise manual processes and physical documents which inevitably result in the formation of data silos and inefficient communication between project stakeholders. According to Statista, only 37.4 percent of the total construction operators worldwide utilise software to enhance communication and coordination with stakeholders. Cloud platforms can help address this issue by enabling real-time sharing and access to project data, fostering collaboration, and enhancing decision-making processes.  

2) Improving efficiency  

Providing a unified hub for storing and accessing project data, cloud solutions ensure that all project stakeholders can access the latest information in a secure and convenient manner. Furthermore, cloud-based project management tools facilitate efficient scheduling and resource allocation, optimising labour, equipment, and materials utility. Cloud platforms also provide real-time updates and notifications which enable project managers to make timely adjustments, reducing downtime and maximising efficiency.  

3) Facilitating remote work 

In an industry where mobility and flexibility are a necessity, remote work is a crucial element of success. Solutions that enable access from any device via a simple browser and ensure seamless connectivity even in remote locations with varying bandwidths are essential to the industry. The ability to provide even powerful GPU workstations in the cloud for complex renderings that enable seamless work with 3D models, BIM and visualisations, empowers employees, boosting employee satisfaction and retention. Furthermore, the integration of graphics cards increases productivity and speeds up project turnaround times, giving construction companies a competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving market.  

4) Unlocking cost savings  

As costs for resources continue to surge, cloud innovations offer construction companies the opportunity to reduce both hardware and software expenses. The scalability provided by cutting-edge cloud solutions allows construction companies to scale resources up or down based on project requirements. By eliminating the need for extensive on-site infrastructure, significant capital investments can be saved, allowing construction businesses to drive cost savings and generate maximum ROI. Additionally, companies can also leverage pay-as-you-go models to optimise their costs based on their usage.   

The need for cloud security  

Data security is a top priority in the construction industry, where both intellectual property and sensitive information are constantly at risk. While cloud solutions provide numerous benefits for construction companies, they must be implemented in combination with appropriate security measures. Construction companies deal with vast amounts of sensitive data such as financial details and architectural plans. Given the number of different stakeholders collaborating both internally and externally, ensuring cloud security becomes necessary to prevent unauthorised access.  

According to a government survey, construction businesses are among the most likely to fall victim to cyber-facilitated fraud. Meanwhile, Gartner predicts that nearly 30 percent of critical infrastructure organisations will experience a security breach by 2025 that will result in the halting of operations or disruption in mission-critical cyber-physical systems.  

As the risk of cybersecurity threats and attacks increases, general security measures such as antivirus software, and standard password protection are not enough. Construction companies must bolster their digital infrastructure by using advanced cloud security solutions that can help them safeguard sensitive data from ransomware, unauthorised access, and data breaches. Unforeseen disruptions, such as natural disasters and system failures can also significantly impact the business continuity of construction companies. It is crucial to have disaster recovery plans and automated backups in place to help mitigate financial losses and reduce downtime. 

Experienced cloud providers can enhance security across the construction supply chain by ensuring that data never leaves the designated hosting location even if users access it from anywhere. It is also crucial for construction businesses to implement solutions based on zero-trust security architectures. This allows them to authenticate users and continuously monitor user activity and trust status. 

It is vital that the chosen solution employs state-of-the-art encryption and access controls to ensure data integrity. The right cloud solution should also include redundant systems with tested backup and recovery strategies, enabling construction businesses to benefit from guaranteed stability and security across critical processes.  

Looking at the year ahead  

As the focus on sustainability continues to grow, the construction industry is likely to see a significant emphasis on eco-friendly practices in 2024. The industry can benefit from cloud innovations to reduce its carbon footprint and play its role in helping the UK achieve net zero. Cloud technology innovations like green cloud computing and green software can provide construction companies with the resources needed to optimise operations, improve efficiency, and effectively transition towards a circular economy. More construction companies are recognising the benefit of migrating on-premises operations to a cloud environment to achieve their net zero targets and sustainability goals.  

By harnessing renewable energy sources, sustainable cloud computing can play a crucial role in reducing carbon footprints, positively impacting construction businesses and their operations. Furthermore, by adopting efficient processes and minimising hardware utility for workloads, cloud vendors can conserve more electricity and offset carbon.  

 Ultimately, the role of cloud computing is only set to become more important. Those who implement the technology wisely can reap multiple benefits, from cost savings and enhanced efficiency to bolstered security and reduced carbon footprint.  

 By Dominik Birgelen

For a list of the sources used in this article, please contact the editor.   

Dominik Birgelen is CEO of oneclick AG. With headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, and an innovation motor in Traunstein, Germany, oneclick AG is specialised in the development and operation of a cloud platform for the automated and secure deployment of digital workspaces. The oneclick™ Cloud Platform is the easiest, fastest and safest way to provision all business applications and data and connect users with it.