JRVsystems knows construction IT
JRVsystems' founder, Jeff Vandervoort, is a registered architect, and practiced architecture for years before transitioning to IT. In the mid 1980s, ahead of most, he grasped the huge potential for automation of architectural services, designing and implementing a managed computer system for his then-employer, a prominent Houston architecture firm. He inspired the entire company to become computer users, most for the first time. He developed several custom applications, one of which garnered international recognition in the Windows World Open, Microsoft's annual custom application competition, against entries from teams of developers from global companies.
In 1998, after leading IT there as Director of Information Systems for 11 years, Jeff founded JRVsystems, specializing in AEC IT, with clients ranging from 4-employee architecture firms to 250-employee general contractors.
JRVsystems knows construction IT.
Construction IT: Nowhere to go but up
Gartner Research reports that among 15 industries studied, construction ranks last in IT spending: just 1.6% of annual revenue for companies with approximately $250 million revenue. The average across these 15 industries for companies this size was 5.04%.
It is hardly controversial that it is risky to operate computers and software for too long. Windows XP users, for example, will be sitting ducks for malware when Microsoft extended support expires soon. And how much downtime will you have when that ancient file server you've put off replacing gives out?
But more than just risking data and operations when something goes wrong, you take a hit in productivity using old technology, even while everything's working to the best of its limited ability. Analyzing Gartner's report for their 3 December 2012 issue, Engineering News-Record says the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has determined that 70% of US productivity growth is attributable to IT.
In the article, ENR says, "Gartner reports that 30% of net income is affected by IT economies of scale, so technologies optimized across the workforce may also improve profitability." Do you have standardized configurations using equipment designed for enterprises? Including tablets and smartphones? Are your systems designed so a computer can be put in production in minutes, simply by connecting it to the network? If you have a problem with a computer, can a computer be replaced and have the user log on and find everything just as they left it on the old computer? Can a computer be wiped and set up automatically by a user, self-service, without IT involvement or any special knowledge on the user's part? Are you using tablets and smartphones, for your mobile workforce, especially superintendents? Are those devices are managed centrally like your computers, raising productivity and reducing down time and cost of ownership? Does your email system do little more than email, or does it facilitate collaboration across your company? Does it book conference rooms and equipment for meetings? Does it alert you before you send an email that the recipient is out of the office or that an attachment is too large? Do field personnel have access to all of the corporate resources that would be useful to them, and none that would be dangerous to expose on a job site? Can your employees work from home? What would happen to your business if we had another Hurricane Ike, your building was damaged, and power was out for 3 weeks?
Mainstream technologies exist to enable a 'yes' answer for every one of those questions. Much of it has existed for years, some has only been possible recently. If the answer isn't yes to most of these questions, you're underinvesting. If your answer isn't yes to all of these questions, you're leaving money on the table.
How does your company compare to the average contractor's IT spending at 1.6% of revenue? To the average company at 5.04%? How much profit are you burning by underinvestment in IT? How much competitive advantage are you giving up?
Gartner's data shows there's nowhere to go but up in construction IT. As far behind the technology curve as most AECs are, even the low-cost, high-return, low-hanging fruit still waits to be picked.
So, one last question: