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Why Estimators Should Commit to the Cloud for Business Continuity

The unfolding coronavirus crisis has left enterprises the world over scrambling to enact Business Continuity Plans and prepare their teams to start working from home.

Some however, are not so fortunate as to have this option. Weeks and months with no cashflow will cause significant strain for businesses, and the far-reaching consequences of this will be felt across economies and societies for years to come.

For quantity surveying and estimating, the short-term implications are fortunately not as dire as many other occupations. Professionals who still have ongoing work and are supported by cloud software solutions will find the transition to remote workflows to be quite straightforward.

This blog post explores the changing face of our industry and the growing importance of flexible and scalable infrastructure for project delivery.

A Case for the Cloud

Enterprise confidence in cloud workflows has never been higher. We’ve spoken about the value of cloud workflows for construction estimating before, and these benefits still ring true in 2020. Real-time collaboration between project stakeholders is easier than ever, with everyone able to access the same centralised platform to source information. Quantity surveyors and estimators often need to refer to old project data to inform current work, and hosted services are a great help in this regard. There’s convenience in knowing you can access this information wherever you have an Internet connection, rather than relying upon portable drives or transferring files between your office and home workspaces.

Diligent enterprises can secure their data to a very high standard with cloud workflows, while the services offered are often scalable to changes in your business size. This flexibility is important as we move forward in an uncertain business environment.

Responding to a Crisis

Most businesses have some manner of Business Continuity Plan in place, dependent on the nature of their enterprise. While technical outages, cyber-attacks and supply chain issues are relatively common risks that businesses can practically prepare for, the COVID-19 pandemic of early 2020 is something different entirely.

There’s only so much a business can do in preparing for future operations, but the short-term imperative for our industry has been shifting employees to remote working conditions. QS and estimating professions are very much deadline-driven, so many will have been well-prepared for this circumstance having worked late nights from home in the past. Despite this, there is a large volume of work involved when moving all employees offsite within a short timeframe.

Professionals might be surprised by the sheer number of programs they use daily. Cloud solutions are known to reduce IT complexity, and there is no doubt that having cloud infrastructure in place is conducive to business agility. Enterprises that have switched to working from home in recent weeks will have surely limited any productivity shortfalls by having trusted web-based workflows already in place.

Cloud Collaboration Solutions from Exactal

Here at Exactal, we are continuing to build upon our cloud capability with every passing year. Our flagship CostX® software can be deployed in the cloud via Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services, by way of technologies such as Citrix Virtual Desktop and AWS AppStream 2.0.

As for native cloud storage of drawing files, supported providers include Amazon AWS S3, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft OneDrive for Business, Dropbox and Box. CostX® also supports many options for interoperability, with CostX® files able to be merged, shared, imported and exported efficiently.

We also introduced a fully web-based platform for early-stage estimating in 2019. CostX® Benchmark supports simple and powerful conceptual estimating and benchmarking, with users able to take advantage of their historical project information to inform future analysis. With all available data coordinated on a single web platform, users can gain important insights into how their estimates compare to similar past projects.

To learn more about the cloud solutions offered by Exactal, feel free to contact your nearest office today! Many of our worldwide teams are working from home as of this publication, but we’re still open as normal and ready to help with enquiries.