Posts tagged mobile computing
Creating a Strategic Technology Plan for your Construction Company

In our last post we discussed creating a mobile security plan for your construction business. Security is only one of the topics, albeit an important one, that you need to consider when creating a strategic plan for implementing mobile technology.  In this post we’ll outline the main areas to consider when creating a strategic technology plan. You can use this outline for all of your technology initiatives, not just mobile. To help you get started, consider using the bold headlines below as a starting outline or template for your plan.

Business Goals

Start by stating your business goals and objectives. These goals are the “why” behind why you are taking a course of action. You goal shouldn’t be “install mobile technology”; it should be something more like  “Improve profits by raising productivity on the job site”. Installing technology is the means to help you accomplish the “why”.

Describe Where You Are Now

What are the problems you want to fix or the conditions you want to improve? Again, describe how they are affecting you in business terms – try to put a dollar amount on them. For example, rather than just stating  “we spend too much time correcting time sheets”, dig deeper and state the number of hours (and associated cost) that are spent correcting these records. Does this extra time cause delays in getting paid? Is the extra administrative work keeping field employees from performing billable work? How do the delays impact the production of job costs reports that owners and supervisors need to make timely decisions?

Outline Your Action Plans

List the strategies and initiatives to be taken to address the items you listed above. These may include hardware purchases (tablets or smartphones), establishment of policies (i.e. a mobile security policy), training (for both the field and the back office), and integration with various back office systems.

Include a roadmap of high level milestones for your strategic plan. For example:

  • Q1 – Draft mobile policy and identify key applications
  • Q2 – Train supervisors on device use and policies
  • Q3 – Begin mobile field reporting, etc.

Breaking your action plans down to manageable increments this way will help make sure that the project does not become overwhelming (and abandoned).

List the Benefits

Explain the positive impact these changes and investments will have on your business. How will life at your company be better once your strategies are implemented and your goals are achieved. Will you be more profitable? Will you be able to bid on more jobs, more quickly? Can you take on bigger projects without having to significantly increase your workforce?

Challenges

Every project and initiative has it’s challenges. Take some time to outline the challenges your company may face that would impede achieving your goals. Include possible solutions and contingency plans for addressing those challenges should they arise.

For example, a common challenge when implementing mobile solutions is data security. By planning for these types of risks or challenges, you can review your plan to make sure they are being addressed – i.e., do you have policies and procedures in place that address what to do when an employee loses their mobile device?

Creating a Mobile Security Plan for Your Construction Company

secured mobile deviceMobile devices and cloud computing have given construction company owners and employees the ability to be more productive than ever by providing access to the information they need, when they need it, to effectively manage their projects. The flip side of that convenience is that if a mobile device ends up in the wrong hands, someone outside of your company could also have access to anytime, anywhere access to mission-critical information and sensitive financial data.

As owner, it is important that you make sure your construction company has a strategy in place to guard against this type of risk. One of the first things you will want to consider when developing your mobile security policy is “who owns the device?”.

According to the Sage 2013 Construction Industry Technology Trends survey, 47% of construction firms allow employees to use their own devices for work purposes. This is sometime referred to as B.Y.O.D. or bring your own device. This approach lets employees leverage the benefits of mobile computing while saving the construction firm money on device hardware.

Whether or not you adopt a B.Y.O.D. approach to mobility, it is important to have security policies in place to help prevent unauthorized access to your information systems. Here are some of the topics you should consider when creating your mobile security policy:

  1. For starters, consider applying existing security policies to mobile devices (such as password length).
  2. Share your intention to publish a more formal policy at a later date.
  3. Involve your employees in developing your policies. Gain an understanding of how they use their devices so you can develop and implement policies that reduce risk without being overly restrictive, Overly restrictive policies tend to non-compliance and low moral.
  4. Create a list of approved technologies. Consider creating a list of acceptable devices and apps to help ensure employees only use technology and apps from trusted providers.
  5. Develop a security plan. Take into consideration important practices such as data wiping, password standards, and employee access levels.
  6. Publish your policy. As with all company policies, communication is key. Establish appropriate security controls, clearly explain the expectations to employees, define company rights, outline expense reimbursement, and communicate what technical support the company will provide.
  7. Enforce your security policies. Like any guidelines, without enforcement, employees will view your mobile security policy as optional (especially in a BYOD environment).

If you would like help creating your mobile security policy, or would like to discuss the best practices that other construction companies are adopting, feel free to contact us.