Information Technology in Construction
David Talks ConTech
Information Technology in Construction – Internal vs. Outsourced
Information Technology (IT) has become a staple of any business since the invention of the personal computer. The construction industry’s increased adoption of software has made IT support even more necessary. However, there is more than one way to approach fulfilling a company’s IT needs.
This article will expose readers to different IT options and highlight what to consider before signing a contract with a service provider or hiring an employee. Spoiler Alert: there are pros and cons for each strategy.
Internal Information Technology
Traditionally, IT is responsible for setting up and maintaining network components like servers, firewalls, computers, printers, and other devices. IT departments are not uncommon in our industry, especially in well-established or large construction companies. However, a company’s IT department is only successful if they have a mission and strategy for their technology and staff. When we work with clients that have an understaffed department, it is not uncommon for them to be too busy with everyday tasks, neglecting their need for developing a well-thought and documented technology strategy.
Many of the modern technology software programs are Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. These are hosted by the technology company instead of the user. The growth and adoption of these tools are reducing many companies’ need for a robust internal IT department. Still, IT is not obsolete because companies need staff to support end users and leadership that can develop and execute a technology strategy.
Outsourcing Information Technology
Outsourcing support and infrastructure development is also common, primarily among younger or smaller companies. This method is often more cost-effective because there is no need to hire and provide benefits for full-time staff. Outsourcing also provides companies access to talented IT professionals, which may be a challenge, depending on their local market. In addition to these benefits, a company’s staff can increase their focus on the business rather than diluting it with day-to-day IT tasks. However, companies may receive lesser quality service because their outsourcing firm will most likely not specialize in serving construction companies. Plus, multiple companies will compete for their time.
Every company has different goals and methods for managing their technology. However, this article is meant to provide information that may have never been considered by construction business leaders. It is important to properly develop a technology strategy and adequately fund and staff this effort according to company goals. We have worked with clients that have achieved success and some that have achieved dysfunction with internal, outsourced, and hybrid (internal leadership and outsourced end-user support) personnel. Success heavily depends on the organization’s needs and goals and their approach to leveraging IT staff.
Joining JBKnowledge’s consulting division after graduating from Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, David started as a coordinator, then a project manager, then to a consultant. He has cultivated a formula for realizing the best solution for each company using analysis, goals with tangible results, and nurturing ongoing relationships.