Does the office realize what is happening in the field? All too often this is not the case with regards to construction projects, as companies still have not found a sufficient means for linking field systems with backoffice software.

When it comes to large-scale infrastructure projects, the need for timely and relevant information is very apparent. As recently reported by Constructech, infrastructure projects could be in line for another influx of activity. If that is indeed the case, construction companies will once again find themselves in need of better technology that will help them record and report data from the field.

We are already seeing the trend occur, with construction companies that work on large-scale infrastructure projects addressing the need for more consistent and reliable access to data. For example, one construction company in particular is exchanging data between project-management software and Microsoft Dynamics NAV in order to provide quick access to data while remaining in the same program environment.

This company, civil contractor Murphy Pipe and Civil Pty. Ltd., www.pipeandcivil.com.au, Albion, Queensland, made the ability to connect field workers with the home office a critical part of its recent selection of a new project-management system. Using technology from IPM Global, www.ipmglobal.net, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, the company is able to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics NAV to provide quick access to project information while staying within the same program environment. However, there were some unique challenges the company needed to overcome. Read an in-depth case study about how Murphy Pipe and Civil made the data connection more efficient.

In fact, more civil contracting and heavy/highway contractors are re-evalauting their technology solutions overall. Recently, Cold Spring Construction Co., announced a move to a hosted production and financial control software package that will help the company improve the accessibility to its data, while also layering on additional functionality that will allow users to do more with that data, such as share it with critical parts of the organization in a more streamlined manner.

As the market continues to shake out and more construction companies begin looking for the tools that will help them get the job done better, technology decisions will be at the top of the priority list. Given the influx of work that some are expecting to occur for infrastructure projects, this could be a very important area of concentration for civil and heavy/highway contractors for the foreseeable future.