Big Data. Cloud. Mobile. While these terms are a bit ambiguous, they are having a big impact on IT departments across the country. How can an IT department create a strategy? Are in-house applications and hardware able to effectively manage the rise of Big Data and the cloud? These questions are on the minds of IT professionals in the construction industry.

Karmyn Babcock, IT director, The Weitz Co., www.weitz.com, Des Moines, Iowa, is no exception. As a full-service general contractor, design-builder, and construction management firm with office locations throughout the United States, The Weitz Co., sees big value in identifying trends associated with Big Data and the cloud.

Throughout the past year, Weitz has spent significant effort transforming its systems from a somewhat antiquated application set into tools that embrace what the cloud has to offer, helping employees leverage technology in the field.

Like so many construction companies today, The Weitz Company needed a more effective way to collaborate on model development. Combining Box, www.box.com, Los Altos, Calif., and Tekla BIMsight from Trimble, www.trimble.com, Sunnyvale, Calif., allowed the construction company to create a platform for realtime updates of trade, designer, and coordination models to be self managed by each responsible team member. The cloud enables this file-distribution process.

The use of the cloud is growing too and will be adopted for unique reasons going forward. IDC, www.idc.com, Framingham, Mass., forecasts public IT cloud services spending will continue to grow significantly in the next five years, but here is an interesting twist from its recent predictions: the focus and driver for adoption will move away from economics to innovation.

The analyst firm foresees a shift where scale of cloud will not only grow bigger, but will also be more user and solution driven. In this phase, other areas, including mobile, social, and Big Data, will become more interdependent as they continue to drive growth and innovation across all industries.

For The Weitz Co., the use of the cloud and associated technologies has increased productivity and the ability to meet the schedule without the addition of management cost. Babcock also estimates the new systems have reduced overhead costs for IT by 20%.

At the upcoming Constructech Technology Day event, being held on October 4 in Santa Clara, Calif., Babcock will discuss the current state of technology in the enterprise space including competition between core business applications, disruptive technologies, and fringe offerings. She will also identify the benefits associated with adopting cloud-based, “consumerized” applications, ultimately leading a discussion that will help IT leaders realize how they can help guide the innovation process.

As Big Data and the cloud continue to have a greater presence in the construction industry, IT professionals are faced with answering some tough questions regarding not only the future of technology, but also the future of how business will be done on construction projects.