On Center Software
8708 Technology Forest Pl. Suite 175
The Woodlands, Texas 77381

Cecilia Padilla, president, On Center Software, www.oncenter.com, The Woodlands, Texas, talks about how the natural evolution of technology will impact the construction industry.

Constructech: What factors are driving contractors to invest in technology?

Padilla: One of the main drivers is the need for a single source of data. We talk about ‘one truth’ at On Center: everyone on the project being on the same page—pun intended. When the main office receives a change order from the architect, they have to invest the time to incorporate those changes into their current set of plans. If the field doesn’t do the same thing, however, there is a risk of building the wrong scope of work.

The key is to have the office and the field communicating and that requires having access to the same version of the documents at the same time. This radically reduces the possibility of errors. This is reflective of data that we found when we conducted our own 2015 construction technology survey: 31% of the industry plans on moving to the cloud, but over 75% have delineated a scenario that only the cloud can provide: a single source for all data. Technically this means an additional 40% of the industry wants the collaborative technology of the cloud, but doesn’t realize it yet.

Constructech: What piece of advice would you give to contractors as they are looking to invest in technology?

Padilla: Just like anything else spend the time to do your own research. Make sure that technology integration into your business solves your pain points. If you do this your investment can be quantified. I have been a participant and an observer in construction technology, helping shape technology changes through the solutions marketed by On Center, then analyzing their impact on the market. We found some common issues that should be familiar to contractors, which may help guide a decision. For example, the issue of errors, based on unreliable or inadequate communication and collaboration systems between the field and the office has been frequently reported. Also, any system used to document construction projects and communicate changes utilizing a variety of media and platforms creates problems. Look at where you are having issues and match them up with a solution that resolves them. Look for a technology partner that has a history of providing reliable solutions.

Constructech: How will the surge of next gen tech impact construction?

Padilla: I would not call our current environment a “surge.” What’s happening today is a natural evolution of construction technology, which has existed in one form or another for a couple of decades. And our evolution, specifically a movement to cloud-based technologies, mirrors what has happened in many other industries that have evolved organically.

From our own research we know that construction jobs in general have become increasingly more complicated as the industry now has the tools to bring more dreams into reality.