Construction technology trends seem to come and go at times, but the need to stay lean and mean never goes away. For large public and private owners, the need for technology to streamline design, engineering, and construction has never been more apparent. Across all markets, a trend is developing around using technology in new ways at the owner level.

Take an industry like financial, for example, which is experiencing enormous pressure to maximize efficiencies while keeping a close eye on cost control. For example, it was recently announced that Amegy Bank of Texas, www.amegybank.com, Houston, Texas, is undertaking a new initiative aimed at improving the way it automates real estate and facility data. Using technology from FM: Systems, www.fmsystems.com, Raleigh, N.C., Amegy Bank hopes to provide better tracking for space utilization as one of its objectives for facilities maintenance.

The use of such technology is nothing new to Amegy Bank, which has been using space-management solutions for more than a decade. But as the facilities program grew, so too did its need to manage its space requirements more effectively. Part of the announcement made this past week involves taking much of the processes that were previously manual and automating them using FM: Systems.

While such initiatives could take a while to yield benefits for the owner, others find the payback almost immediately. So far for Amegy Bank it has experienced the latter, as the technology has saved employee time and created a more lean and streamlined department.

On another front, the Engineering Dept. for the City of Grand Rapids, Mich., www.grand-rapids.mi.us, Grand Rapids, Mich., has announced it is working with technology from Skire Inc., www.skire.com, Menlo Park, Calif. Designing and managing roughly 80 ongoing projects averaging $30 million in annual construction costs, the Engineering Dept. for the City of Grand Rapids is never short on data that needs to be controlled.

Using the Skire Unifier product, Grand Rapids hopes to improve the planning and forecasting processes for its five-year capital project plan. It also believes the technology can help strengthen its efforts around asset-management planning.

A product like Unifier can help with such efforts in that it can centralize all project information in a single repository while maintaining the transparency of individual projects required by a variety of specific users. For Grand Rapids this will come in handy for managing things like revenue and workload forecasting, timesheet tracking, and fund management, among others.

Technology is providing a base for owners to increase visibility and accountability on projects across multiple levels. Leveraging new software delivery models like cloud computing helps offset some of the cost and burden on the IT department, while maintaining a robust and cutting-edge knack for design, engineering, and construction programs. Given the value and affordability, it is no surprise at how many owners are revamping their technology systems these days.