Construction company owners and leaders throughout Iowa face two consistent challenges when it comes to growth. The first is selecting and pursuing the right kinds of projects in a fast-changing marketplace. And the second is finding the right talent and technology to scale the company flexibly. Whether you run a general contractor, subcontractor, home builder, remodeler or other construction company, these two challenges are likely to be at the heart of your business strategy.
When it comes to the first challenge, the best advice is to specialize in markets that perhaps operate on opposing economic cycles. From a marketing and operational perspective, it’s essential to specialize -- customers are far more likely to do business with a firm who has built their specific kind of project before, and a firm who can speak the language of that market niche. On the other hand, diversification is essential to economic survival, which is why many firms are looking to pursue a combination of complementary markets.
An example might be working on multifamily housing projects while also pursuing public contracts hospital, educational and institutional work. In this case, both of these specializations offer many similarities for the firm but are generally operating on distinct economic cycles.
And then there’s the second challenge -- finding the right talent and technology. Even in the COVID-19 recession, finding talent has been hard, even when finding candidates has become somewhat easier. You need experienced personnel on your team, and since those individuals are in very short supply, it is essential to leverage their time as effectively as you can. And that means achieving greater efficiency through the use of technology wherever possible.
Managed IT (also known as the Managed Service Provider or MSP model) is the technology business framework that is best-suited to meeting this challenge head-on. Whereas traditional business IT has been managed through a variety of different methods and probably a plethora of vendors as well, managed IT replaces that ad hoc approach with a blanket agreement designed to provide all of the essentials you need to keep and leverage your technology effectively.
These include system administration, network management, security, remote monitoring, user support and uptime assurance to protect your business. Top-flight managed IT companies bring expertise in both the technology and your industry to bear, so that they understand the unique challenges of your operating environment. By taking this far more unified approach, construction companies will save money and achieve better performance out of their IT assets.
Some of the key advantages of managed IT as a growth driver for Iowa construction companies include:
Systems Knowledge and Availability
Traditionally, you’ve had two options when it comes to building an IT team. The first option has been to build your own from scratch. This has its advantages of course, especially since your hires will be totally focused on your particular IT environment. However, it also means you -- a non-IT professional -- need to recruit, assess and select candidates. And it means that you have no backup if your in-house team is unavailable or a key person makes a sudden departure.
The other option has been to get your systems set up and then only call for outside help when you have a problem (the ‘break/fix’ model). The problem here is that you’re not preventing problems -- and the people you call are not conversant with your specific IT environment. With managed IT, both of these challenges are overcome because multiple team members are briefed on your systems and everything is documented within the MSP’s operations -- while at the same time, the focus is on problem prevention, not crisis reaction.
Security and Backup
Protecting your IT infrastructure is truly essential to your business, and for that you need expert knowledge. The people who support your IT need to be aware of changes that are taking place every day in the areas of IT security, hacking, phishing, data breaches and more. Which systems are safe, and which are vulnerable? What patches need to be added to your systems today? Where are your cloud applications sharing data that could be diverted? How can you ensure that customer data, project information and accounting files are secure?
With a managed IT partner, you’re getting a team that is working in cybersecurity every day, and successfully protecting other customers from these same risks and threats. Their diversity of client responsibilities plus rigorous continuing education and recertification requirements collectively ensure that the team supporting your construction company are truly up to the task.
Mobile Access & Support
For a growth-oriented construction company, one of the most essential areas in which IT can be leveraged to enhance efficiency is in mobile access. If a job foreman can review and verify the bill of materials for today’s projects in the field and interact with the data in real time, he or she can be far more productive. Similarly, if a project coordinator can review costing data and select vendors who are able to deliver just in time to match today’s available labor, then that efficiency translates into not only time savings but also optimal utilization of your valuable talent.
To make this possible, a full-service managed IT partner will be able to advise you on system selection, hardware decisions (such as choosing between dedicated devices or bring-your-own-device), wireless access, setup of a virtual private network (VPN), and more. The result is a safe, secure field-available IT environment that is responsive to your changing business needs and supports your ongoing growth.
As we can see, the managed IT option brings together the best benefits and options available when it comes to creating the right IT infrastructure for your growing Iowa construction business. By taking this step, you’ll be assured of having a reliable, talented and knowledgeable partner who takes care of your valuable business technology on an end-to-end basis as you focus on growing your business.
Contact Dymin Systems to talk to an expert about your options.