As more construction companies are going paperless, and applying mobile technology there is an increasing need for alternative software solutions. Regardless of the software selected, mobile accessibility will be a key differentiator.
Today, the two main types of mobile software that construction teams tend to use are cross-platform business apps and SaaS/ webs apps.
What are cross-platform business apps?
Cross-platform business apps can be downloaded from the app store and used independently. These apps are built to your own specification and are great for individual use when there is a function to be done without the need for extensive collaboration. For example apps for taking photos, uploading incident reports, calculating estimates or taking personal notes.
Business apps work offline to store the data, which means as soon as an internet connection is made the information will synchronise with an internal database. This enables instant sharing of the uploaded data.
These apps are usually paid for once at the time of download and prices can range from free to about £10. In most cases company branded business apps are free as the return on investment comes with increased productivity and efficiencies.
What is SaaS?
SaaS, which stands for software-as-a-service, is a way of delivering software applications over the Internet (as a service). Common examples of SaaS companies are recognised names such as LinkedIn or Dropbox. With SaaS, instead of installing and maintaining software, it is accessed over the Internet, with no complex software and hardware management.
SaaS means there’s no need for desktop downloads, no manual updates and no more wasted time. With a SaaS solution, each time the software is logged into, the newest version is already in use without having to click a single button. Sounds too good to be true… but remember these solutions are typically paid for on a monthly or annual basis and costs mount up.
What is a Web app?
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to SaaS consider a mobile friendly web application. Whether it’s an application that’s designed to communicate with your workforce or clients, a custom web app provides simple navigation, easy access and real time up-to-date information.
Essentially it is built to intelligently capture, merge and manipulate complex data and present resulting information on the web app for everyone with a secure login to share.
Mobile SaaS vs. standalone apps: Which is the right choice?
While there is no clear-cut answer, the rule of thumb when trying to decide which type of mobile solution to deploy is if the job requires input from multiple people at once, then opt for a SaaS or Web app solution. If the job can be completed independently and needs to work offline to capture the information, then a standalone app will be the better choice. /
Either way it is worth noting that regardless of what mobile solution is selected, the end result will be a more efficient process than using pen and paper or Excel tracking. This applies to most industries, not just construction.
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