Storing files, designs and communications and hosting desktop programmes in-house on a physical server might have been sufficient in the past, but with efficiency and growth high on the agenda of many businesses today, IT solutions are sometimes overlooked.
Until recently, firms in the construction sector have been reluctant to digitise processes with less than one per cent turnover spent on IT (most industries are over four per cent). Today, however, we are starting to see a shift that is enabling businesses to work across multiple locations much more efficiently and, more importantly, cost-effectively than ever before.
So, how is Atlas Cloud helping businesses drive down costs and become more efficient in order to grow?
Tony Harmieson, managing director and co-owner of Sadler Brown Architecture in Newcastle, says: “We cut out the requirement to have an in-house IT person, slashing that overhead immediately. It also reduced the cost of renewing expensive servers because we now don’t have to have such substantial back-up servers. Everything is backed up by Atlas Cloud.
“This outsourcing has helped us to concentrate on our core business delivery of architecture, and focus our strategies on the growth and acquisitions side of our business. We plan to grow extensively over the next five years and when we acquire any new business, it means that we can get everyone up-and-running on the same system and the same platforms much quicker than before.
“Moving to the cloud has helped us to increase our headcount too. When I joined the company we were at 8 staff and we are now up to 35.
“We now have staff on secondment in large engineering practices and other large architectural practices. Off the back of the cloud, it has allowed people to be very nomadic when it comes to work. They can leave our office on a Friday and go to start at an engineer’s office on a Monday – working from exactly the same desktop that they were in our office.
“The cloud enables us to very quickly mobilise people in different parts of the country. It’s a scalable solution and means we can now budget for new resources much more easily than before.”
Similarly, for Adam Langman, finance director of construction and property company Metnor Group, moving to the cloud was all about better connectivity between employees.
He says: “For us, moving to the cloud was about being at the cutting-edge of technology. It’s a much more inclusive way of working that means whether a worker is based on site in a cabin, working on a train or back in the office, everyone can access the same files, documents, applications and emails.
“This new way of working has helped as we have grown our turnover over the past two years from £50 million to £86 million.”
Efficiency and mobility
At Atlas Cloud, we think it’s important not to try to bamboozle our clients with lots of tech speak, nor are we expecting them to become overnight experts in configurations and high level IT speak. Instead, we see the cloud as an enabler. We’re here to worry about all the tech stuff and to manage the levels of complexity that sit behind that, making your life easier and leaving you to take care of business.”
Keith Soulsby, director of Northern Bear Plc, which provides specialist building services to a range of clients across Northern England, says: “Atlas Cloud has integrated eight of our businesses, so now everything we do is centralised around the cloud. It means everyone has the same user experience wherever they are across our northern offices.”
Cloud technology provides workers with access to their entire workstation from any location. This means your desktop and everything you need is accessible on any Wi-Fi enabled device. Instead of storing all data, applications and files on a costly to run server within the four walls of the office, organisations now have the ability to take their office everywhere.
There is a common misconception that managed cloud based services will cost more than in-house IT and staff. But 46 per cent of firms have trimmed their annual IT expenditure by 25 per cent or more as a result of their shift to managed services.
It’s clear that there is increasing pressure on the construction sector, and indeed all modern businesses – from SMEs to PLCs – to address the increasing pressures to work smarter and more efficiently in any way they can.
Not all our clients are fully adopting the cloud yet, some are only using some of its functionality, a ‘hybrid-cloud’, whether that’s just hosting apps or file-sharing. For a small or growing enterprise, who want to start exploring what the cloud can offer, that might be what works best for them in the short-term. It’s about finding the right level, the right fit and the right solution to start making cost efficiencies for your business, whilst sticking within your tight budgets and allowing you to scale up and/or down as you need to.
The modern-day worker needs access to their working environment around the clock, from anywhere. Cloud technology is empowering workers to pick up their project work on the go, to collaborate in real time, and to improve their productivity, without having to wait until they are back in the office.
Not only does remote working save time and increase productivity, we’ve also found that enabling your team to be more flexible in this way can vastly improve levels of staff well-being.”