Collaborative cloud-based platforms – key to transitioning building

Today, all of us share a simultaneous sense of amazement, aggravation and trepidation at the sheer amount of information—the good, the bad and the ugly—available at our finger tips. The deluge of data can be overwhelming. In addition, the nature of the information is always in question. The legitimacy of the source as well as the veracity of the content must be carefully evaluated and cannot be taken for granted.

Within this welter of uncertain information, many of our business transactions have become increasingly complex, distrusted, burdensome and expensive. Most of us prefer professional relationships that provide a consistent, enjoyable and trustworthy experience that ultimately leads to a successful transaction.
Unfortunately, transactions in the building industry are often filled with redundant efforts and unsatisfying customer service experiences. As a result, client relationships suffer—and so do net returns.

Part of the problem is the relatively primitive state of information technology within the industry. Or, to be more precise, the fact that we don’t use the powerful information technology that is already available to us.
Question: How do we transition from our current environment into an environment in which transactions can become transparent, seamless and effortless, and all at minimal additional cost?

Throughout history, almost all technological advancements have led to enhanced quality, speed and safety, and corresponding improvements in everyday human experience. Digital “Cloud Based, Collaborative Platforms” (CBCP) are one of the most recent additions to the long history of human innovation. And, hopefully, they will soon become part of the history of the building industry.

Well-designed platforms offer many advantages. They can be comprehended immediately. They provide simplified communication, standardized data input and clear workflow. They coordinate countless complex activities that comprise our daily lives. Last but not least, collaborative platforms can render previously opaque transactions transparent to everyone.

Until the advent of CBCP, the following descriptive pairs were often considered mutually exclusive:
• Providing both high quality and high volume
• Creating operational perfection at low cost
• Presenting the whole and accessing the detail
• Collaborative sharing and individual ownership
• Being in one unique place and being everyplace at once
• Providing both flexibility and precision
• Serving one user at the same cost as serving millions

Collaborative platforms are already impacting a variety of industries, from retail to banking to healthcare. In fact, these tools are rapidly expanding in almost all areas of our daily lives. But, once again, “Building” is still a bit reluctant to join the party.

To quote two well-known celebrities of today and yesterday:
Bob Dylan famously sung, “The times they are a changing,” a lyric applicable to our time.

A few centuries earlier, the economist Adam Smith stated:
“The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition is so powerful a principle that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions.”

If I were a betting man, I would be placing a big bet on the future of the building industry, and on the efforts of the individuals within that industry to better their own condition. In the next ten years, building will be catching up very quickly with other industries. Collaborative platforms will play a significant part in this turn to innovation. There will be a massive migration of companies flocking to CBCP.

The sooner, the better!

For many, it will be a scary and difficult journey. However, it need not be—the future is filled with opportunity.
In changing times, the most dangerous thing you can do is simply stand still.