By Jay Wallis, CIO, Empire Roofing
Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs and expectations
Currently the biggest technological challenge is focused around backup and disaster recovery. Data is growing faster than ever due to digital photography. In this industry digital photos are good as well as bad, allowing us to show customers the problematic areas that need to be addressed. But this process demands storage space. We are working with a couple of cloud providers to get away from conventional backups. At some point in time I would also love to see affordable de-dupe technology that will work in the live environment.
Mobile Technologies Boosting Construction Site Efficiency
To boost efficiency we have implemented a time collection system that works on smartphones.
Foremen only see the jobs they are dealing with and do not have to scan through all open jobs. It also shows the crew they normally have and allows for additions and substitutions. This allows more accuracy and a shorter payroll processing period. Both have produced significant savings and we have not rolled this out to all of our operations yet so savings are still to be realized.
This system also allows the foremen to take pictures that are permanently tagged to the job for future reference. Pictures also allow for comparisons in the event of a callback. This feature has saved us money and allows us to show the customer what we did previously and the current problem.
Technology Trends Impacting Enterprise Business Environment
One of the technology trends we see impacting us over the next couple of years is moving a lot of our IT to the cloud, and with that, enabling users to be able, if necessary, to work from anywhere. A part of our DR strategy is not just to get online ASAP but to also have users work from home or wherever, by thus providing services to our customers.
My roles and responsibilities as a CIO
I have sort of created the role of CIO at this company. My educational background is in accounting and finance but I saw the need years ago to know how computers were impacting accounting and business. I still manage a small and growing business unit of our organization. I think a CIO who has no other business experience other than IT is handicapped.
A CIO today must understand how the whole business works and IT systems work. I am glad I spent time doing accounting and spent time working in IT. Sometimes as the only IT staff on hand, I am fortunate to work for a company whose management appreciates the importance of IT and encourages innovation.
Vision for future IT-enabled construction projects
For the future I would like to see real time inventory receipts from job sites. As well as being able to track material used from the truck on time and material jobs. This would greatly speed up billings and the accuracy of job cost reporting.