It’s not surprising software companies that have traditionally sold packaged software are now moving their offerings to the cloud. As construction companies realize the cost savings associated with not having to maintain hardware and software on premises they will begin to view packaged software products as expendable. The other advantage to software companies is the strong possibility the cloud will increase construction’s uptake of information technology because it will simplify its use.

Recently, Viewpoint Construction Software launched a cloud computing solution tailored specifically for the construction industry, and it is expecting the cloud to make its software more accessible to small companies. Viewpoint has traditionally held its greatest market share with companies doing in excess of $25 million in revenue.

“Viewpoint sees the private cloud offering as the first step in allowing us to offer our industry leading software to smaller organizations with very little upfront configuration and expense,” said Henry Ferguson, vice president of strategic initiatives at Viewpoint. “What this offering accomplishes for customers of any size is removing the need to buy, configure, install and optimize hardware and software for Viewpoint and related applications. Depending on the size and complexity of the customer’s IT infrastructure, selecting the private cloud environment can significantly reduce upfront and ongoing expenditures.”

Viewpoint is partnering with 3t Systems to bring its cloud offering to life and to include not just Viewpoint’s construction-specific offerings but mainstream Microsoft offerings as well.

“Our partnership allows 3t Systems to provide a private cloud solution for Viewpoint customers,” said Mike McWilliams, vice president of business development for 3t Systems.  “We provide the hardware/software, support and infrastructure for a completely virtual solution that allows Viewpoint users to hand-off IT tasks and focus on building horizontal or vertical structures.  Now, Viewpoint can offer their customers a small business solution with shared services of Viewpoint, Exchange, and Office. The offering, titled “Viewpoint Anywhere” encompasses all of these services in a solution by which each customer will be given their own environment in the cloud. Additionally, Viewpoint Continuous Data Protection and Viewpoint Slice of Solution offerings allow customers that are hosted, or non-hosted, to take advantage of our Disaster Recovery solution, which replicates data and spins up servers in a secondary data center in the event of a disaster.”

3t Systems pointed out in its press release that by using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model via private cloud, construction companies of any size can take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing while mitigating common pitfalls such as security breaches, corporate governance, and reliability concerns. For an industry historically stifled by its relatively low uptake of IT, cloud computing brings a convenient, affordable and on-demand computing structure that many anticipate will be the turning point in construction IT.

While concepts like SaaS are not new in IT, it is the pricing model and the commoditizing of IT that gives cloud computing a distinct edge. With convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources at a fixed user subscription fee, companies can access and manage various aspects of their daily routine, including project management and operations, cost estimating, project planning and control, and accounting and human resources management. Cloud computing brings high end information technology within reach of construction companies that lack the necessary capital, expertise or IT infrastructure.

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