Ben Hubbard, president, Cloud EPC, www.cloudepc.com, Addison, Texas, recently sat down with Constructech to discuss what construction professionals need to know about the cloud—both today and in the future.
Constructech: How has your product evolved in the past year, and what is coming next?
2016 was a very exiting year for the Cloud EPC team. We started the year by launching our Cost Management system to a very warm reception. This was a tremendous accomplishment by our development team after spending nearly a year planning and developing a system that could seamlessly integrate budget and forecast management with our Progress & Performance (earned value rules of credit) and Change Management systems. By leveraging a suite of best practice business rules, early warning indicators, customizable reports, and interactive dashboards, project teams are equipped with the tools needed to proactively influence project performance.
With a culture of continuous innovation, the Cloud EPC development team began the immediate development of our next big initiative, an integrated EHS (environmental health and safety) management system. As experienced construction professionals, we recognized that EHS rightfully remains a top priority for all contractors across the globe. In November 2016, we officially launched our EHS management system and mobile app, providing organizations with an integrated platform to record safety incidents, conduct thorough audits, produce OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Admin.) recommended reports, and leverage business intelligence to identify EHS trends. Early client feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we are excited to offer a product that positively influences the culture of EHS within organizations.
And 2017 promises to be another exciting year, as we complete the development of our corporate and project audit module scheduled for release in the first quarter. Our 2017 development roadmap also includes the release of an innovative document control system, an API (application programming interface) for BI (business intelligence) system integration, and a customizable alert and notification system, and additional mobile application features.
Constructech: How will your product help builders improve business in 2017?
To remain competitive in today’s environment, contractors are being asked to deliver projects with increasingly compressed schedules and reduced budgets. Cloud EPC was developed to provide contractors with a modern platform to execute projects under such conditions. Our primary development objective was to make it easy for organizations and project teams to leverage a wealth of valuable project data to proactively identify opportunities or potential disruptions, increase project management efficiency, and reduce overhead costs. How have we accomplished this?
- Customizable early warning and key performance indicator systems
- Interactive business intelligence dashboards that streamline project reporting
- Mobile applications that allow project teams to perform key activities while in the field working directly with construction personnel
- A fully integrated system that provides project controls and project management teams the ability to capture data and generate reports with far less resources
- A portfolio management platform that can analyze a series of projects using a wide range of filters including corporate division, geographic region, contract type, and more
- A powerful historical data engine that allows operational management to control risk while developing competitive estimates
It is no secret that clients are pushing for greater control over project execution, establishing more intense reporting requirements, and demanding more output with less resources. Cloud EPC was designed to do the leg work and satisfy these constantly evolving needs. We want to afford project teams the time to focus on what matters most, managing the work itself.
Constructech: What makes the product unique? How are you different from your competitors?
When asked these questions nearly a year ago, I would quickly rattle off a list of all the features and capabilities that make Cloud EPC different. When asked today, I now respond with, “the Cloud EPC team.” I have come to learn that a software product is conceptualized from the ability to identify and solve true market needs, but developed as a reflection of personal experience, innovation, and creativity.
We start the development process for each new feature by engaging in lengthy discussions with our clients and numerous industry veterans to thoroughly identify process improvement opportunities. Simply put, our clients play a major part in driving our product to be unique. This methodology has allowed us to develop a product with a significant number of competitive differentiators. Key differentiators include:
- A modern, intuitive user interface and design that reduces the cost and complexity of rollouts, training, and system integrations
- High adoption rates driven by ease of use, a world class training infrastructure, and seamless integration with Microsoft Office products
- Customizable interactive dashboards that make it easier to satisfy intense reporting requirements and deadlines
- A heavy focus on enterprise and portfolio level functionality that provides senior leadership with a platform to effectively assess the health of projects via key performance indicators and multi-project analytics
- An impressive suite of mobile applications (iTunes & Google Play stores) that allow project teams to streamline data entry efforts by leveraging modern mobile technology