In theory, construction-industry document management systems allow projects to be built more efficiently with more accurate documents, less wasted time, and better compliance. However, some of these document management systems take a considerable amount of time and preparation to set up and maintain. So much time, some contractors wonder how much value they can gain from using such an enterprise application.
While a few companies still store paper documents in file cabinets, many store drawings, digital documents, and spreadsheets in cloud platforms applications that look like Windows File Explorer. That application has been in existence since the 1990s and is so ingrained in how we think about storing data; it’s a challenge for some to think about file storage differently.
A construction firm wanting to invest in a DMS without completely understanding how the prospective tool queries and searches for data risks losing any significant efficiencies it was hoping to gain by using the technology.
User-friendly Document Administration for Construction
Document administration should not be an uphill task. Everyone associated with a project needs to use a document management system to leverage its total value, from the Management team to IT professionals to job captains and construction workers.
A DMS not explicitly designed for the construction industry may fall short in providing the ease of use needed to bridge the gap between the office and the field. A construction-industry solution powered by Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to thoroughly index drawings, documents and the details with them is required to enable instant retrieval and ensure work can progress as scheduled.
A user-friendly document administration must easily:
- Index all project drawings and documents.
- Automate the administrative effort.
- Enable the ability to create, edit, and link documents.
- Allow access to all project data from multiple devices (desktops, smartphones, tablets)
- Fill in forms and make changes to said forms
- Share, collaborate, download, and print documents
The bottom line—if it ain’t easy for everyone to use on a job site, it ain’t going to be used on the job site.
+ The Power of Intelligent Search
Intelligent Search is revolutionizing construction based DMS. Intelligent Search is AI-based technology that is chopping down the file trees of data silos. Data retrieval needs to happen on a construction project to ensure cost-effectiveness, compliance, security, and safety. With the rapid growth of construction documentation during the past decade a cognitive search algorithm is essential for fast data retrieval. Therefore, cloud-based infrastructures with API-driven integrations and automation are the best option for construction sites.
Using Intelligent Search on a job site, a worker can speak (or type) a query into his mobile device, for example, “approved air handling unit.” Then, much like a Google search, documents containing those words will appear. A construction-based DMS will be familiar with thousands of construction words, phrases, and abbreviations. For instance, saying, “show me AHUs,” will return a document list of air handling units. And, like many intelligent search tools, it will promote the most relevant and most selected inquires higher than others.
The obvious benefit of an intelligent search is the job team will use the correct (and latest versions) of documents. Data is also uploaded, organized, regularly synced, and shared within the same team structure.
A cloud-based, intelligent search DMS will flex and expand with the construction company’s needs. As construction technology, processes, and compliance change over time, so will your DMS tool.
A construction-oriented document management system based on a file-tree structure limits the value (and usability) the company is trying to gain. A DMS with Intelligent Search breaks the file-tree structure paradigm, allowing for more efficiency in time-saved and fewer errors. The construction document revolution has started.
Is your company stuck in the past or looking to the future with Intelligent Search? Please share your comments below.