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Choosing Mobile Applications for Construction Management

In this post, the second part in this series, we will talk about the difference between stand-alone mobile applications, and those that are integrated with other, more robust construction management applications. 
Mobile applications specifically for Project and Construction Management bring the information of the program office to the job site. While a few mobile applications are stand-alone products, most are companion applications to the vendor’s traditional software application. Because of this, the mobile application can never provide more capabilities than the main construction program management software. Keep in mind, if the functionality is not in the main system, it will not be in the mobile application either. 
A few of your day-to-day activities that a Project and Construction Management mobile application should support include:
Viewing project documents, photos and drawings in the field. Eliminates the need to carry plans, folders, photo logs into the field. Keep them where they belong in the office, but always have them readily available on your mobile device when and where you need them. 
Starting and responding to workflow action items. This keeps you connected to the office without being in the office. Take the appropriate action regardless of your location. You will be freed from waiting to be back in the office to get your work done.
Taking photos and attaching them to workflow forms, such as project issues, change orders, inspection reports, project status updates, punch lists and commission checklists. Fire them off to be reviewed, approved and commented on right from the job site.
Redlining drawings and photos in the field. This is great for field inspections. Nothing gets the point across like a redlined photo. All markups should be stored with the drawing or photo in the main system and be viewed by anyone associated with the project.
Enabling any workflow process to go mobile. You will want the flexibility to use any mobile “forms” with any workflow, not just a small group of predefined forms, such as a daily field report or punch list.
No Internet Connection – No problem. Not every job site has wireless connections. No every mobile device has 3G or 4G capabilities. Look for an application that will provide useful information whether connected to the internet or not.
A few special purpose mobile applications are available for site inspections and punch list capture. While good, limited purpose applications, none of these mobile applications holistically address the construction program management requirements of cost management, business processes, cash flow, schedules or document management. Many times these are better suited to the GC and sub-contractor, rather than the owner.
Ultimately, the goal should be to improve your productivity and increase your responsiveness. A full-featured mobile application that is fully integrated to your construction program management system will give you that.