Affordable Apps for the Construction Industry

Solutions for the construction industry are far reaching. More innovative solutions for the industry are being created all the time. Some solutions can get pretty pricey and with all the tools needed to compete today, it can add up. Keeping a budget on track shouldn't be harder than it needs to be. To give you a leg up on the competition, Ryvit has compiled a list of affordable tools in a few categories including timesheets, document management and project collaboration, that will help you save a little so you can spend elsewhere.

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1. TSheets Time tracking made easy for you and your employees. This mobile app does more than just logging hours. You can set overtime alerts and it will keep track of vacation days, PTO, and approvals. A feature that makes it great for the construction industry is the uses of GPS location tracking. This app integrates with QuickBooks, makes payroll simple, and gives real-time reports. You can start with a three-day trial.

2. Trello Trello is a more visual project collaboration tool. You can drop any number of assets associated with a project into Trello to keep track of it all in one place. Your projects become boards. You can see, all in one place, what has been worked on, who is working on what, and where your project is in the process. Trello is free and easy to learn.

3. Office Lens Office Lens will take a picture of a whiteboard or other assets and make them readable and in a document form that can be converted to a PDF. This app enhances and trims the photos to make them readable assets. This can be a handy tool for brainstorming sessions. This is a free app, part of the Microsoft Office Suite and can sync with OneNote.

4. Jobsite unite This is more than project collaboration and could fall under the category of a workflow tool. It is strictly construction focused, which is great! It has really kept in mind what construction professionals need. You are able to create a construction profile for each project, communicate with a team or the entire jobsite, improve awareness and safety on the job, and deliver your projects on time and on budget. You can access this tool from anywhere and use the direct chat, photo, and check-in functions to stay on top of the project.

5. CamScanner This will turn your smartphone or tablet into a scanner. All of your devices can sync up and your scans can be shared. If your mobile banking app allows you to deposit checks with your smartphone, you already know how this app works. Store, share, annotate, and manage your documents all from this free app.

6. Asana Asana is an affordable list making tool that helps with project collaboration organization. Assign tasks to your team and they will check them off as they go. If a team member needs something from you, they can assign you a task to you or anyone else as well. Give these tasks due dates for added accountability and sync with your smartphone so you can check off and assign tasks from anywhere. These tasks can stand alone, for one-off requests, or be rolled into projects with bigger goals.

Everyone is in the Software Business

And business leaders will no longer tolerate data being scattered among application silos.

  Software has dominated the world of business for many years now. It’s become such an integral part of the business world that 2014 saw a number of high-profile CEOs and notable industry analysts proclaim “every business is in the software business.” So what does that mean?

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It means that business systems and corporate data management is no longer just an IT problem, but squarely on the list of top priorities for executive teams. In fact, a recent Forrester Research Report even argues that corporate software assets will be more valuable to the business than financials. The reason? Software innovation and efficiencies are the greatest opportunities for financial gains. For software vendors this is great news- your services are more valuable to your customers than ever before – but it is also a call to action. Businesses can no longer survive with software operating in a silo. They need their business systems to communicate across the enterprise and deliver meaningful insights to a variety of stakeholders. Unfortunately, finding a consistent cost-effective way to give business users access from any device and through one interface to critical data spread across cloud applications and on-premise systems is one of the biggest challenges facing organizations today. In a CIO Magazine article discussing the top trends for data in 2015, IT experts noted that deeper integration of disparate ERP and CRM applications with business intelligence for sound decision making is a paramount priority for businesses. CEO Jeremy Roche at FinancialForce, describes the challenge as an inevitable investment companies need to make in order to be competitive in business “rather than allow vital customer information to be scattered among various pieces of a business.” The solution is iPaaS, Integration Platform as a Service.  Ryvit delivers modern integration for software vendors with an iPaaS ecosystem of integrations and applications. 


Click here for the entire white paper photo credit: TechCrunch: Disrupt SF 2013 via photopin (license)

Integrations: The Unsung Hero

There was a day, not so long ago, when our applications didn’t talk to one another. In other words, they weren’t integrated. Let’s use Facebook examples because whether we like to admit it or not, we are all using it. You haven’t always been able to upload photos from your phone’s camera album right onto Facebook. You used to have to get out your digital camera, find the cord, plug it into your computer, and then wait for your photos to upload.

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Even more recently, you weren't able to share your Instagram picture on Facebook right from Instagram. Integrations made all of this possible and saved us all a lot of time. Users wanted these integrations and to them, the idea seemed pretty simple. Get something on their smartphone phone from one place to another with just one simple click. Now, we all just assume our iPhone applications are going to talk to each other and share information; sometimes this information is in the form of pictures, sometimes it is a location, and other times it is a contact, but no matter what, we want all of the data on our phone to be able to talk to the rest of the data on our phone. In the world of business, it’s the same thing, but instead of Facebook and Instagram, we are talking about your QuickBooks™ and your Salesforce™ integrating or your ToolWatch™ and Jira™. These integrations make our lives easier, eliminate workarounds, and save us time. But does that really make integrations the unsung hero of your work day? At Ryvit, we think it does. Integrations change the way we go about our workday, every day and make our lives a whole lot easier. The truth is, businesses can’t function today without our data talking to each other. In other words, our data needs to be taken out of silos. We need one point to access it all and we need to be able to manipulate it and we want to do all of that right now. The possibilities are endless when you know your data is integrated, flexible, and accurate. So how do integrations help you every day?

  1. Integrations make Workflows

A workflow is a process, but not all processes are workflows. For a process to be a workflow it needs to take a piece of work from start to finish. Integrations allow for workflows that are truly complete through the entire process- inception to completion. A piece of work can be passed from one application to another or pull data from multiple applications to complete the entire workflow, making the days of your employees so much easier. With the right integration platform, you will be able to validate, transform and supplement your data to fit integration needs.

  1. Integrations make better Business Intelligence

When all of your data is in one place, you can make better business decisions because you aren’t getting one-sided data. You have the ability to push and pull data from multiple applications to yield meaningful metrics when you have a fully integrated business. More data = better decisions. Business Intelligence is a huge way to put integrations to work right away for your company. Having real-time synchronization or cross-integration analytics will lead to a smarter overall business.

  1. Integrations demand Accurate Data

Integrated systems will perform well because before they can be launched, the data will need to match, uncovering any inconsistencies. No longer will you need to track down which address is the correct address for a customer who is in the system as Mr. John Smith and John Smith. There will be one truth for data and accurate data will create the opportunity for saved time, better business intelligence, and thorough workflows.

  1. Integrations create Efficiency

As demonstrated through the points above, integrations make for a more efficient work day and a more efficient company. Efficiency is realized through the workflows, the business intelligence, and the accurate data. This efficiency also creates time for you and your employees meaning they can focus on other tasks and improve that bottom line.

Modern Day Matchmaking in the iPaaS economy

Finding your perfect match means more than just a feeling when we talk about the iPaaS economy. Ultimately your perfect match needs to help you accomplish one task- outsell your competitors. Customers demand all of the workflows be accessible from one interface, they want to use one dashboard, and they want to access it from anywhere. Here’s how to outsell your competition: Focus on the Technology itself Ask your software provider what you are really getting. The technology needs to be:

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Reliable- First are foremost your technology needs to do what it is supposed to do all of the time. No one has the patience to deal with spotty technology or an application that is unreliable when you need to use it. The technology we have available at our fingertips is expected to perform.

Usable- Can the end user open this up and figure it out? Sure there could be a little bit of a learning curve, but too much of one and interest in your tool will be lost- no matter how much easier it could make their lives. The technology should be intuitive.

Portable – Having a mobile-friendly tool is necessary to compete today. Many professionals work from multiple devices including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Make sure it’s all going to be mobile friendly and powerful even in the palm of their hands.

Accessible- Today, everything must be easily accessible. This goes hand in hand with the tool being usable and portable, but it takes it one step further. Can the end user open the tool and go? What steps stand in the way of that happening? These steps should be eliminated to create ease of accessibility.

Performing – The tool has to meet all of the needs of the client. They need to be able to be able to have that all-in-one experience. Streamlined tools perform well for professionals today. Having technology that meets all of these requirements- reliable, usable, portable, accessible and performing is step one in outselling your competition because it leads to happy customers. Make sure your customers know your technology solution in and out to help manage their expectations. If they have new requirements for your tool, be responsive. This will help them understand that you are doing everything in your power to get them what they need and will keep your from gaining any unhappy customers who could damage your reputation. Find a software partner who can deliver to you a superior product and your clients will be happy.

More bang for your buck: Cloud vs On-Site backup

The debate between cloud backup and on-site hard drive backup has been ongoing. There are pros and cons to consider for each including speed and reliability. Each of the solutions has its own vulnerabilities and risks associated with putting your company data on them. However, if we set all of those aside and only look at the bang for your buck, which one would win? For the hard drive option, when it comes right down to it, the larger storage space you want on your hard drive, the more you will pay.

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According to PC World, it breaks down to about 10-50 cents per gigabyte. This cost covers the vast majority of hard drives, but there are always going to be a few that lay outside of this average on each side. Although this is a range, it is a pretty small range in comparison. A hard drive should be guaranteed to last at least three years. The overall cost of a cloud service is determined in a completed different way. There are many options for cloud backup that have different features and benefits. Paying top dollar in the cloud space will often get you the benefit of quality file encryption, and customer service, and multiple restore points meaning if your data is lost you can revert to your data settings a few hours ago, a few days ago or a few months ago. At the lower end of the spectrum, you will get you basic needs covered- your data will be backed up on the cloud. With this wide of a range in perks, the price per gigabyte varies widely too; the price per gigabyte for cloud backup can range from a fraction of a penny to $10 or more; meaning for the same size of storage, you could pay a very different price depending on what perks you want and need. As you can see, this isn’t comparing apples to apples. There is no true price comparison that lays it out precisely per gigabyte and tells us the most cost effective solution. If we take a look at the range in sizes of storage and look at the average, we can start to make some comparisons. Smaller storage, under 20GB, doesn’t store much, but sometimes that’s all you need. If you are just wanted to back up a few pictures and documents, this is all the more storage that is needed. Cloud-based solutions in this category include Dropbox, which is widely used, and for the basic package, free. When looking at storage that is still pretty small, but larger than 20GB, it is still cheap, but up charges may apply. When your Dropbox is full and they ask you if you want to upgrade, it will cost you. These solutions can be anywhere from $1-$4 per gigabyte. Cheaper solutions such as OpenBox Home come in at a lower price tag, however. This small category still falls under the 10-50 cents per gigabyte for hard drive backup solutions. Moving up in storage size to 100-500GB, a standard size meeting many needs, hard drives are more competitive per gigabyte. They are practically dead even at 41 and 42 cents respectively on average. If we look at large storage, 500GB- 1T, it is also a very close race. Per gigabyte, the external hard drive is about 10 cents cheaper on average. This, of course, depends on the features you select for you cloud-based backup. When your storage needs exceed 1T cloud-based solutions are cheaper at a mere 4 cents per gigabyte. When dealing with this much data, an external hard drive lasting only three years is also something to consider. Cloud-based solutions take the cake for the bang for your buck category even though it isn’t an apples to apples comparison. You get comparable storage size or more for the same money when you choose the cloud across the board. Online backup services are also becoming cheaper each year as more and more providers enter the market. As cloud-based solutions continue to gain popularity for good reason. These solutions are reliable and open up many opportunities when it comes to integrations and business intelligence.

The Difference Between iPaaS, aPaaS and SaaS

Integrations are taking more than just the software industry by storm. Companies in every industry are demanding data be able to flow across different software and different applications. Integrations can heavily increase efficiency and gain a competitive edge through streamlined operations. Companies need to stay away from deploying integrations that will stand alone in a silo in order to reap as many benefits as possible. This means integrations need to be intelligent. The main integration types today are iPaaS, aPaaS, and SaaS.

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Before we dive into how iPaaS, aPaaS, and SaaS are all different, let's break down what each means. iPaaS stands for integration platform as a service. aPaaS stands for application platform and a service. SaaS stands for software as a service. Each of these serves a different purpose.

aPaaS allows for rapid application development and delivery. This form has high productivity and high control. The coding process for platforms as a service can slow down delivery, but aPaaS brings automation for the application lifecycle. aPaaS offers a faster way to build apps.

SaaS has a main difference of being hosted by a vendor where iPaaS is cloud-based. Applications that are on-premise hosted can be integrated and allow for free flow of data. The application or service is made available to customers over a network, usually the internet.

iPaaS is a cloud-based integration solution, unlike SaaS which is hosted by a vendor on-premise. It iPaaS allows applications that reside on the cloud or on-premise to integrate and have data flow freely between them. It does not need any download, it is simply deployed. This is the most balanced offering because it can bring differently hosted software solutions or applications together.

iPaaS+™ is a cloud-based integration solution, but it also offers business intelligence and reporting. iPaaS+™ has an ecosystem available that allows applications built to integrate with all other application in the ecosystem. Partners are able to leverage the power of multiple business essential applications through this ecosystem.

Choose the integration type that will best serve your company in the long run. Find the right vendor can be difficult, but read this for help.

To experience the iPaaS+™ difference and learn more, contact Ryvit.