Technology

Get It Together: Connected Cloud Spreadsheets

Connecting all the spreadsheets and systems from departmental silos using Briq saves time and money and helps you grow your construction business.

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There’s an old saying in technology: the great thing about standards is there are so many of them to choose from. And that maxim is more pronounced in construction than almost any other industry, where every team adopts the top “standardized” tools for them. 

Because of this, construction companies that have decided to take advantage of technology find themselves facing a plethora of technology solutions, with every department adopting its own best-of-breed software — none of which talk to each other particularly well.

To remain successful and competitive there often needs to be collaboration between departments over the lifecycle of a project, or at the executive level for reporting and decision-making. The result is a lot of companies turn to spreadsheets to bridge this gap. The flexibility of Excel to be shaped into whatever type of report is needed makes it seem like the perfect tool to take the data from existing departmental systems for purposes of sharing, planning, WIPs, forecasting, etc.

As well, as project management systems, accounting systems and the like are often rigid, many construction companies turn to spreadsheets, again for the flexibility to their business the way their business runs. You have your way of doing things, and the ability to make an Excel spreadsheet follow your proprietary processes no doubt makes it one of your go-to technology tools.

But manual spreadsheets like Excel are far from perfect, and the limitations show in the amount of work it takes to connect your teams and departments and provide them with the information they need. 

Still, spreadsheets are familiar and easy to work with. Briq built on that ease, providing companies with an Excel-like front end, so there’s minimal learning needed to adopt the platform. But it operates in the cloud, connecting data from all departments and their systems, so processes and reporting can be automated, and information is continuously up to date.

Why is this important? Several reasons, but mainly savings and the ability to evolve your business faster and easier.

When I write savings, I mean both time and ultimately money. A lot of departments use the same information, and input it into their systems in duplicate, triplicate, and more. Briq connects to those systems and extracts that information, removing the manual process but retaining the resulting document, whether it’s a WIP, forecast report, or project estimate. And importantly, it’s customized to do it your way.

It cuts reporting times and frees teams to focus attention on areas of greater value than extracting data from systems and inputting them into yet another Excel report. Less management time is required for reporting, automated workflows move the process along quickly. No longer does all the heavy lifting need to be done by a controller, managing a tired overused spreadsheet. And what happens if that controller leaves the company? With Briq, the very processes and workflows used by the company are maintained and can be passed on seamlessly.

Move beyond the limits of static old manual spreadsheets and evolve and grow your business.

A connected cloud spreadsheets approach not only cuts time spent but can also accelerate the frequency of reporting. Imagine what can be done with the ability to glean insights into a project’s performance and financial health in weeks instead of months. Since automated reports take minutes to create, and data is updated continuously, that’s possible. There’s no more running a report on Monday that’s delivered on Friday with out-of-date information. Data is updated in real-time.

Because it’s connected over the cloud, information can run up and downstream faster and more easily. It’s not like disconnected Excel spreadsheets where a change or update is made in one workbook and may never find its way to another (or it might take weeks). Everything — all critical data — is updated once across all systems, truly modernizing construction technology and bringing together teams that past technology forced into silos.

But the real benefit is being able to move beyond the limits of static old manual spreadsheets and evolve and grow your business. Being able to update a report in minutes is great, but what project managers, executives, accounting teams, office staff, controllers, and business owners can do with the time they get back — and with accurate, real-time information at their fingertips — the real value presents itself. 

When you’re able to automate and quickly connect once disparate spreadsheets hoarding information and share that information securely across the company, you have time to analyze, make better decisions, model scenarios, and grow opportunities. You’re able to fully leverage the investments made in all that “best-of-breed” technology and get the most out of your existing solutions because they are up-to-date and talking with each other thanks to Briq.

If you want to learn more about how Briq’s approach of cloud-based, connected spreadsheet-like workbooks can help you evolve and grow your business, contact us to set up a demo.