By Steve Rizer
Although cloud computing can provide significant benefits for construction managers (CMs) and others, they need to “do their homework” on the topic first. This is one of the key points that Marty Turner, senior project controls manager at CH2M Hill, stressed in summing up for ConstructionPro Week the “Demystifying the Cloud” session he co-presented at the recently concluded Construction Managers Association of America National Conference in San Francisco.
In elaborating on what this homework entails, Turner urged session attendees to obtain regular third-party audit reports (Statement on Auditing Standard No. 70/Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 16), noting the importance of requiring penetration and vulnerability assessment reports. In addition, he implored his audience to keep in mind the following maxim: “Legal is your friend.” He explained that “many of the levers and sticks you have will be contractual.” Furthermore, “understand and manage your risk.”
To determine the return on investment in switching from traditional company-owned/onsite servers to cloud-based systems, Turner suggested that CMs ask their teams the following questions:
- “What performance gaps exist in our organization that we could more quickly mitigate by turning to the cloud?”
- “Are these gaps resulting in lost revenue? If so, how much?”
- “What competitive advantage could we achieve by moving to the cloud? Can we at least level the playing field?”
- “How much time are we currently spending to maintain our documentation and processes to ensure compliance?”
- “How effective are these efforts? How are we performing on both internal and external audits?”
- “If we could reduce that time by 20, 30, or 50 percent, what are the most important activities our IT [information technology] group could work on?”
- “How will this shift translate into time and cost savings, or increased revenue?”
- “What are the organization’s risk tolerance/acceptance thresholds?”
The ConstructionPro Network member version of this article includes information about the rewards that can be reaped via cloud computing and news from three other conference sessions.