Personalized Mobile SharePoint Experiences for the Construction Industry

Mobile Man / Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Everyone is talking about mobile these days – smartphones, tablets and wearable devices have taken over the world with lightning speed. Consumer apps are used by billions of people daily, helping users with all kinds of activities, from personal to-do lists to live sports tracker apps and beyond.

Now think about the professional sectors with truly mobile needs, such as the construction industry. Foremen, engineers, contractors and their teams have always been mobile, doing most of their work in the field. You would imagine that such professionals’ mobile IT needs have long ago been covered. But when you look at the functionality of currently used enterprise software systems, reality in the field is far from the level of user experience raised by the B2C consumer apps market.

SharePoint, one of the most popular intranet and document management solutions, is an example of an enterprise platform which hasn’t managed to catch up with the mobile era yet. The fact that it is used by so many construction companies, makes it even harder for IT heads in Construction to achieve their goal of truly mobilizing the construction workforce. 

Thankfully, third-party solutions, such as our own SharePlus are of great help to frustrated SharePoint and Office 365 admins in construction firms. SharePlus’ main goal is simple – to connect team members and make it possible for them to contribute to any SharePoint or Office 365 item they need from their mobile device. The benefits of being able to access project information in the field are tremendous, but SharePlus goes one step further: it enables teams to be more productive with the help of personalized screens for specific user roles. And in addition, it allows you to integrate your reporting and analytics sources directly into the app so that you can make data-driven decisions at any time.

Let’s have a look at an example of some personalized SharePlus screens (you can also experience this example live in our SharePlus for iOS demo).

Say you’re a foreman managing multiple construction projects. You go to one of the job sites in the morning and open SharePlus – your launch screen is customized to hold all of your active projects’ information from SharePoint:

You need to get your crews going fast so you jump directly to this particular project’s screen. At one glance you have an overview of project status – daily meetings, field reports, inspections, submittals, equipment and more. When your SharePoint admin was configuring SharePlus, you requested a custom screen with all SharePoint project items you need in the field:

By this time you may be wondering – how will I access all of my information if there is no connectivity on the job site? Ubiquitous internet coverage is still far a reality, which is why SharePlus lets you work on your content locally on your device and sync everything with your company’s SharePoint or Office 365 once you are back online.

Now let’s go back to the project job site – you need to approve a few submittals and review the status of inspections, done by engineers the day before. Editing, approving, and sharing documents is easy with SharePlus, because its tools are specifically tailored to a mobile device experience. No need to carry around heaps of paper any more – instead, work directly on SharePoint project documents together with the other stakeholders via SharePlus. Having a single digital repository will make your whole team more efficient:

Here you can see that the initial inspection of the ceiling went well – everything was marked as on schedule and within budget, but some extra materials were needed.

Your colleague, who accompanied the inspector yesterday, was also using SharePlus to fill out inspections checklists in SharePoint and take notes which you can now act upon.  To describe some of the items, he has taken photos with his iPad and attached them to the inspection.

We mentioned previously that you can also use SharePlus to connect to data sources and easily create charts and analytics dashboards by yourself. You no longer need the help of your IT team to get an overview of reported incidents by project, equipment location and employed workers. Just pull your data into SharePlus and choose the type of visualization you would like to present it with:

You can create as many dashboards as you need in order to measure project progress and keep site conditions, employee hours, equipment and materials on track and within budget. Export dashboards as PowerPoint slides, PDF or in another preferred format and share your insights with other decision-makers in the team:

We bet you never imagined that SharePoint could be used in such an effective way in the field. With all of SharePlus’ tools and SharePoint information at hand, construction teams can finally leverage mobile technology and complete projects on time together.

Want to experience the above SharePlus example live for yourself? Get a 30-day free access to our SharePlus for iOS demo with demo construction project screens already inside!

Also download your free e-book '10 Ways to Save on Construction Projects with SharePlus' and start streamlining, simplifying and saving on your construction projects today!