Some construction and engineering leaders are hesitant to pursue data integration with integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) technology. They may feel like they have more questions than answers about iPaaS. It can be difficult for any leader to commit to a new path without a clear vision of what the journey entails. Fortunately, we have compiled answers to the most commonly asked questions below to help alleviate any hesitation.

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Q: We already invested quite a bit in our existing software, does it need to be discarded?
A: No. While you may encounter firms with a vested interest in recommending that your organization standardize with their proprietary software, options like iPaaS allow you to achieve interoperability without starting over. Interoperability involves one piece of software exchanging information with another. You may become less reliant on spreadsheets, but you definitely do not need to start from scratch.

Q: How intrusive and/or expensive is the implementation?
A: Cloud computing makes data integration less intrusive and reduces upfront capital investment and total cost of ownership (TCO). Consider that 52% of rework is caused by poor project data and miscommunication. Cost can vary by project, integrations, and so on, but perhaps the question to ask instead is: can our organization justify continuing to bear the expense of rework and lost bids caused by non-integrated data?

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the implementation of teams working remotely. A byproduct of remote work is that much of the required infrastructure provides a head start for data integration.

Q: Will we need to hire IT staff to understand and run everything?
A: Not necessarily. An iPaaS solution may include a subject-matter expert (SME) who has already completed the solution learning curve to serve as an extension of your team. The SME allows your team to focus on adding value to your organization.

Q: How fast can the solution be deployed?
A: Different implementation approaches must be considered when answering this question. The fastest and least intrusive option tends to be iPaaS. Gartner defines iPaaS as a suite of cloud services enabling development, execution, and governance of integration flows connecting any combination of on-premise and cloud-based processes, services, applications, and data within individual or across multiple organizations. iPaaS solutions typically have shorter deployment times and fewer delays associated with learning new software are significantly reduced.

Another option is to migrate all applications to a single software vendor, and this path may be most viable for organizations that already have several applications from one provider. Take note, however, that it may be an expensive and time-consuming process for companies that have not committed to a specific software platform. Each migration will necessitate that your team unlearn old processes and learn new processes. Another factor to consider is whether or not all applications in the suite are best-in-class. It may be hard to justify devoting a large amount of time and funds if you may actually be taking a step back in terms of capability.

Q: How safe is my data?
A: Whether collecting credit card information or bid specs, data security should be a key consideration. Vulnerability assessment and penetration testing or (VAPT) is a method of measuring data security. Global VAPT standards are followed by reputable iPaaS vendors. Third-party firms like Veave offer data security auditing and certification, and routinely perform scans to identify vulnerabilities. When considering an iPaaS solution, part of your due diligence should include reviewing potential integration partner security certifications.

Q: Do we really need an integration platform?
A: Yes. Even prior to the pandemic, the case for integration was strong. COVID-19 disrupted supply chains and skill scarcity has increased. Even with public relief packages spurring construction, economic activity may take a few years to return to pre-pandemic levels. Some construction companies have already folded, creating opportunities for others. The pandemic has heightened the need for ready access to reliable information from multiple sources.

In “How construction can emerge stronger after coronavirus,” McKinsey identified seven actions for success, including, “build a control tower across the portfolio. Companies should establish a central monitoring function that can rapidly identify and respond to resource-allocation needs across the portfolio.” A key takeaway here is that firms that make moves now to integrate can increase productivity and improve their ability to make smart, information-based decisions for long-term success.

Interested in learning more? Gaea Global Technologies, Inc. has decades of experience with construction and engineering solutions. Nexus, Gaea’s iPaaS solution, was specifically designed to automate construction processes across applications and increase productivity. For more information, visit https://nexus-platform.com/.