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Construction needs cloud flexibility

Australia’s embattled construction sector could benefit from cloud based information systems that can be switched on and off in lockstep with individual projects – with the exception of those organisations based in remote areas like the Kimberleys.

The need for more effective cost management in the sector is clear with companies such as Hastie, Kell & Rigby and St Hilliers all facing financial strife. Chris Petersen, the recently appointed regional manager for Meridian Systems in Asia Pacific and Japan, said that construction companies he had spoken to recently were all interested in “project to project” costing – where the cost of information services to manage a particular project could be corralled and contained.

Cloud theoretically allows services to be turned off and on and will.

At present only a few of the company’s 100 plus customers in Australia use a cloud based version of Meridian’s Prolog construction management suite of tools, but in the US Prolog as a Service is more established, according to Mr Petersen. The company also sells Proliance, a suite of tools aimed at building operators.

He warned though that where cloud based solutions failed, was in remote construction sites where there was limited networking and no WiFi. However Mr Petersen said Meridian’s recently released mobile apps would allow remote construction workers to work on their tablets or laptop and collect information, and then synch those devices with the cloud solution when they returned to the office.

Mr Petersen who joined Meridian from Compuware at the beginning of the year is the company’s first local representative. In the past the company has sold through two partners, and in the case of some larger clients – LendLease and Westfield – directly from the US.

With regional responsibility Mr Petersen is looking to expand the regional partner count from three (two in Australia and one in Indonesia) and also take on support staff locally, although he declined to say how many.

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