Construction & Engineering: Building On A Strong Tech Foundation
Construction companies look for apps that can be managed around the globe.
Construction and engineering companies thrive on highly mobile and distributed technology that lets workers set up construction sites fast and pull up stakes just as quickly as they move from project to project. To do this, companies need a strong, standardized infrastructure and applications that can be managed across worldwide locations.
Standards are essential to helping contractors collaborate on successful projects. For Emcor Group Inc., a $4.5 billion-a-year company that provides the electrical and mechanical design and construction for large projects, collaboration helps it avoid "collisions" among the various electrical and mechanical infrastructures that cost time and money, group CIO Joseph Puglisi says. For years, Emcor has used Autodesk Inc.'s AutoCAD software to provide a standardized virtual overlay of ductwork for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning; electrical piping; and plumbing to ensure the systems don't interfere with each other in the final construction.
Emcor in March rolled out a PeopleSoft Inc. enterprise-resource-planning application for its facilities-management group, which provides building- and property-management services. Previously, the various divisions of the group used different applications to manage enterprise-resource-management functions. "We did this because we need transparency into the business in order to show we're saving customers money," Puglisi says. Facilities-management employees can access the PeopleSoft application through the company's 5-year-old Emcornet site. The site already provided Emcor employees with access to a consistent set of safety and cash-management apps.
By the end of the year, Emcor will roll out an IT-asset-management system across its three divisions: construction, energy, and facilities management. Although the company has offices in 38 states and the District of Columbia, eight Canadian provinces, 15 U.K. locations, and South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, Puglisi wants to be able to coordinate operations and materials "as though everyone is in the same room."
Facilitating global operations is a priority for Fluor Corp. as well. As its customers expand and invest in operations globally, the $8.8 billion-a-year engineering and construction company's employees must operate worldwide to meet those customers' needs. "This puts a strain on IT, which needs to mobilize quickly," says Robert Taylor, Fluor's senior director of IT. To achieve consistent IT scalability, Fluor signed a seven-year contract last year with IBM for on-demand hardware, software, and services.
Looking ahead, Fluor is testing radio-frequency identification technology to better track inventory worldwide. Another possibility for RFID, Taylor says, is to embed devices in concrete to let contractors know when it's safe to build.
Revenue in millions
Income (loss) in millions
Bechtel Group Inc.
Pulte Homes Inc.
Emcor Group Inc.
Foster Wheeler Ltd.
Beazer Homes USA Inc.
McCarthy Building Cos. Inc.
DPR Construction Inc.
M. A. Mortenson Co.
Brookfield Homes Corp.
Skanska USA Building Inc.
Financial data is from
public sources and company supplied.
Revenue is for latest fiscal year.
Dashes indicate companies requesting financial information not be disclosed.
The Business of Going DigitalDigital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.