James Mercado, CCA, LEED AP, spent years in document control, accounting, and contract and operations management before becoming Product Manager for the construction app SKYSITE. Along with this experience, Mercado’s status as a CSI Certified Construction Contract Administrator, U.S. Green Building Council and American Institute of Architects member made him perfect for discussing how the cloud fits into the design to facilities management phases of AECO work. Check out what he had to say about security issues with cloud solutions, improving document control, and more.
ARC: When it comes to cloud solutions, is security a real issue?
Mercado: For some, it is. There are a lot of cloud providers out there. We chose AWS (Amazon Web Services), because we feel Amazon has the infrastructure to handle the job. SKYSITE is the only portal for any of the documents that are being put into SKYSITE, so there’s no worry of the documents getting hacked.
ARC: Is poor protection of these types of documents a problem?
Mercado: That’s a security issue, too. More and more companies are going with SKYSITE, because we can evaluate their situation and provide an answer to all of their problems.
ARC: How important is responsiveness to SKYSITE’s business model? And how is it different from the way others do business?
Mercado: Many of the bigger customers don’t even listen to their customers anymore. ARC actually has a development partnership with some of our key customers. We’re already asking our customers what they want for next year. The challenge of being a tech solutions provider is staying up with what your customers need and what is happening in technology in the market.
ARC: How active is your firm’s support staff?
Mercado: Our feedback form goes to me and our COO, and I actually respond to it myself. We know customers’ time is precious, and we will read that email and we will respond to it. We will even meet with them to talk about it.
ARC: Are many companies finding the success that SKYSITE has found in helping facilities managers in every sector?
Mercado: ARC is very unique in that regard. We started out [in this niche] with archiving work, and then moved to SKYSITE, and now we have morphed it to cover everything from design-build to facilities management. We’re the only one who can provide that whole solution.
ARC: How can a project manager, facilities manager, property manager or another professional who deals with facilities documents begin the search for a good cloud solution for those records?
Mercado: Trade shows are a good way to see what’s out there. Ask around, and find out how easy it is to use the technology, what’s been promised by the vendor, and about the support of the product. Ask what the development timeline is—you don’t want the technology you adopt to be outdated in a few years.
ARC: What does SKYSITE’s development timeline look like?
Mercado: We’re planning for a new release in Spring 2017. Our development timeline involves putting out three or four major releases per year, with major component additions in each.
ARC: Why all the new releases?
Mercado: These regular releases make sure our technology is up to date, and also show it’s a product we’re constantly developing. SKYSITE is evolving because of customer feedback.
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