by Brian McKay

shutterstock_1100368481.jpg

More and more, companies are creating cloud-based platforms that can be used to automate away what once were tedious tasks for contractors. Gone are the days of having to push software updates to individual users as cloud-based services are constantly updated real time for all users. As things rapidly change in a market space, the software can be changed immediately to reflect it.

Multiple platforms can be accommodated by cloud-based software instead of having to sell different versions of a software package. The small business owner can have a login to access what she needs while, at the same time, a national services firm is utilizing the same software with a package that fits their needs. For the contractor in the middle of the action, communicating between parties becomes more streamlined.

An example of this flexibility is the company Retrolux. Its founder, Leif Elgethun, got fed up with using pencil, paper and Excel when putting together LED lighting retrofits. He founded the company in 2012 as a way to automate the process and save people time and frustration. As a cloud-based platform, collaboration between lighting suppliers, contractors and building owners is tremendously simplified and communication becomes much more accurate.

The Retrolux system can be used in the office or in the field through connected apps. This allows real time updates that everyone can see. The system can also be updated for changes in the lighting market as they happen and users immediately have access to the changes.

Most electric companies offer lighting retrofit rebates. The Retrolux system gives the user a streamlined approach to calculating these rebates, submitting them and sharing the information with the end customer. As rebate programs, or even electricity pricing changes, the system is updated to calculate savings or costs, based on the new information. No longer does the contractor or the sales team have to worry about using outdated information.

Team formation is one of the biggest benefits to collaborative, cloud-based software. Now teams can be formed as new users are invited to view and edit information as needed. An established workflow shortens time frames to completing the job. Gone are the days of having to hold time wasting project update meetings.

Cloud based collaboration software is now taking off across the contractor spectrum. From single disciplines like solar sales and installation to complete homes building solutions, companies like Retrolux are now creating massive efficiencies and much quicker times to project completion. Now, more than ever, even small contractors need to look to such solutions to streamline their operations, win more sales, complete projects faster and accelerate their cash flow.