There’s a flip side to the proliferation of technology that has impacted the construction industry: too much of a good thing. Despite contractors being perceived as somewhat skeptical of new technology solutions, many experts have identified the industry as ripe for disruption, leading to the deployment of numerous platforms designed to streamline key business processes.
However, even as adoption increases, this has caused some contractors to feel as if simplification is needed. And this is where the leading technology firms are headed, in terms of product direction: combining more of the features contractors want into a single platform. The goal is to not deprive construction businesses of the new technologies that they have come to embrace, but rather to make it simpler to access the multiple modules and applications via one, single portal.
The downside is that the price tag may creep up compared to buying disparate applications, but as many business owners point out, the increase in efficiency that comes from having to learn how to use just one platform versus multiple can easily make up for any additional costs that come with buying a more comprehensive solution.
This is just one consideration to weigh when buying new construction technology solutions in 2020. Read on for more questions to ask when considering a potential technology purchase.
Surveys have shown that just a few years ago, construction companies were typically using six or more software programs; in 2017, that number had shrank to two. This is good news, as it shows that modern construction software is packing more high-value features and saving companies the aggravation of having to invest in multiple, disparate solutions to get the functionality they want. It also demonstrates a maturation of software options for the construction industry, one that is already notoriously fickle about adopting new technology. By streamlining the offering, this makes it easier for companies to get on board and encourage adoption by employees.
What is also reflects, however, is that construction industry users are learning what matters most in the field and the home office. For instance, mobile field software has become hugely important to contractors, especially now that they see the value of real-time reporting from the field and eliminating the manual processes of reporting back to the home office to log updates from paper-based documents recorded earlier that day or week. Faster updates, fewer errors, and the elimination of paper reports – win, win, win for the construction industry.
However, challenges still exist. Some companies are finding that their chosen applications still don’t integrate effectively, which requires the manual transfer of data. This negates the point of investing in software and does nothing to help the company work more efficiently towards meeting schedule and budget obligations. That’s why it’s important to ask the right questions before investing in solutions that don’t talk to each other or stymy adoption by employees.
So, what are some questions to ask of your software vendor? One of the most important ones is whether the construction software in question is easy to use. When taking adoption into consideration, it’s essential that the first-time user experience is one that is clear and understandable, with an interface that makes data analysis straightforward the first time. This is essential when evaluating whether it will reduce the time it takes to enter data and share it among team members, a chief concern among project teams at construction companies of all sizes.
Integration is also an important characteristic to weigh, especially since construction companies rely on accounting staff sharing data with estimators, field teams coordinating with purchasing, and project managers talking to everyone. If new software applications create more silos, the entire deployment could achieve very little. The uniformity of the data, too, is critical for ease of use and adoption, so that personnel from other departments like HR and marketing can easily understand and update project information.
A final thought: look for construction software solutions that drive collaboration, like cloud-based project management tools. Cloud solutions are easy to scale up or down as a project team’s needs change and enhance collaboration by supporting real-time data sharing regardless of individual team members’ locations. Software that builds stronger teams will enjoy strong adoption and lead to happy client relationships – the ultimate means of demonstrating the ROI of construction technology.
To find out which construction technology platforms make the most sense for your team, contact us today for a software demonstration that will showcase how new tools are integrating more features and bringing teams closer together.
United Solutions provides unmatched software solutions and support for more than 3,000 clients in the construction, real estate industries. We enable our clients to operate at peak efficiency and maximize their profits.Read More
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