Categories
Trends & Technology

The Importance of All-in-One Software for Construction Businesses

We live in a fast-paced world. As such, we have all learned to expect what we want, when we want it. In business, in order to stay competitive and provide value for our customers, we also have to give clients what they need, when they need it. And the construction world is no different. This is why an all-in-one approach to software is important for construction businesses.

Take MAX Construction for instance. This Denver-based “build-out” construction company relies on an all-in-one solution to ensure that all team members work together in all project stages for their $1M – $3M jobs.

In business since 1991, MAX Construction started out using programs like QuickBooks and Excel to manage projects, job costing and accounting. As the company grew, they realized that they had to streamline processes in order to save time, money and reduce the margin for error.

President of MAX Construction, Alex Szollosi describes their switch to all-in-one software. For them, the solution was Premier Construction – the #1 Construction Cloud software on the market.

“Most construction companies start out using QuickBooks as their accounting software. Construction accounting can get very complicated…we used QuickBooks to its maximum capacity and Excel spreadsheets to create change orders while trying to manage all these different forms and documents. We had a cumbersome way of managing everything because we relied on excel folders for our change orders, daily reports, documents, pictures etc., and our accounting in a completely separate software. And it worked but it wasn’t fluid and we couldn’t get a real-time picture of how we were doing on our jobs.”

We were growing – we are now a 29-year old company. We were getting bogged down with the cumbrous process of creating change order forms and proposals in Excel, documenting invoicing and cost-coding manually, etc. Basically, Premier allowed us to become more efficient. Initially it still takes time to set up, but the real key is being able to set up the product properly for the use that it’s intended for.

Bookkeeping is important and spreadsheets can be helpful; but so is job costing, change order development, retainage, forecasting and construction billing. So having one software to do all of this and more is the reason why so many construction companies trust Premier Construction Software.

 

A Hand-in-Hand Approach to Projects

To have accounting data that speaks real time to project management reports is a great way to ensure project managers have the information they need to make more informed decisions. It allows them to understand their actual costs so they can assess where they are today and more accurately forecast where they will finish, before they run into costs overruns or cash flow issues. Optimizing these processes allows teams to make smarter and better decisions; saving time, which allows priorities to shift and more tasks to be accomplished. This hand-in-hand approach was something that Szollosi needed.

“When I was looking for a product, I spoke to a number of my cohorts in the business and I asked them, ‘are you using an accounting software?’, ‘are you using a project management software?’, and most said that they hadn’t found a product that provides both accounting and project management. I have been with Premier Construction for six years now and we are using both sides simultaneously. We are using one product and we can find everything we need.”

When business gets busy and workload priorities shift, it’s even more essential to have a software that can keep up and more importantly, keep you on track. Szollosi appreciates this ability with Premier Construction Software.

Because we’re using an all-in-one system, our accounting side is in-tune to the project at their level and our project managers are in-tune to the project on their side.

“On the PM side there’s job budget control, which allows us to look at the job in real-time. We can easily raise change orders and our subcontracts with minimal data entry. We can look at the progress of the job to see if we’re ahead or behind our projections and easily drill down into vendor information to view if they were invoiced and paid, so that’s really valuable.”

“On the accounting side, I can always print out an outstanding billing report to know if we’re getting paid on time. Also, we can always produce an up-to-date financial statement. We can see percentages, projections and we know just by looking at our reports.”

 

Gaining A Competitive Edge in Construction

In the end, the ability to operate a business that can keep up to the demands of the industry is an essential competitive edge. Szollosi understands this and provides further insight.

“The real key is ‘real-time’. It’s difficult to do if you don’t have a program like Premier. If you’re doing it in a long-hand method you’re always going to be behind. We can look at our projects monthly and review budgets, explain variances, complete budget transfers, review pending items, drill into actual costs and forecast accurately. We just have a better opportunity to know exactly where we’re at as a result.”

With a focus on empowerment through automation, the Premier Construction Software includes additional game changing features such as built-in alerts for cost or commitment overruns, change order and subcontract signature automation with workflow routing, subcontract pay apps and even unlimited document management storage for internal or external users.

In construction, to get what you want, when you want it means applying a hand-in-hand team strategy using an all-in-one software. For Alex and MAX Construction, the solution is Premier Construction. Szollosi’s advice:

“Number one, don’t agonize the decision. Make the choice to move in the direction that benefits you.”

“If you understand what the system can do for you, you’re in the right place and you should move forward with your team.”

What are you waiting for? Get everything you need, when you need it, today.

 

About Jonas Premier
Jonas Premier is a true cloud, all in one accounting, job cost, project and document management solution, specifically designed to meet the needs of General Contractors, Construction Management, Land Developers, Homebuilders and Specialty Contractors. The solution comprises of fundamental modules including accounting, job costing & estimating, forecasting, sub pay apps, cost plus billing, progress billing, time & expense, reporting and document management. Running in the cloud, Premier provides the ability to access and input information at any time, from anywhere on any device. Built on modern software architecture, it is fully flexible, powerful and most importantly, simple to use.

For learn more on Premier Construction Software or to see a live demo, click here.

Categories
Industry Insight Trends & Technology

Technology That Is Changing The World Of Construction

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Over the centuries, humans have developed new ways to build taller, stronger and more beautiful creations with game-changing materials – but what does the future hold for construction technology? In today’s world of rapidly advancing technology, many amazing new innovations come to mind that we believe will have a great impact on the future of construction.

We have compiled a short list of three of the most exciting innovations. Some are even in use today.

  1. Drones
    – Drones, often considered to be no more than a toy for children of all ages, represent one of biggest potential disruptors of the construction industry. Equipped with a camera drones can be used for everything from providing onsite tours for investors to exploring hazardous situations before sending members of your crew in. Drones will not only reduce or eliminate the need to risk the wellbeing of your employees in unstable conditions such as potential gas leaks or potential collapse or cave in but they will also act as an extension to every worker, allowing access to smaller and higher spaces and providing simple and fast Solutions to age old problems. (Drone bridge clip).
  2.  Virtual Reality – With the recent release of the Oculus Rift, and the inevitability of virtual reality becoming mainstream, it will not be    long before these head sets are a common sight in the construction industry. Designers can create a 1 to 1 model of buildings that will allow both clients and contractors to view and interact with seemingly life size mock ups. This will allow for vital changes and redesigns to be made before construction begins, saving not only money but time as well. In addition to this, trade schools will likely adopt VR for training and simulation processes allowing young tradesmen to apply knowledge in a challenging but completely safe testing environment.
  3. Augmented Reality – The younger and more jobsite applicable brother to VR, Augmented Reality is already deployed in the field. These headsets (Like Google glass) overlay data, live video links, and environmental readings overtop of the surrounding environment. This becomes incredibly useful for when technicians are repairing or installing complicated equipment, or when working in extreme or dangerous environments. One really great example of this tech is the DAQRI Headset, which takes the form of a futuristic hard hat, a technological gem that was recently adopted by Elon Musk on his Hyperloop.

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Categories
Trends & Technology

The Truth About True Cloud

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What is the difference between cloud and a hosted environment?

With typical hosting, you’re offloading your servers to a third party hosting company who then looks after server management on your behalf. While at first glance this seems like a positive step in the right direction to reducing your overall IT costs, you’re still limited by the capacity of these servers and the network capacity of the provider. If you need more capacity, the hosting provider may not be able to provide it. If you need a faster server – get ready for a ‘planned migration’ that can potentially leave you and your customers with either heavily degraded service, or worse, no service at all. Requiring more capacity is known in the industry as ‘Scaling’, and with traditional hosting this remains difficult and costly. In addition to issues with Scalability, you’re also putting your full confidence in your hosting provider to take complete backups, ensure that both your backups and live environment are secure, and that the software you are hosting remains available, even during catastrophic failures.

With Cloud Technology, servers typically operate in a virtualized cluster of many machines, all working together to provide you with the resources and capacity you need. Scaling up, then, is simply a quick configuration change. No downtime. No servers to order. No issues with parts being on back-order. Virtually no downtime. With Cloud technology, companies can scale on-demand to the requirements of the business to ensure that the resources you need are available when you need it. And backups are not an afterthought – they’re typically baked into the core of the service. In the case of a hosting provider such as Microsoft Azure, backups are constantly being taken, allowing you access to to-the-minute point-in-time backups from any time in the last 14 days. And catastrophic failures need not be a concern – with a 99.95% guaranteed uptime and failover zones that are provisioned on the opposite location of the main data centre, you can be sure your data remains safe and your software remains available.

What do you mean by ‘true cloud’, then?

 Many software companies, in an attempt to appear modern and up-to-date dedicate their budgets to masquerading the underlying server dependency with Hosting Environment solutions, rather than investing in their customers and the future of their product. Those that approach the problem in this way are looking at the problem from a short term gain perspective, meaning, long term pains. Jonas Premier, on the other hand, was engineered from the ground up using modern technology, leveraging Microsoft Azure, the #1 global provider for cloud hosting. With more than 66% of Fortune 500 companies relying on Microsoft Azure as their cloud service provider, combined with their 99.95% enterprise grade SLA on services, support, and monitoring, you can be sure that your data remains safe, available, and that Premier can scale to even the most demanding businesses.

So, not all Software Solutions that claim to be ‘cloud’ are ‘true cloud’ based solutions?!

Unfortunately, not. Many companies practice deceptive marketing strategies as a short term solution solely to prop up their financials and appear to position themselves in the market in a way that isn’t reflective of their true solution. They spend their resources on this deception, rather than investing in their infrastructure, and thus, their customers.

That can’t be right. I just got a trial, and was able to run the software without installing it!

Most hosted software solutions require you to operate the software using Remote Desktop Technology such as RDP or Citrix. Sometimes, in addition to this, they also require you establish a VPN connection to their network! Typically, all of these solutions are costly, slow and inconvenient. In these situations, they are effectively having you connect to a workstation which already has the software installed, whether that be to run your day to day business, or to provide you with a demo or trial. In today’s world, people demand the convenience of access, speed, high availability, and a low cost. With a true cloud solution such as Jonas Premier, you don’t need to worry about how you will connect to the software, you don’t need to worry about whether it can scale to meet the demands of your growing business, and you don’t need to worry about maintaining servers, backups, or any of the associated IT overhead.

 Where is my data and who does it belong to?

This is a great question. You want to ensure that you are teaming up with a reputable hosting provider as they are responsible for the security and safety of your data. With Jonas Premier, your data always remains your data. You always have access to real-time data on demand which can be queried through the software, or externally from the software. You can even extract your data using your favorite tools such as Microsoft Excel! Backed by Constellation Software Inc (CSU.TO) and hosted on the Microsoft Azure Cloud, you can be confident that your data is safe and secure. In addition, we have escrow agreements in place to ensure that you have access to your data no matter what the future has in store.

 Why are businesses moving to cloud?

The answer is simple. Lower Total-Cost-of-Ownership (TCO), higher convenience, reduced overall risk, high availability, and access to real-time information from anywhere at any time. Information and reporting are the heart of any organization, and with cloud, it makes it easy for employees to get information from the field into the software to improve cash flow and enhance decision-making capabilities. With over 80% of companies saving money since implementing cloud, it is no surprise that so many companies are making the choice to move to the cloud.

What are the risks with cloud?

Life is fraught with risk, and in this case, the main risk associated with Cloud solutions is internet connectivity and availability. As more and more of the world is looking to the Internet as the universal-backbone-of-things, we’ve seen significant investments in communication technologies, such as fibre to the door, higher speeds, increased cell tower coverage, etc. Today, those internet challenges are quickly becoming a non-issue.

But my server is working great. Why would I want to change?

While traditional servers are still an option, servers have to be maintained and upgraded regularly, which is not only time consuming, but also costly as well. Your business requires IT personnel to manage this and you will incur the costs for backing up your data and storing information. For example, the typical cost to back up data is approximately $80/month for businesses, and most companies’ ultimately back-up to tape, larger in scale and more advanced, but fundamentally the same technology used back in the day of the 8-track tape or audio tapes you might have had in your car to listen to music. Over time, these tapes become unreliable and can be easily damaged. Also, businesses are storing more documents and trying to share them with customers and vendors, which include photos, drawings, and videos. Businesses end up leveraging public online services such as Dropbox. Dropbox is good when you want to share files with your friends, but do you want to make it the information sharing cornerstone of your business? These types of solutions make it increasingly difficult for employees to collaborate and access real-time information.

What about Security? Surely a server solution is more secure than a Cloud Solution.

Most companies have a tendency to believe their servers are safe. And then, something actually happens. Only at this point, with their data lost or stolen and their whole business now at risk, do they quickly realize they lacked the proper infrastructure to protect their most valuable assets. Businesses have had their servers stolen, suffered data corruption, and sometimes lose their data entirely due to natural disasters. Also, many businesses simply do not have the funding to hire and maintain the IT personnel, nor the infrastructure, and when corners get cut you increase the risk of viruses, corruption, or worse. If you partner with a reputable cloud provider such as Microsoft Azure, your data is being protected by one of the top software companies in the world. With Jonas Premier, we have a 14-day point-in-time backup recovery, redundant backups on top of the point-in-time backups, and we leverage multiple data centres within Azure which ensure we have disaster recovery, failover and redundancy capabilities in place. To put it simply, without a proper IT infrastructure in place and a large budget, choosing a server solution is like keeping your money under your mattress. With Jonas Premier, you get to keep your money in the bank, and you can rest easy at night knowing your money is safe.

 

“As a company, we’re not typically in the office all day, every day. Having a cloud-based construction software like Jonas Premier allows us to perform our jobs wherever we may be and fits in well with our business model.”

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Categories
Industry Insight Mobile Resources Trends & Technology

Jonas Premier Favored for Contract Management by Capterra

In a recently published article for Capterra, Content Marketing Analyst, Rachel Burger ranked Jonas Premier in the top 10 best constructions software packages for contract management. Citing Premiers unlimited document storage, ease of use and reputation for customer service excellence as defining features, Burger went on to explain that the criteria used in narrowing down her extensive list of candidates consisted of: Is the software industry specific? Is it applicable for commercial construction? Are there contract management features, and ease of use.

As a provider of fully integrated Construction Project Management and Accounting Software, Jonas Premier offers cutting edge cloud based software for today’s contractors. With complete access to your data from the office, job site, and even the airport, you can make the right decisions for your business at all times. Good bye Citrix, good bye VPN, and welcome to safer, faster software.

 

About Capterra:

Capterra is a website that offers unbiased third party software advice and reviews, you can check them out here.

Rachel Burger is a Content Marketing Analyst, and you can check out some of her writing here.

Categories
Accounting Industry Insight Mobile Trends & Technology

Mobility in the Construction Industry

The construction industry is one of the largest and oldest industries in North America. In some areas it is at the forefront of innovation, and yet is oddly still hesitant to progress in others.  In today’s modern era of construction there are few features that can give as great of an advantage as mobility.

 

As mentioned in an article on Wired.com , the ability to access live data on the go allows Project Managers, Architects and Engineers to effectively operate multiple projects simultaneously and increase productivity during travel and out of office visits.

 

So what exactly is a mobile solution? Well for starters, it’s a system that when implemented, allows you hassle free access to live data in any setting and across multiple platforms I.E. your laptop and mobile device. True cloud based software allows you to enter live data and update on the go which ensures that everyone on your team is in sync and up-to-date. Cloud based Accounting and Project Management software provides you access to your data anytime, anywhere, on any device.

 

With current technology, it is very simple to implement a mobile solution for your construction business of any size.  Devices like the Microsoft Surface or the Chuwi ci8 Plus are capable of running full versions of Microsoft windows which gives you access to the full functionality of software that is too complex for a smartphone, while also maintaining the portability and ease of use of a tablet.  In addition to cloud based software, there are also Mobile Apps that will allow subcontractors to do time entry, daily job logs, and photo captures from the field that update to your projects in real time.

 

The time to take your business mobile is now. It is 2016 and there is no excuse to limit your own productivity or the productivity of those you employ, to traditional Construction Project Management and Accounting systems. The demands of today’s construction industry are higher than they have ever been before – Mobile Solutions represent the best way to reach new possibilities.