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Tips for Using Construction Software to Improve Performance

Construction companies upgrade their construction software for lots of reasons. One of the main reasons being to improve, you guessed it, performance. This includes being more profitable and more efficient, both in the field and the office. There are many ways to improve performance working with construction software, including choosing the right software, getting an ERP solution, changing processes, gathering data, and using analytics.

1. Get the right software for your business

One size software does not fit all. Before selecting construction software for your company, you need to do research to make sure you’re selecting the program that is best for your company. Get something too simple, and you’ll quickly outgrow it. Get something too complex, and you’ll never use it properly or understand what the data is trying to tell you.

Start by assessing your current system, even if you’re still using spreadsheets. Determine what’s missing and what information you wish you had. Shop around and look at multiple software options. Don’t rush this process or you’ll quickly be overwhelmed by all the information you receive. Look for software that allows for flexibility and growth in your company and the data you collect. You’ll want to be able to grow into the software and still have it serve you several years down the road.

Choose the software package that best suits your needs and gives you the most options for additional data collection. Some software packages target specific contractor types or are better suited for certain trades. Choose one that fits your company and the work it does, both now and into the future. Choosing the right software lays the groundwork for improving your performance and improving efficiency.

2. Get an ERP

An ERP software program, or enterprise resource planning, offers companies a holistic view of their operations and finances. In the construction world, it combines project management and accounting into one solution that is linked by data. This type of software solves a critical missing link in construction – it links the office to the field. Information entered in one area can be immediately seen by the other, making real-time decision-making possible.

ERPs have several advantages over standalone accounting software, including the ability to see data in real time, integrated data, and a larger view of company performance. All of these allow management to assess and act on trends in the business. They can spot problems both in the field and the office and proactively address them.

3. Don’t be afraid to change

New software often brings new processes. No software program does things the same way as another, and companies need to be flexible in changing their processes. Using the software’s process will improve efficiency and avoid extra work. It can also allow for additional data collection, which can be beneficial in assessing productivity.

New software provides the opportunity to learn more about the company and its processes through the collection of additional data. Even though the company hasn’t collected certain data in the past doesn’t mean you can’t learn from the information.

4. Gather data

Data is key when it comes to improving performance in construction. By being able to gather data from both the field and the office, management can assess performance companywide and make improvements to increase efficiencies and improve performance. Without this data, management must rely on anecdotal evidence and assumptions about what is happening on site.

When companies gather more data, they have an opportunity to learn more about the company. With limited information available, management has to make assumptions to fill in the gaps. But with concrete information coming from the field, management can monitor both growth and performance in real-time, allowing them to make better decisions.

5. Use analytics

Analytics help companies predict future outcomes based on past events. The more data the company has available for analysis, the better the predictions are. Since construction software allows for the collection of data from the field and office, analytics can provide insight for both areas and allow project managers and company management to make better strategic decisions.

Analytics can predict incidents and problems ahead of time, like forecasting the possibility of safety incidents depending on the type of work being performed. This proactive response helps prevent problems and allows companies to improve performance and increase efficiency.

Conclusion

If your company is looking to increase efficiency and improve its performance, construction software is a key part of that journey. Start by making sure you have the right software for your situation by assessing multiple options before deciding. If it makes sense for your company, select an ERP solution that connects the office to the field. Don’t be afraid to change your internal processes to match the software’s procedures. Gather as much data as you can and use analytics to help you predict outcomes for your business. Premier Construction Software has all the tools you need to improve your key performance measurements. Contact us to request a demonstration.

To learn more about how you can improve performance with a construction software, schedule a call with our team for a live demonstration.

Author Biography:

Dawn Killough is a construction writer with over 20 years of experience with construction payments, from the perspectives of subcontractors and general contractors. Dawn has held roles such as a staff accountant, green building advisor, project assistant, and contract administrator.  Her work for general contractors, design firms, and subcontractors has even led to the publication of blogs on several construction tech websites and her book, Green Building Design 101.

 

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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.

 

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Resources Trends & Technology

Secrets of Construction Software – Cloud vs Traditional ERP

Construction Software has become more powerful and there are many more options available in the market today. How do you decide what is best for you and how can you hedge your risk? Well, it’s not that easy! It’s important to educate yourself on which questions are crucial to ask so that you can easily differentiate the old from the new and identify software that adds real value to your organization.

 

The main challenge is finding an integrated accounting and job costing software that is robust, powerful, and easy to install and use.  With the introduction of cloud, software companies are challenged to move from traditional ERP to SaaS based models. To build software that is true cloud requires a significant investment. Most construction software companies do not have the development resources and required investment to compete in the cloud market so they take shortcuts such as using a third party hosting provider to host their software in the cloud. This is not a true cloud solution but rather dated technology camouflaged in a new technology framework.

 

Traditional ERP software contracts are structured in a way that locks customers in and increases the risk for businesses. It’s important to review the contract in detail so you don’t invest your hard earned dollars in software that is dated, comprehensive and can take several months to install. Also, traditional ERP software packages specialize in customizations and target multiple verticals. This results in numerous flags which lead to lengthy and time consuming installs.

 

Additionally, traditional ERP software solutions charge a high upfront license fee and lock you into a contract that is very difficult to terminate. In hindsight, they have very little incentive to provide a quality product and exceptional customer service. Under the new model – SaaS, there is no contract which significantly mitigates the risk for your business. It also holds the software vendors accountable to deliver what was promised during the sales demo – a quality product and exceptional customer support.

 

The differences between true cloud and traditional hosted ERP solutions quickly become apparent when you calculate the cost savings. Traditional ERP software vendors try to compete in the cloud market by hosting their software using a third party provider. There is an associated hosting fee and Citrix/VPN are required to run the software application. Not only is this costly but it is very time consuming, slow and usually there are connection issues and delays. Also, servers must be upgraded, maintained and require in house I.T support for back-ups, storage, corruption etc.

 

True cloud does not require a server or hosting fees and all back-ups and upgrades are included.

 

Most importantly, SaaS based companies have shifted their focus on customer satisfaction by taking the time to learn about construction businesses.  Establishing a meaningful partnership drastically positively impacts development and advances the software.  Most traditional ERP solutions set a lower budget for the number of training hours required for an implementation in order to make the quote appear more favorable. It is important to gain clarification around this to ensure an accurate number of hours is quoted. Most vendors charge for additional training whereas most SaaS based vendors are rolling out unlimited training models to ensure high adoption and satisfaction rates among customers. Typically users of SaaS based systems are using over 80% of the software’s capability whereas users of traditional models are left to train themselves and end up using less than 50%.

 

As you can see, the two solutions – true cloud versus traditional ERP – are drastically different. It’s important to take into consideration more than just the purchase price. If you make the wrong decision, it can disrupt your work environment, deter employees from change and end up costing you time and a significant lost investment. Choosing the right software is critical to a company’s success. If chosen correctly, it can increase productivity, centralize your team, provide meaningful reports and help you grow your business with less resources.