If you’re considering making a change to your construction software, you’re probably wondering if you should stay with your existing way of doing things (usually multiple systems for multiple functions) or if you should integrate all your software needs into one central system. All-in-one solutions, like Premier, can take the place of document management, accounting, and project management software.
To help you make this decision, we’ve listed some of the benefits of staying with multiple solutions (because there are some), as well as the benefits of moving to an all-in-one solution. While cost is, and should be, a part of this decision, there are many other things to consider before deciding.
Benefits of using multiple software systems
- If you’re using multiple software systems, say one for field communication and one for accounting, and it’s time to make a change to one of those systems, either an update or a software change, fewer people are affected by the change. Only the field or accounting department has to be trained on the new system, change processes, and work out the bugs. This can be less frustrating than having the entire company learn a new program together.
- Let’s talk cost. Generally, software systems targeted to just the field or the office are less expensive than all-in-one solutions. They usually offer simplified processes that are targeted at a few pain points, so the costs to implement and purchase them are lower. Of course, this means that their capacity is limited, and you may not have access to more advanced functions if you need them. For example, many construction companies use Quickbooks for accounting, even though it lacks many of the tools and workflows necessary for contractors. In order to tap into these advanced functions, you’ll have to invest in a software that is structured specifically for the construction industry.
- Depending on the structure of your business, using multiple solutions may fit your needs better. Very small companies, with only 1-2 employees, may not require the robust features of an all-in-one, and investing in such a system would be a waste of money for a company that small. However, as the business grows, so will its needs, and soon it will outgrow the capacity of these solutions.
- Probably the biggest perceived benefit of using multiple systems, if you’re currently doing so, is that you don’t have to change what you’re currently doing. The fear of change and the havoc it can create keeps many companies from growing and adopting new tools. Transitioning to new software doesn’t have to be stressful when you have the right team and the right software for your business.
Benefits of all-in-one software solutions
- One of the benefits of using an all-in-one software solution is that there is one centralized location for all your data and files. No more searching desktops, laptops, and the cloud for the information you need. By making the information available through the internet, your team members can get the data and files they need no matter where they are and what type of hardware they’re using. No more lost data.
- With an all-in-one system, entries made in one part of the software are automatically sent where they need to go to update the entire system. For example, an AP invoice will show up immediately on budget reports, open AP reports, and the project’s work-in-progress report. Double entry isn’t required. This ensures that everyone can see the same data at the same time, and you don’t have to worry about whether the cost data has been synced with the project management data. It’s all in one system.
- Everyone has access to detailed cost data, allowing them to drill down to the transaction if necessary. Synced data in other systems may come across as a summary of costs, not allowing a project manager to see the detail of those costs. Of course, everyone can only see the records they’ve been given permission to see, ensuring privacy when necessary.
- An all-in-one solution grows as your company grows. You can add users and functionality as the need arises. Taking on new types of work or responding to requests for new reports or cost data can easily be accommodated without having to change systems or upgrade software.
- Automation allows your team to save time so they can work on more pressing tasks. Automated AP invoice entry, pay-when-paid payments, and notifications allow your team to spend their time doing the really important things, and not babysitting the software system. Automation can also reduce the need for double entry, saving you from countless errors and time searching for them.
- Instead of spending time on processes you’ve developed to work around the limitations of the software systems you currently use, you can streamline those processes and save workers time and money. For example, a worker enters a change order into the project management system, then has to enter the same change order into the accounting system. While in the same time it took them to enter the CO twice, with an all-in-one system the CO would be entered in both accounting and project management, and a CO issued to the appropriate subcontractors, as well.
- When information from the project management and accounting systems are combined into a dashboard managers can see the big picture of how the company is running. New synergies can be seen when the data is presented together, and management can act quickly based on trends. Without a central system, creating these dashboards requires combining the data by hand, which leaves room for errors and takes time.
If you’re looking for a single solution for your accounting, project management, and document control needs, look no further than Premier. Afraid of change? Our team will work closely with you to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible.
See how we can help, schedule your demo today to get started!
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.