Construction software can have a big impact on the productivity of a company, especially when selected thoughtfully and implemented wisely. And it’s no surprise that increases in productivity have a big impact on contracting companies’ bottom lines. In an industry that’s traditionally struggled with productivity, technology solutions that can boost productivity growth are incredibly important.
Wayne Newitts, Viewpoint’s director of strategic partnerships, recently discussed this topic on the ACHR News Podcast with Herb Woerpel. Viewpoint has been creating software for contractors, including those in the mechanical trades, for 40 years. The podcast explores how software designed specifically for contractors can lead to efficiency improvements, how contractors can assess their current software and select alternatives, and how specific software solutions can connect the office, team, and field.
General contractors and ACHR News’ audience of mechanical contractors will both benefit from these recommendations about construction software.
Is Your Software Cloud and Mobile Friendly?
It’s not news to contractors that doing work in multiple locations is a challenge. Getting information to and from the office, distributing it among subcontractors, and ensuring that data is accurate are big obstacles. Having one central source of information is key to accomplishing all these things, so individuals in all parts of the business—even the field—can access information quickly.
As recently as a few years ago, though, companies were concerned about security issues related to the cloud and mobile devices. Managing devices for the field wasn’t easy either. Times have quickly changed and these concerns should no longer be the issues they once were thanks to significant security and accessibility developments. Today, more than half of all businesses are operating in the cloud and within the next few years, it could be the primary way business is conducted worldwide. This means contractors should be scaling their operations to stay on pace with—or ahead of—the technology curve. And when considering any new construction management software, contractors should look for solutions that are cloud-based, web-designed, and mobile-ready.
These solutions should be device agnostic so anyone in the field can quickly get the information they need from their phone or tablet. When out on the job, no one wants to stop what they’re doing to figure out how to use a complicated system. Finding or entering data via a browser-based solution or dedicated mobile solution is much simpler.
“When you’re out doing work, the last thing you want to do is have to access a complex software system,” Newitts noted in the podcast. “When you’re out in the field, you want something simple—two touches away from the information you need, or the information you need to send.”
Why Should Contractors Upgrade Software Now?
Software designed for on-premise workstations often relies on data that’s not current, as data typically only gets entered when users are physically in the office to do so. Or it gets collected and relayed to office staff in tools like spreadsheets and email. This means data sometimes doesn’t get entered and processed until days, weeks—even months later.
When contractors aren’t making decisions based on the most current data, project costs may not be accurately captured, delays can arise, and the bottom line suffers. To really track what’s going on in the business, contractors need access to real-time data.This means opting for a software platform that connects all parts of the business and synchronizes data automatically. As soon as someone in the field enters information, those in the accounting department, for example, can see it and act accordingly.
Think of it this way: Information needs to flow smoothly through your company because the flow of information impacts the flow of work. That flow of work impacts the flow of cash. Information has become currency in the construction industry, so facilitating better collaboration with transparent information flow is essential.
Why Integrated Software Just Makes Sense
Many contractors rely on five or six independent software applications for accounting, project management, service and equipment management, HR, and other parts of the business. Connecting these tools and having one source of data is often a headache.
Newitts notes that integrated software systems—built together in leading ERP platforms—are far better for real-time collaboration between the office, team and field. “You’re not having to build integrations between different point solutions for your company … and then, you as a contractor are responsible for updating—or paying someone to update these integrations for you (as software changes).”
Integrated software like those provided by Viewpoint’s Office / Team / Field solutions provide data visibility to the entire team, making collaboration much easier. Viewpoint’s solutions come pre-integrated, so you don’t have to worry about connecting software. An integrated solution—rather than a handful of separate applications—means you won’t have to worry about software upgrades either.
For more insights into the benefits and selection of construction software, listen to the whole podcast. To learn more about which integrated construction software is right for your business, visit our Solutions page.