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5 Questions About Your Construction Software You Should Be Asking Right Now
As we continue to adjust to new working and operating environments in construction during the COVID pandemic, many contractors are looking at what the future will hold and what the new construction reality might look like.
Businesses across the United States — including thousands of contractors — have leveraged modern technologies over the past few months to work from home and keep many business processes moving. But the physical nature of construction means that work on jobsites is going to have to resume at full speed to keep contractors’ bottom lines fluid.
Thankfully, there are positive signs for the construction industry. In many states, contractors have been considered essential businesses and allowed to keep operating. Pennsylvania, the only state to completely ban construction during the outbreak, is set to allow construction to resume this week. And in Washington, one of the first states to endure the COVID outbreak, and which enacted among the nation’s strictest social distancing measures, is now looking to allow some construction projects to reopen with specific safety rules in place.
Competition for projects is expected to be even tougher once business is back to (a new) normal. That’s why contractors should also be evaluating their own processes and the technologies behind them right now to best position themselves to succeed. Here are five questions every contractor should be asking:
1. Do you have the ability to work in real time?
Even before COVID, more and more project owners were requiring the contractors and subcontractors they worked with to have modern technologies and processes in place to pull together job costs, progress reports and other important construction data in real time. By expanding access to vital project data beyond the back office through cloud-based software, all of your project stakeholders can work with real-time data. This helps you spot issues, mitigate project risks, more accurately capture costs and increase productivity. Real-time data is also going to be important for addressing new health and safety measures being put in place by local and federal agencies. In order to show compliance, you’ll need to be able to pull critical data at a moment’s notice.
2. Are my processes and solutions truly integrated?
Just as important as real-time data, having integrated software is vital to streamlining workflows and reducing time-consuming administrative tasks. Disconnected software solutions or a mix of programs and manual processes like paper and spreadsheets leads to having to re-enter your data multiple times into each system of record. This means data you need is often anywhere from days to months old before you get it in formats that make sense to you. A single, integrated construction management solution, however, removes these manual processes. Your field teams can enter information from their mobile devices at the jobsite and have it instantly populate to your accounting, project management or other back office functions. And you save hours of costly overhead having to rekey and make sense of mountains of different data.
3. How easy is our software to use for everyone on our project teams?
All the latest software and technology in the world won’t make a lick of difference in your productivity and profitability if your teams won’t use it. Remember, most people are resistant to change — unless you can easily show them how much better their lives could be using it. Your software should make sense for the end user, with the right amount of flexibility to allow different teams or departments to use in ways that make sense to them. Moreover, it should deliver relevant data to the user, with intuitive portals and apps that make it easy to access information needed anywhere, anytime. If your software is bogged down with cumbersome navigation, frustrating task processes and lack of modern features, perhaps it’s time for a change.
4. Does my software make me a data-driven contractor?
As modern projects become more demanding, contractors are continuing to look for new ways to not just collect project data, but to properly analyze it to make actionable decisions. Sure, your software might be able to provide the basic accounting and operational processes needed to keep work moving, but how much about your projects do you not know? Can your current data tell you where project risks lie in real time? Are you able to identify consistent trends and develop working benchmarks? Can you look at your data today and stamp out material and equipment waste before they occur? Do you have the ability to successfully forecast future work and predict which jobs are worth the risk and which are not? Modern, integrated construction software has the analytic and business intelligence tools to answer yes to all of those questions and more.
5. Is my software and technology stack scalable for the future?
One of the funny, yet frustrating things about traditional technology is that it tends to be outdated the moment you bring it home and begin using it. In construction, that meant replacing massive construction ERP software packages roughly every 10 years or so. It was a painful, costly process. However, the cloud platforms that technologies are being built on today completely change the game, making it easy for vendors to roll out new features and updates in ways that are seamless to the end user. And new technologies can be easily added to existing cloud solutions as they’re developed. Data storage, the latest security protections, hosting and other processes can be easily managed at the vendor level, meaning that you’re no longer on the hook to maintain costly servers and constantly backing up data. You can take advantage of the latest technologies as they’re rolled out — without having to do the heavy lifting!
Why You Need a Connected, Cloud-Based Construction Solution
If any of the questions above make you question your own operations, it might be time to consider modernizing your operations. Unlike software that solves a single need for customers or compels them to work within the restraints of a larger, out-of-the-box ERP solution, ViewpointOne provides construction companies with a complete, integrated software suite that seamlessly manages contractors’ people, projects and processes.
Designed for construction and delivered by a trusted vendor with a solid track record of both industry experience and ongoing technology investment, ViewpointOne gives you a single source of data truth in a modern operating environment. Hosted in the cloud, ViewpointOne combines Viewpoint’s own leading construction ERP offerings like Vista and Spectrum with its collaborative Team and Field products, for a flexible, easy-to-use suite to boost your productivity and enable better decision making. ViewpointOne includes:
- Instant access to software updates and new technologies as they’re developed
- A single source for all of your construction data with intuitive ways to view real-time dashboards and quickly pull detailed reports
- Smart, streamlined workflows, automated processes, top-of-the-line operating speeds and advanced interconnectivity
- Powerful analytic and business intelligence tools
- A highly-secure operating environment, with the latest cloud security measures, validated by third-party defense cyber warfare experts
- The highest level of business continuity protection with automatic data backups and redundancy that exceed industry best practices
Read more about how ViewpointOne helps each different construction persona work smarter. Or, connect with Viewpoint today to see first-hand how we could help your organization scale for today, tomorrow and beyond.