Are You Still Using Spreadsheets for Project Management?
Contractors have a lot to keep track of daily: from crews on the jobsite and subcontractors to equipment, materials and ever-changing conditions. Plus, they need to make sure all parts of a job are executed according to plan, both in terms of cost and schedule. To keep things organized, most contractors use technology in some capacity to facilitate day-to-day workflows for project management, scheduling, accounting, estimating and more.
According to JBKnowledge’s 2017 Construction Technology Report, construction companies rely on spreadsheets for many of these workflows. For project management specifically, 46.1 percent of respondents said they rely on spreadsheets. The report points out that companies often use multiple technologies to manage projects, which can result in duplicate data entry as people move information from a spreadsheet to software or from email to a spreadsheet. That’s not an ideal situation.
Viewpoint Survey Results Show Spreadsheets Still Dominate
During a recent webinar focused on collaborative project management, we conducted polls to learn what technology our current and prospective customers use for their project management. The results confirm that spreadsheets are still the most common solution:
What tools do you use to manage projects today?
(For this question, respondents were allowed to select more than one answer).
- Excel (72%)
- Email (44%)
- Other manual processes (32%)
- ProContractor by Viewpoint (48%)
- Other project management software (28%)
What challenges do you experience with your current project management solution?
(For this question, respondents were asked to select only their biggest challenge).
- Double data handling (42%)
- Miscommunication (17%)
- Manual entry (17%)
- Heavy admin burden (13%)
- Delays (13%)
With 72 percent of participants using Excel, it’s obvious spreadsheets are still the go-to solution for most contractors. There are likely many reasons for this. People are familiar with Excel and most have access to it. For many contractors, Excel is the way things have always been done, and they may not have considered a change.
But there are many downsides to spreadsheets, too, as revealed by the responses to our second question. Double data handling was by far the most common response, with 42 percent of participants selecting it as their biggest challenge. Double data handling refers to entering data in multiple places such as a spreadsheet and a software program. It slows down processes. This situation creates extra work that, in an industry with thin profit margins, people don’t really have time for.
It’s worth reiterating that we asked people to tell us which issue is their greatest project management challenge. That means it’s likely they also experience other challenges like miscommunication and delays, which are all bad for business.
Viewpoint Team for Collaborative Project Management
To solve project management problems like double data handling and miscommunication, many contractors are turning to Viewpoint Team. Team is a cloud-based platform that connects the back office and field operations with your extended team (subcontractors, suppliers, architects, owners, etc.) to improve communication and give people access to the data they need right away. Additionally, the cloud-based nature of Team allows people to enter data into the system directly—no matter where work takes you—allowing you to bypass the spreadsheet.
Team makes it easy to track issues, RFIs, submittals and more. The concerned parties receive immediate, relevant notifications to keep workflows and processes moving. Most importantly, you don’t have to worry about anything falling through the cracks or getting lost. Team simply helps deliver projects on time and on schedule by allowing management of projects in a central location, with data relevant to the folks that need it, and all in real time.
“Viewpoint Team Project Management helps us manage a large amount of work in a small amount of time,” said Bobby Asbury, project manager with Canton, Ill..-based Leander Construction. “We’ll get submittals registered out ahead of time so when vendors and subs are invited, it’s 80 percent to 90 percent set up and ready to go.”
Watch our full webinar, Team – Viewpoint’s Collaborative Project Management Application, to see a demo of this integrated software solution and learn whether it’s right for your business. Have questions? Let us know. We’re always happy to help contractors achieve greater efficiency and flexibility.