Construction Technology/News

The Interconnected Construction Organization — Part 1: Downfalls of Disconnected Software


Having integrated data and workflows is the key to contractors’ success.

Searching for data on a construction project siphons time. Finding outdated information on that same project leads to mistakes. Ensuring accurate data, accessible in real time, creates a smooth working model. So often, though, multiple construction software programs and disconnected silos of information limits, delays or strangles the success of a construction project.

For contractors, especially growing firms that have evolved systems over time, having multiple software programs for accounting, project management, document management and field tools leads to increased work in reconciling necessary data between each system. Having the wrong or outdated data can then lead to project mistakes, conflicts, miscommunications and safety incidents — all situations that eat away at bottom lines.

Wasted Time and Money

Studies from the Construction Industry Institute show that as the construction market grew 4 percent in 2018 and early 2019, the margins for contractors — hovering in the 2 to 8 percent range — actually constricted. Part of the blame lies on disjointed software solutions. Aging and mismatched software — or even manual reporting — pushes construction firms into situations where they waste valuable work hours working to sort through data or burn money in rushed or unneeded materials purchases.

A lack of integrated solutions, according to a recent report from the Aberdeen Group, causes redundant data 35 percent of the time within construction companies with business systems that can’t interact with each other 33 percent of the time. Not only do systems fail to track business processes and struggle to share data outside of the organization while lacking collaboration capabilities, the study found that 23 percent of projects contained inaccurate data due to the software.

These challenges all have real consequences that combine to create lower margins.

“There were guys in the field doing the installations and the drawings and that data just wasn’t getting captured,” said Randy Smith, the applications manager at Dynamic Systems about outdated software the $400 million, top-10 ENR company with eight nationwide branches was relying on prior to moving to modern construction solutions from Viewpoint. Dynamic Systems stakeholders realized the outdated systems it was using was creating inefficiencies throughout the organization.

Without an integrated solution, work gets created in silos. This can easily lead to the duplication of work, with data getting entered multiples times between the field and the office in separate systems that can either eat away at time or produce errors and inaccuracies that cause problems later.

“It’s a waste of time, it’s expensive and it’s prone to error,” said John Patridge, director of construction data services for Tilson, a technology consulting and services firm that serves construction. “But it’s hard to put an ROI on that.”

The Downfall of Disjointed Data

Disjointed systems can result in numerous sets of different data, leading to costly mistakes on the jobsite.

This mess of disconnected data creates numerous issues throughout construction organizations:A lack of a single source of truth on a jobsite creates disjointed decision making from the field to the office. And when questions arise in the field, getting the answer takes more time as a foreman’s understanding of the data in a field software program may differ from what the engineer sees in the office.

  • Ordering and approval payment systems turn inefficient when job data gets siloed. Workers may not get the materials needed in a timely manner and vendors may not get paid seamlessly. Instead leading to time-consuming and hassle-inducing calls to accounting to run a job cost report.
  • Disjointed data eliminates the visibility of real-time information. Having answers to questions available to everyone at all times not only can save time for one individual, but it can eliminate useless interruptions for another.
  • The lack of visible knowledge of materials within the supply chain leads to confusion, frustrating downtime and unneeded orders, all easily sidestepped with data integration. Without proper planning and visibility into the firm’s supply chain, contractors can’t take advantage of volume discounts, stay ahead of job needs or ensure the proper routing of materials to the correct site.

Check out this Take 15 Learning Series video on ‘Mo​ving Beyond Multiple, Disconnected Construction Solutions:’

The Benefits of Modern Construction Software

The inefficiencies of outdated, disjointed and siloed software and data leads to lower margins, as much as 20 percent of a project’s cost, according to the Construction Industry Institute.

“If you don’t have the right answer to the question when you need it in the field, someone will do the wrong thing,” says Josh Wright, senior product manager at Viewpoint. “And then you have to pay someone to undo it.”

But there is a way out. Today’s leading contractors have digitized and modernized their operations, deploying cloud-based construction management platforms like ViewpointOne, which provide completely integrated functionality across all departments and teams, ensuring everyone is working from the same data in real time.

By delivering this functionality integration in a single solution — and connecting processes and tasks with automated workflows — this modern technology allows contractors to streamline efficiency throughout projects. Meanwhile, the power of the cloud opens accessibility to real-time information across entire project teams, while providing secure, expansive data storage and backups, reducing costs and strain on contractors’ IT staffs.

The end result is contractors that work smarter, easier and faster, delivering significantly more productive projects and increased bottom lines.

To learn more about how ViewpointOne and other Viewpoint solutions can help save your organization from the avalanche of disconnected data, contact us today!

Posted By

Simmi is the Vice President of Marketing at Trimble Viewpoint. Her passion for all things marketing is only rivaled by her passion for sports.