Feb. 14, 2018
When it comes to researching the various construction management software on the market today, and ultimately having to choose the best one for your business, the process can seem quite daunting to say the least. The biggest fear for most companies is selecting the wrong solution from a software provider that does not meet their needs. This could not only lead to thousands of dollars being wasted, but also time spent learning and implementing a software system that will not be used by your business. Talk about a scary proposition. While many articles do a great job at explaining what you should look for when choosing the right software vendor, this article will examine five key pitfalls to avoid when selecting a construction management software solution.
1. Buying a solution solely based on cost. While the cost of a construction management software solution should definitely be taken into consideration, it should not be the guiding factor in your business’ decision. Most software companies offer a variety of packages and solutions that can work within your budget, which can help expand the options available to your business and allow you to search for a software that best meets your needs, rather than only meeting your bottom line. One suggestion is to look at construction software platforms that provide a complete, all-in-one solution. The reasoning behind this is that when you buy a software that has all of the features and functionalities you need in one package, your business is able to achieve greater overall value, since everything you need to operate your business is provided at a single cost. In addition, these solutions are generally fully integrated throughout the platform, meaning that all future updates and upgrades to the system are standard and are provided at no additional cost to the end user. Cost is an inevitable part of the software decision-making process, but it is important to understand exactly what you are paying for. While some construction software packages may offer a lower initial price, there may be hidden additional costs such as having to purchase individual modules or pay for training. Be sure to ask the software vendor during the initial research stages about their complete pricing model, so your business is not left in a tough position going forward.
2. Underestimating the value of training and ongoing support. With the ongoing developments in technology, software today has become more advanced than ever before. While most vendors do their best to make their software as user-friendly and easy to use as possible, anyone who has actually used any form of software knows that this is not always the case. This is why it is essential to determine what the training process will look like and what kind of support you will receive once training is complete and your business is ready to use the software. With regards to training, it is ideal to have all users of the software available during the training process so that everyone is on the same page within your business. The best solution is to determine what kind of training process works best for your business, such as on-site at your location or maybe your business would prefer to be trained online or in a classroom setting. Ensure the software vendor offers the training method your business prefers so that you will be able to get the most out of your training experience and start using the software as soon as possible. You will also want to discuss the support you will receive once you are live on the software. Talk to the software vendor about their service level agreement and determine whether their support is in-house or outsourced. Strong support is crucial to your business operating as smoothly as possible, so you will want to ensure that the software vendor offers support that is both reliable and scalable to the needs of your business.
3. Selecting a single software rather than a complete solution. With so many software options on the market today, it can be easy to succumb to purchasing a software that only addresses a specific need or provides a quick fix. This is often the case when businesses decide on purchasing a standalone system such as an accounting only package or a service management system. The issue that most companies run into is investing in multiple software packages that do not speak to one another. This tends to create a wide range of problems such as data inconsistencies, unreliable numbers, and multiple entries, which in turn leads to decreased productivity and efficiency overall. While single, standalone systems may perform adequately, the problems these solutions can create are generally not worth the headache. Many construction businesses are under the assumption that acquiring software systems on an as-needed basis is the more cost-effective approach, but many are quick to find out this is not the case. These multiple software systems can quickly add-up in price, and not to mention the time it will take to train your staff on how to use each individual system. A complete software solution provides your business with all of the functionalities necessary to be successful today, while also offering built-in modules that can scale as the needs of your business grows.
4. Purchasing a solution without talking to references or reading case studies. Who better to talk to when selecting a software solution than existing users of that software? Whether it is a purchase in our personal lives or for business, we generally like to read reviews and hear from others about the features, functionalities, and overall quality of that product. Selecting a construction management software solution should be no different. During the research phase of your search, a great way to find out about how current customers like the software is to read case studies. In doing so, you can be more informed as to why they chose that particular vendor, insight into the transition process, benefits experienced since switching to that software, as well as details regarding the training process and support. Once your business has selected two or three finalists, ask each software vendor for a list of references you can speak with, ideally within the same industry as your business. If the vendor cannot provide any references, this is usually a red flag that their customer base may not exactly be thrilled with their software. For the ones that do provide references, have a candid discussion with them and acquire as much information about the day-to-day operation of the software solution. This will help address any lingering concerns or issues you may have about that particular vendor and ultimately aid your business in making a final decision.
5. Choosing a software that is not specifically made for the construction industry. With so many options and multiple types of software available, it can be challenging to determine what the right solution is for your business. Numerous companies have opted for more generic software packages to run their day-to-day operations, such as basic accounting packages, spreadsheets, or individual mobile applications. While these systems may work, they likely do not provide the same level of detail, speed, or efficiency a construction specific software solution provides. In addition, generic software tends to perform sufficiently for smaller businesses, but as that business grows, they are likely to need a more robust system that offers greater capabilities. These systems are not made for construction businesses, which have to be customized to make work for your specific industry. Not to mention the cost of purchasing additional software once your business realizes the generic software has become inefficient. With that being said, the best option for any business is to focus on construction specific software solutions that understand the unique intricacies of your industry.
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