Last Updated on December 2, 2021 by Construction Digest
In the world of construction, project management is a vital part of what needs to be done.
From cutting costs, to staying on schedule and on budget, capitalizing on variances in material applications and labor utilization, doing it right can make or break a growing business.
In this article you’ll learn 10 tips that can help you choose the best construction management software for your company.
1. Determine what kind of projects you want to manage with this software
Software will work differently depending on whether your company does large scale developments or small projects such as those involving home renovation.
So before buying any program, decide first what types of projects you need it for.
Are they simple? How many people are involved? What is the process like? These will help determine what kind of software to get in the end.
2. Decide on how much detailed information you need and if your accounting team can handle it
Construction management software is designed to track every detail of a project, from upfront analysis and business planning, all the way through final delivery.
Some construction companies prefer this level of detail, while others don’t need it at all.
The more complex your projects are, the more complex your software should be as well. A good way of testing this is to ask yourself if you’d know exactly what happened during a week-long absence of an employee or sub-contractor?
If not then you might be better off with less details but that’s not to say that there aren’t other, more effective ways of accounting for those.
3. How frequently do you perform tasks and how many people are involved
Construction management apps has varying levels of functionality, although some may have a great deal of overlap.
But the important thing is to know which modules will suit your company once it’s been set up.
Workflow automation, asset tracking, reporting, these are just a few things that construction companies require from their software so they can better serve their clients.
If you’re a one-man show with moderate workloads per week then perhaps a less advanced program would be perfect for you but if you’re dealing with large projects with lots of moving parts then going the enterprise route might be best.
Also remember that different users have varying levels of access to the data and that this may affect your budget.
4. Decide on your strategies for managing change, risk and quality control.
Construction management software is very helpful when it comes to these things but it doesn’t guarantee a flawless execution.
More often than not, construction companies make do with content management systems designed for marketing purposes.
But regardless, they all need something more powerful since even minor alterations or additions can have huge implications later on in a project’s lifecycle.
And changes are bound to happen regardless of how detailed your plan is going into a project.
So what will you do if a contractor ends up charging extra?
Will the program generate new bills automatically?
What about time tracking.
Will you be able to see the working hours of your team? These are questions that need to be answered before you decide on a piece of software.
5. What kind of support do they offer
Depending on the software, it can take some time getting used to their layout and workings.
You’ll also want to know if there’s dedicated help via phone or email should anything go wrong.
This is important since even the best software has flaws because nothing is perfect. And sometimes one program just won’t work for your business because either the price isn’t right, its features don’t work for you.
Or because you require something more than what it offers so regardless how powerful this tool is, there simply may not be any other choice but to try another one out first.
6. Do they have a trial version
Many companies supply an online free demo that will give you a feel of what its administrative interface is like.
This way you can get a better idea of how functional their software is before committing to purchase it.
But note that while some programs offer this, others may only have demos available for download instead which might or might not be limited in use depending on the vendor’s terms and conditions.
You’ll also want to find out if there are any limitations when it comes to features and whether or not the demo will show the whole picture.
Demo versions could be very useful in determining which one best suits your company’s needs but don’t completely rule out any other piece because sometimes no matter how detailed the demo is, it may not fully represent the software’s capabilities.
7. What are your long-term goals
This might seem like a no-brainer but knowing how you see your business evolving over the next few years will help you find the right solution for it.
And if possible, find out what your colleagues want to do regarding this because once there’s consensus then that could save everyone time and money in the future.
If you’re looking for an enterprise solution then expect to pay anywhere between $500 to $15,000+ per year depending on its features and subscription options although who knows – pricing may be flexible so ask about any promotions.
Likewise, lower cost alternatives can still be powerful enough to suit your needs if they meet most of your requirements.
8: What kind of reports and analytics do you need
Most construction management software either comes with this feature or allows users to create their own.
This way, your business will be able to keep track of how much has been spent, identify errors and accidents as well as know the most efficient project approach possible.
So if you want all that then make sure that you choose a program capable of doing it for you before signing on the dotted line.
On the other hand, if your company isn’t big enough to warrant having its own data analysis system then opting for something simpler.
Like accounting software is a good idea since it would be more cost-effective than buying several applications for different purposes with similar features.
9. What are its system requirements
While most applications have a Windows platform, others may also be compatible with Mac.
This is important because if you have a lot of employees using computers then chances are that they’re either all Windows or Mac users.
Software like the DMS (document management software) should be compatible but it doesn’t hurt to check first before purchasing anything.
10. Knowing how frequently do you need to update your program’s features and bug fixes
If there seems to be an influx of updates and patches together with their new feature releases then it makes sense not to purchase this product since your IT department will be continuously busy supporting and upgrading its systems while trying hard not to disrupt business operations in any way.
Software that’s updated constantly can be a problem because there are some updates that aren’t compatible with the previous ones which means more work for your IT department and less productivity for your employees.
Unless you’re okay with spending time and money on making sure that your software is kept up-to-date then it’s best to choose an option that doesn’t require constant updating.
Since you’re already running a business, there’s no need to take on one more task if it can be helped.