The right software tools can make a big impact on your construction company in terms of efficiency and revenue. In fact, 77% of construction professionals say software provides a strategic advantage for them and their company (see our Preconstruction Technology Report for more data). But selecting the best platforms for your business isn’t always easy.
Common obstacles include:
– lack of time or resources
– no budget available
– resistance from employees or management
As you prepare to dive into evaluating software tools for your company, there are 4 important factors to keep in mind as you compare options and make your decision.
Watch our webinar with Flashtract and Dane Pemberton, US Group Construction Technology Manager at BL Harbert, for an explanation of these and other great tips.
1. Time Constraints
The best software in the world can’t help you if you can’t devote some time to find it. As you begin your search, look for reviews and information on how quickly the potential platform allows users to get up and running. Look for tools with intuitive, simple interfaces and that have support for your team, so you don’t have to spend time guessing how to use them.
To avoid wasting time, evaluate solutions based not only on your needs now, but on how you expect your business to grow and scale. Choose a tool that will meet your future needs as well, so that you don’t have to take more time in a few years to move data and relearn a new platform.
When you’ve chosen a solution, create a detailed plan for implementation, making it clear to both the vendor team and your internal staff what the timelines and benchmarks will be, and communicate clearly to stakeholders what’s expected of them.
Finally, think in terms of seasonality. Maybe you’ve found the perfect platform for you, but your employees are all working overtime already in the height of busy season. They won’t have the mental space available to learn a new tool under those conditions, so think about the best time of year to get started and take advantage of slower seasons.
2. Budget Considerations
Only you know how much your business can afford to spend, but there are a few resources and guidelines to think through. Remember to factor in any existing outdated processes your staff currently performs if they’ll be replaced by a new tool (printing costs cut by going digital, increased efficiency by eliminating redundancies, etc.).
Then, as a guide, you can use this study, which indicates that across the board the construction industry spends an average of 1.51% of revenue on IT budget. Start there and increase or reduce to the extent you’re comfortable with. Look beyond the sticker price of the software to determine what might not be included, like training, support, or regular updates.
3. Staff Buy-in
With 23% reporting that internal team resistance to new tools is a roadblock, ensuring that a platform will be the right fit for your organization is essential for adoption, utilization, and, ultimately, success. Get a feel for what types and sizes of companies use the platforms you’re evaluating and analyze how they compare to yours.
Make sure the platform matches with your company’s goals and values so that your employees will be more likely to feel positively about it and so that the vendor will be a partner in your success moving forward. Designate an internal champion of the tool who can help translate its value to the rest of the staff.
Being able to measure ROI with your new tool is critical. A good way to start to understand the impact the software will have is to do a trial. This will let your champion integrate the tool into your workflow to see how it will work for your team. Compare your previous process with the new workflow and identify any improvements.
When you sign on with your new technology, establish a baseline and goals for how you’ll measure success, so that you can clearly see results. Stick with your implementation plan, check in with your team, and communicate any feedback to the vendor.
The Right Tool Will Be a Partner
Reputable construction technology companies want you to stick with them for the long term, so they tend to offer a partnership rather than acting as a transactional vendor. At STACK, we’re committed to supporting you along your journey to growth. Create a free account today to see STACK for yourself.