Ian Hauptfleisch, general manager – CCS (Gulf), outlines the importance of making the right choice for your project
How much construction software costs and how to achieve results fast
The cost of construction software is going to depend on what you are able and willing to invest. Very much like any other significant purchase, the options available are vast and varied in terms of quality and effectiveness as well as value for money. All too often, particularly if the decision-making process does not involve the key stakeholders who will feel its benefit (or the opposite if poorly chosen), the selection can be based foolishly on price alone without fully understanding its true cost and real ROI.
The very best products that deliver exceptional RoI are going to cost you more money, but as with many things in life, you get what you pay for. So rather than focus on which one to buy, in this article we are looking at how to get the most out of the best one your business can afford.
What does success look like?
You will need to map out what you want your product to deliver for you, so that you can assess whether it really does. The simplest way to apply this to your chosen software is to identify the gaps between what the salesman has promised you and your current process and systems, and to what degree they should be closed.
This might be measured in time (such as processes involving spreadsheets and manual collation) or in cost (such as in use of resources and the associated savings in monetary terms). Consider the example of invoicing and the process from being issued and approved to payments being received, as this combines elements of both time and money.
Construction software can manage the entire contract process, from estimating and initial bidding right through cost control, project management, variations, subcontracting, plant and equipment hire (the list of features handled by construction software is exhaustive) and handover. It is real, and it has been tried, tested and embedded into the operating procedures of some of the most prominent and successful construction companies around the globe.
Organise Your Coding Structure
As a construction professional, you will be very aware of the importance of planning ahead. Your construction software is going to need professional installation and configuration, as it could be relatively complex. In preparation, you will most likely need to carry out a review of your current operating systems and servers as well as the suitability of existing hardware and software applications, so why not use the event of new software implementation to adopt a standard code structure for all departments, jobs and functions. This will allow you to gain the maximum benefit from the integrated functions your new software will provide in both business insights and reporting.
Carry out a Data Cleanse
It is a fresh start in many ways, so why migrate old or obsolete data? Look at where you might have duplicate entries or legacy data that is no longer required (perhaps old staff information that is no longer be of any use, or old certifications or licensing that require renewal). Consider archiving items such as these to begin the new streamlined efficient processes without the potential for process errors caused by incorrect or obsolete information.
Create a Schedule with Milestones
Why treat this project (software implementation) any differently than the way you treat all your projects? Plan its progress and deliverables and measure against that schedule and its milestones. Appoint either a person or a team to manage the project and to liaise with the appointed project manager from the provider.
Make them accountable and responsible to deliver on time and on budget (start as you mean to go on). Any business owner who has implemented changes and enhancements knows that the considerations are extensive. There will be local and business specific elements to investigate that are particular to your own set-up, but having a clear plan with measurable milestones will steer you in the right direction and keep you on track.
Above all else, don’t be afraid to ask any and all questions that come to mind when reviewing the choices on offer. The best construction software providers expect this and have fielded them all. They may well have embedded changes and enhancements to their product offering to cater for your concerns, on top of those already raised by the world’s leading construction businesses.