For Architects, Engineers, Contractors and Owners, construction projects need to run on schedule and stay on budget, but the heavy workload of keeping them under control is typically done through a variety of different ways and uses several different systems.
Traditionally, construction projects are managed using whiteboards, spreadsheets, random phone calls, paper lists, emails and other tools to stay on track. These processes are slow, labor-intensive and, unfortunately, error prone. And worse, inconsistencies in reporting due to the disjointed processes mean that subcontractors, contractors and owners do not have a common understanding of how the project is faring at any given time. This lack of visibility to real-time project information is a major challenge that ties directly into managing risk and profitability in construction programs.
With today’s technology advancements, these traditional methods are being digitized, creating more efficient, automated processes that improve productivity, eliminate errors and accelerate workflows. And the fact that teams are working out of the office more than before – either from a home office, a job site or client visit – means they need immediate access to project documents as well as the ability to collaborate with stakeholders in real-time. This is where the right project management software comes into play.
Before transitioning from the traditional fragmented processes to forward-thinking technology, it’s important to define your requirements. Often when people embark on an enterprise software selection initiative, they make the mistake of focusing on things that don’t have anything to do with the software itself. Right off the bat many people ask “How much will the new system cost?” before they’ve even defined their requirements.
In the beginning stages, the only criteria appropriate to consider are the features and functions needed to support your relevant construction program processes. Everything else is secondary, including cost. What’s the point of implementing a solution that’s in your price range if it doesn’t actually do what you need it to do?
Construction projects are cross-functional, and your software should be, too. So here are a few critical components you should evaluate when selecting the best construction program management solution to manage your projects from start to finish.
Regardless of where your construction teams are located, your projects need to keep rolling. Most construction software provides some mobile functionality, however, not all deliver the full capabilities needed. Key players need to be able to take action straight from their device, wherever they are, especially when time is critical.
Any project management solution should also include a native app. This means RFIs don’t need to drag on, punch lists can be managed on the spot, and approvals are no longer a bottleneck because you and your teams have immediate visibility and access to project documents, field logs, drawings, discussion boards, markup tools and more—this puts program transparency right in the palm of your hand.
2. Cost Controls:
Cost management is one of the key pillars of project management. While it’s crucial to keep a watchful eye on costs, it can be challenging to do so. Effective cost management ensures a project’s budget is on target and will be completed according to plan. Without cost control, a company can easily lose money.
A collection of Excel spreadsheets isn’t going to tell the full story of your construction finances, so any project management system you consider should seamlessly track each step of your financial process, from budgeting and bidding all the way through contracts, change orders and invoicing. You want a platform that will flag any excess costs, but better yet, safeguard you against double billing and over payments.
Whether it be OxBlue cameras or your ERP system, you need a project management solution that can adapt to any third-party software your team uses on site or in the office. To effectively manage your construction program, you need your software platforms to seamlessly communicate with one another.
Just because a project management software offers one or two integrations doesn’t mean it’s straightforward to integrate more. Complications crop up when a software company says they “can provide” the functionality and what they really mean is they “can build” the functionality—which can add up, in both time and money.
When incorporating any new software, never overlook the importance of implementing a layered security system. Data security is a cause for concern for every organization, that’s why it’s crucial to ask questions to determine what version the software is, what is done in terms of data encryption, and where your data will be housed.
And while SOC 1 Type I compliance isn’t an actual requirement for SaaS or cloud software vendors, its role in securing your data cannot be overemphasized as mismanaged data can leave companies exposed to attacks, such as data theft, extortion and malware installation.
Your construction project management solution will allow for a large number of users to log in and out of the software, so it’s also important you have the ability to assign role-based access for each user—you need to have ultimate control over who sees what to ensure clear audit trails.
Are you ready to see your construction program in a whole new way? Improved productivity and transparency are just a few of the things Projectmates offers with its award-winning software. Customers who use Projectmates report a 74% reduction in delays and 5.5 days saved on approvals, leading to reduced costs and faster, less mistake-ridden construction. It’s also SOC1 Type I certified and has been trusted by the construction industry for 20+ years.