Growth planning is a top priority for almost every construction company. Unfortunately, when developing strategies for growth, many firms ignore a crucial element of staying agile: scalable construction software. This is a big mistake.
When business is on the rise, outdated systems will hold your company back. Plain and simple. On a small scale, the old ways of managing construction projects — like manual and paper-based processes or out-of-date software with limited functionality — are annoying. On a large scale, however, inefficient processes can be downright catastrophic.
To be ready for the challenges and opportunities that come with growth, construction leaders need to focus on the scalability of their software. But what exactly does “scalability” mean when it comes to technology? And how do firms find software that will support growth?
I suggest you start your search with a simple goal: get the most value from your software investment as possible.
Maximizing your Investment
As an executive looking for a new system, you’re concerned with value. You want to maximize your investment by finding software that’s reasonably priced but still has lots of tools and functions. While staying within your budget is important, price shouldn’t be the deciding factor. Sometimes, the payoff is bigger when you make a larger up-front investment.
Investing in scalable software that serves many operational functions and can grow with your business is the best way to prepare for the future. You may not need a certain function today, but you might in the future. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t buy patio furniture that only lasts a single season, so why would you invest in construction ERP that only addresses today’s problems? By actively pursuing longevity, you’ll get exponentially more value in the long run.
Automation for Everyone
Any decent construction software solution allows you to automate workflows across your business, right? Wrong. Some software solutions have robust, well-designed tools that support one area of business, but have limited functionality when it comes to the rest of your operations. For example, some software is great for financial automation but only has one or two project management tools.
Getting the most out of software means taking advantage of every opportunity for automation. To make sure that every member of your team benefits from your new solution, look for these automation functions:
- Specialized PM Dashboards
- Snapshot Status Reports
- Performance Rating System
- Flexible Invoice Formatting
If key players across your construction company can do their jobs easily, scaling will become far more successful.
When you’re looking to expand operations, the hardware backing your system is just as important as its content. You have two choices when it comes to hardware:
- Purchase the hardware yourself and store servers onsite: Purchasing hardware can be financially risky: it’s costly and not a decision to take lightly. Extra servers also take up expensive real estate and when they go unused their ROI drops significantly. With the cloud, on the other hand, you pay for only the amount of storage you need and you can add more at any time. You also don’t have to worry about servers crashing or hardware maintenance and repairs
- Rent storage space on external hardware using cloud solutions: Cloud storage is a key feature of scalable software solutions. Eliminating the risks associated with buying and storing hardware will make expanding your business much easier.
Third-Party App Integration
Let’s imagine you’ve found a flexible cloud solution, stocked to the brim with powerful tools and project controls. No matter how well this solution fits current operations, new challenges are sure to arise as the industry evolves. That’s why industry-leading solutions are built to accommodate new tools as they’re developed.
External added to your ERP system are called third-party integrations. And, it’s important to know that not all third-party integrations are created equal. Some construction software companies promise interconnectivity, but users end up with data silos or duplicate/conflicting data.
The best solutions will offer seamless integration with new apps so you can access new functionality within a single platform. For CMiC users, that means the integration of powerful new apps – with all data saved and managed in a unified database. Scalable software lets you add new apps to an existing platform so that you can adapt and change with the times.
On top of these three criteria, it’s important to work with a reliable vendor. They can release regular updates, address issues as they arise and keep security strong. For more information on finding the right ERP solution, check out A Buyer’s Guide to Construction Management Software.