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Making Sense of Construction Software Jargon: Unified, Stand-alone & Integrated

The process of choosing and implementing a new software system for managing construction operations is a lengthy one, and it requires extensive research.

If you’re at the beginning of this journey, you may be feeling a little lost. We don’t blame you. The terminology alone can be difficult to navigate, especially when many companies use technical terms incorrectly or throw around false claims.  But don’t worry, we’re here to help you make sense of the software jargon so that you can assess potential software vendors and determine if they can deliver on their promises.

Here are a few basics to start you off on your construction software shopping expedition!

What is ERP?

Enterprise Resource Planning first rose to popularity in the 1990s, when the Y2K problem was looming. At the time, widespread worry that the new four-digit year would cause computer programming problems pushed many companies to upgrade their software.

By combining applications with different functions into a single platform with a centralized database, ERP brought all areas of business management together. As a result, companies could, for the first time ever, eliminate data silos and merge accounting, risk management, project management and CRM.

ERP popularity has only increased since the rise of internet technology. With real-time data access, syncing and uploading, web-based software has given ERP systems an edge. Not only is it a central database, it’s a central database that you can access from anywhere for trusted, up-to-date information.

Stand-alone vs. Unified

There are two types of business management platforms: stand-alone and unified.

  • Stand-alone: applications from a variety of sources used for different operational tasks and bridged together

  • Unified: applications from a single developer combined into one software platform with centralized data storage

Stand-alone applications come in many shapes and sizes, offering functions for many different construction management tasks. But firms should beware of combining apps made by different developers — it can be a nightmare. When asked to work together, individual apps don’t always get along. If these apps won’t connect or “talk to each other,” companies must compensate — and productivity usually takes a hit.

In contrast, unified ERP software allows you to access a variety of tools specific to your business’ needs all within one platform. You get all the functions you want without worrying about whether these applications will work together.

Customizing a Unified Platform

Many people worry that if they purchase a complete ERP software solution they’ll have to sacrifice flexibility. They think they’ll be stuck with whatever functionality the software comes with and won’t be able to add other applications. This simply isn’t true. In fact, there are unified ERP solutions out there with the option to integrate third-party apps. You get the best of both worlds: access to new tools seamlessly connected to your larger ERP system and database.

Another benefit of unified ERP software is that you can choose only the tools that your company needs. CMiC, for example, works with clients to create custom solutions that meet their specific needs. And with our large selection of applications, no matter what the task, there’s an app for that.

Want to learn more about the advantages of a single source of truth? Here are 3 Onsite Benefits of Unified ERP Software.