Over the years, we’ve talked to a lot of construction industry professionals. Each client that’s walked through our doors has given us valuable information about the challenges facing construction leaders. We’ve listened to their experiences navigating the complex world of construction ERP and learned the challenges of choosing the right ERP software.
Because different roles have different priorities, it’s common for key players not to agree on the same software solution. For example, we’ve noticed that IT professionals tend to bring up the need for interoperability, while project managers are focused on cost management and the change process in conjunction with mobility.
When shopping for a construction ERP solution, companies need to identify what goals they’re looking to achieve with a construction ERP solution. While knowing that you want to increase efficiency is a start, it’s not enough. Instead, business leaders should get granular about the exact tools and functions that will satisfy both the office and the field.
To help you create your functionality wish-list, here are some of the most common digital priorities of key construction roles:
CIO / IT Professional
#1 Priority: A construction ERP solution to minimize your security threat profile.
The more software vendors a construction company deals with, the more vulnerable they are to security breaches. Ultimately, when companies combine applications from different vendors it:
- Creates more entry points for hackers;
- Makes finding the data breach more difficult;
- Increases the time it takes to fix technical issues.
In contrast, choosing one software vendor — an ERP solution — for all operations limits the number of data access points. It also simplifies the protocol for managing security threats — and this makes IT managers very happy.
#1 Priority: A solution that scales with their corporate growth.
CFOs must predict and respond to the ever-changing financial climates of their companies. This requires meeting the needs of an expanding business in ways that can easily be scaled back if profits start to drop.
As a result, CFOs tend to worry about over-spending on expensive hardware that takes up costly real estate. They’re often interested in cloud solutions that don’t require investing in servers, which could go unused if business declines.
#1 Need: Anytime, anywhere access to relevant data for all stakeholders.
CEOs don’t want to micro-manage or handhold. They’d rather give employees access to tools and information that will empower the team to make strong decisions on their own.
For this reason, many CEOs want a centralized database that project leads can use to get up-to-date information. With an easily-accessible source of truth, employees can make confident, data-driven decisions. This leaves CEOs free to strategize about the big picture.
#1 Priority: A collaborative platform that allows stakeholders like architects, engineers and subcontractors to be part of the conversation.
The project manager is the hub of communications for any project. In particular, they relay information to stakeholders, handle change orders and maintain client relationships. But because PMs are always strapped for time, keeping everyone in the loop is a constant battle.
As far as functionality goes, most PMs we talk to are looking for:
- Access to data from anywhere, so that they can respond and manage their projects while on-site.
- Data that’s always up-to-date and available in real-time. This allows for fast and informed decision-making.
- Standardized report templates to make sending project updates quick and easy.
Before you shop for your construction ERP software, connect with your team about their needs. Different members will talk about different tasks they need help with — this is invaluable information. We can’t emphasize it enough: know your team, know your options.
To see how one construction firm exceeded its goals using a construction ERP solution, check out our case study on Govan Brown.