A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO SELECTING CONSTRUCTION

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A PRACTICALGUIDE TOSELECTINGCONSTRUCTIONSOFTWARE

CHAPTER 1:STAY COMPETITIVE WITHTHE RIGHT SOFTWAREFor commercial contractors, the stakes are high. Deadlines must bemet and budgets kept. And the perfect storm of conditions work againstthem: multiple work locations, specific contract requirements, typicallynon-standardised processes and a large cast of owners, architects,subcontractors, suppliers and crews to communicate and collaborate with.If even one job is poorly handled, it can put a contractor’s reputation —and prospects for future work — in jeopardy. That’s a lot for a contractor tomanage, and the challenges only grow when you factor in issues like: Lack of data transparency across project teams Time wasted converting or reentering data from multiple non-integratedsoftware solutions Manual processes that slow communication and collaboration Project delays due to mistakes, lack of information, weather and other factors Mismanaged or noncompliant subcontractors and other external project contributorsIn order to manage these challenges more effectively, you need the righttools. One of the keys to boosting construction efficiency and productivity isfinding and using the right construction software. But in the vast landscape ofsoftware options, how do you know what you really need? What functionalityis best and how will it be implemented? And how do you get your teams toadapt to and use the software?Poor technology decisions can create more headaches. This guide will helpyou understand how to make the right construction software decisions foryour team and your business.VIEWPOINT.com.au2

CHAPTER 2:THE TECHNOLOGY LANDSCAPEContractors have historically underinvested in technology which has playeda significant part in hindering the construction industry’s productivitygrowth. That isn’t to say contractors aren’t using any technology. Constructionbusinesses quite frequently adopt software for functions like accounting,payroll, HR, CAD/BIM, estimating, project management and client relationship management (CRM).UNINTEGRATED SOFTWARE CREATES DATA SILOSHowever, the 2017 Construction Technology Report by JB Knowledge foundthat construction companies tend to adopt software at the department levelrather than organisationally. And, in many cases, contractors select out-ofthe-box solutions that aren’t tailored to the construction industry or don’tintegrate well with other software programs used throughout the company.The fact that contractors are adopting software is a good thing, but softwarechosen by and for one department — and not designed for the unique needsof construction businesses — often isn’t the best solution for the wholeorganisation. It’s critical that the various tools used across the organisation are tightly integrated to ensure information flows easily between them.A construction-specific, unified solution provides a better foundation for aconstruction business.Constructioncompanies tend to adopt software at the departmentlevel rather thanorganisationally.VIEWPOINT.com.au3

WHAT IS AN INTEGRATED ERP SYSTEM?You may have heard the term enterprise resource planning, or ERP.Enterprise resource planning is a process in which companies manage andintegrate important parts of their business. In construction, this typicallymeans having a unified software system that connects all the departmentsin order to streamline processes. These solutions handle functions likeaccounting, HR and payroll, project and equipment management, materialsand inventory tracking, service management and much more — all integratedand using the same set of data throughout.WHY IS HAVING AN INTEGRATED SOFTWARE SYSTEM SO IMPORTANT?Contractors need to tie the financial health of projects to project execution,which means connecting accounting and operations. If these two parts of abusiness aren’t closely connected, it can lead to poor operational decisionsdue to lack of accurate job costing and real-time progress reports. Delayscan occur while waiting for current data. The chances of project mistakes,incorrect material orders, misuses of equipment and other challenges arehigher when data has to be re-keyed or translated into separate softwareprograms to proceed with work.When departments like accounting employ generic software not designedfor construction, it can also create challenges in adapting certain data to berelevant for organisational and project decisions and reporting.Integrated ERP software, on the other hand, automatically connects disparateteams and synchronises data so everyone is working from one source oftruth. It’s easier to find information when needed, and less time is wastedre-entering data or waiting for field data to be entered before importantproject decisions can be made.When these integrated ERP platforms are cloud-based, data is available andaccessible in real time and can be easily shared across entire project teams.This improves collaboration and enables smarter decision making.VIEWPOINT.com.au4

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE AN ERPDESIGNED FOR CONSTRUCTION?NUMBER OF SOFTWAREAPPLICATIONS IN USEBusinesses in many industries use ERP solutions. These systems are oftenone-size-fits-all packages not specific to any industry.15%22.9%COMMON PROBLEMS CONTRACTORS RUN INTO WHEN USING A GENERICERP INCLUDE: Lack of features for specific construction job roles Inadequate features for construction job or project costing Inefficient approval workflows Poor or lack of vendor and subcontractor management and compliance features Reporting features not specific to construction Lack of applications or features accessible to field teams Generic fields that limit certain construction coding and naming conventions Weak supplemental features relevant to construction Lack of customisation201217.2%10%14.5%AN ERP DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR CONSTRUCTION,ON THE OTHER HAND: Accommodates all types of users across construction project teams Has construction-specific terminology, fields, forms and processes built in Is designed to track and manage construction-specific items like equipmentand materials Is collaborative and allows for easy access to information and data entry in thefield and sharing of data across entire project teams Includes functionalities tailored to construction businesses Is both customisable to fit specific contractors’ needs and scalable toaccommodate future growth and technology advancements21%16.6%20176.1%14.5%7%22.5%13.3%20%

THE 3 PILLARS OF CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGYAccording to JBKnowledge, contractors are using fewer software applications than they were five years ago, which suggests morecompanies are opting for integrated solutions that handle many workflows. Contractors most commonly use software for accounting,project management, CAD/BIM and estimating. Having a software system that can connect these workflows improves collaborationamong accounting/finance, construction operations and business operations/analysis, the three pillars of construction technology.CLOUD-ENABLED, MOBILE-FRIENDLY USER INTERFACE THAT IS EASY TO USEACCOUNTING &FINANCECONSTRUCTIONOPERATIONSBUSINESS OPERATIONS& ANALYSIS AP/AR Project Mgmt. Data Analytics Job Costing Equipment Mgmt. Reporting General Ledger Service Mgmt. Payroll Materials Inventory BusinessIntelligence Cash Mgmt. Document Mgmt.Collaboration ForecastingPOWERFUL RELATIONAL DATABASE (E.G. SQL SERVER)VIEWPOINT.com.auVIEWPOINT CONSTRUCTIONSOFTWARE66

CHAPTER 3:SET EXPECTATIONSChanging softwarecan be a significantinvestment in timeand resources, butthe benefits areoften dramatic forthe business.It’s true implementing the modern construction management softwareneeded to grow at today’s rapid pace isn’t a snap decision. Changing softwarecan be a significant investment in time and resources, but the benefits areoften dramatic for the business. Some contractors — especially those stillusing manual management methods or off-the-shelf tools not designed forconstruction — might not be prepared for what today’s integrated, construction-specific solutions can do, what they cost and what’s involved in settingthese programs up to achieve goals of better visibility and decision-making.Before reaching out to software providers, it’s highly recommended thatyou have solid business goals in mind. Gather and analyse specific painpoints, limitations to growth, policies and procedures in need of change andareas where productivity improvements are necessary. Articulate these toany software provider and they should be able suggest the best technologysolutions to meet your needs.It’s also a good idea to do your homework on what types of technologyadvancements and features are available on the market. You may besurprised to learn that certain features and abilities exist within softwaretoday, but generic product demos or videos don’t necessarily cover everyfeature that might be important to you and your team.Even after software is purchased, it’s not uncommon for many softwaretools to not be used to their full potential by end users. That’s why it’s smartto go into any software search with a detailed list of wants and needs, todive deep into all potential features and functionality and to ask detailedquestions during product demos and sales discussions.VIEWPOINT.com.au7

Of course, the biggest question most software seekers have is, “How muchwill this cost?” The truth is, costs can vary significantly depending on yourspecific needs, company size, number of users and much more. Dedicatedconstruction software packages range from a few thousand dollars for asmall contractor with relatively simple needs to hundreds of thousands ofdollars for a large enterprise organisation with a high volume of users.That said, most contractors will tell you that any good construction-focusedERP will bring about significant ROI, with notable cost savings from redundanttasks and wasted resources, increased productivity and reduced projectmistakes, quicker turnaround on projects, the mitigation of risks that cansignificantly impact contractors’ bottom lines, increased profit margins anddeeper business intelligence into projects to better forecast their health.The 2017 Hobson & Company survey, “Driving ROI, The Case for a ProvenConstruction Management Solution”, noted that contractors using Viewpoint’sintegrated construction solutions experienced a 50% reduction in timespent tracking unapproved invoices, billing processes and time and materialtracking. The study also noted a 75% drop in print and mail costs and a 100%reduction in redundant applications.The real meat of the findings, however, was that integrated ERP solutionsprovided clients with a 3% increase in top-line revenues and a 0.75%increase in gross margins. Depending on the business size, that can meanhundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in regained profit.50%Reduction in time spent tracking unapproved invoices, billing processes and time and material tracking75%Drop in print and mail costs40%Reduction in time managingchange orders30%Reduction in project delays3%Increase in top-line revenues0.75%Increase in gross marginsVIEWPOINT.com.au8

CHAPTER 4:DEPLOYMENT CONSIDERATIONSBeyond construction software features and functionality, contractors needto consider how it will be deployed throughout their organisation.Technology hasevolved quicklyand cloud serversprovide securedata storage andbackup, reducehardware costsand streamlineIT strategies.In the past, concerns about data security and data loss led contractors topurchase and maintain on-premise servers to house data. This on-premisemodel often resulted in high demands on IT departments to maintain inoffice workstations, high maintenance costs, limited storage space, servercrashes and often complex accessibility.Technology has evolved quickly, and many contractors are turning to cloudbased construction management platforms. Today’s cloud servers nolonger pose the security and data loss concerns they once did. In fact, cloudsolutions not only provide secure data storage and backup, they also reducehardware costs and streamline IT strategies.With cloud-based software, many vendors offer the option to host theclient’s data internally or externally. With external hosting, the vendor storesthe client’s data in the cloud, selling them what’s often referred to as “slices,”or digital data storage space. This is often a far cheaper approach than theclient maintaining physical servers on-site (internal hosting, sometimesreferred to a “hybrid cloud software deployment”) — though some contractorsstill prefer this approach.VIEWPOINT.com.au9

WHY? JUST A FEW BENEFITS OF CLOUD HOSTING INCLUDE: Easier access to data and functions for users — no matter where they’re working Significantly reduced IT footprint, since countless workstations won’t requirecontinual maintenance Simple login and interface in a browser environment for users Automatic software updates handled on the vendor’s end so end users simply login and start using new functionality right away The ability to move to software-as-a service (SaaS) pricing with maintenanceand support costs rolled into the annual or monthly payments Lower cost of entry, as cloud-based systems allow many contractors to pay alower up-front cost (capital expenditure) in favour of annual costs (operatingexpenditure) Greater data security Smoother implementations that take less timeCloud-based software allows stakeholders to make project decisions in realtime, reducing delays and mitigating risks on job sites. It also fosters truecollaboration across entire project teams, letting them spot and correctissues immediately, as well as better manage processes and workflows.Meanwhile, the real-time access to cloud-based solutions allow for betterdata analysis and business intelligence. This means current projects can bemore accurate and future projects better planned.And, when contractors don’t need to worry about IT issues like workstationsoftware updates and server maintenance, they can put their focus whereit’s needed: on construction.VIEWPOINT.com.au10

CHAPTER 5:ACHIEVE BUY-INPerhaps one of the biggest considerations when looking at new software ishow end-users will respond to it. The last thing you want is for a significantcapital investment to wind up proverbially sitting on the shelf, collecting dustbecause no one in the organisation wants to use it. Ask yourself and otherdecision-makers:1WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM NEW SOFTWARE?2WHAT ARE THE TRUE PAIN POINTS RELATED TO YOUR CURRENT SOFTWAREFOR PEOPLE IN VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS?3WHAT NEEDS DO EACH DEPARTMENT AND EACH USER HAVE?4WHAT PROCESSES OR TASKS IN EACH DEPARTMENT COULD SOFTWAREIMPROVE?5WHAT COMMUNICATION OCCURS MANUALLY RIGHT NOW — VIA PEN ANDPAPER, PHONE OR EMAIL — THAT SOFTWARE COULD HELP STREAMLINE?6ARE PEOPLE OPEN TO USING NEW SOFTWARE? IF NOT, WHAT WOULD THEYNEED — TRAINING, SOFTWARE CUSTOMISATIONS, ETC. — FOR THEM TO SEETHE VALUE IN SOFTWARE AND USE IT EFFECTIVELY?VIEWPOINT.com.au11

Reducingwasted timeis an ideaeveryone canget behind.When you’re ready to evaluate ERP software solutions, make sure you achieveorganisational buy-in. Ideally, your end-users (or at least a good representation of end users) would be involved in software demos, be able to ask questions that perhaps leadership hasn’t thought of and provide valuable feedbackon how their teams will adapt to new solutions. Providing the opportunity toweigh in is often all that’s needed to make people feel heard, regardless of theend decision. It’s also very important to communicate why new software is being sought and how certain features or functionality will make their jobs easierand their work more productive along with the overarching business problemsyou’re solving.Especially with integrated software, it’s important that everyone throughoutthe organisation uses it and that manual processes and outdated systemsare officially retired. Otherwise, users will still have to work through issuesthat originally impeded productivity in the first place, like duplicate dataentry, data translation, delays and more. Technology can only do so much ifit’s not being used appropriately.30%of knowledge workers’ workdaysis spent searching for information4If getting buy-in from others is challenging, consider this: Knowledge workersspend 30% of their workday searching for information. Almost everyone inyour organisation needs to consult documents and look for information atsome point during the day. Having a unified software system that creates asingle data source for the organisation could save time for everyone. Oddsare reducing wasted time is an idea everyone can get behind.VIEWPOINT.com.au12

CHAPTER 6:CONSTRUCTION SOFTWARE CHECKLISTWhen shopping for construction software, it’s important to have a plan. Youneed to do research about your options, know your budget, and talk to peersand others in your industry to get their recommendations. Most importantly,know what your organisation’s needs are, so you can select a software solutionwith the right features to solve your business challenges.1WILL THE SOFTWARE REDUCE WORKLOADS AND SAVE TIME?2HOW STRAIGHTFORWARD IS SETTING UP A NEWPROJECT? IS IT EASY TO IMPORT ESTIMATES AND GETSTARTED?3ARE PROCESSES STREAMLINED FROM INITIATIONTHROUGH CLOSEOUT OF THE PROJECT?4IS THE SOFTWARE INTEGRATED TO ALLOW EASY FLOW OFINFORMATION BETWEEN ACCOUNTING, THE FUNCTIONSAT JOB SITES AND ALL PROJECT TEAM MEMBERS?5WILL THE SOFTWARE HELP CREATE A CONSISTENTSTRUCTURE ACROSS THE COMPANY THAT ALLOWSEVERYONE TO WORK FROM THE SAME DATA?6ARE FORMS AND OTHER REQUESTS — INVOICES, CHANGEORDERS, RFI, SUBMITTALS, WORK ORDERS, ETC. —EASILY GENERATED?7IS THE SOFTWARE SCALABLE AND FLEXIBLE, ALLOWINGFOR CONFIGURATION TO FIT YOUR SPECIFIC BUSINESSNEEDS?VIEWPOINT.com.au13

5EVERYONE TO WORK FROM THE SAME DATA?6ARE FORMS AND OTHER REQUESTS — INVOICES, CHANGEORDERS, RFI, SUBMITTALS, WORK ORDERS, ETC. —EASILY GENERATED?7IS THE SOFTWARE SCALABLE AND FLEXIBLE, ALLOWINGFOR CONFIGURATION TO FIT YOUR SPECIFIC BUSINESSNEEDS?8DOES THE SOFTWARE ENHANCE COLLABORATION ANDDISSEMINATE INFORMATION IN REAL TIME?9CAN THE SOFTWARE EFFECTIVELY STORE CONSTRUCTIONDATA AND MANAGE CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS WITHIMAGING AND ARCHIVING FEATURES?10IS THE SOFTWARE EASY TO USE? DOES IT HAVE A CLEANINTERFACE?11DOES IT PROVIDE ANALYTICAL AND INTUITIVE LOOKS AT DATAIN WAYS THAT ARE RELEVANT TO EACH END USER? WILL ITALLOW FOR USERS TO GLEAN TRUE CONSTRUCTION BUSINESSINTELLIGENCE?12IS THE COMPANY PROVIDING THE SOFTWARE COMMITTED TOCONTINUALLY INVESTING IN ITS PRODUCT AND SCALING IT FORFUTURE FUNCTIONALITY GROWTH?VIEWPOINT.com.au14

CHAPTER 7:PREPARE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATIONPROCESSThe implementation of new construction management software can taketime and planning, though many solutions today have streamlined theseprocesses as well. Transferring data from one system to another, ensuringall functionality is working the way it should, setting up workflows andcustomised features — these are all tasks that need to be properly addressedto ensure a smooth transition, and they take time and resources to do well.There can often be momentary disruptions in business or processes whileimplementation occurs, so it’s important to have a plan in place and workwith the software provider closely during this process. Here are some generalsteps to consider:1. GET A HOLISTIC VIEW OF IMPLEMENTATIONMake sure you have an implementation map developed with your softwareprovider. Consult training materials and assess your current processes. Whereis data currently housed, and how can it be imported into your new system?Find out how long the process will take (your software provider can give you anestimate) so people know what kind of time frame to expect.2. MAKE A PERSONALISED PLANEstablish a reasonable schedule for implementation with your softwareprovider and those who will be implementing the software on your end.Ensure you have

CHAPTER 1: STAY COMPETITIVE WITH . THE RIGHT SOFTWARE. For commercial contractors, the stakes are high. . Cash Mgmt. Project Mgmt. Equipment Mgmt. Service Mgmt. Materials Inventory Document Mgmt. . It’s also a good idea to do your homework on what types of techno

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