5 Key Questions When Considering Construction Software

If you are looking into implementing construction software, you will, no doubt, have spent considerable time researching the options online and viewed countless demonstrations and had many discussions with prospective providers. It can be a confusing and daunting task and selecting the right partner is likely to be one of the most important decisions your business is going to make. To help you in making the right choice, here are 5 key questions to ask from your potential software partner.

What on-site services do they provide?
Implementing the right construction software solution involves your team adapting to the change and should be as smooth and painless as possible.
  • Your potential software partner should be able to provide you with not only front end assistance but ongoing service as well. 
  • Be sure to ask what level of training and support they are going to provide and whether this is included in their quote or charged as an additional cost. The length of training provided could be an indicator of the complexity of their user interface meaning longer initial support could be a red flag rather than a bonus.
  • Ask for details of previous companies they have worked with and the length of time they are going to provide both initial and ongoing support. 
  • Dig deeper.  You are making an investment so don’t shy away from asking precisely what and why the support is provided.

How frequent are their product updates?
Although ERP and Estimating Software for Construction is not a new concept, the pace of development and improvement means that what you can buy today is light years ahead of what was available just a few years ago. Discuss how future updates are rolled out by your prospective providers. Some provide online patches whereas some have even more robust solutions (such as having the product provided on something similar to a rental basis with upgrades available consistently as they happen. Again, ask questions to dig deeper. Some providers provide individual customisation whereas others adapt the feedback and requests from all users to make enhancements that are available to all (this could be a huge hidden benefit by leveraging the experience of some of the world’s largest and most successful construction companies)

Do they offer Bespoke Packages?
As your business grows, does your selected package adapt with you? Some providers will require you to purchase additional software for increased users and some solutions may be priced as a one size fits all. Consider agreeing a solution where you can ‘pay as you play’ and can add users as and when required.

What support facilities do they offer?
Swift, accurate and reliable support is essential in ensuring your selected software is a valuable tool to your business rather than a drain on resources and morale. Ask your potential suppliers how they deal with ongoing client support. Do they have online helpdesk facilities or call centres and what hours are they available? It is also worth establishing whether their support teams are staffed internally or whether they employ outsource or off-shore facilities.

What kind of customisation and compatibility with other software is available?
Consider the core reasons for embedding your Construction Software and make a genuine assessment of what current facilities and software you will need to keep in place. When looking at adaptability and customisation, it may seem as though integration with existing software would be beneficial but ask yourself whether you are holding onto ‘legacy’ systems for nostalgia rather than efficiency.

The same can be applied to customisation. Some of the best providers are constantly adapting and evolving their products to embed best practices and enhancements as identified by their key partners and clients worldwide. Historically (hindsight being 20:20) many customisation requests relating to such comprehensive software systems have resulted in change, time and training requirements being created for the sake of change itself. With the right provider, you can be confident that feedback across the entire client base is being reviewed and implemented into genuine product enhancements from which all users benefit both now and in the future.

Read more about "The Top 10 Benefits of Good Business Intelligence for the Construction Industry"

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