Adoptingan effective project management software suite will almost certainly improvethe way that contractors conduct their business. So why is getting constructionbusinesses there often such a battle?
Asdirector of product management at Viewpoint Construction Software, JeremyLarsen is rolling out the company’s newestproduct, Viewpoint Team Project Management. The cloud-based solutionconnects back office and field operations with an extended project team ofsubcontractors, materials suppliers, architects, and owners.
“Most ofthe objections to adopting an integrated project management solution such asthis really amount to being comfortable, with doing things the way they’vealways done them,” he says. “The objections typically fall into five categories.”
1. Change won’t benefit me.
Larsennotes that nobody should be asked to change what they do unless it results inobvious benefits. “Before you consider a project management solution, be surethat the tangible benefits of adopting that solution outweigh the costs,” hesays. “Offering better information flow between stakeholders provides no valueunless that information can be translated into accurate risk evaluations, cost reportsand projections, for example.”
2. New software is more complex thanwhat I’m used to.
“In manycases, I would agree with them,” says Larsen. “That’s because we still seecontractors using software developed in the 1990s or employing systems based ontyping lists into an Excel spreadsheet. It’s the software provider’s job to demonstratethat a little more effort up front will provide far more valuable and robustinformation than they could ever get from a spreadsheet. We believe that anintegrated solution will give you the best reporting on such importantparameters as project performance and risk.”
3. I want a product that I can accesswherever I am.
Larsennotes that many contractors like software solutions that they can carry withthem on their laptop, access in their web browser and share via e-mail.
“That offers an illusion that they’re enjoying the advantages of cutting edge software,” he says. “An effective cloud-based solution should free them from the limitations of a browser and allow greater connectivity across a wider range of devices. It should also improve coordination and team communication, while reducing cycle time in critical project management workflows.”
4. I don’t want to use an accountingsolution to handle project management.
“You don’t want an enterprise resourceplanning solution that focuses on accounting first, then extends thosefunctions to the front office as an afterthought,” says Larsen. “Demonstratingrobust accounting and financing capability is essential, but an effectivesolution should first prove it has the capability to actually understand andmanage construction projects. We actually find that accounting is often quickto climb on board, once they realize that they can speed up the transfer of qualityinformation to the back office.”
5. I don’t want to climb the learningcurve.
“Alearning curve shouldn’t be too steep,” says Larsen. “You shouldn’t have toimprove project workflow at the expense of hundreds of project hours. Forexample, we’ve designed our software so that you can master the features thatare most important to you first, without having to learn about every one of theplatform’s capabilities up front.”
He notesthat once clients begin to appreciate the advantages of a new project platform,none have returned to their old systems.
“Customerstypically tell me that it takes one full project cycle to realize the benefits of the system,” he says. “Theytalk about the old way of doing things is like you might remember a dial-upmodem. The sound may inspire a little nostalgia, but nobody wants to go back.”
Thiscontent is sponsored by Viewpoint in collaboration with ConstructConnect™Media. To learn more about Viewpoint, visit www.viewpoint.com .