08th June 2018
In Safe Hands: What to Look for in a Construction Software Provider
The time’s come to evaluate the software that runs your construction company.
You’ve formed a shortlist of several products after weighing up the various features each package offers, and what you’ll need to pay for them.
But while the software’s features are obviously an important consideration, it’s not the only factor you should take into account when choosing which software to switch to.
It’s the software provider that can often determine whether the software generates a return on investment. There’s a vast difference in how software providers approach processes such as training, ongoing support, and migrating between systems. Here’s what you should look for when assessing potential software providers.
#1 Industry knowledge
Construction management software will contain more features than your standard business accounting system, and your software provider must have the industry expertise to understand how features like CVR and subcontractor management contribute to the wider business. If you’re struggling with a process in the software and your account manager doesn’t fully understand the feature you’re trying to use, you’ll struggle to explain the issue and resolve it quickly.
#2 In-house support
Outsourced support is cheaper for software providers and often allows them to provide more flexible support (say, 24/7 support), but in a specialist industry like construction, in-house support is almost always preferable.
#3 Personalised set-up
Even if the software itself is relatively rigid in terms of features, great software providers will do their best to tailor the set-up process to each client. Even small amendments such as using your company-specific jargon instead of the provider’s terminology can help significantly when setting up software.
The provider should also ask about your company’s objectives, and how the software can help you meet them. If your provider is reluctant to adjust their demonstrations, sales pitches and other processes based on your use-case, it may be time to look elsewhere - you need a software provider that understands your business and how their product can work for you.
#4 Multiple training options
For software as critical as construction accounting software, in-depth training options are essential. Your provider should offer you several options for training, such as onsite training or online sessions. Training should be adjusted based on your requirements and the experience and confidence of the attendees. Software manuals and guides should be readily accessible in digital form, so they’re always available to refer to.
#5 Webinars, events, and ongoing support
The best software providers work continuously to strengthen their software in a way that works for their clients. Do some research and find out how your shortlist of providers offer ongoing support for their product. How frequently are software updates published? Are events ever held (online or offline) to highlight upcoming features or changes? What happens if your company’s requirements change?
Overall, your potential software providers should express an interest in not simply selling their product, but selling a solution that works for your company’s specific use-case. Their focus should be on developing a close working relationship for the months and years to come, not rushing you into a purchasing decision.
Thinking of upgrading your construction software? Follow our seven-step guide to the upgrade process to see how it works.