1. Web-based Software Is The Key To Construction Business Profitability

    by Will McClave
    Vice President, Info Tech Products

    Not more than a dozen years ago, software companies were churning out great applications that could perform just about any function for a construction company. The only problem was that few construction companies could afford them. Installed software requires a lot of resources – including a strong IT team that can implement, maintain, train and upgrade the software as needed. Quite simply, the high total cost of ownership put these applications out of reach.

    Enter Web-based software: the great equalizer in the industry. Over the past few years, Web software delivery has allowed construction firms of all sizes to have access to the best software tools available on an affordable, monthly subscription basis. Those who have adopted this technology early are reaping the benefits – and profits. They are winning more jobs and getting them done faster. What is holding the rest back?

    Software Advice, a construction software consulting firm, recently released a study called Impact of Job Roles on Construction Software Purchasing Decisions. The data showed an interesting divide within construction companies when it comes to purchasing software. Project managers preferred Web-based apps because they see the benefits of ubiquitous access. IT managers also preferred Web-based apps because they are less of a burden on IT resources. It was only the owners who showed a preference for ‘on-prem’ implementations. The study indicated:

    Owners, who are often the general contractor for their firm, might be more reluctant to utilize Web-based systems because they either perceive that these systems take control and security out of their hands, or they do not like the subscription pricing that most Web-based systems utilize.

    Clearly, the onus is on the software industry to reach out to the owners and communicate the benefits and security of Web-based systems. According to the study, most construction firms operate with 1 or 2 percent profit margins. That’s slim compared to most other industries, so speaking to that number with the efficiencies gained in Web-based apps is key.

    Here’s another important statistic: Only two-thirds of construction firms have a full-time IT employee, according to a survey conducted by Sage. Firms without any IT support can blossom on the Web-based delivery method and those with IT support can use those resources more efficiently.

    Quick implementations that take days as opposed to months. Convenient monthly billing cycles that allow firms to add and drop software as needed. Allowing employees to focus on their work and not the software. Security certification processes that are tested and trusted. These are topics that we need to address to owners to help them make the move to Web-based apps and never look back.