It’s a new year, which means it’s the perfect time to take a second look at the software your team uses daily to create estimates, manage projects, run reports, generate proposals, and more. Ask yourself and your team the questions below to reevaluate your current software and determine whether a new program would give your company the competitive edge it needs to start the year off right.
Step 1: Ask Your Team if They’re Happy with Your Current Software
People are often better at tasks they enjoy doing. The same concept applies to software.
Start by conferring with your team who uses the software on a regular basis and collect their opinions. You can do this either formally through a simple survey or short meeting, or informally in conversation.
Step 2: Evaluate Your Customer Experience
Now that you’ve identified any issues your team has with your current software, it’s time to examine the impact and resolution of these issues. A few glitches here and there are to be expected with any software, but how a company handles issues says a lot about their attitude towards their customers.
Has the customer support team been responsive to your questions and helpful with any issues? Is the interface modern and user-friendly? Do they have frequent updates and improvements?
Step 3: Take a Look at Your ROI
Software should streamline your process, not complicate it. Inspect your ROI and determine whether your software is helping or hindering your goals.
Do you often get hung up and waste valuable time on issues? Have you seen increased ROI since you began using it? Will the software be adequate as your company continues to grow?
Step 4: Study the Results
Has your work been accurate? Measuring accuracy will depend on the kind of software you’re using. Estimating software, for example, should help you produce accurate estimates that help you win more bids.
If you’re finding errors and inconsistencies in the results you’re producing with the software, figure out if the discrepancies derive from human error or software glitches. If they’re from human error, the software might be difficult to use and be negatively affecting your team’s performance.
Step 5: Take Stock of the Features
Software can become outdated, especially if the company isn’t releasing frequent updates. Does it have the newest features that have become standards in industries outside of construction?
Must-have features include:
Step 6: Examine How It Fits in with Your Other Platforms
Your company likely uses multiple programs to get the job done. Does the software integrate with your other platforms? Is there a better option that will allow you to streamline your project workflow?
Whether the same team is using multiple platforms or you’re looking for a simple way to transfer projects from one team to another (such as from estimators to project managers or accountants), fully integrated software is key to avoiding errors caused by double entry.
ProEst’s estimating software, for example, automatically transfers data from awarded bids to project management software (such as Procore or Viewpoint) and accounting software (such as Foundation or Acumatica). Integrating your platforms saves time, increases accuracy, and seamlessly moves your project into the next phase of the construction process.
Step 7: Determine if It’s Ready for Anything
Does your current software allow your team to work remotely, whether they’re on a job site or at home? Use 2020 as a litmus test for your software. Did it help you adjust to changes or did it hinder your success? Does it allow you to collaborate remotely? Can your data be securely accessed from anywhere your team needs it?
Going forward, your software should be able to adapt not only to COVID-19 but also to other unforeseen problems, ranging from computer crashes, sudden off-hours issues and inclement weather, to natural disasters and other emergencies. This will protect your project data from being lost or inaccessible and will ensure your team has the tools to function properly regardless of the situation.
These 7 steps should help you to gain a better understanding of your current software and whether you need to make the switch to one that’s a better fit for your team.
For more helpful tips, read our executive report on 5 Things to Consider Before Spending a Dime on Estimating Software.