How can I confidently compare providers to choose the best construction management app?

Making the decision to go digital to manage your construction project is just a small part of a bigger process. You need to clarify your requirements and decide if you’re developing a tool in-house or partnering with an external provider. If you’ve opted to go for the latter and use a third party, the choices can seem overwhelming. From construction-specific project management tools and snag list software to full productivity suites there isn’t a shortage of digital solutions that make big promises to transform the way you work.  

As you start to shortlist potential providers, it pays dividends in the long run to spend a bit of time on strategising how to approach these providers – so you can confidently assess your options before deciding. Take some time first to review your specific needs and goals; why are you looking for a new digital solution? What problems are you wanting to solve? Understanding that there isn’t one magic tool that will solve all issues will allow you to prioritise what is most important. And then you can start thinking about the most important questions to put to your potential providers. 

Ask about future pricing and additional costs 

While you will be subject to a contract whatever provider you choose to go with, the terms and conditions of each contract will vary from one provider to another. You’ll want to ask specifically about the standard length of a contract, and what price increases you will be subject to after an initial term. You should ask about if there are additional costs for adding new users and projects and clarify if the price you’ve been given is for a set number of users.   

Request contact details for an existing customer 

The best people to truly understand the software you’re considering are often those who are using it. Most providers should be happy for you to reach out to construction customers that are in a similar situation to your own – giving you the space and time to have an open conversation about the software you’re considering. This conversation should be an opportunity to start visualising how a solution may fit in with your business practices and gives you a chance to identify any potential risks. 

Outline your needs – and stick to them 

You should already know your challenges and be looking for solutions that address the most pressing ones. Don’t lose sight of these – a lot of project management tools have a whole suite of features that promise a whole lot of functionality that sounds great but may not actually be directly addressing your issues. It’s fine to understand what additional features may be available later – scalability is important – but remember your immediate short-term goals. 

Ask for a demonstration – more than once  

An initial demonstration is a great introduction to a potential software or app and provides a good overview of what the tool looks like and how key tasks are managed. You’ll be able to ask questions that directly affect your challenges and get a feel for how you can implement new processes to work with your existing one. Chances are you’ll have follow-up questions and perhaps want more people to see the tool in action, especially if they are people that will be part of rolling out any solution.  

Choosing a tool isn’t a decision you’re likely to make quickly, so taking the time to gather as much information as you can is going to help you in the long run – but having a plan of action is even more important so you don’t get overwhelmed.  

This post is part of our construction management tool buyer’s guide. You can download a free copy of the whole guide here 

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