Revealed: The top questions construction companies are asking about project management apps

There are probably a lot of questions you have about construction software if you’re not already using it. And you should have questions. Implementing a digital solution is going to cost money, and you want to know that your investment will be worth it. We’ve talked before about construction being slow to adopt digital transformation but since the pandemic, there’s been more of an emphasis on digital ways of working, along with the introduction of building regulations that mean digital audits are required by law (see Part L).  

If you have yet to make the move to a dedicated project management tool, you probably have a range of problems you want solved, rather than questions about software, so we’ve gathered a few of the most asked questions about construction software – these are ones you’ll want to take note of and have in your back pocket for when you start reaching out to potential providers. 

How easy is it to set up and use? 

Delays in projects can impact margins, not to mention the headache of additional admin time, and a strain on managing the people involved on a build. While the aim of introducing a new tool will be to streamline your processes and save you time, the actual implementation should be something to consider as well. Out-of-the-box solutions might have you up and running on-site quicker, but learning a rigid folder structure might be too restrictive, meaning you lean back on older methods of working. On the flip side, a solution that takes months to set up with your own ways of working could delay existing projects, especially if you have a large team that needs training on a new system. One of the first questions you need to ask is about implementation. Having all the features you need is great, but not if it’ll take you the best part of a year to roll out the solution to see the benefits. 

What devices does it work on? 

While most people have a smartphone, not everyone has the same type with the same capabilities. The same goes for tablets and laptops; the level of choice in our tech is astounding but can be intimidating when you’re introducing a new app or platform. You want to know that it will work just as well on the site manager’s iPhone as your main contractor’s Android tablet. Some site managers prefer to work from a laptop, so it’s key to ask if the tool you’re considering supports multiple devices, while updating automatically to ensure everyone is kept up to date. You should also bear in mind that not everybody will have access to a mobile device on-site, so having a clear process or chain of command will help with managing accountability. 

How long does it take to see ROI? 

While the team on-site is likely to see the benefits of a better project management system immediately, senior stakeholders will likely be interested to know when they can expect to see a return on the investment made by implementing a new tool. Being able to answer this question can help manage expectations for everyone involved – and can help get decisions made quicker.  

Don’t shy away from asking if there are examples of how a software solution has impacted margins and costs for another company they’ve worked with, the more information you can take to your wider team, the smoother any implementation is likely to be with everybody involved having realistic expectations.  

Where and how is data stored? 

Data security is a huge issue in a digital-first world and for good reason – data breaches and cybercrime can be a huge issue. Construction sites deal with a lot of data and information; from contact details of staff on-site to sensitive information about security. And that’s before you’ve factored in how much information needs to be collected about the buildings themselves. Knowing where all this information is backed up, stored, and handled can alleviate a lot of the concerns around data protection; you should also ask what the process or protocol is in the case of data security breaches, and how data is handled in the months and years after a project is completed. 

This post is part of our construction management tool buyer’s guide. Download the guide for free to see more commonly asked questions as well as information on how you can confidently compare software providers and how to decide between developing your own app or partnering with a third-party.  

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