Mapping Out Your Construction Software Transition: Why Planning Ahead is Critical

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While the construction industry has typically lagged in terms of technology adoption, that appears to be changing as new technologies and software platforms are helping contractors modernize and transform operations. You want to choose the right software and then implementing it correctly to maximize investment and spur real change. But that can prove to be a daunting challenge to most construction professionals. That’s why having an implementation plan in place — especially with construction management software — is vital.

Long before selecting a software, your organization – from leadership to end users – should all agree on pain points, needs, and the features and solutions desired from new software. These insights should help guide you to the right technologies.

Long before selecting a software, your organization – from leadership to end users – should all agree on pain points, needs, and the features and solutions desired from new software.

Consider a Trial Run

After you’ve settled on a solution you think will work well for your organization, see if you can join a test group. Starting with a pilot project does several things: it lets you see the software in the real world, identify problem areas or things that need customization and get buy-in from employees — a key part of successful software adoption.

If you’re able to with your software provider, try a pilot program or “sandbox.” First assess what project would be a good test case. Do you have a project that would benefit from the new the software? Pick a project of an appropriate size — big enough that you get a good picture of how the software functions.

It’s important you involve participants from all job functions who will eventually use the software. Educate the people involved about the software. Explain why it was chosen (including what problems it solves), how it works and how it will affect the project and everyone’s tasks within it. Achieving buy-in from your end users is the key to success.

While your test project is underway, solicit feedback about how the software is working. This is your chance to iron out issues before large-scale deployment. Find what doesn’t work well and adjust with your software provider as needed. Good construction software allows for certain amounts of customization and flexibility, so explore your software’s features and see if you can customize the interface, workflows or other aspects of the software so it’s easier to use. Handling these kinds of tweaks ahead of time means you won’t have to worry about lots of negative feedback down the road.

Once the project is complete, get everyone together and do an assessment. What went well? What didn’t? Do you have further changes to make? Did the software meet expectations and help the project achieve its goals? These key takeaways will guide the rest of your implementation process.

Good construction software allows for certain amounts of customization and flexibility, so explore your software’s features and see if you can customize the interface, workflows or other aspects of the software so it’s easier to use.

Create a Comprehensive Implementation Plan

Implementing new software, especially in a large organization, takes planning. If you don’t plan well, you end up with disgruntled employees who don’t understand why things are changing, and don’t take advantage of all the features and functionality your new software could provide. You also want to ensure that disruption to your core business and construction projects is minimal during your transition.

  • Some things to consider when planning for a full software deployment:
  • Potential system downtime while software is installed
  • What data you need transferred to the new system and how you and the vendor will work to achieve this
  • How special needs or customizations to the software will be addressed
  • How the transition will affect current and future projects
  • How you’ll communicate with employees about the process
  • What training to provide ahead of time and during the rollout
  • What documentation you should have on hand for employees

Getting a new software system to manage your business can take time and effort. But with a little planning, you can significantly improve your chances of getting it right the first time.

For a more detailed look at choosing and implementing construction software, check our this free e-book, “A Practical Guide to Selecting Construction Software.”

Andy Holtmann is the Marketing Content and Public Relations Manager at Viewpoint Construction Software. Want to learn more about how to better manage your equipment through leading-edge technology, visit Viewpoint’s website to see a full range of solutions to improve your construction organization. This article was brought to you in part by Viewpoint. 

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