Why Construction Project Management Software
is Trending Up
October 21, 2021
Construction project management software is having more than a moment. According to InEight’s Global Capital Project Outlook survey results from early 2021, 44% of capital project owners and 63% of contractors in the Americas consider project management software one of the two most critical technologies to invest in within the next 1–3 years (second only to artificial intelligence/machine learning).
Why? One reason for this increasing popularity could be the simultaneous trends that directly support its relevance, signaling a larger, holistic progression in technology’s growing role within the construction industry.
A shift from server-based software to cloud-based software
Server-based software once represented a big leap forward in efficiency over that of prior paper-based methods of project management. But even with this improvement, issues have surfaced: If key people don’t have access to the server, how can they get the information they need? How would you know that the data was current? How could all the information be updated across locally housed business and spreadsheet software? All of this has highlighted a growing need for a more efficient way to store, process and share valuable data, not just across software programs, but among the broader project team. But there is a solution.
Construction companies have gradually been upping their tech game, turning to cloud-based construction project management software as an efficiency powerhouse to counter these limitations.
Overcoming the dilemma of lack of accessibility to time-sensitive and/or task-critical information, this software acts as a virtual, transparent container for all the proliferating data that large-scale projects tend to generate and makes it available to those who need, it when they need it. It also closes the all-too-common communication gap by serving as a hub for centralized information sharing and collaboration. With these two functions working in tandem, not only can everyone connect to vital data, they can connect to each other to more efficiently collaborate using the same information source.
The number of change orders (and therefore, rework) will likely decline as more people accessing the information they need to not only perform their specific tasks, but to also make necessary decisions based on that up-to-the-minute data. This can have a positive impact on meeting contractual obligations and project timelines.
Cloud accessibility is of particular benefit to capital projects with substantial footprints, where site crews, contractors, clients and other stakeholders either aren’t in close proximity, have staggered shifts or are off-site. In fact, the pandemic is a prime example of how relying on the cloud could make it immensely easier to maintain communication and workflow when it is needed most — even with physical distancing and remote work.
Capture of critical on-site data through mobile apps in construction project management software
Cloud connectivity is also making mobile apps, unique to construction project management software, an increasingly indispensable addition to the tech toolbox. Because it isn’t just about having access when you need project data, but where you need it.
To meet the expectation for greater efficiency and enhanced performance metrics, construction companies are relying more heavily on mobile devices. With nearly everyone armed with a smartphone, or at least having access to a jobsite tablet, tapping into apps via these devices offers more control over keeping job tasks on track.
What benefits are these companies realizing? Quicker issue resolution from the field. Real-time communication with teams anywhere on the jobsite, saved time from having to re-enter data once back at the office, more precise, immediate documentation (and viewing) of everything from safety hazards to structural flaws and more accurate timesheets. But AI and machine learning can’t happen without the connectedness of cloud-based software.
The pandemic put mobile apps to the test when there was a critical need to support virtual collaborative meetings and jobsite tasks while honoring physical distancing protocols. More than that, as the COVID-19 restrictions have eased, it has shown construction companies that using mobile apps can actually improve productivity — essentially becoming a requirement in order to remain competitive.
Seeing information across the project life cycle with construction project management software
As connected data and analytics continue to grow in importance in the construction industry, companies are looking to more quickly and reliably mine the rich information their projects generate.
Many companies have relied on single point solutions to perform specific business functions using the data each produces. And those individual solutions can do it very efficiently. The challenge comes when trying to share data among several of them. Sometimes these siloed solutions don’t “talk” to each other very well, making it difficult to share and process data between them. And this can result in resorting to efficiency-hindering data re-entry within each. However, some point solutions using open technology may integrate successfully to form a “best-of-breed” approach.
Integrated construction project management software from one vendor is an option more companies are leaning toward, rather than combining disconnected point solutions. Everything pulls from one database of information, with all data connected and shared among functions such as estimating, scheduling, documentation and risk management. This perfect-fit integration helps achieve the level of efficiency, certainty and accuracy that project owners are increasingly expecting (you could even say this expectation is somewhat of a microtrend, and one that’s here to stay). And, the single-vendor integrated approach could help construction companies better leverage all that connected data for more successful future projects.
It’s true that trends tend to come and go. As far as construction technology goes however, all signs point to the above trends not only having staying-power, but evolving over time as technology capabilities advance. What do you look for then? Each construction project management software solution will vary from one to the next. What matters is the capabilities that make the most sense for your business.
We invite you to explore InEight’s integrated construction project management software solution, bringing together critical documentation, cost, schedule and quality data you can use throughout your project’s life cycle. See how it can make a difference in your future projects by scheduling a demo for you and your team.