Now more than ever, technology advancements in the construction management software area have given us lots of choices for systems. But that makes it even more difficult to choose which one is best for your business. If you’re in the market for a new construction ERP solution, you need to be strategic and pick a solution that provides you the greatest return on investment (ROI).
Here are 5 key features to look for when evaluating different systems.
1. Productivity. You want the new system to be easy to learn and use, with the ability to work from anywhere and anytime. Make sure your construction ERP solution has an easy to use, intuitive interface. Solutions requiring extensive training to learn how to use them cause frustration, even for high-end users. Your teams will be relying on this software, often on the go, so accessing important information must be simple and fast. Look for software that makes it easy for data entry, updates, and exchange of project-critical information.
Modern construction solutions should also provide a platform for collaboration regardless of physical proximity, which is why most are now cloud-based systems with centralized data. Firms that have adopted cloud-based construction software reap the benefits of streamlined workflows, greater productivity, and higher visibility into their projects.
Why do construction businesses choose cloud-based solutions? Cloud-based software works from anywhere, reflecting the way people work today. Teams can work collaboratively in real time, or even offline when in remote locations. Using cloud services isn’t only about data storage; it’s about embracing a new way of working—one where accessibility, automation, and collaboration come first.
Additionally, automation has become more advanced, freeing up resources, reducing errors, and making sure your processes are not being forgotten.
Success relies on not only getting the right data into the system, but the ability to report and interpret the data you gathered. Reporting and other visual tools like dashboards give you a competitive advantage in your business. Because construction is primarily project based, make sure solutions offer enhanced financial reporting including the following elements:
- Maximized resource utilization analysis
- Profit & Loss management by unit, location, product mix or project manager
- Granular asset tracking
- Liability and equity management by project/corporate entity
- Balance sheet management by project/corporate entity
2. Specialized Functionality. There are numerous things to evaluate in terms of software functionality. Compliance management, multi-entity, integrated business intelligence, field service, CRM, sales order, and purchase order management, to name a few. The biggest area to evaluate is the financial management features. Aside from typical GL, AR, AP, and Inventory functions, construction ERP also requires more sophisticated tools to include the following:
- Contracts management
- Contractor indexing
- Materials management
- Equipment management
- Time and billing
- Taxes and state/federal policy management
- Vendor indexing
- Purchase and change order management
- Operational inventory management
3. Future-proof Technology. The technology platform of your ERP solution should embrace your growth needs and give you full access to everything you need. Besides remote access, there are numerous other benefits of a true cloud solution, like Acumatica. Acumatica offers flexible licensing and hosting options, upgrades on your schedule, and a full relational database with access and export options for reporting, backups, and transferring of data. Additionally, being built on a true cloud platform, Acumatica has a highly responsive design, meaning you can view and interact with every page of the application on any device with a minimum of resizing, panning, or scrolling.
Acumatica has also been ranked as one of the most user-friendly ERP solutions on the market. Its user interface is modern and intuitive, allowing users to access tasks with minimal clicks.
4. Value. This is a no-brainer. We all want to get the highest value from our investment possible. Make sure the solutions you are considering maximize features and functions for your business and weigh those against the cost for the usable lifetime of the product. Look at your total cost of ownership (TCO) for the new system. It the TCO reduced over the lifespan of the product? Most people look 3-5 years ahead and factor in things such as hosting, licensing, support, upgrades, hardware, and other add-ons if needed.
5. Risk. Security is at the forefront in every business. It’s a big factor to consider when choosing a new system to house all your critical data. Your first question should be, how does the ERP system minimize risk for your business while facilitating network and financial security. Ask for customer references, is there a solid backup and disaster recovery plan, how often are updates and upgrades…it’s these and more that will make you feel confident the solution you choose is securing your business.
A Solid Partnership is Key
You need more than ‘just a software solution’ to stay competitive and get the most value out of your data. You need to partner with a team who is invested in your long-term success. GFC has the experts for you. We are here as a guide and educator, to get you where you need to be, quickly and competently. Not sure where to start? Download our free ERP Construction Checklist and then contact us to discuss your business needs.
Free Download: ERP Construction Checklist