Differing Job Roles Affect Construction Software Buying Decisions
Recently, Software Advice, a website dedicated to connecting organizations with the right software for them, wrote an article explaining why different users purchase construction software according to their job role. The article describes the reasons business owners, project managers, and IT managers want to purchase new construction software, hence why they reach out to Software Advice. The article also explains which type of deployment, on-premise or web-based, each software seeker prefers and why.
According to Software Advice’s findings, business owners visit Software Advice looking for new construction software to improve their bottom line. In order for these owners to increase their profit, they submit more bids for competitive and profitable projects, but they have difficulty managing the additional work. “Thus, increasing accuracy in bids and estimates was the owners’ primary motivation for seeking new software, cited by 36 percent.”
Another motivating reason owners wanted to purchase new software was because their current software was proving to be inadequate, especially with the accounting component. For example, Multiple owners complained that their current software could not handle the “multi-state payroll and tracking part prices from multiple vendors.”
As for project managers, the study showed that integration is their top priority when looking for construction software. Project managers are wanting a streamlined process in which scheduling, job costing, sending out bids, finding and qualifying subcontractors and so on are all integrated into one solution. Integration of all solutions is their main concern, but many are receptive to the idea of a “best-of-breed solution”. In addition to integration improvement, project managers are seeking organization across all aspects of the project. Their job role consists of managing a large team while communicating with subcontractors and guiding business decisions. With specialized construction software, job activities can be organized and automated across all jobs, which greatly helps the project managers.
“I’m just one guy that’s managing a lot of subcontractors. I just need something simple so I’m not bogged down in front of the computer the whole time”, said one project manager participating in the study.
In regards to IT managers, their main interest for purchasing new software is to keep up with the most current and competent software to replace their outdated technology that requires more time to fix it than use it.
“The less I have to run around and jack with the software, the happier I’m going to be,” states one IT manager from the study.
In addition to replacing old, inadequate software, IT managers are seeking more efficiency and integration, which makes sense considering one of their main jobs is to streamline daily operations using new hardware and software. However, IT managers responded to the study much less compared to the other professions because there are very few IT jobs in the construction industry, so these conclusions may not be applicable to the entire construction IT field.
Owners, project managers, and IT managers have their differing reasons for seeking out new construction software, but they also have different views on the deployment of this new software. While most had not had a preference to deployment, those who had made a decision split the majority between on-premise and web-base. The majority of project managers preferred web-base deployment while most of the owners wanted their software on-premise. This conclusion makes sense when thinking about the job roles of the two positions because project managers are frequently in the field and need mobile access to streamline their communications while owners seek control and security which on-premise provides. Only a small portion of the IT managers preferred web-based over the other, but one IT professional stated, “On-premise is nice because I get to buy new hardware, but the cloud is nice because it’s not my responsibility to make sure it’s up and running.” explaining the split in decisions.
The article refers back to the JBKnowledge 2014 Construction Technology Report, stating construction firms’ profit margin is slim and only about 1 percent of the budget is allocated to IT. Because of this, owners are highly dependent on ensuring their software produces a profitable return.
Software Advice’s study was conducted by randomly picking 770 total interactions with business owners and project managers from 2013 and 2014 for analysis. However, since fewer IT managers seek out Software Advice, the report was only able to pull 136 interactions for analysis, making it a possibility that this sample is not representative. The study states, “These findings exclusively represent those buyers who contacted Software Advice for guidance on software selection, and may not be indicative of the market as a whole.”