You’re an owner, and your role in the construction project is being rapidly redefined. Advances in cloud-based construction management software provide a project ecosystem that puts you in the middle of the build, wherever you are geographically. This new model is empowered by features you can specify on your construction software RFP. Your attention to these product details will be paid back with interest.
You don’t just need broad jobsite dispatches accompanied by hastily snapped photos of the week’s headway. We’re talking real-time granular deep dives into the living project that illuminate any and every facet of progress as it’s happening—with crystal clarity. Time and distance are no longer the barriers they once were. This is the new owner involvement.
The growing popularity—some might say necessity—of this digital construction management approach has given rise to a marketplace of burgeoning choices that can easily overwhelm even the most experienced owner. What specific characteristics should an owner look for when putting out an RFP for a digital construction management platform? This is not a rhetorical question, but one whose specific answer(s) should frame and focus the search for a suitable solution.
A Single Source of Truth for Construction Management and Construction Financials
In this age of data, much is made of the Single Source of Truth concept, and for good reason. Data-driven decision-making has replaced the informed hunch as the best way forward. This only works when everyone with a decision-making role is working off the same data—a single source of truth. Your construction management software—your platform—should be able to aggregate and present your construction project’s moment-by-moment, hour-by-hour data, in a virtual hub visible to all. What other features should an owner insist on when looking for a construction management platform? When you put out a construction software RFP, here are a few questions to ask:
- Is there a single platform that seamlessly handles both the construction management and construction financials with “ease of use” as a core value?
- Does the platform enable you to connect and control processes across different parts of your workflows; for example, can you elevate an RFI and it’s cost impact into your change order process?
- Does the system support mobile, remote, and cloud-based work? Can every stakeholder access minute-by-minute project information and evolving project data and work efficiently when offline?
- Does the system clearly organize project data for aggregated analysis and improved decision-making?
- Can you continuously and automatically gather project data for an unalterable, single-source Information of Record for warranty, repairs, and post-construction reference?
- Does the system have the means to analyze project data for purposes of strategic forecasting and identification of repeatable project successes, with new techniques such as machine learning?
- Does use of the platform standardize all project processes that are run through it?
- Does the system vastly simplify and accelerate the search process through your project data?
- Is the system both conduit and repository of all project communication, connecting your people, software, and data on one platform with common visibility to all?
- Does the system feature an unlimited user licensing model for both your internal and external users?
The system you need will consolidate, simplify, and standardize. Ease of centralized project communication will close the gaps that hamper uninterrupted collaboration.
A Multiplicity of Tools through an Open Construction Software Platform
The ideal construction management platform is a single source of truth, yes. But it is not monolithic. The platform should unite project teams––including you as the owner or developer, and your general contractor and specialty contractors––in a single collaborative environment that provides all participants the means—the tools—to collectively move the project forward.
A partner ecosystem brings the integrative ingenuity of the marketplace onto your project jobsite and into your team’s daily problem-solving matrix. What exactly does this mean as you develop your RFP platform criteria? Ask these questions of your solution:
- Does your prospective solution feature an open API (Application Programming Interface)? This secure protocol allows solution-specific tools—“integration partners”—temporary connection to your platform, so your people can knock down the project issue at hand, whatever it is.
- Does your prospective solution have a sufficiently varied selection of partners to address the full spectrum of your project needs as they arise?
- Does your prospective solution support you after construction is complete, with downstream management capabilities for capital projects and tenant improvements?
The system you need will come equipped with a dynamic, ever-expanding set of niche construction management tools, and the means to quickly apply them to project issues. These integration partner offerings are made possible by the platform’s open API, and may be quickly joined to the platform when a specific (and often unforeseen) project issue arises.
An Army of Support and Resources Behind You
Your platform is a consolidator—a central hub neatly containing your construction management solution, your project financials, your real-time aggregated data as the build progresses, your teams’ transparent workflows, and an endless selection of digital tools to knock down any project obstacle. Something this complete must be a Gordian Knot to implement, right? Not if you ask the right questions when you select your construction software vendor in the RFP process.
Your chosen platform will be a fearsome weapon against project inefficiency, but not if the system itself stirs fear or hesitation in you or your teams. Ask questions about each of these areas:
- Does the purchase include a dedicated implementation manager to help seamlessly guide the process?
- What customer service and support resources are available, and in what time zones?
- Can you reach support through whatever channel works the best for your productivity, including phone, email, and chat?
- Is customer support included at no extra charge as part of the construction software purchase?
- Are professional services available to customize certain elements of the platform to meet your unique needs?
- How long does it take, on average, to get from signing of the contract to full implementation and adoption?
Own Your Solution
You’re an owner. You own. Today’s construction management solutions offer you a depth of actionable ownership in your project—and across your portfolio—you may not have thought possible. Easily access all your data at any time and know where your projects stand—whether from your corporate office, your hotel room, your timeshare, or right there on the jobsite. Choose the degree of your day-to-day engagement with the project. Your ground-up builds and capital expenditures will become more profitable and efficient, and your successes standardized and repeatable. Choose wisely and you’ll truly Own the project as you never have before.
Want to know more about how you can take control of your construction projects with visibility into every step of the process?