By Greg Norris

With most construction tradeshows and conferences cancelled due to COVID-19, software itself has become a leading venue for exploring software options. A growing number of contractors are connecting online with suppliers to evaluate the ROI value of new technology. Faster, more accurate estimating, operational efficiency and mobile capabilities are at the top of their lists.

Look for these four priorities:

  • Workflow Connectivity and Real-Time Data

Efficiency increases when applications for estimating and operations talk to each other. Estimating logic is visible to leaders in the field. Performance data can be used to adjust operations immediately. Repair requests, equipment moves, resource needs, inspection results and dozens of other critical pieces of intelligence can be communicated and seen instantly across workflows.

  • Enterprise-Class Performance

The architecture of the software should accommodate multiple users and run fast and reliably, without bugs. How aggressively a supplier keeps pace with technology and delivers updates are things to look for. Requirements also change, so contractors should make sure software can scale to meet future needs.

  • Construction Logic

Some applications are intuitive for accountants or IT pros, but contractors often complain the apps don’t match how they work in the field. Look for software that aligns with existing processes. A user interface that’s easy to learn and use is also essential, so users buying it can stay focused on construction, rather than getting software to work.

  • Support and Fit

Get a feel for the personality of the supplier, the expertise of its employees and how well they could work together with your team. Look for proven implementation and training processes and ask questions about support resources, such as how long it takes to respond to calls or resolve issues. References on support capabilities from existing users should be readily available.

Greg Norris is marketing communications director at B2W Software. See more stories about transportation design and construction industry technology and innovation in ARTBA’s “Smart Design & Construction” supplement.