Construction has lagged behind other industries when it comes to software adoption, but there are a few reasons for it.
For tech companies, digitalizing construction projects has always been difficult when compared to other industries. Construction projects are incredibly complex and have hundreds (sometimes thousands) of moving parts, countless stakeholders, timeline pressures, and constantly incurred project costs. With each project slightly different than the last, creating specialized software requires a deep understanding of project needs to create more effective processes.
On the construction side, there are a few different reasons why contractors will hesitate to implement new software. One of the biggest roadblocks is the lack of easy integrations, leading to fragmentation between tools and contractors essentially being in the same position they were before implementing.
Most construction softwares are process-specific and don’t actively share relevant data with other process-specific tools. Having a cohesive tech stack that is sharing information across multiple tools often requires IT specialists working with complex APIs that can take weeks, or even months, to get right.
Construction software is intended to help contractors be more efficient with their work and more effective in planning strategically, but often the headaches involved in integrating complex software will result in contractors resorting back to manual data entry from one tool to the next. According to JBKnowledge, the most common method for transferring data between apps that aren’t integrated is doing it manually, at 53%
This can create a double-edged sword for contractors. Do you commit to weeks of work building software integrations using complex APIs? Or do you continue to input data manually, which almost defeats the purpose of implementing the software in the first place?
In this article, we’ll explain why it’s worth integrating your construction software. We’ll also review how Bridgit can help simplify the integration process, and demonstrate a few workflows you can easily set up to get the most out of your software.
The benefits of integrating your general contractor software
If your team is bogged down using a mix of complex software solutions that don’t communicate with one another, they likely aren’t performing at their best.
Manually transferring workforce and project data from one platform to another is simply inefficient. It not only wastes time that could be spent on other profit-driven tasks, it also leads to increased errors and reduces your company’s ability to act quickly when project changes happen.
Eliminate siloed information
Throughout the lifecycle of a project, information is consistently flowing in from multiple stakeholders through different systems. If these systems and solutions are fragmented, it prevents operations and management teams from having a complete view of their business and project pipeline in real-time.
With how competitive the construction industry has become, being able to make quick, data-driven decisions is key to gaining an advantage in the construction landscape. By integrating your tech stack you can save countless hours of data consolidation for quick decision-making. You’ll also gain real-time visibility into your different projects, departments, and business objectives suitable for self-performing contractors.
With information flowing automatically, not only are you reducing manual data entry, you’re also making sure everyone on your team is on the same page and looking at the same information.
Given the current climate, and with construction professionals choosing to work remotely, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and pulling in the same direction is critical to project success. By integrating your tech stack, you’re providing your team a single source of truth– accessible in real time.
Lower IT costs
Updating and maintaining fragmented systems results in a lot of wasted time and energy for organizations with internal IT departments. By integrating your software, you’re giving your IT department more time to work on strategic initiatives that can improve your bottom line instead of taking away from it.
For contractors without an IT department or professional, integrating software helps you reduce the reliance on external resources needed to constantly fix outdated systems.
Bridgit simplifies the integration process
Integrating software can be a long, tedious process. However, there are integration platforms that can help eliminate the headaches of software integration.
At Bridgit, for example, we use an integration portal that allows us to connect our workforce intelligence platform, Bridgit Bench, to nearly every leading software solution being used in construction.
In the past, to build an integration would require custom code to push and pull data from different sources. With Bridgit Bench, however, we can quickly connect your systems and build workflows that allow data to move seamlessly between platforms using easy-to-build “recipes”. These recipes use “Triggers”, which indicate when you want the workflow to start, and “Actions,” which indicate the corresponding steps you want a workflow to take.
Workflow examples using Bridgit Bench
Let’s take a look at three workflow automations that can be set up with Bridgit Bench in an effort to streamline construction processes.
For these examples, we’re going to use Bridgit Bench for our “actions” and demonstrate a few “triggers” that can help streamline your workflow. Workforce management is one of the few processes in construction that impacts nearly every department within your company and would add increased value by pulling information from multiple sources.
Project management software helps manage your construction projects from top to bottom. The ability to automatically pull projects and key data from your project management software into your workforce management software helps to provide insight into the project demand and resources available to take on new projects. It can also help to compare your historical projects of similar scope to create a more accurate and competitive estimate.
If you’re using BIM 360 for your project management, we can set up an integration that will automatically update your project information from BIM 360 into Bridgit Bench. That way you can start analyzing the resource demand for the project against the resources available within your team.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM tools help track your project pursuits and opportunities and help provide forward-looking insight into your project pipeline. When a project contract is likely to be won, operations will often add the project to their resource management solution to start comparing the resource demand against their current workforce supply.
For example, if you’re using Salesforce or Airtable as your CRM software, we can easily create a recipe that will automatically pull your project information into Bridgit Bench. Your trigger can even be as specific as “When a project is more than 25% likely to be won, I want to add the project information into Bridgit Bench to start planning resources.”
Human Resources (HR)
HR tools help organize your team, monitor performance, and identify opportunities for career-building experiences. HR and resource management tools are both centered around managing your people, however there’s often an unnecessary disconnect between the two. Setting up an integration can help to keep your workforce data consistent and ensure no one falls through the cracks when planning resources.
For example, if you’re using bambooHR as your HR solution, we can quickly set up an automation to add a new team member’s information and create a profile for them in Bridgit Bench that includes their official start date. That way your team can immediately start planning project allocations for the new team member without scheduling them before they’ve started.
We hope this sheds some light on how integrated software can benefit construction processes, from bidding and estimating to closeout and warranty. For more information on the integrations available with Bridgit Bench, you can visit this page.