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Diving Deeper During Tech and Software Evaluations

Accounting Support • Jan 29, 2022
Hundreds of new fresher join the construction technology and software adoption sector, giving it a boost. Point solutions for every process, fully-integrated platforms for

Hundreds of new fresher join the construction technology and software adoption sector, giving it a boost. Point solutions for every process, fully-integrated platforms for everything from project bidding to workforce management, can now be found in a variety of forms and prices.

As the construction industry is growing, so are the investments in tech. Contractors are now receiving calls and emails from different technology companies every day. These companies all have a specific pain point to solve with their latest and greatest solutions for contractors. There's no denying it can be overwhelming when you receive repetitive sales or marketing emails-but that’s because this attention means your industry is finally getting the recognition it deserves from these tech firms!

Here’s how the typical software process works:

  • The member of the contractor team is introduced to the providers to learn more about their unique idea.
  • The member is then briefly demonstrated about the solution which can benefit their company
  • If the team member like what they see, a second demonstration is often done with a larger output.
  • The team analyzes whether it is worth pursuing the solution, and either moves forward with the implementation or keeps looking at other options.

That’s a very simplified process. There are multiple demos available, sandbox environment, free trial period. However, when the larger leadership team gets involved in the project, questions really start to come up, and rightfully so too. Contractors want to be sure that their return on investment is good and that the roadmap of the software or technology aligns with organizational goals.

There is often information about a software solution or new technology that gets brought to light after, or during, implementation. This may be a trouble for itself as the new information can affect their decision. There are three topics that are often overlooked, but they should be considered when putting a new solution during the evaluation.

1. Integration, roadmap, method, and expectations 

Integrated software will be increasingly important as the industry undergoes a digital modification, but the questions asking about integrations usually stop pretty quickly.

It's not until contracts are signed and implementation is underway that a contractor discovers that building the integration will require a development team working with complex APIs. The process might take months to get right, so it's important for contractors to account for this when they start work.

2. Required “Homework” during implementation:

Speed implementation is required when deciding on new software. Contractors want to get up and run quickly so that they don't lose momentum or buy-in, which is difficult when introducing new technology to the larger team.

This is when a contractor will get the “best-case scenario timeline," which is not what you should expect. The best-case scenario timeline usually means the time to implement after all the contractor’s data has been shared. If a contractor wants to know when they can implement the project, it's almost guaranteed that this timeline will suddenly have some days or even weeks added on.

For example—if a contractor is looking to import their active, upcoming, and historical projects into a new tool, how does that work? Do they simply send the data they have or let the software company sort it, or does it require someone from the organizer’s team to sort and send that data?

It is nothing special that the “Homework” will increase your time to value, which is not the contractor’s fault because they are typically working and they don’t have time to assemble the necessary information. Contractors should take the time to ensure that their data is accurate and organized, but they ought to know what's expected of them before moving forward.

3. Development Methodology:

There are a few different approaches that companies will use to develop and release new features. The most common ones for software development are Waterfall and Agile. Basic overview of each are:

  • Agile methodology is all about iterative development. Tech companies release new features quickly and frequently, then get feedback from their customers and make incremental improvements at a rapid pace to respond to customer demand. This methodology allows them to adapt quickly and shift priorities to suit the market conditions.
  • The waterfall methodology is a familiar one to contractors. It follows a strict and linear process that takes into account the top-down nature of the approach, much like when you see water cascading from higher to lower levels in real life. For example, with Phase 1 complete, phase 2 might not kick off until all development has been completed for Phase 1 first. In the software world, this translates as less frequent feature releases but bigger ones since there is no going back on any previous decisions made about how it should be developed before beginning work on them.

Why does this matter?

Contractors should think about if they want their software provider to be predictable or adaptive who would be up to the contractors' expectations. The development methodology will also determine how much input can be offered. With Agile, the conversation is continual and changes are made quickly, with Waterfall there's a lot of planning involved and a little lengthy process but once development begins it's nearly impossible to pivot.

Build and manage a better workforce with integrated HR solutions from ADP Marketplace partners like Points North.

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