Change Management: Selecting the Right Construction Software

Gartner reports that 73% of tech buyers experience a high level of regret after purchasing technology, due to lax decision-making processes and disagreements over objectives. Using a change management best practices when going through the construction software selection process can help you avoid these causes of tech-buyer’s remorse. 

Change management is anchored by a People, Processes and Technology (PPT) framework. It aligns stakeholder goals and ensures selection criteria are defined and met before you purchase a new software solution. 

In this article, we’ll show you how to apply the PPT framework to select the best construction management software for your construction firm—starting with evaluating your current processes.

Identify inefficient processes

The first step in selecting construction software is to identify your slow or outdated processes. Additionally, consider processes that new technology will allow you to establish to optimize performance.

Are your workflows suffering from too many manual errors, duplicate work, lack of real-time information or data silos? Further determine if any of them are isolated to a specific phase of your construction project, or happening throughout. Are you experiencing process issues with certain groups, internal or external? 

Take a hard look at your current operating procedures and chart your current workflows to find out. Visualize tasks from initiation to completion so you can pinpoint bottlenecks and areas where processes are failing. 

Decide which workflows need to change

Once you’ve identified your pain points and opportunities, prioritize them from the most severe to the least. Some issues will have a more significant impact on your business than others. 

Focus on the issues that are causing the most disruption or loss of productivity to decide which workflows need to change first. Are you spending too much time handling vendor invoices, causing accounting delays? Or is your field team not receiving the most up-to-date information from your project managers? Don’t get hung up on the superficials, but rather dig deep to understand what explicitly is triggering bottlenecks. Once you’ve identified the root cause, outline what your ideal processes will look like. 

Use this outline to guide your preliminary software research and create a business case for the software change. 

At this point, you’ll want to ensure that the C-suite is aligned on the goals for new software. Then, you’ll need to identify other important stakeholders throughout your organization and externally.

Identify the people affected by the process changes 

As you’re reimagining your workflows, take stock of all the departments and people in your organization who’ll be affected by the process changes.

You’ll want to start having conversations with those affected before a software solution has been selected. 

Moreover, involving employees now will create a sense of community around the change and help overcome implementation challenges later. Furthermore, you will gain access to the expertise and perspectives of the people who are most intimate with current workflows. So you can identify which software is best suited for work “on the ground.” 

Assemble your construction software selection team

Select leaders and influencers to champion the IT change and form a software selection team. Specifically include trusted department heads, project managers, superintendents, finance or operations managers, IT leaders‌ and end-users who can lend expertise to the software selection process. If you aren’t the final decision-maker, be sure a final decision-maker is on the team.

When choosing the team, consider factors such as technical knowledge, understanding of business processes, decision-making ability and availability.

Don’t be afraid to include potential blockers. Bringing them into the process proactively will allow you to address their questions and concerns and lead to better adoption later.

If your company is small, consider bringing your entire organization into the selection process.

Appoint a leader for the selection committee with strong communication and organizational skills to facilitate meetings, coordinate activities and ensure that the process stays on track. 

Choosing a diverse group of stakeholders ensures that everyone’s input is heard. Consequently, the team can make decisions that align with goals that benefit the entire organization. 

Create software selection criteria 

Not all construction management solutions are alike. Some hone in on accounting and backend tasks. Others focus on jobsite and project management. A few can help you manage all aspects of your projects from preconstruction through completion.  

Define selection criteria based on your team’s agreed-upon objectives. This will help you stay focused during the selection process and ensure that the chosen solution aligns with your goals and fits the way you work.

Make a list of must-have versus nice-to-have features for the new software. A construction software’s most valuable functionalities will be those that solve your most serious inefficiencies and help mitigate risk.

Here are a few other things to consider when creating software selection criteria:

  • Ease of setup and use
  • How quickly will we be able to generate value
  • Scalability
  • Integration with other software (existing and future)
  • Offline accessibility
  • Mobile functionality
  • Real-time financial management
  • Ease of collaboration across parties
  • Licencing structure and associated costs
  • Enablement of construction workflows
  • Level of support during implementation and beyond

Create a spreadsheet using your selection criteria and use it to make a shortlist of trusted vendors to compare.

Evaluate and demo construction management solutions 

Pick the top 2–3 solutions and demo them to see how the features and functionalities work‌. Get input from end-users and evaluate how well each solution meets your company’s goals. 

By examining every aspect of the software, assessing how it enhances your processes and seeking input from future users, you can confidently make the right choice.

Keep an eye out for the next article in our change management series. In it, we’ll show you how to successfully onboard your selected software.

Do you have a change management success story? Then connect with us. We’d love to share it with your peers.