For the residential homebuilding industry, CRM (customer-relationship management) has been essential throughout the downturn, as a way to boost sales in a dry economy. Now, as the market begins its rebound, companies that have good technology in place will find they can grow faster than the competition.
A construction project isn’t simply about one company getting a job done using a siloed piece of technology. Rather an entire team of partners needs to come together and share data across the group. This is very different from how the industry operated in the past, with each organization bringing its own technology to the table. Today’s construction industry is taking a project-first approach to identify the needs of the project prior to selecting a piece of software for that particular job.
One of the biggest factors construction companies should consider when looking for a new ERP (enterprise-resource planning) system is does the technology run on a modern framework. If the answer is no, that business might want to move on to a different piece of software, due to the fact ERP implementations can be time consuming. However, with the right partner and the right technology, the value add of ERP can be significant and essential for a construction business today.
One of the big trends in the construction industry in the past few years has been M&As (mergers and acquisitions), with a number of big-name technology providers acquiring others in an effort to create a complete solution set. Trimble was one of the first to start this trend with the acquisition of Meridian Systems back in 2006, with subsequent acquisitions of QuickPen, Accubid Systems, Tekla, Trade Service, SketchUp, WinEstimator, and Vico Software. With a lineup of software this vast, Trimble has positioned itself to offer a complete set of solutions for every building firm’s needs.
As a newcomer to the list this year—but not necessarily a newcomer to the space—Pantera Global Technology has been serving the industry for roughly five years. The company’s founder has even more experience than that having initially founded a national printing and distribution firm that featured an online planroom with print functionality, which was eventually acquired.
Mobile is one of the hottest buzzwords in the construction industry, as technology that enables a business to move its processes to the jobsite can provide significant value. NoteVault has been serving this space for more than seven years and understands the importance of connecting the boots-on-the-ground superintendents to the backoffice.
As a newcomer to the list this year, IPM Global has proven it has what it takes to provide project-management technology to the North American construction market. With 25 years of experience serving construction in a myriad of ways, the company has an understanding of how technology works in the space and has identified a need in the industry—project-management software built on the Microsoft Dynamics platform so it integrates with the Microsoft Office suite and a variety of ERP (enterprise-resource planning) solutions.
Many homebuilders are finding now is the time to implement new technology. Adding new software before the market picks up ensures homebuilders will still be efficient, even when work begins to become a little busier. This is a trend HomeFront Software recognizes, and it has taken many steps in the past 12 months to help residential construction companies prepare.