Throughout the past 12-18 months construction companies have discovered a unique opportunity to address specific needs with regards to their enterprise solutions. In particular, ERP (enterprise resource planning) solutions have been hot on the list for evaluation.

However, given the depth at which such a solution is engrained within a construction company’s operations, making such a decision to switch to a new ERP solution cannot be taken lightly. This system can become so deeply embedded into your company, and business processes, that to even contemplate a change might mean a complete re-evaluation of the way in which your company does business.

The fact of the matter is just a simple evaluation of technology is a good exercise that every business should endure at least every few years whether you are satisfied with your current technology or not. This can help identify inefficiencies and help you come to more big-picture conclusions as to what you want to do with regards to your technology.

One of the latest to experience such an exercise is architecture, engineering, and construction firm Bay Ltd., www.bayltd.com, Corpus Christi, Texas. The company is involved with providing construction services to such industries as refining, chemical and petrochemical manufacturing, and gas processing and transmission, among others. The ERP requirements for a company such as Bay were plenty, and included the need to manage a multi-faceted and growing business.

The company recently started working with Computer Guidance Corp., www.computerguidance.com, Scottsdale, Ariz., to implement its eCMS ERP system. At the onset, the implementation will focus in on the core financials, human capital management, equipment management, business intelligence, and project management aspects.

The business intelligence aspect is one that is gaining great traction in the construction space, and can be a key part of the consideration process. Whereas in years past it seemed as though something like business intelligence was only a fit for larger companies, it now becomes an option that should be considered across the board. But knowing whether or not it is the appropriate fit for your organization can be a critical first step in the process.

Another trend gaining momentum is more enterprise solutions are available as a hosted or cloud-based solution, giving contractors a cost-effective way to deploy an ERP system. This could help bring enterprise solutions—traditionally implemented by large contracting firms—to contractors of all sizes. Other emerging trends, such as mobile technologies and collaboration, are impacting how contractors use ERP systems. Technology platforms are evolving to meet the needs of today’s contractor.

In the end, an ERP evaluation can be a grueling experience that has a dramatic impact on your business—in a good way.