Construction Management Software Study: How Effective is it?
Published by Rachel Burger, August 06 2015
For years, the construction industry has been labeled a "late adopter" when it comes to technology. Some would say this is due to the fact that vendors have yet to prove the value of their various software applications, which are meant to be used by distributed project teams who rarely all work for the same organization.
Smartphones and tablets have ridden the "Bring Your Own Device" or "BYOD" wave into all industries in our economy, and the construction industry is no exception. Project team members are now expected to keep up-to-date via email, and drawings and documents are increasingly managed from the job site using hand-held devices. Industry-specific workflows such as RFIs and submittals have left the fax machine behind and are now handled almost exclusively through online communications.
Given the advances in mobile and web-based technologies, is software finally making an impact on the construction industry? Capterra and Procore created this market survey to learn whether actual users of these technologies consider them to be valuable additions to their daily work routine.
We asked respondents survey questions such as:
- Does using construction project management software improve productivity?
- Can construction software help increase a company's sales?
- Do jobs using construction management software get built faster?
We answer these questions, and more, in the survey results below.
Construction management software helps construction managers organize their construction projects and workforce. The technology is used across all industry segments, including residential, commercial, and industrial construction. The software typically includes tools for drawing management, tracking project financials, forecasting, change-order management, document management, project scheduling, correspondence, and estimating.
- Only about half (52%) of the survey respondents work for a firm that uses construction management software.
- 67% of respondents say that they saw a 25%-100% increase in sales by adopting construction management software.
- Construction managers who don't use construction project software end up wasting 2+ hours per day on project documentation (37%).
- Most users (58%) who switched to construction software reduced their printing costs by over half.
- 79% of construction managers say that construction management software decreases the amount of time it takes to complete a project.
Not everyone uses construction management software
Not all construction managers use construction project management software to manage their projects. In fact, the industry is still split nearly "50/50" when it comes to embracing technology.The construction industry is still split nearly "50/50" when it comes to embracing technology.Tweet This
Do you currently use a construction project management software solution?
If you don't use construction management software, how do you manage your projects?
As of now, just over half (52%) of respondents use construction management software. But a hefty 48% of respondents rely on alternative forms of construction management.
The dominant technology solution is a mix of Excel (used by 33%) and email (27%). A minority of users rely on PDFs (13%) and VPN file transfers (5%). About a quarter (22%) report using "other" construction management techniques, which could range from text message communication, handwritten checklists, or forgoing a formal process altogether.
How many hours per day do you spend managing project documentation?
At first glance, this graph shows that not many construction managers spend much time on project documentation. A closer investigation, however, reveals that over a third (37%) of construction managers who don't use construction management software spend two or more hours managing project documentation every single day.Managers who don't use construction software spend 2+ hours on project documentation every day.Tweet This
How much money do you spend in printing costs?
Finally, for construction managers who don't use construction management software, printing costs can be a real burden. While a quarter (27%) of construction managers don't spend any money on printing costs per month, more than a third (35%) spend $1-$49 a month, and a quarter (23%) spend $50-$99 a month. A significant 15% of this group spends $100 or more a month on printing.
How do construction managers use their construction management software?
Construction managers are split between using on-premise and cloud-based construction management software. Current construction software users also take advantage of mobile construction technology far more than non-software users.
Is your construction management software web-based or on-premise?
Slightly more construction managers use installed software (54%) than cloud-based software (46%). It's important to note that while installed software is locally hosted, it can often still sync periodically with something like an app. Users may thus still be able to access data (though not the software itself) while in the field.
What was the most important factor when picking your construction management software?
When choosing construction management software, construction managers prioritize functionality above all else. They prize ease of use as a close second. Surprisingly, price and company reputation hold equal weight to construction managers.
Because the construction industry is not as saturated with digital natives as other industries, it comes as no surprise that construction managers would want their software to be as straightforward as possible. Because price and company reputation are equally aligned, construction managers are likely relying on referrals and reputation to figure out which software to use, and how much they should spend on it.
Do you spend time on your mobile phone to manage your projects?
Construction software users are far more likely to also use their mobile phones to help manage their construction projects. While most (76%) non-software users only use their mobile phones two hours or less a day, almost all (94%) construction software users use their phones to manage projects for more than two hours a day.
How many hours per day do you spend managing project documentation?
Construction managers who use construction management software actually spend more time, on average, managing project documentation. 44% spend between two to four hours, and almost a third (29%) spend more than four hours.
This counterintuitive information, while at first alarming, is a sign that managers using construction software are more involved with documenting and following formal project management techniques. And, as we'll see below, the results are remarkable.
What are the benefits of construction management software?
Our construction research found that there are a number of areas where construction management software has saved construction companies time and money and even increased sales. As a whole, construction management software has been a sound investment for the construction companies who chose to implement it.
What percent of printing costs are saved with construction management software?
Most users (58%) reduced their printing costs by over half once switching to construction software because they are now using digital documentation.58% of users reduced their printing costs by over half once switching to construction software.Tweet This An additional 37% have saved 26% to 50% of their printing costs.
Has your construction management software positively affected sales in dollars?
By what percentage did you see your sales increase?
Four out of five construction management software users say that their software has a positive effect on sales. And of those who say their sales have increased, more than half say the increase has been between 26% and 50%. Another 24% say that construction management software has directly led to a 51% increase in sales or more.
Have you seen an increase in projects won since implementing your construction management software?
By what percentage did you see your projects proposals win?
More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents say that construction management software has helped them win project proposals.77% of respondents say that construction management software has helped them win proposals.Tweet This And of those who saw an increase in projects won, the majority (60%) say their companies win projects 26%-50% more often than before implementing the software.
Did your construction management software decrease the time it takes you or your team to complete a project?
Most importantly, four out of five (79%) construction project managers found that construction management software decreased the amount of time it takes to complete a project.79% of construction managers found that construction software improves project completion time.Tweet This This suggests that construction management software, even with the added time managers spend on project documentation, is doing exactly what it's meant to do: making projects more efficient for everyone on the team and reducing waste.
As the data clearly shows, construction management software has proven to be a sound investment for construction companies across all building industries. Whether construction managers are looking to decrease the amount of time spent on projects, increase sales, or simply save money by streamlining their processes, construction management software is proving to be the right choice by adding significant value to the industry.
Older construction management techniques, like Excel and email, are unable to keep up with the innovations in the construction management software space. Based on the data, it's our belief that the construction industry will continue digitizing all its work processes, including drawing and document management, communication and collaboration, and financial management in the coming years.
This 16-question survey was conducted over a period of three weeks and received 100 qualified responses.
Procore Technologies, Inc., the world's number one most widely used construction management software, helps firms drastically increase project efficiency and accountability by streamlining and mobilizing project communication and documentation. Hundreds of thousands of registered Procore users manage all types of construction projects including industrial plants, office buildings, apartment complexes, university facilities, retail centers, and more. For more information about Procore Technologies, or for a free online demo, visit www.procore.com.
About the Author
Rachel is an expert on the construction industry. She writes for Capterra's construction management blog, which acts as a free online resource for construction managers looking to buy construction software. She also contributes to About.com's construction management site, which touches on a wider range of topics in the industry. Feel free to reach out to her on Twitter or LinkedIn!