How Integrated Software Can Benefit Your Construction Firm

This is a guest post from Mike Richer, Product Marketing Manager at Bridgit.

There are a few reasons why the construction industry has lagged behind other industries in terms of software adoption. 

On the software side, the construction industry was always a difficult mountain to climb. Construction projects have become increasingly complex and will often have hundreds of moving parts to coordinate, project timeline pressures, an overwhelming number of stakeholders, and constantly incurred project costs. Creating specialized software for such a dynamic industry requires a specific understanding of project needs to help contractors drive efficiency.

The hesitation to implement new software can result from additional factors, but perhaps no obstacle is more significant than the lack of an easy way to integrate it with other systems. Many construction software solutions are specialized to help with a specific process and don’t share relevant data with other process-specific tools (ie. bidding, HR, estimating, accounting). Having your tech stack acting as one cohesive unit will often require IT specialists working with complex APIs that can quickly eat up countless hours to get right.

Construction software is intended to streamline core processes and ultimately make project planning and delivery more efficient. However, the headaches involved in integrating complex software solutions will often lead to contractors choosing to input data manually from one tool to another. In fact, JBKnowledge’s Construction Technology Report indicates that the most common method for transferring data between apps that don’t integrate is doing it manually, at 53%. 

This can create a double-edged sword for contractors. Do you dedicate countless hours building software integrations using complex APIs? Or do you continue to input data manually from one tool to another, which can defeat the purpose of implementing tools to help drive efficiency?

In this article, we’ll explain why it’s worth integrating your construction software. We’ll highlight some of the reasons why this is the case, review how Bridgit Sync can help simplify the integration process, and demonstrate a few workflows you can easily set up to get the most out of your construction tech stack.

The Benefits of Integrating Your Construction Software

Though there are many benefits you can cite, here are 4 that are worth highlighting:

Team efficiency

If your team is bogged down using a patchwork quilt of complex software solutions that don’t communicate with one another, they likely aren’t performing at their best.

Manually transferring project and workforce data from one system to another is incredibly inefficient. Inputting duplicate information not only wastes time that could be spent on more profit-driven tasks, it can also lead to increased errors and reduce your organization’s ability to act quickly when project changes occur.

Eliminate siloed information

Throughout the lifecycle of a construction project, information is constantly flowing in from multiple stakeholders through different systems. These fragmented systems prevent project operations and management teams from having a complete view of their business in real-time. 

Given the competitive nature of the construction industry, being able to make fast, data-driven project decisions is key to gaining an advantage in the competitive construction landscape.

By integrating your construction software you can save endless hours of consolidating information for quick decision-making and gain real-time visibility into your different departments, projects, and company as a whole.

Related: Why application integration is so important

Data consistency

With information flowing directly from one software to another, not only are you able to reduce time-consuming manual data entry, you’re also ensuring that everyone on your team is looking at the same information.

Given the current climate, and with more and more construction professionals choosing to work remotely, ensuring that everyone is on the same page is critical to project, and company, success. By integrating your tech stack, you’re providing your team a single source of truth–accessible in real time.

Lower IT costs

Maintaining and updating fragmented systems can lead to a lot of wasted time and energy for organizations with an internal IT department. By integrating your software, you’re giving your IT department more time to focus on strategic initiatives that can add to your bottom line instead of taking away from it.

For contractors without a dedicated IT department, integrating software can help to reduce the reliance on external resources needed to constantly fix outdated, siloed software.

Simplifying Your Integration Process

Integrating software can be a time-consuming, tedious process. There are, however, integration platforms that can help eliminate the headaches of software integration.

We might be biased here, but one such option is Bridgit Sync, powered by Workato (a leading enterprise automation platform).

Historically, to build an integration you would need custom code to push and pull data from different sources. With Bridgit Sync, however, users can quickly connect their systems and build workflows that allow data to move seamlessly between platforms through easy-to-build “recipes” (or a set of steps that Bridgit Sync follows to get work done between your apps). These recipes use “Triggers”, which indicate when you want the workflow to start, and “Actions,” which indicate the corresponding steps you want a workflow to take.

Related: 3 examples of trigger-based automations

Workflow Examples in Construction

Let’s take a look at three workflow automations that can be set up using Bridgit Sync in an effort to streamline construction processes. 

For these examples, we’re going to use Bridgit Bench, a leading construction resource management solution, for our “actions” and demonstrate a few “triggers” that can help streamline your workflow. Resource management is one of the few processes that impacts nearly every department within your company and would add increased value by pulling information from multiple sources.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM tools help contractors track their project pursuits and allow them forward-looking insight into their project pipeline. When a project contract is likely to be won, operations will often add the project to their resource management solution to start comparing the resource demand against their current workforce strategy. 

For example, if you’re using Salesforce or Airtable as your CRM software, you can easily create a recipe that will allow you to add your project information into Bridgit Bench. Your trigger can even be as specific as “When a project is more than 25% likely to be won, I want to add the project information into Bridgit Bench to start planning a resource plan.”

Human Resources (HR)

HR tools help contractors to organize their team, monitor performance, and identify opportunities for career-building tasks. HR and resource management tools are both centered around managing your people, however there’s often an unnecessary disconnect between the two. Setting up an integration recipe using Workato can help to keep your people data consistent and ensure no one falls through the cracks when planning resources.

For example, if you’re using bambooHR as your HR solution, you can quickly set up an automation to add a new team member’s information and create a profile for them in Bridgit Bench. That way your team can immediately start planning project allocations for the new team member.

Project Management

Project management software is designed to help manage construction projects from top to bottom. The ability to pull projects from your project management software into your resource management software can help to provide insight into the project demand and resources available to take on new projects. It can also help to compare your historical projects of similar scope to create a more accurate and competitive estimate.

If you’re using BIM 360 for your project management, you can set up an automation using Bridgit Sync that will update your project information from BIM 360 into Bridgit Bench so you can start analyzing the resource demand for the project against the resources available within your team.

We hope this sheds some light on how integrated software can benefit construction processes, from bidding and estimating to closeout and warranty. For more information on Bridgit Sync, you can visit this page. To learn more about Bridgit Bench, you can check out this page.