The construction industry is facing a host of unprecedented challenges today. Problems like supply chain disruptions and labor shortages require creative solutions and better insight than ever from project executives. Naturally, the systems employed to manage projects are being looked at more critically to bolster construction management processes, and traditional software solutions are falling flat.
In a recent survey, 63% of construction professionals reported that their existing ERP system can't be easily customized to meet specific requirements. This is a huge problem given the constantly evolving construction landscape. So, construction leaders are prioritizing finding flexible solutions to improve project management. These software solutions generally fall under two categories: 'Build it' or 'Buy it'. Before deciding what is right for you, builders should consider a few factors.
What's the Difference Between Building It or Buying It?
If you're adopting a new construction management software of any sort, chances are you're purchasing it. So, the categorizations of 'build it' or 'buy it' refer to how that new solution is deployed among your project team, rather than the nature of the transaction.
Building software requires some amount of development lift to be deployed as an intended solution. A build solution allows you the flexibility to choose exactly how that software will be utilized and facilitates customization based on the needs of your organization or specific project.
Historically, build solutions required a great deal of development resources to employ. However, advancement in low-code technology and increased focus on ongoing support has made build solutions less reliant on professional coders and more readily adoptable within lines of business.
Buying software refers to an application is ready for use "out-of-the-box." A buy software is developed by a vendor to solve a defined problem and catered to an end user in the business. Buy solutions require no additional coding from developers after purchase and, generally, allow for relatively little customization.
A common category of buy software is point solutions. Point solutions exist to improve specific business functions like HR, CRM, and timekeeping. This software can be adopted by a business user readily but may not interact with existing software already in use. Point solutions (and buy solutions more broadly) address specific needs sometimes to the detriment of other processes.
Limitations of a 'Buy It' Point Solution
For many organizations looking for an immediate fix to address a specific problem, a point solution is an attractive choice. It doesn't require hardware procurement or IT systems maintenance. It's easy to deploy and it's ready to use right out of the box. Buy it software comes with prebuilt features that you can use right away to help improve things like compliance tracking, HR onboarding, and other common construction operations.
Here's the rub: Construction projects are incredibly complex and tracking all aspects of a project is difficult to manage. Many companies that choose a stand-alone system approach to problem-solving often end up deploying multiple systems from different vendors. Managing across an environment of disparate applications and tools can be a complex endeavor and the data silos they create can impact collaboration between project teams and keep project managers from effectively keeping projects on schedule and on budget.
Why You Should Build Your Management Solution
The thought of building your own software solution may sound daunting, but complex projects require a custom solution and crafting your own software is easier than you may think.
The most effective option for most construction companies is building their own project management solution with a no-code development platform, like Quickbase. Platforms which enable project managers to craft a custom solution without professional coders have become increasingly appealing and cost-efficient alternatives to single-purpose applications. A built software offers a number of timesaving and maximum efficiency benefits.
Developing your management solution on a no-code development platform empowers you to create solutions that simplify and automate tasks, processes and workflows that are already in place. Unlike point solutions, building a software allows you to solve a multitude of project management challenges across teams and create a connected ecosystem that share one database with a single source of truth. A custom solution promotes visibility for all relevant stakeholders and decreases time spent sifting through data needed for status reporting.
Keeping track of construction projects without a sophisticated construction management system is no longer feasible. But selecting a platform that fits the needs of your processes takes careful consideration. Buying a pre-built point solution may provide time savings in the short-term but they make complex project management more cumbersome over time. A custom-built solution with Quickbase allows project leaders to see, connect, and control all aspects of their projects.
To learn more about how easily you can simplify your project management process, download our eBook.