If you are in the construction industry, thinking of building green and eco-friendly, you might want to read about some of the latest trends by Houston Neil who just did a post on State of the Construction Industry Software Report
Our observations are based on roughly 6,000 conversations with construction software buyers over the past year. In these calls, our team listened to buyers’ “pain points” – the business problems they were looking to solve with new software. From there, we recommended what we felt were the best solutions. We later surveyed each buyer to find out if they ended up buying software, what they bought and how it all went.
Estimating and takeoff solutions are in demand
We’ve seen a very healthy level of interest in construction estimating software across all divisions. Over and over we hear contractors saying something to the effect of, “Bidding has gotten very competitive, which means I’ve got to be as accurate as possible.” As a result, we’ve seen a lot of estimators replacing their spreadsheets and manual processes with database-driven estimating systems.
We’ve also seen plenty of interest in on-screen takeoff software. We’ve seen three primary reasons for this:
* Increasing the speed and accuracy of takeoff measurements (see previous paragraph);
* Avoiding the printing costs of paper plans; and,
* Responding to increasing electronic plan delivery and use of online plan rooms.
While demand for onscreen takeoff appears fairly strong and growing, we have seen a considerable amount of downward pricing pressure in that market.
Software as a Service is in the right place at the right time
Software as a Service (SaaS) is gaining momentum in many software markets. In fact, we would agree with other IT prognosticators that SaaS is a major structural shift in software deployment and is here to stay. We’ve seen this model succeed in the project management segment where there is a clear need for the collaborative benefits of web-based software. Moreover, the current recession is making the SaaS model more attractive to contractors because:
* Subscription pricing can easily be added to a project’s general conditions;
* Low up-front costs allow project managers to avoid an onerous approval process; and,
* Faster and less expensive implementation makes the new systems more digestible.
We have not seen much demand for SaaS accounting, estimating or service management, although we do get asked about it now and then. We also have not seen many vendors emerge to deliver that sort of solution. We would not be surprised to see SaaS accounting and/or estimating solutions emerge over the next few years.
LEED credit tracking creates new demand
Another trend driving the adoption of SaaS project management systems is the increasing demand for LEED credit tracking. LEED certification has grown in popularity; so too has the need to track the detailed documentation requirements related to earning LEED credits. At their core, projects seeking LEED certification need document control and efficient communication. This is the core of what project management systems deliver. Going one step further, we are seeing a number of project management vendors building in specific LEED credit tracking modules within their system. Houston Neal wrote a great post on how to Track LEED v3 Credits in Project Management Software back in July.
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