Within the world of construction, project management platforms have had a transformational role.
Waves of digital innovations have enhanced communication and collaboration between stakeholders, which have in turn helped provide teams with the resources to complete projects.
Underpinning its transformative role is connectivity.
Evolving within the construction industry is connected data, connected teams, and connected workflows. When you have separate systems for these, you need duplicate data entries to update each system. Plus the data has to be merged manually for untold processes. What we are seeing now is the next evolution in construction project management by going beyond connectivity and integrating project management software with enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms.
Through integration, construction businesses are given a wholistic view of their portfolios as well as real-time financial data that greatly benefits decision-makers.
Bridging the gap
Any worker within a team is capable of entering data when ERP and operational solutions are talking to each other.
There are, however, types of data that are very important to integrate. These include purchase orders, contractual agreements, change orders cost-related information, and estimates.
When you have real-time data that is integrated, teams are more informed and make better decisions at a faster pace and at lower cost.
Taking this into consideration, we can take a look at some of the most important capabilities of integrated project management solutions.
First capability: extensibility
Both contractors and owners look for ways to integrate other parts of the business into project management, whether it be human capital management (HCM) or customer relationship management (CRM).
For the ability to keep competitive as business needs are reshaped, a flexible and configurable solution can adapt to changes.
Second capability: configurability
Despite having standardized processes in place, each business has its own unique needs that have to be catered to. Of course, every project within an organization has its own unique features.
This means any project management platform has to have the capability to be adaptable. Configurability lets teams fine-tune a solution to meet the unique needs of a business.
Third capability: seamless integration
Data, whether from accounting or operations, needs to be entered into the system of origin before being passed smoothly and quickly into other systems. Workflows need to be able to automate the movement of data in real time.
Through data automation and integration, it gets rid of the need for duplicating data entries, which cuts down on time, costs, and manual errors.
Fourth capability: dynamic integration
Solutions must be fluid and easy to use. Watch out for seemingly good out-of-the-box capabilities that require manual work for integration. As such, without dynamic integration, every transaction has to be approved individually within a project management system before being pushed to the ERP platform.
And for that, you’ll need something that automates this process.
Fifth capability: cost effectiveness
You need to know the true cost right upfront. Does the pricing include catches such as usage-based costs or payment for access to the APIs? Your ability to control costs and to effectively manage budgets are crucial elements in construction project management so why should your project management solution be handled any differently?
Sixth capability: provider with expertise
Your solution provider should have experience when it comes to accounting and operations. In particular, choosing a provider with an ERP system in-house is useful, both for simplicity as well as the expertise offered. Providers like this will understand the construction project management and the accounting sides of the business.
Whether it’s minor renovations to huge improvement plans, initiatives in construction rise or fall based on having the right people having the right data given at the right time.
The construction industry has already been showing a trend towards implementing integrated solutions. In front of us are greater opportunities when it comes to enhanced collaboration, in particular close integration with HCM and CRM systems.
Today and tomorrow, those construction companies whose processes are tightly integrated have the edge over their competitors.