❒ Is the software cloud based and reliable?
Don’t shy away from cloud-based software. It’s the only way to achieve true collaboration with multiple users. Just make sure the vendor’s servers are certified for reliability and security. Bottom line
: Your data should be cloud-based and secure.
❒ Is a Wi-Fi or cellular connection required on the jobsite?
Look for a system that works “offline” and doesn’t require internet while inspecting. Most job sites with Wi-Fi have dead zones where a signal won’t reach. If you’re in a basement surrounded by concrete and steel, you can’t use the software to inspect, rendering it useless. Not only that but working with a connection means your software will always be syncing with the servers, creating wait time for inspectors. Bottom line
: Make sure you can inspect without an Internet Connection.
❒ How is the software licensed?
Construction software licenses vary in what’s included. Some applications are licensed per person (seat), others are company-wide licenses, and some are by the project. Functionality and features vary widely. Pricing can be monthly, annually or by project. Does the price cover all the software expenses up front, are there recurring charges, or services that come with an extra cost? Bottom line
: Know what you are getting for your investment.
❒ What mobile devices can be used with the software?
Most software technologies are delivered in the form of apps (applications), that are installed on mobile devices. Some apps work with only one type of device (i.e. only iPad), while others work on multiple platforms. Find out what kinds of tablets and smartphones can be used to support the selected software. Bottom line
: Get clear on what kind of devices the software will work with.
❒ Is the software reliable?
Review case studies
and ask to speak to other users. Find out how long the software has been in use. Bottom line
: The software should have a good track record.
❒ How collaborative is the software?
Can the software program share reports with other stakeholders – architects, construction managers, owners, and subcontractors? Can you invite stakeholders
to use the software? Can you control the permission levels for various user groups and individuals? Bottom line
: The software should keep all stakeholders on the same page.
❒ Does the software vendor have excellent customer service?
Ask about technical support. Is there a direct line to call for help? How responsive are they? Bottom line
: The support staff should be quick to assist, no matter the issue. CONCLUSION
Do your homework, get buy-in from your project teams, and commit to working with the vendor to launch the software and get your project teams proper training. Then, look for productivity to improve and stress levels to decrease. If just those two things happen, your investment will be seen as a success.