9 Things Every Construction Company Looks for When Choosing Project Management Software

There is nothing more exciting than when a shiny new platform or project management software is launched into the marketplace. You quickly hit that website and find out that it has every service you could ever need or want. You know that if you purchase it for your company, it will solve every single operational issue—including world peace—your company has ever experienced. As you read about all the great and wonderful things it can do, you buy it for your construction company, and before you can even get your employees on board, it is one big massive fail.

Why is it that project management software might work great in one industry, but not for the construction industry? The simple answer is that not all industries are created equal. So, what might work great for one industry, will not necessarily be the best solution for every other industry. In fact, if you have tried different project management platforms for your construction company, it’s important to know that the reasons they aren’t working has nothing to do with the software itself. It just can’t meet the objectives of every industry, or in our case, the construction industry.

How to Choose the Best Project Management Software

There are some tricks to choosing the best project management software for the construction industry. The most obvious is, of course, software companies whose specialty is the construction industry. Let’s take a look at StratusVue and our suite of software products. A SaaS financial firm or a large consulting company wouldn’t find success using our software, but any size construction company would.

If you are looking around at some of the project management software available, there are lots to choose from, and many of them perform similar functions, so how do you choose?

    1. Set out clearly defined goals and objectives. You don’t want to buy what you can’t use and having a bunch of fancy functions you have to pay for, but will never touch, doesn’t do you any good. Also, if you are resolving complex workflows of a multi-location team, how does this software help you achieve that? It’s important to look at the end goal of what you want to achieve and then go for the win with your project management software.
    2. Ask your team for their input. Your team will be the ones using the software. For instance, if you are replacing paper to go paperless, have you discussed this with your teams who have only relied on paper? Their comfort level is key to the success of your new project management software.
    3. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. We all want to sell every feature our platforms do, as well as wanting our platforms to do everything, but sometimes the best course of action is only to use what you need, and then slowly incorporate the other integrations that will improve your operations. This way your team won’t get overwhelmed and you are more likely to get the most out of your purchase.
    4. What is the on-boarding process like? No matter how easy the platform promises the user; they never are. Be sure you’re getting the customer support you need from the very beginning. We have a dedicated customer support specialist for each customer because we want to be sure you understand and are comfortable using what you are spending your hard-earned dollars on.
    5. Updates and new features. What is more annoying waking up to new features you didn’t know were going to be there, and you don’t know how to use. When you are buying project management software, take a look to see how often the updates are coming out and don’t be afraid to ask how you are informed and trained on these updates.
    6. Schedule time with your team to learn the software. Make sure that as your team is on-boarded they have had enough time to use and understand the software. Schedule a webinar with them or a lunch and learn. This will ensure greater success with the software.
    7. Make sure the software matches every end user. The rule of thumb that we use when we design or update our platform is this: It must challenge the 27-year-old, useable enough for the 37-year-old, manageable enough for the 47-year-old and not scary to the 57-year-old.
    8. Familiarity breeds usability. Our industry is old school. We’re resistant to change. So, if you want to implement new software for your team, then check out the forms and see if they look similar to what they are used to. If they see that just because something has changed, there is still some familiarity than the team will have a greater success with the software.
    9. Keep in mind, we are focusing on the Operations. Most of the technology that supports our industry is focused on the accounting side of the business, which is excellent, but where we really need the help is with the operations side. It’s not unusual that each project will have different contractors working them. This makes consistency elusive. The project management software you choose should support the entire team while not weakening the company.

These are just some of the actionable plans you can take to make sure your project management software isn’t failing the construction industry. Although our industry acts as if we are the first industry to go through software changes, we aren’t. In today’s world, we are all moving at the speed of light, but a brief moment of planning and strategy will ensure your next software purchase will be successful. If you are interested to learn more about our suite of products, contact us and we would love to tell you all about them.

All Internet Browsers Are Not Created Equal, And Here’s Why

When it comes to internet browsers, it seems everyone has a favorite. Not only that, depending on the cell phone you use, the computer brand you are on, and personal preferences, will also influence which is your favorite. For instance, if you are a Google user, you would prefer Chrome, Mozilla users are fond of Firefox, Microsoft end users prefer Edge and Internet Explorer, and Apple aficionados want to stick with Safari.  Here’s the thing, they are all similar in that you can browse the internet, but where they are all different is when it comes to running your platforms and business applications. Each has the good, the bad, the ugly, and the why won’t this work on that browser. Today I am going to go over each one in a close to unbiased way as possible.

What is a Browser?

To start at the very beginning, a browser is the Graphical User Interface, or GUI (pronounced GOOEY), that interprets HTML, which is the markup language used on all these websites. After it interprets the HTML, the browser creates a presentation of code for the end user (you), which is also referred to as rendering a web page.

HTML has been evolving over the last decade, and there are many different ways to code an application, but the actual presentation layer, or what we see on our screen when we land on a page on the internet is based on HTML. But, it’s not HTML alone that places those graphics just where we want them, we also throw in some style sheets with CSS, so our pages look pretty and pleasing to the eye and then we sprinkle that with HTML5 so the page is flexible and will have the same look and feel on every device, whether you are on mobile, a tablet, a desktop, or a laptop.

All Internet Browsers Are Not Created Equal

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Browser Market Share

It’s a fact that all internet browsers are not created equal. The way that I look at it is from a generational and market share viewpoint. Now, bear with me as I go through this and explain.

Google Chrome – Google Chrome is the most used and probably has been the most user-friendly internet browser for most business applications and platforms. I don’t know about you, but I have found that many of the marketing platforms I use, like GoToMeeting or Zoom, only run well on Chrome. Not only that, Chrome owns the largest browser market share and most of those users are under 40.

Chrome come onto the market as an alternative to Internet Explorer. Chrome delivered what IE couldn’t. Speed. This appealed to the Gen X users as it not only renders the pages quicker, it is better for gaming and media presentations. Today, this still might be true, but Firefox is a close second to the speed game.

Firefox – Although there is a wide gap between the percentage of market share that Chrome owns and what Firefox owns, Firefox is the second most used and preferred internet browser. StratusVue has tested all the browsers, and we have found that Firefox does a nice job on the speed front and when you are using our business applications they don’t error out and work as expected.

What I like about Firefox is that it has the flexibility to cater to both Microsoft and Google and it is the only browser that is engineered to utilize multi-core processors. Neither Chrome nor IE do that yet, and I think this plays heavily into which internet browser will continue to outperform when it comes to speed and agility.

Internet Explorer – Internet Explorer, or IE, is Microsoft’s embedded browser. Although I consider it to be more function rich, it is a slower user experience, especially on robust sites when you want the page to load quickly. What I have found is that with the larger database applications, IE has a better success rate than the other internet browsers. The reason is because most business applications are written in .Net or Oracle.

IE is third in the internet browser market share, and I feel that is because there are more configuration capabilities because it is a Microsoft product. I believe that IE will gain more market share because it demands less of your RAM and CPU than equivalent pages would on Chrome or Firefox even though it doesn’t handle add-ons and extensions nearly as well.

Edge – Edge has the least amount of market share, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t on their way to gaining more. I feel they are going to be the next Internet Explorer. Today it doesn’t support enough extensions and it isn’t fully customizable, but it is very quick in rendering speed and it is fully integrated with Cortana AI within Windows.  Although Edge is an up and comer, when it comes to business platforms I don’t recommend Edge for any of our products, which don’t render well on this internet browser.

The Future of Internet Browsers

If I were a betting man, I would predict that Chrome and Edge will battle it out for the top spot with Firefox staying neutral and steady as a safe bet for your business platforms and personal browsing needs. For our applications, we prefer Firefox, but they run well on Chrome and IE. We pride ourselves on being able to satisfy whichever browser you choose to use, because we do know that it’s a personal preference.

We also suggest that if you have heavy internal applications that run through a browser to consider Firefox because it is neck and neck milliseconds to Google Chrome for rendering times, but it is more consistent when serving up database applications. Bottom line? Keep an eye on all of the internet browsers, as they are all changing very quickly right now and are constantly being updated. As they are being softened to look more professional and include more and more web app support and integrations, it is likely that your favorite and mine might just change. Tell me what your favorite internet browser is and why in the comments.