You go to work each day, fire up your desktop computer or mobile device, and set to work. The software you use is part of your daily routine. But are you using your construction applications as efficiently as you can? Are there capabilities you don’t know you have that could make your work life much easier?
If you’re like most software users, you tap into only a fraction of the features available to you. Changing that could shave minutes, even hours, off your own daily tasks and streamline processes company-wide. How can you and your company optimize construction software tools available to you? Here are three effective ways to put your software to better use:
- Conduct a business IT review.
A review makes sure your IT applications and infrastructure continually support your business goals and allows you to be as efficient as possible. In addition to looking at your entire IT system, reviews can also uncover software enhancements you may not be aware of. Check with your software provider on how to conduct an IT review for your construction firm.
- Join a users’ group.
What better way to maximize your software’s functionality than to talk with others who use the same product. A users group can give you that real-world, peer-to-peer perspective.Take, for example, TUG. This independent users’ group has been around since 1987 and currently supports the users of Sage 100 Contractor, Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, and Sage Estimating. TUG members put their software to the test every day in their construction firms then share their knowledge, tips, and best practices with other members.“I love the comradery, the friendships I have made,” explains TUG member Barbara Morse of Gorman Bros about the connections she has made through the group. “The knowledge we bring back (to our company) . . . has actually helped us save money because now we can run things more efficiently.”
- Take advantage of training.
This may seem obvious, but training can easily be pushed to the wayside by more pressing demands. In fact, time to implement and train on new technology was the second biggest IT challenge for contractors, according to the 2017 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook.Consequently, it takes discipline to carve some time out for software training. The good news is training is more convenient than ever. Online options allow you to sit back at your desk and interact with experienced trainers who can help you unlock the potential of your software. If you prefer to learn at your own pace, recorded sessions are also often accessible for you to tap into as your time allows.
Over the years, I’ve talked to contractors who started a new software search only to find out that the features they needed where already in their current system. So next time you think, “there’s got to be a better way to do this work,” there probably is. And the answer to your problem could already be available in the software you own.