Last month, we (virtually) welcomed hundreds of Sage customers, partners, and sponsors to Sage Sessions Construction and Real Estate Online for a day of networking, knowledge sharing, product insights, and perspectives on preparing for the year ahead.
If you were unable to join us, here’s a snapshot of some of the key takeaways from the conference.
1. Acceleration in cloud adoption
The pandemic has had a profound impact on pretty much everything, including digital transformation in the construction industry. “We are seeing more and more customers moving to the cloud due to the pandemic and the need for people to have applications and data remotely accessible and easily maintained across any situation,” explained Nancy Harris, EVP and managing director of Sage North America.
What is the cloud? Bob Hollander, president and CEO at Swizznet, described the cloud as “remote massive data centers with scalable infrastructure connected by super-fast networks. These super-fast networks allow your cloud applications to perform just as well as the in-house applications at your corporate office.”
We expect the accelerated trend toward cloud adoption to continue through 2021 and beyond, due in part to favorable “cloud economics.” “It used to be that we spent 80% of our IT budget to build and operate software and 20% to run it. Cloud is making it easier for us to just consume the technology and reduce or eliminate the build and operate cost,” Bob Hollander continued.
2. The modern CFO’s balancing act
In the role of the modern CFO, or controller or CFM, it’s not just about being able to report historically. It is increasingly becoming more important to share and discuss insights that the CEO and executive team require to make strategic decisions about their organization.
A monthly financial check-in is no longer good enough for today’s CFO. Even before the pandemic, construction firms were placing greater emphasis on the need to make decisions at a moment’s notice and with real-time financial data. Sage Intacct Construction, our native-cloud solution, helps the modern CFO deliver strategic insights quicker and seamlessly integrates with field, payroll, and budgeting solutions.
Introduced back in March, Sage Intacct Construction is already delivering value to our customers. The “reports and dashboards let us drill into revenue and expenses for any project in real-time and ensure a huge time savings to our finance team. With this flexible way of looking at the data, we’re able to give senior management timely access to valuable business performance insight, rather than delivering outdated reports months later,” shared Debora Hester, Controller at GeoTechnologies, Inc.
3. The power of choice
As construction and real estate technologies evolve and new solutions enter our space, “we know it’s important for us at Sage to build a bridge for our customers to get to different options within the cloud that suit them best at the time that is right for them,” said Nancy Harris. Through the power of choice, we are helping our customers benefit and prepare for the future.
What is the power of choice? In today’s modern technology environment, we can no longer expect one vendor to provide all the solutions for all the needs within your business. We understand that our financial management tools need to have an open API. This way you can build the right solution for your business through integrating with the right applications you need to meet the challenges of your organization.
4. Solution highlights
Speaking of choosing the right solutions, our showcase floor gave attendees a chance to talk with our sponsors and Sage product experts to learn about the products and services that could help them adapt to today’s business environment and prepare for future growth.
In addition, Sage Sessions Construction and Real Estate Online offered interactive roundtable discussions and breakout sessions on topics from operations and staffing to improving profitability and automating field operations. For example, our “How are you managing small tools and equipment use?” session looked at ways to reduce tool loss using Sage ToolOps while ensuring teams have everything they need, and our “Automate your document routing and approval” session covered how to use Sage Paperless Construction to automate document distribution and the invoice approval process.
Plus, our live Q&A chats helped attendees prepare for year-end processing. If you need support with year-end processing, you can visit our Sage City Year-end Center for up-to-date information.
5. Streamlining subcontractor payment process
Managing subcontractor invoicing and payment processes is a source of frustration for many construction firms. It usually entails back and forth emails or calls to address issues such as incorrect billings, unapproved change orders, missing lien waivers, or expired compliance documents.
The seamless integration between GCPay and Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate and Sage 100 Contractor simplifies the invoicing and payment process and helps reduce risk. It also supports subcontractor compliance as required documents must be provided prior to submitting applications for payment.
6. Sight vs vision with Isaac Lidsky
This year’s closing keynote was Isaac Lidsky, chairman of ODC Construction, who turned a failing subcontractor into a highly profitable construction services company.
Isaac shared with us his unique perspective on sight and vision that came from his experience of slowly losing his eyesight in his late teens and early twenties. “What you see isn’t something external and objective. What you see is shaped by who you are and the totality of your circumstances at any given moment,” Isaac explained. In other words, it’s our responses to circumstances that govern our reality.
How can we apply this to business? When we are faced with new challenges, Isaac argues it’s most important for us to recognize the complexity and uncertainty of the situation, and to avoid falling prey to our fears or be limited to our past experiences. Instead, Isaac recommends you ask yourself “what is my best next step?” and use that answer to build the vision for the future you want to create.
7. Preventing suicide in the construction industry
On a more somber note, did you know that construction occupations have the highest rate of suicide across all occupational groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?
The Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention (CIASP) is working to create a zero-suicide industry by raising awareness about the risk of suicide in the construction industry and providing suicide prevention tools and resources.
If you would like to support this effort, visit the Sage Foundation page to donate.
8. Empowering teams through music
Our closing happy hour featured Song Division, an interactive musical experience provider that builds and empowers teams. They began happy hour with a mini performance before testing our musical knowledge and talent in a fun game show. Then we were treated to a live performance of an original song written by the musicians, which highlighted our key moments together. It was an awesome way to close out an amazing event.
We know the last few months have been challenging. Sage Construction and Real Estate Online focused on the ways Sage can partner with you for the road ahead. From automation to cloud migration, technology is needed more than ever to keep construction firms connected and operating. I truly believe our shared future is bright and we are here to help you successfully navigate the new normal and ensure your business continuity.
Construction and the cloud: Building a future with real-time data
The way we build is evolving. In this 30-minute webinar, learn how you can keep your construction business up to speed through organization-wide access to real-time data.