Investing in Construction Technology for the Field

Selecting software can be tricky. Contractors want field-focused technology with solutions that streamline communication between a jobsite and office.
By Kyle Slager
February 24, 2020

As the list of available technology continues to grow, many construction firms find difficulty in selecting digital tools and software. Some software applications offer all-in-one, silver bullet solutions for nearly every workflow, while others stick to one main workflow that performs a specific function better.

Where the action happens

Historically, construction technology has focused on workflows handled in the back office, but the reality is that 80% of the construction workforce is in the field every day. Contractors need software that is actually helpful and used on the jobsite. This doesn’t just make it easier for those in the field—it improves the flow of communication to the office, too. It’s critical to make the field a priority when considering new construction software since they are the primary source of project data.

Selecting a software solution can be tricky—especially when the person selecting it isn’t the end-user. If a company invests in the wrong tool for the field and users don’t like it or adopt it, it won’t be utilized, wasting money. With a field-first mentality, everyone wins.

Invest in the best

Regardless of the industry, when a product is advertised as an all-in-one, it’s typically the most appealing option. A cure-all tool, however, might not provide the best possible service across all workflows. Contractors want their teams to excel at their specialties and average tools are not going to get them there.

That’s why adopting a solution built specifically for the end-user is more likely to succeed. In the field, that means implementing a software tool that’s mobile, easy to use and efficient. At the end of a long day, superintendents and foremen want to get their reports done so they can get off the jobsite faster. If they have an app that allows them to quickly and easily complete detailed reports, the result will be higher quality project information overall.

What to spend

A recent MarTech survey found a consistent correlation between company size and average annual spending on construction technology. On average, construction firms ranging from 50 to 200 employees spend around $150,000 on technology each year (more is spent on field software than office software across companies of all sizes). Compared with other industries, that’s a relatively low number—but a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily indicate a better digital tool.

The survey also gauged interest factors and criteria for purchasing software. Unsurprisingly, price competitiveness ranks as one of the top purchasing criteria. Ease of integration is also a major factor in the decision-making process, as an investment in a new software program is only as valuable as its ability to work with systems already in place.

In addition, there’s a growing interest in developing and investing in field-focused technology, including solutions that streamline communication between a jobsite and the office. Finding a tool that the field actually wants to use is most important, followed by one that’s easy to adopt, and ideally up-and-running within one day. The less time spent onboarding, the better.

Put the field first

Accessibility for the field should always be a priority when considering construction software. To get the best possible data from jobsites, employees should have the right tools to easily provide that data. By providing software that field crews actually enjoy using, everyone benefits in the long run.

Construction firms that choose technology designed for the end-user will see the biggest return on investment. It goes beyond the money, too...a happier jobsite powers better business insights, which leads to more successful companies.

by Kyle Slager
Kyle Slager founded Raken, a mobile first, field management software for the construction industry, in 2014. Today, Raken serves nearly 4,000 clients in 92 countries and has been utilized on over 350,000 projects. The cloud-based SaaS solution boosts productivity and safety by streamlining workflow processes such as daily reporting, time tracking and safety management. Before founding Raken, Kyle co-founded Acacia Living and worked at Brandes Investment Partners, a leading global value-based investment management firm, where he was responsible for investing more than $120 billion in assets under management. Since founding Raken, Kyle has been featured in Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, and named San Diego's Most Admired CEO by the San Diego Business Journal. 

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