Maybe your estimating software was never really software to begin with, but rather just dozens upon dozens of Excel sheets with data scattered every which way. Or maybe your estimating software has a vendor who no longer develops that product and doesn’t provide any updates or support anymore. Maybe you’re just ready to move on to a product with more integration and a centralized database, like DESTINI Estimator. But whatever preconstruction software you’re evaluating, even if it isn’t DESTINI Estimator, it’s always important to remember four critical things as you begin the process.
1). Make a list of must-have features and nice-to-have features.
As the song goes, you might not always be able to get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need. The same goes for evaluating preconstruction software. It’s important to get together with your team and decide on the features you absolutely need to have a successful estimating effort, and what feature are just the cherry on top. As an example, DESTINI Estimator offers both 2D and 3D takeoff features. While many of our clients are drawn in by 2D takeoff, most of them are just beginning to experiment with 3D takeoff – only a few have 3D takeoff as a required feature for their precon teams.
2). Select a few people from your preconstruction team to compare and contrast softwares.
When you decide it’s time to move to a new software, the tool you end up choosing won’t just impact you – it’ll impact your entire organization. That’s why it’s key to choose a core evaluation group so that you can split up the responsibility of research and start comparing and contrasting much more quickly.
3). Make evaluation a priority and set aside time for it.
Let’s face it – as much as we would like software evaluation to just take a couple of days or so, it’s always going to be a bit of an investment when it comes to time, especially if you want it done well. You don’t want to rush into a contract only to discover that the software isn’t what you need or doesn’t work the way you thought it would. That’s why it’s crucial to intentionally make evaluation a priority for your team and to set aside specific slots of time for it, so that you feel fully confident in the decision you make.
4). Make sure your vendor is a true partner that you can grow with.
It doesn’t matter if a software is the most cutting-edge right now if they can’t say that next year, or the year after that. It also doesn’t matter how many fancy features they have if they never listen to your feedback or requests, and especially if they don’t have a support team to help you out if and when you run into a bug. So as you’re comparing softwares, remember that you’ll also be choosing to work with the vendors behind them. Make sure that they’re people who have the same spirit of innovation as you do, people you’ll be happy to work alongside, people who take your ideas seriously and truly value you as a customer.