You know you need a change, but where do you start? The thought of overhauling your estimating department’s technology is overwhelming, to say the least—no matter how much benefit gives you in the long run. Working with all sizes of contractors has taught our team that there are certain criteria important to every company, regardless of how many people are on their team. Whether you are the lead in the evaluation or just passionate about improving efficiencies, you need to know what to base your decision on.
Why is Evaluating Software Important?
There are three major reasons why it’s important to evaluate software:
- Your tools aren’t supported anymore
- Your tools can’t keep up with your team
- You need a competitive advantage
First, let’s take a step back and understand why evaluation is important. The reality is that going out to look for, and then implement, a brand-new estimating software is always going to be a little time-consuming. You have to choose a group to help find a suitable tool, then you have to compare and contrast several different programs, schedule demos, read white papers, convince the people with buying power as to why this is a great investment. And all of this while still juggling all the regular project deadlines! But we know that you can’t have a rainbow without some rain. So, before we show you how to make evaluation a lot easier, let’s dive into the benefits of what might initially seem like a burdensome task.
Your Tools Aren’t Supported Anymore
Let’s start off with number one. If the vendor behind your tools has gone belly-up, and doesn’t even provide any kind of updates anymore, looking for a new software is honestly a necessity. Outdated tools can create inefficiencies, more man-made errors, and a major lack of standardization across a company.
Your Tools Can’t Keep Up With Your Team
Sometimes your tool isn’t outdated; it just doesn’t have the capabilities your team needs, like using Excel, for instance. Excel is okay for some tasks and completely insufficient for way too many others.
You Need a Competitive Advantage
And that leads us directly into reason number three: cutting-edge software backed by vendors who are dedicated to staying ahead of emerging trends and needs will help you land many more bids than clunky tools that don’t communicate with each other.
Now that we’ve covered why evaluation is important, let’s get into how to make it a little easier, a little less overwhelming. Just like there’s three reasons for moving to a new estimating program, there are three things you want to look for as you begin trying to find the best candidate, which are as follows:
Three Things to Look for When Evaluating Software
- General requirements
- Technical requirements
These three main categories in software evaluation can help you swiftly narrow down potential choices.
General requirements speak to the capability of the vendor such as: do they have an implementation plan, and how does their maintenance and support work?
- An example of some vital features that usually get evaluated are:
- Is there an autosave function?
- Does the software have an undo button?
- Are users able to work remotely?
- Is there customizable reporting?
Technical requirements are those questions your IT department would ask before you decide whether to move forward with the commitment to new software.
- Is this new software cloud-based, or will it have to be hosted on-premise?
- Is it compatible with our company’s version of Windows?
- If you want to go even further, maybe you make a category for culture and vision.
- Does the vendor’s culture align with your company’s?
- Is the vendor’s 10-year vision compatible with your company’s goals?
Once you decide what you want to evaluate, you should then decide how important each criterion is in making the final decision. You want each member of your estimating team or your evaluation committee to rank each one individually, but you also want to have weighted scores based on the importance of the feature or requirement.
If this sounds complicated, don’t worry. We are here to help make it as easy and straightforward as we can for your team. Ready to get started? Download your free software evaluation checklist today!