It’s no secret that the construction industry has often struggled with true integration. Many vendors claim that their softwares are integrated, when really all they mean is that data created within the software can be exported into another tool and vice versa. This doesn’t solve anything for the general contractor, as it still means that they have to juggle multiple tools at a time, and make sure that the data going back and forth among softwares remains consistent and accurate – a difficult task in and of itself.
So what is true “integrated software”?
A truly integrated software will not only seamlessly mesh with the existing tools that a preconstruction team may need to keep in their workflow for a while, but it will also house most of the tools the preconstruction team is already using. For example, Beck Technology’s DESTINI Estimator has an interface and functionality extremely similar to Excel, meaning that estimates can be built directly within Estimator. Additionally, 2D and 3D capabilities are all housed under the Estimator platform, eliminating the need for an additional tool that deploys these features.
More importantly, though, Estimator integrates with other technologies in the truest sense. Estimator’s 3D takeoff feature is currently integrated with Autodesk’s BIM360, meaning that when a user updates something in Estimator, it will automatically update in BIM360 as well, and vice versa – no exporting and/or importing between programs needed.
Similarly, Estimator’s integration with Procore Documents allow preconstruction teams to pull in drawings to do 2D takeoff within Estimator’s platform. This gives the construction company one source of truth for data as well as insures the correct drawing version is being used for takeoff. Being able to push final estimate data into Procore’s financial system also allows the team to have a clear picture of the difference between estimate and final cost of the project. These integrations are providing the foundation for an understanding of the preconstruction data lifecycle.
How does integrated software affect preconstruction departments?
By using integrated software, preconstruction departments can dramatically reduce the amount of tools they have, which also means that they significantly reduce the chance for introducing inaccurate data into their estimates. It’s all too easy to make an error when juggling data across so many programs, particularly when exporting or importing. That’s the first of many problems solved by integrated technology.
Integrated software also opens the door for better data tracking and analysis of trends. Within preconstruction, there is a mountain of data that can be used to help make project and business decisions. But when that data is housed in multiple platforms that don’t easily talk with each other then the data sits stagnant. When integrated technology is introduced the stagnant data comes to life and tells a story of lessons learned, trends to take note of, and how the company can continue to improve.
Perhaps integrated software doesn’t just affect preconstruction departments. When the preconstruction data lifecycle becomes attainable and visible the construction company, project team, and our built environment benefits.