12 Reasons General Contractor Software Is Falling Short of Expectations

In a report that surveyed general contractors on their use of software solutions for their business, there was one particular finding that is sure to turn heads. The adoption of cloud-based software for general contractors has increased significantly from 14% in 2022 to 51% in 2023. This is a rate of growth that has surpassed the adoption of any other technology in this field, including more popular stuff like BIM and drones.

With such a huge increase in adoption, one would easily think that selling a general contractor software at this time would be a profitable option. While it is true in theory, the chatter among industry folk is that a lot of the options available today are not easy to use. Their clunky nature makes it difficult for management to drive adoption from their field teams. Without buy-in from the field, software adoption can be rendered useless.

Let us take a look at the top 12 reasons for these software falling short:

1. Complex user experience

In an industry that doesn’t easily embrace technology, it is imperative that solutions out there are at the very least easy to use and navigate. Remember, people still feel that this is an additional burden. To throw them a complex app that takes time to learn will only put them off further. Solution providers today would do well to make sure their app is intuitive and actually saves time for their users.

2. Lack of comprehensive features

A lot of software for general contractors aim to solve any one of the many pain points present in the industry. While focusing on one problem to begin with and expanding later on is a natural way of thinking for software veterans, it doesn’t address the immediate needs of general contractors. Solutions should aim to provide as many features as possible in a way that is also easy to use.

3. Insufficient integrations

To build on the previous point, since many apps solve one particular problem, contractors are forced to use multiple apps to cover all their operations. But if these apps cannot communicate with each other, the core purpose of adopting a general contractor software is moot. Teams will continue to remain in silos, and data will be scattered across different apps. Integrations with commonly used apps is therefore a must have.

4. High costs

To further expand on the disconnected apps conversation, we need to factor in costs. There are apps available at different price points, both affordable and expensive. But as general contractors buy more software, the costs start compounding, and end up being a big chunk of their expenses every year. All the more reason for general contractors to find a unified platform that covers their needs.

5. Insufficient reporting & analytics

One of the biggest shortcomings of general contractor software is the lack of proper analytics. While most apps do their job, they do not provide actionable insights from the data being collected every day, which hinders a company’s growth curve.

6. Steep learning curve

Once again, it is important to highlight how important an intuitive app is. The more time it takes to learn how to use one, the more averse users become to continuing with the app. This drop off leads to wasted money and processes remain unimproved. The simpler the solution, the better it is for everyone involved.

7. Limited Customizations

Every company is unique, as is every client, and even every project. General contractors also have to manage subcontractors in addition to all this. Given this scenario, an ideal general contractor software will have in-built customizations that allow companies and clients alike to stick to their usual processes and workflows. Unfortunately, many of the solutions available lack in that area, which forces multiple stakeholders to change their processes to suit the app, which is not ideal.

8. Lack of offline support

Many operations take place in remote areas with limited or no internet connectivity. Many apps do not offer support in these conditions, which renders their purpose useless. Field crews have to manually record their work on spreadsheets or even notebooks, and then key them into the app once their back online. This double work will certainly not be welcomed.

9. Inadequate mobile functionalities

To take a step back from the earlier point, let’s first establish that most general contractor software solutions do provide a mobile app of late. The issue is with how much users can do on mobile. With their capabilities limited to only a rigid set of functions, field crew members often find themselves trying to communicate with the office using alternate methods like phone and email. Again, this does not fully serve the purpose of adopting a software solution.

10. Incomplete document management features

Over the course of a typical construction project, the number of documents that are generated by the end of it can reach fearsome heights. A could-based digital solution is the obvious answer to that, but there are apps that still do not provide robust enough functionalities. For example, any changes made to documents are not always immediately reflected for team members. This could lead to site workers building something using outdated data, leading to mistakes and rework. Additionally, there are lack of access control tools to ensure security, and redlining to provide more clarity for all stakeholders.

11. Absence of expense tracking

While time tracking features are present in many general contractor software solutions today, most of them do not allow users to track expenses. This lack of this data can lead to cost overruns which could otherwise be avoided.

12. Unsatisfactory customer support

The most frustrated a user can get, in addition to facing problems with an app, is a lack of proper customer support to help them through the issue and provide a timely resolution. Many companies, who although recognize its importance, are still falling short on meeting high standards when it comes to supporting their users.

Time is ripe for high quality general contractor software

As mentioned at the beginning, there is almost an exponential increase in adoption of general contractor software over the last 12-24 months. It is important that both existing and emerging solution providers take note of not only the pain points of general contractors but the shortcomings of existing solutions. With a diligent approach towards addressing these points, the perfect software for general contractors might not be too far away. To see an example of such a software, explore KYRO and its offerings.

June 8, 2024

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