construction management software in the field

Choosing the best construction management software

By Steve Cano, founder

If you are considering acquisition of construction management software, congratulations.

Whether your company is a small business that has outgrown a basic bookkeeping program or a larger company seeking a fully integrated set of enterprise-level tools, this move can improve your business in many ways. cites these key benefits of construction management software :

  • Integrating functions: such as construction accounting, project management, and bid management—in one system instead of several disjointed systems.
  • Eliminating time-consuming, error-prone manual processes.
  • Gaining control of job costs.
  • Helping your company’s professionals be more organized, efficient, and accurate.
  • Collaborative creation, sharing and management of documents.
  • Accessing contacts, plans, drawings, and photos at any time from any location.

You will quickly find that evaluating construction management software can be a lengthy, time-consuming project for one person or even dedicated team. According to, there are more than 200 software applications for contractors and construction companies. Evaluating all would be counter-productive. Later, we’ll suggest a short-cut.

Key steps to evaluate construction management software

Start by taking a close look at your current situation and define your needs.

If you have no existing construction management software, your requirements list will consist mainly of processes you are currently doing manually—or perhaps not at all.

If you plan to replace current systems or add components to interface with existing systems, your list will likely include new features and functions. For example, perhaps you’re looking to beef up your project management and job costing capabilities. Or maybe you want to add time-and-materials billing functionality to your existing systems.

Next, be realistic: There is no perfect system that will accomplish everything on your list in the manner you prefer. All products have limitations, so keep an open mind.

Narrow down the software candidates to a small number of vendors whose products will meet your needs most effectively. Figure out which features you can live without and weigh the costs/ benefits of your selections.

Once you identify systems that fit your requirements, regardless of cost, remember what comes next: implementation. Why is this important? With excellent implementation, even mediocre software can produce good results. A great software product, however, may be a total failure if it is poorly implemented or cannot be integrated well with your existing systems. For this reason, implementation is arguably more important than the software itself.

For your short list of software candidates, take time to interview several companies using each. Ask which key factors influenced their choice, how they went about implementing the system, what results they have seen, its ease of use, and what they wish they had done differently.


What about costs?

For each of the finalists, compare your expected costs with the expected benefits. Many software shoppers focus mainly on the costs they pay for software. A survey by found that 43% of construction firms spend between one and two percent of their revenue on software.

The cost of construction management software, which could be a subscription fee based on the number of users or a perpetual license fee, may be just a fraction of the real cost. Pinpointing the hidden costs may take some digging.

Probably the biggest hidden cost is time. Time spent evaluating endless software solutions, and the time it can take to implement your new software. Whether this job be done by internal personnel (IT) or hired consultants, the installation, customization and training can be a tedious and lengthy process.


How Cano Consulting can help

Evaluating a myriad of construction systems is a daunting task. Before you wade into that swamp, talk to Cano Consulting. We can take two burdens off your business.

First, at no charge, we’ll help you compare your requirements with one system—Spectrum—instead of 200. This powerful suite of tools has a long history of customer satisfaction and picked it as the best web-based construction management system on the market today. We have been working with Spectrum for 15 years—first as a user, and since 2010 as an implementation partner.

If Spectrum works for you, the software selection job is done. If you’re still not sure, we can point you toward some excellent alternatives.

Second, we can take on the implementation process for you. I can’t overstate how much time and agony customers can avoid by relying on implementation experts. We have implemented Spectrum for many companies, ranging from home and office builders to a demolition specialists. We pride ourselves on providing a turnkey, “white glove” service that you define—it can include training, integration, customization, and more.

If you’re interested in learning more about our services or if you have specific questions about construction management software, please email me at