Integration Efforts Remain A Sizable Challenge For Construction Firms

RhumbixFebruary 14, 2018 • 3 min read

Integration efforts in the construction industry are rather successful, but also spotty in some companies. Depending on where a construction professional works, integration could be a bulky problem or no problem at all.

While many tech companies are trying to be responsive to customers needs by providing integrations between various tools, there are still too many tools not communicating well with each other onsite. These disconnects are slowing progress on projects, even while folks working on those projects know there’s a better way to do business.

For many firms, integration, or lack there of, is a great problem. While progress in helping common industry tools communicate well with each other continues, many companies still have not taken a serious look at the need to integrate.

They should do so to know how much time they’re wasting in duplicative tasks. Having to re-do work because it is in an incompatible app makes no sense. For that and other reasons, it’s clear that integration between tools is not a thing of the future–it’s an urgent need, for many.

Somewhat surprisingly, 30 percent of JB Knowledge’s 2017 Construction Technology Report respondents said none of the applications they use integrate. That’s a 10 percent decrease since 2012, but a 3 percent increase since 2016.

It’s tough for some industry experts to fathom how construction companies are staying competitive despite wasted man hours and potential errors resulting from inefficiencies of tools that don’t integrate. The losses in efficiency that these firms are enduring, though significant, cannot be quantified when managers aren’t even considering new efforts to integrate.

Why the failure to integrate? There appear to be a variety of reasons, but they all lead to the same conclusion: companies who don’t integrate are hurting themselves.

“Integration efforts made by technology providers either aren’t hitting the shelves, aren’t making it off the shelves, or are simply not meeting the data integration needs of users,” the report states. “As contractors opt to use fewer and fewer solutions, those tech providers who want to stay competitive have to make data integration a priority or risk being pushed out by all-in-one solutions.”

Those comprehensive tech solutions, while highly touted by some, are not appropriate for all companies. Not all firms need the bells and whistles of a comprehensive project management solution, nor can all firms afford the most complicated project management tools. And despite dire warnings by some, the possibility of the biggest project management tools eclipsing all others in the market is not imminent. Integration will be needed for the foreseeable future.

From year-to-year since the report’s start, respondents have demonstrated that construction industry professionals have increasingly adopted new technologies and that they are willing to try new tools. But the report also has shown that in some areas of their tech selections and use, many construction pros have not been planning longer-term, and they should.

The point is to save time and money, in part by reducing or eliminating repeat work that results from lack of integration or poor integration between tools.

The answer is straightforward, according to the report: “When embarking on the software selection process, contractors should create a detailed plan for how the new software must communicate data internally and externally. Select a software solution that solves as many points of integration as possible rather than settling for processes that will have to be duplicated later.”

Construction is no place to waste time and money. Profit margins are too thin, deadlines are irrevocable, and overruns in work hours, materials or other costs can quickly devastate a contractor’s bottom line. But it doesn’t have to be that way—better solutions are available.

Rhumbix has a public API which allows clients to fully connect their ERP systems with Rhumbix. We offer end-to-end integrations with Sage 100 and 300, as well as Spectrum, and Viewpoint. Beyond the public API, clients can always download and upload CSV exports of their Rhumbix data to various systems.