When is the Best Time to Implement Construction Software?
For many contractors, there’s never an easy time to upgrade their construction management software. With so many projects and tasks to adhere to on a weekly basis, finding the right moment to not only find a new software but actually implement it into existing operations always seems like a task that’s put on the back burner.
But when a company is finally ready to make a software upgrade, there’s either a sense of overwhelming urgency for installation or a play-it-by-ear mentality that makes it difficult for software providers to determine the “best” time.
At Software Consultants, the most common request we get for implementing Sage 100 Contractor is, “We want to be live on January 1.”
The second most common response is, “When our work slows down.”
Generally, both are reasonable time frames to consider going live. However, understanding the value and adding an efficiency and information tool to your company is considered equally as important.
Let’s take a closer look at when is REALLY the best time to implement new construction management software.
January & April Implementations
In theory, January 1 of the new year seems like a good time to go “live” with a new construction system, but only if your resources don’t get bogged down with vacations, holidays, and year-end tasks.
A January 1 target date means it is best to evaluate software in September/October and make a decision by November. This allows six to eight weeks for implementation, data conversion, and to comfortably go live.
According to most software implementers, for companies in the Midwest (where Software Consultants is located), an even better go-live date is April 1, which coincides with the typical busy construction season.
Going “live” for the busy season would require a software assessment in January/February to allow proper implementation time to go live on April 1 and before the busy season.
Getting payroll details or balances caught up is an easy task and important for job and year-end reporting. April 1 allows for a quarter cut-off, and the company and staff are ready for vast improvements for their upcoming workload.
Also, an electronic conversion of payroll, open AP, open AR, and open jobs makes April 1 popular.
Keys to a Successful Implementation
After purchasing construction software, the key steps to a successful implementation process are:
- Software download provided to client
- Kickoff planning meeting between consultant & client
- Sage University Online training review & recommended sessions
- Detailed implementation checklist & plan provided to client
- Scheduling of one on one training sessions with certified consultant
- Electronic data conversion (vendors, customers, employees, etc., if applicable)
- Payroll & miscellaneous testing
- Construction & system reporting review
- Order checks (if applicable)
- Enter balances (manual/electronic)
- Go Live!
- Work with Sage Support & certified consultant as needed
Upon review of when our clients actually went live with new systems, we found the following characteristics:
- Most contractors felt that the summer or fall months would be the least desirable time to go live, given it is the busiest time for the construction industry (the exception would be companies with a service department).
- About 75% of those that planned to go live on January 1 actually did. The other 25% went live on February 1 instead because the holidays and vacations slowed them down a bit.
- The majority of clients felt it was more important to have a quality implementation over a speedy one.
- 90% of new implementations used electronic data conversion tools for bringing in vendors, customers, employees, etc., automatically.
See Also: Do You Really NEED Construction Software?
25 Years of Implementation Experience Says..
Having installed over 1,000 construction systems over the past 25 years, Software Consultants has dealt with many scenarios. Ultimately, contractors making the move to construction software is more important than any go “live” date. The best timing is really up to your specific situation as long as it’s not your busy season.
It is also important to note that some new clients felt they should run parallel systems, but none actually did and that the electronic conversion tools and import of balances for key items made the entire implementation much easier than anticipated.
Contact us today to consult with our Sage 100 Contractor specialists and determine when the time is right for you to implement your new construction management software.