70% of CIOs Will Change Their Technology – Are You One of Them?

Posted by Norman Wendl May 15, 2014 10:19:41 AM

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It’s evident that mobility and cloud solutions are increasingly important technological innovations in the construction industry. These advancements improve efficiencies and increase profitability. Architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) companies that do not take advantage of these advancements will undoubtedly be left behind.

Current technology data substantiates company confidence in the value of cloud computing. A recent issue of Constructech magazine cites a Gartner Technology survey of CIOs stating: “25% of companies have already made investments in public cloud, and many anticipate more than half of their company's business will be running on the public cloud by 2020. Additionally, 70% of CIOs intend to change technology and sourcing relationships throughout the next few years.”

An Affordable & Comprehensive Technology Solution
Our firm, Corecon Technologies, is a leading provider of cloud-based construction software for general contractors, subcontractors, engineering firms and developers. We recently formed a strategic reseller agreement with B4 Consulting to meet a pent-up demand for comprehensive cloud-based project management solutions in the small to mid-size construction market.

Through this new partnership we are providing more in-depth services and support for Corecon’s flagship product, Corecon V7, and its integration with SAP® Business One. This relationship broadens Corecon’s reach in offering AEC clients a platform for all business activities whether it is estimating, project management, job cost control or accounting. This fully integrated solution creates a platform for sustainable growth and provides management the necessary tools to make quick and informed decisions anywhere, anytime.

Track Project Leads, Awarded Projects and More
A few key aspects of Corecon’s cloud-based software suite that distinguishes it in the marketplace is its depth and breadth in project management functionality including the ability to track both project leads (e.g. job opportunities) and awarded projects. Modules included in the software suite cover business development, estimating, document control, contract administration, procurement, time tracking, and scheduling. Tight integration both internally and with SAP Business One helps all departments work as one efficient team, a necessary component in today’s competitive environment. Wizards are also available to automate complex tasks such as our Estimate to Project Management Wizard, which saves time for project management and accounting staff when setting up project cost codes, contract budgets, POs and subcontracts.

Not all firms are alike which is especially true in the AEC industry. So, today’s solutions have to be flexible in terms of configuration. In addition, as firms grow in size, business processes and workflow requirements change. The Corecon/SAP Business One solution can effectively meet both of these requirements.

Certified Integration with SAP Business One
Closing the loop between project operations and accounting departments is critical. Our CoreconLink utility, which was certified by SAP in 2011, eliminates duplicate data entry so project transactions such as progress invoices or vendor bills transfer easily from Corecon V7 to SAP Business One, maintaining consistency across the organization. Duplicate data entry, which is rampant in the AEC industry, is basically eliminated with the Corecon/SAP Business One solution.

CoreconV7_ConstructionSoftware_ProjectFinancials_CostAnalysisDashboardCorecon Project Financial Dashboards

 

The primary benefits of Corecon V7 and SAP Business One integration include:

  • Eliminates Duplicate Data Entry
  • Import/Export/Synchronize Customers, Vendors and Employees
  • Setup a Job in SAP Business One using Corecon Project data
  • Export Corecon Bills, Sub Invoices and Miscellaneous Expenses to SAP's AP Invoice feature
  • Export Corecon Progress Invoices to SAP's AR Invoice feature
Mobility & Collaboration
Corecon V7 also addresses mobility and collaboration challenges inherent in the AEC industry. Due to its project-based nature, the AEC industry has a very mobile workforce. Therefore, providing industry professionals with an invaluable tool to enhance productivity from the jobsite or office is crucial. Since Corecon V7 is Web-based and smart phone and tablet compatible, it can be accessed instantly by key individuals in multiple locations on any available device.

Corecon V7 also allows remote project team members to effectively collaborate with one another through access to Corecon’s online TeamLink Portal. This cloud collaboration tool gives Corecon subscribers the ability to share lead and project information with customers, subcontractors, vendors, and consultants who can access the TeamLink Portal for free.

In today’s technologically advanced and competitive construction environment, it’s more important than ever before to deliver a project collaboratively and efficiently. With Corecon’s comprehensive project management software solution and B4 Consulting’s expertise in integrating business processes and technologies, our team will clearly provide construction firms with the competitive edge they need to achieve business success.

Small and mid-sized construction companies don’t have to sit on the technology sidelines. Affordable, innovative, and easy-to-use cloud-based solutions are within your reach with Corecon V7 and SAP Business One – implemented by B4 Consulting.

I invite you to learn more about the Corecon/B4 Consulting partnerhsip. Please click on this link to scheudle your demo:

 Corecon/SAP Business One Demo

Norman Wendl is president of Corecon Technologies, Inc.

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Topics: Project Management, Engineering and Construction, job costing, Cloud Computing, AEC, SAP Business One

How to Reverse Downward Productivity in Construction Projects

Posted by Phillip Schell Oct 29, 2013 10:24:00 AM

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While there are plenty of construction-industry researchers and pundits with varying opinions on the state of the construction industry and its projected growth in the coming years, they all seem to agree on one undeniable fact -- labor productivity has been on the decline for over 40 years.

This fact has been well-researched and documented by Paul Teicholtz, Professor (Research) Emeritus with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. His research in the area of construction labor productivity from 1964-2012 was published in AECbytes Viewpoint (March 14, 2013),  and the findings are sobering as illustrated in the following chart:

Construction Index Labor Productivity 

The Teicholtz research underscores three key areas that contribute to the drag on labor productivity:

  1. Non-integrated IT applications from design, estimating, job scheduling, job cost and procurement.
  2. Procurement processes built on pure competition versus collaboration.
  3. Paper-based system for collaboration among construction industry partners. 

Moreover, industry research from the venerable Gartner suggests there may be a link between construction labor productivity and IT investments. In 2012, Gartner IT Metrics ranked IT spend as a percentage of revenue across all major industries from banking to insurance to transportation and utililities. The construction industry came in dead last ranking 1.6% for companies with annual revenues of approximately $250M, and 1.2% for companies with annual revenue of approximately $10B.

B4 Consulting has solutions to address the pain points noted by Teicholz. Consider this:

  • B4 Consulting solution harmonizes CBS and WBS structures allowing us overlay technology to provide an integrated solution connecting design, estimating and project controls. This vastly improves budgeting and forecasting and the increased utilization of past cost.
  • Consulting believes that the procurement process needs to learn supply chain lessons from other industries, say retail and Walmart. Walmart shares all kinds of data with the supplier base allowing them to provide them with the best overall cost, not just the cheapest price. Construction companies too often uses the procurement process to shove risk to other partners. IPD and Owner Contractor Interoperability are all pointing to a more collaborative approach sharing data. Our solution offers ECM and Collaborative tools to efficiently share information in the procurement process.
  • Paper-based systems and inefficient use of data also contribute to the lack of collaboration and the difficulty in engaging the IPD, JV or OCI business models.

There are, however, a number of construction companies who taking the lead in IT investments to increase productivity. Gartner notes, "...plenty of firms are pursuing new technology and realizing its benefits. For example, Bechtel CIO Geir Ramleth says Bechtel has developed application programming interfaces for construction project teams; APIs interface with the firm's core enterprise data, enabling use of tablets and web-based interfaces. At McGraw-Hill's FutureTech conference Turner Construction SVP Richard Bach said a key investment is to consolidate enterprise-resource-planning systems in order to improve the accuracy and timeliness of a company's data and profits."

I believe the construction industry is on the verge of reversing the decades-old trend in declining labor productivity. At B4 Consulting, we see many forward-thinking companies -- from small- and medium-sized to large construction companies -- embracing new technologies. Regardless of their size, they recognize the need for a full ERP platform that integrates business solutions and lays the foundation for mobile apps and a range of collaborative and productivity tools.

Learn how to increase labor productivity construction-industry specific business solutions from B4 Consulting -- contact Phillip Schell, vice president of Industry Solutions: pschell@b4-consulting.com

 

 

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Topics: construction, productivity, teicholtz, gartner IT, IT investments, job estimating, job costing, procurement