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By Doug Madey
March 29, 2017
Construction Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software has lumbered along since the 1990s slowly trying to adjust to the increasing demands of growing businesses within this current technology-driven era of innovation. But it’s like trying to catch a bullet train while riding a bicycle. ERP solutions aren’t the software solution for forward-thinking businesses.
Here’s why: Implementing ERP software has become cumbersome with incremental costs beyond initial system purchase, complex implementation requirements, and limited capabilities that might not fit unique industry needs. As ERP solutions fade into the background, software ecosystems are gaining ground and leveraging their flexible, innovative approach to building applications that are enabled for intelligent, synchronized communication to help businesses grow and reach further than ever before.
In the 1970s and 80s the very concept of a network was a new idea. The world was backoffice-heavy with dozens, and in some cases hundreds, of employees acting as data entry clerks to power in the keystrokes needed to load the archaic systems of that day in the 'Proprietary' model.
Enter the ecosystem. Software ecosystems on the other hand, were born from a service mindset, understanding that for businesses to grow, solutions need to ensure innovation happens through an exchange of information and shared development ideas. Software ecosystems like Google Android, Apple iOS, and Salesforce.com, are built on top of a common technological platform that allows for growth, transformation, and evolution based on the needs of the end-user.
One size doesn't fit all. Regardless of how all-encompassing the “sales pitch” was for your ERP solution, there will be missing pieces. And those missing pieces are going to cost you. ERP implementations grow exponentially based on the number of custom, point-to-point integrations you need, not to mention the hardware add-ons that might be needed, adding to a company’s overhead in addition to the perpetual expenses for ongoing systems maintenance. Unlike ERP solutions, within the ecosystem model, connections are pre-made and seamless, requiring no professional services to implement.
In many cases, companies can’t begin to calculate ROI on an ERP software solution for years because systems integrations take so long to be realized with concomitant data transfers and complicated system adoption. With software ecosystems, subscription-based models reduce up-front costs and remove ongoing maintenance costs in addition to eliminating the need for pricey hardware system purchases that take years to pay off.
Companies often find themselves having to change their operational systems to parallel an ERP solution’s fixed processes. This paradigm shift can be an obstacle for system implementation and adherence. Integrated platforms on the other hand, bend to the user’s will, providing an array of robust application offerings that are built to interact with other system solutions. Companies are able to find the best solutions for their unique processes and needs and then integrate them into an all-in-one platform.
Businesses have more needs than one solution can create (well). ERP solutions have innate limitations, mostly to do with their lack of suppleness and agility. The diversity and expertise inherent in businesses that operate within an interactive community of development are huge strategic pluses. Companies that operate outside the monolithic ERP model benefit from the sort of group expertise that enables companies to leverage software development offerings tailored to their own very specific, and dynamic, needs.
Utilizing a software solution that can change and morph with the company—that's everything. Construction companies can no longer afford to remain limited by antiquated, monolithic software solutions that won’t react and shape to a growing industry’s complex needs.
Cloud-based construction management software provider Procore is among those leading the charge in creating a platform whose particulars can be nimbly adapted to a businesses' ever-changing needs. Procore’s software ecosystem takes the sting out of company growth by providing a software environment whose keynotes are flexibility and change.
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