< Back to Articles

App Integration in Construction

By Mike Henstridge

Friday, March 3, 2017

If construction companies want to grow and stay ahead of their competition they have to take advantage of technology. Rather than rejecting technology use in the office, in the field and on job sites, consider utilizing mobile apps and their ability to enhance business operations and improve communication. Before considering the adoption of these mobile apps, however, it is important to understand the difference between mobile apps and traditional applications, and how the two can coexist and complement one another. When deciding on what particular apps your company should invest in, the guiding factor must be to build ones that integrate with the CRM and ERP your company is currently using.

Back-end ERPs and CRMs are directly related to the success of any construction company. Often these large and complex systems are designed for a desktop user interface and control various aspects of the business. These types of applications, when compared to a contemporary mobile app, are able to handle a variety of business processes and are able to integrate multiple parts of the business often through one system.

Mobile apps are typically used to serve a single, or a few functions. Instead of navigating a complex interface on a desktop or laptop, mobile apps allow users to complete tasks quickly and efficiently on their tablets or smartphones, especially while in the field. Apps are typically simple to use and help to streamline the business, whether through quick communication, sending documents or files, equipment requisition, time tracking, and a variety of other things. Because mobile app use is so specific and unique, they are often inexpensive and only require a small investment.

The growing acceptance of mobile apps can also be looked at as an opportunity to assess how a business operates. The appeal lies in their ability to transform a single process in a significant way. Having an app to control the internal communication of all team members is much more efficient than sending countless emails or playing phone-tag. Furthermore, processes like procurement can be much quicker through apps, compared to face-to-face meetings, and manually track down purchase orders. The goal must be to build apps that can be integrated with the back-end CRM system, which can allow construction companies and vendors the ability to generate quotes on-the-fly and even refer to past purchase history to streamline their processes. In essence, a project manager or site supervisor’s tablet or smartphone is now able to track and record data, much better than a paper and pen. Data collection from apps can help companies make real-time business decisions and improve customer service ten fold.

The best way to begin integrating mobile apps into an existing CRM or ERP is finding an opportunity to automate a single part of the business to start, like scheduling and dispatch or equipment requisitions. From here, find other places that can be modernized through technology, getting rid of the paper trail. Getting in the mindset to advance and improve the business is just as important as the function of the mobile app itself. By analyzing how your business operates, you are already on the right track to making the right changes to benefit both employees and customers. Rethinking the role of apps is key, and seeing it as an accessory rather than a complete solution is the first step in improving productivity in various aspects of the business.

FiveSixTwo is an industry leader in custom development for major construction and field service companies. With over a decade of experience building and scaling some of the largest construction and field service software solutions, it’s our mission to help achieve your goals by optimizing your operations for maximum efficiency and ROI for your company. If you have questions or would like to learn more CLICK HERE.