Construction teams love it when a project plan comes together -- on time and under budget -- and they're not alone. Three-fourths of employees rate teamwork as "very important" and 40 percent said they would even pay out-of-pocket for digital tools to help them work together more efficiently.

When implemented properly, software solutions that enable construction teams can have a very real impact on the bottom line. In fact, 91 percent of contractors and owners say that real-time collaboration reduces risk and improves outcomes on projects. Additionally, three out of four construction industry experts agreed that data integration and coordination dramatically improved the customer experience by reducing uncertainty.

A customer's experience throughout the design and build process translates into how likely they are to come back for more projects and offer referrals, which are the lifeblood of a growing business in the AEC industry.

Here are three real-world examples of how software integration helps teams work smarter in the field and the back office, while also controlling costs and keeping everyone on track with project schedules.

  • Automate expense management and invoice approval - Imagine if your teams could submit expense reports directly from any device, in any location. The approving manager could sign off with a single click to generate AP Invoices for approved transactions. With solutions such as Concur Expense, this is already possible. Similarly, most construction companies struggle to efficiently process and pay vendor invoices in a timely manner without significant manual effort and overhead costs. By adopting software that automates the process of entering, reviewing, and approving vendor invoices, accounting teams can focus on more value-added activities while reducing invoice processing costs and improving expense compliance. Simply by integrating a best-in-class expense or invoice management software with your ERP, you can cut down on administrative overhead, improve real-time visibility into job costs, and reduce employee frustration associated with manual processes.
  • Assure mobile timecards and digitized forms drive data insights - Building on the above example, data integration can eliminate the lion's share of your manual paperwork. Convert timecards, site-specific paper forms, checklists, blueprints, etc. that are accessible on any mobile device. Data needing to be accessed and captured via mobile-friendly applications in the field should seamlessly flow right through into project, work order and equipment modules in your ERP system. By digitizing high-value business processes and enabling field teams with easy-to-use applications, you can begin harnessing the data to discover improve future projects.
  • Align project management and accounting - Accounting teams in the back office and project team in the field have very different needs in the applications they use every day. Construction leaders no longer need to settle for a single solution that meets the accounting requirements but is too complicated for project teams on the job site. Integrating best of breed project management solutions with your accounting systems brings real-time collaboration into project planning and execution. Project and accounting teams will work from a single source of truth yet have the freedom to use the most productive preferred solution.

While these examples are only the tip of the iceberg, they indicate a starting point for how construction companies can realize the promise of digital transformation in boosting efficiency, driving better outcomes, and ultimately better serving the customer.