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Construction Management and Quickbooks February 18, 2013

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, project management software.
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Whether you are a residential or commercial general contractor, Quickbooks is the most popular accounting software serving the construction industry in the United States. The challenge is achieving an integrated solution with estimating, scheduling and project management capabilities while addressing detailed job costing. As your contracting firm grows your needs typically outgrow what you can do with Microsoft Office so where’s a GC to turn?

If integration is important, and you really want to avoid silos between finance, estimating and operations you’ll want to look at Corecon. They were the first to embrace the API’s available with Intuit and have managed to address everything but BIM and CAD needs for the small to mid-sized construction company.

Construction Project Management and Quickbooks

Corecon is a Software as a Service solution all based in the cloud and works with the popular browsers so there’s no need to install software of worry about upgrades and backups. It’s all done for you. What really separates this solution with others (I’m disclosing that I do sell this software) is the depth of integration and the capabilities.

Estimating, Bid Requests, Preconstruction, Purchasing, Safety, Submittals, Correspondence, Progress Billings, etc. It’s all there. It even has a mobile login for accessing your contacts, viewing you To do List, receiving Alerts, tracking project leads and reviewing all your project’s Correspondence, documentation, schedule, Time Entry, Miscellaneous Expenses, Procurement and Financials. There’s even handy charts to visually see your construction project’s financial health.
Corecon Project Management

For additional information visit Corecon.com and tell them Carol Hagen sent you in the comments.

If you have time take a peak of the mobile operations in this video:

Construction Project Team Communications Innovation July 26, 2012

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, Document Imaging, web conferencing.
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After reading “Collaborating in the New AEC World” by Al Douglas it is apparent that whether you are a subcontractor, general contractor, architect, engineer or project owner you must have a single place to effectively communicate in order to reach all project team expectations. Email will not suffice and often project management systems do not deliver on live collaborative sessions that occur during pre-construction and intermittently throughout a project lifecycle.

Construction communication challenges often arise as preferred technologies (BIM, IPD, CAD) often leave non-techie types out of the conversation loop. Everyone in construction operations is visual and depends upon drawings, plans and models to convey ideas. Being proficient in all these technologies can take a lifetime and the project only lasts 12 months. How do you get everyone speaking the same language and invite every team member to engage in the conversation? The solution has to be easy to learn, offer a place where a multitude of document types can be shared and offer a simple way for mark-ups and conversations to be captured. If you want everyone to use it it also has to be affordable and documents should be easily shared without need for special software. Remember the PDF?

The PDF standard hasn’t left the construction industry. Most general contractors still exchange plans in PDF format because everyone can open them. The problem arises as you share plans, typically via email or offer an FTP download. Now there are 100s of copies and everyone is marking-up their own set. Have you ever tried to look a 4 versions at once and compare the differences? It’s challenging and frustrating. It’s even more challenging in the pre-construction process as you need to get all the project subcontractors in one room along with the engineer and architect. Inevitably a few people miss the meeting or must catch-up later. There is a simple solution…

To see the Bluebeam Studio solution in action as part of Bluebeam Revu. Start at minute 5, if you’re not interested in how to set-up and invite others to this on-line web collaboration studio session for construction teams or watch this 14 minute video from the beginning to see all the steps.

Disclosure: I’m convinced that every construction firm should be familiar with this tool and am a Bluebeam Partner myself. If you’re interested, comment or email me and I’ll invite you to a Bluebeam Studio Session – yes you can invite your team too!

Construction Communications and the Email Tidal Wave October 13, 2011

Posted by carolhagen in archiving, Construction Industry - Software, Document Imaging, email, records retention.
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Wave inundating you and your email inboxEmail can be a contractor’s best friend or worst enemy. Construction personnel communicate frequently to achieve good project outcomes and this usually involves email and with more mobile devices, text messages. Most project managers I speak to are inundated with large volumes of email that take hours to process daily. Many have taken the time to create rules and put emails in various folders to help them sort through their inbox. They also have to keep their inbox clean with mailbox size limits set on the Exchange server. Surely there are better ways to handle project emails, instant messages, Exchange Server communications and improve your ability to find an email, when you need it later because an issue arises.

In a recent study by IBM Research entitled “Am I wasting my time organizing email? A study of email refinding” apparently putting email in folders is a waste of time! After reviewing this research, an anonymous reader writes
“There are two types of office workers in the world — those who file their emails in folders, and those who use search. Well, it looks like the searchers are smarter. A 354-user study by IBM research found that users who just searched their inbox found emails slightly faster than users who had filed them by folder. Add the time spent filing and the searchers easily come out on top. Apparently the filers are using their inbox as a to-do list rather than wanting to categorize information to find it more easily.”
While many firms have implemented project management software there are still times when replies come thru regular email in Outlook and you have to log the email into the system (more work UGH). Younger more mobile owners often want to communicate through text or instant messages and find email too slow and “old school” making a construction firm’s technology appear outdated. The fear is that communicating in instant messages or other modes will make you more exposed to risk. We all know the person with the most documentation typically wins an argument. That’s why we are papering projects to death. The correspondence can also spawn multiple copies across your computer network including your Exchange server and Sharepoint. So how can we access emails we need faster and have the confidence that we haven’t missed any communications? Perhaps your email server needs a break. Let’s look a few possible solutions.

Monitored Email Folders
Having all email correspondence directed to an email address can make sorting project related and can be integrated into your content management system. This can give your entire firm access, with proper authority, to construction project correspondence by job. Each email recipient forwards documents to the appropriate job folder. Construction Imaging (CI) has developed a solution that goes one step further, called email manager. You tag it with a job number and document type. Then it automatically indexes it into the archive. Retrievable in seconds! The CI solution only requires having the AX back end – a standard foundation to their content management solutions. You can learn more about email manager and their other solutions at www.construction-imaging.com

Email Archiving
Email searching is much faster with Email Archiving systems and is the preferred method to address e-discovery issues. For firms with an Exchange Server, there are many choices. Not as many for those with Lotus Notes or Domino, but still choices. It gets trickier when you also need further integration to popular products like Instant Messaging like MSN, Yahoo and AOL Messenger that can really make this challenging. email archiving appliances from ArcMail There are also other 3rd party products that involve other departments, CRM systems including Salesforce with their social media communications center called Chatter that can make this mind boggling. There is an answer to all this – ArcMail Defender (disclosure: yes, I am an ArcMail reseller). Construction firms are attracted to this solution because it is quick an easy appliance to implement, you can be up and running in well under an hour. We’re conducting on-line webinars on email archiving with ArcMail. To Register and make email work for you, click here to request your ArcMail demo request date/time. We’ll get back to you promptly.

While you await our reply, please read a construction firm’s success story with Arcmail

Does your construction firm use Exchange server, Lotus Notes or Domino and have you implemented instant messaging? Have you considered email archiving in your contracting firm? Leave us a comment and share what you’re doing to make email work for you.

Construction Project Managers Go Mobile September 1, 2010

Posted by carolhagen in communication, Construction Industry - Software, iPhone, Payroll Time Collection, project management software.
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Update September 27, 2010: Project Manager views Job Alerts on iPad using Corecon Mobile

Update: Project Manager uses iPhone to access construction documentation

Construction Project Managers main line of communication is their mobile device. Whether it’s texts, emails or phone calls your smartphone has become the primary tool of the trade. What’s missing? Applications designed to improve collaboration that you can navigate efficiently on your cell phone or iPad. Today I want to introduce you to what I suspect will be a best friend to homebuilders, architects, engineers, and commercial contractors and subcontractors. The Corecon Mobile solution. This is part one in a series of 5 posts on what construction project managers want access or update on a job when they are out of the office.

To be clear, Corecon is something that my firm markets to the construction industry and I believe that they’ve hit the nail on the head. First it won’t matter which smartphone you have. Corecon Mobile will work on all these devices:

* Apple – iPhone
* Apple – iPad
* Blackberry
* Google – Android
* Microsoft – Windows Mobile
* Palm – Palm OS

Wait, you did read that correctly…the iPad too. Corecon is a web-based estimating, project management and scheduling system that has managed to roll-out mobile apps at no cost to the Corecon client. No need for virtual servers, or IT staff to keep Corecon running. They believe in value and have delivered. So what areas of the Corecon system have they included in their first Mobile deployment? The list is impressive:

Construction project management on iPhone with Corecon Mobile

iPhone 3G Project Menu

Contact Management

* Companies
* Contacts

Project Leads

* Leads Listing
* Lead Directory
* Bid Calendar

Projects

* Project Directory
* Alerts
* Documentation
o Checklists
o Daily Log
o Meetings
o Owner Items
o Permits
o Punchlists
o Safety Accidents
* Correspondence
o Comply Notices
o Journals
o RFIs
o Submittals
o Transmittals
o Work Orders
* Time Entry
* Schedules
o Tasks
* Financials

All this with no need to install anything extra on your device. Just access to the internet and a subscription to Corecon. The mobile portion is free. In essence Corecon delivers value to their customers and their smartphones. Here’s a Comply Notice screenshot to wet your whistle.

HTC EVO 4G screen shot of Comply Notice using Corecon Mobile

Comply Notice on the HTC EVO 4G


Tune in tomorrow for more. Over the next few days we’ll be showcasing more than screen shots with actual video of just how easy it is to access, create, update and share these documents from the device of your choice. We’d like to hear what you think about the evolution of technology for managers in the field and on the go.

Update: Blackberry used by Project Manager to access contact directory in Corecon Mobile V7:

I should also mention that Corecon has a fabulous integration to Quickbooks, SAP and Simply Accounting so contractors won’t need to rekey the data and worry about transposing errors. Smaller firms can have all their accounting, estimating, project managmeent and scheudling in the Cloud so the overhead for fancy PCs, backups and loading updates is over. The future has arrived!

What has your construction firm been using your smartphone for other than email and phone calls? Leave comments and share this with others.

Construction Project Management Questions and Answers August 26, 2010

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, linkedin, project management software.
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1 comment so far

Construction project management has many sources for great content. Software vendors, certification programs and forums abound that focus on the project manager and they create great content. Today I thought I mention a place where project management Q&A is happening, but perhaps you haven’t noticed it. With over 395 questions and answers already available I think it’s a good source for the beginner and expert alike. It’s not in the obvious places you’re used to looking, but actually inside LinkedIn Answers.

Here’s a screen shot of what construction project managers have asked and answered:Construction Project Management Questions

To access this in LinkedIn, Click on the More tab, then Answers, click the advanced answers tab, browse on the right and click on Business Operations, then project management. Don’t forget to enter “construction” in the keywords field. You should see a screen like this:
Questions and answers from Construction Project Managers
Perhaps you’ll want to chime in with your two cents of wisdom in one of these discusssions…or start your own!
You should also look into a few LinkedIn Groups…more on that in a future post. Suggestions & recommendations welcome.

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