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How to optimize basics in (CRM) tools to meet today's construction industry tech trends

Mar 05, 2019

Second in a four-part series on technology in construction and real estate. Read the rest of the series:

Part I: The technology tools needed to be competitive
Part III: The return of prefabrication
Part IV: The rising trend of blockchain

This is the era of digital transformation, and the construction and real estate industry isn’t immune to the sweeping changes.

While some firms have gotten away with implementing a few tools here and there, they’re going to find it more and more difficult to stay competitive without using more comprehensive and integrated technology tools.

Siloed technology solutions are beginning to hinder productivity more than help it. They are in no way as effective as solutions designed to work together to help create improved efficiency and productivity across your organization.

For part two of our top trends series, we’re going to dive more in depth into our first of three technology trends: optimizing the basics.

This essentially refers to using tools that allow you to do basic functions faster — from improving field data collection, reporting and operations to automating accounts payable. And at its core, optimizing the basics comes down to blocking and tackling. Email, mobile devices, data centralization, process automation, the cloud — when all of this works together, it helps ensure a lot of your day-to-day work and priorities are taken care of.

How is your organization collecting data? How are you using that data? Optimizing the basics requires putting together a well-rounded system that can provide you what you need to become more efficient and make better decisions, faster. But what kind of tools can eliminate technology silos and give you the integration, automation, data analytics and management capabilities you need?

Eliminating Siloed Tools With CRM

You know much of the construction and real estate industry revolves around relationships. Building them, maintaining them, leveraging them to create new relationships — it means every piece of your organization that comes into contact with clients is another touchpoint that can strengthen or weaken a relationship.

A client relationship management (CRM) tool gathers all your client information in one place, making it easy for each staff member to know what projects the client is associated with, how successful the firm has been in winning that client’s bids and even how your firm communicates with the client (e.g., email campaigns, direct mail, sales phone calls, etc.) and how often. Too much or too little contact could damage a relationship.

When you rely on disparate tools like Excel to track all of this, you gain a huge number of different versions of the same document, and none of them are up to date. But with a CRM, everyone accesses the same, real-time information and inputs new information into the same place. And it’s not just client data — it’s all information related to projects and bids.

A CRM allows the people involved in a project — developers, architects, subcontractors, property owners, suppliers, and managers — to work on the same system and track the progress on a project or a bid. With this enhanced communication, visibility and collaboration, you can better manage scheduling and workflow, track equipment use and collect data (e.g., time, quantities and other project-related data) right in the field. You can stay on track and on budget, gathering information once and passing it along automatically to the systems (e.g., payroll and financials) that need it.

And what increases your chances of winning a bid more than being able to demonstrate performance to prospective clients? With CRM, you not only see the results of different projects but also become better able to project future performance because you have this collected data from past projects. A single source of integrated data improves business intelligence by providing analytics based on your entire operations. Giving real-time data about things like performance and budget to business leaders improves decision making and, combined with streamlined processes and communication, leads to greater profits.

So, from winning bids to streamlining communication to managing projects, a CRM is an integrated tool that touches every area of your business, and it succeeds by optimizing the basics of what your employees do every day.

Wipfli Connect for Contractors

If a CRM sounds like something that fits your organization’s needs, you can gain even greater benefits by leveraging one tailored for construction firms. From targeting and prospecting, to bid submission and management, through job completion, Wipfli Connect for Contractors provides one organization-wide interface — tailored to the construction industry.

Built on Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement, Wipfli Connect for Contractors consolidates silos of information to get everyone on one page with improved communication, access to real-time data and fewer manual processes. Prevent costly oversights, reduce errors and streamline workflows.

To learn more, download our guide to Wipfli Connect for Contractors or contact Wipfli.


Matt Gelb, VTSP, MCTS
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Kenneth F. Kortas, CPA
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