Great news! ConstructConnect bidding and estimating tools were again ranked as the most popular software solutions available by those participating in the annual Construction Technology Report by JBKnowledge.
Ever since the survey began in 2012, the report has sought to present a snapshot in time of where the construction industry is in terms of construction technology adoption.
While 2020 was an unusual year for everyone in construction, the survey managed to dig into how construction pros overcame their toughest challenges.
The 2020 Report also looked at the Top 10 favorite software tools and apps in various categories. ConstructConnect solutions ranked highly, including:
- On-Screen Takeoff by ConstructConnect—No. 1 Top Takeoff Software
- SmartBid by ConstructConnect—No. 2 Top Bid Management Software
- PlanSwift by ConstructConnect—No. 5 Top Takeoff Software and No. 8 Top Estimating Software
- Quick Bid by ConstructConnect—No. 6 Top Takeoff Software
- QuoteSoft by ConstructConnect—No. 8 Top Takeoff Software
This is the ninth year in a row for On-Screen Takeoff to repeat as the leader in Takeoff software. It has been named as the tool of choice by more than 40% of all participants—from 2012 through 2021.
Who Took the Survey
In 2020, 67% who responded to the survey worked in commercial construction. Of those, 56% were born between 1960 and 1979. This Generation X trend has been consistent since 2016 with more than 50% of the ConTech Survey’s respondents falling into this demographic. Between 2016 and 2020, the number of respondents born between 1940-1959 (Baby Boomers) has decreased from 22% to 12% in 2020.
The majority of those participating again reported roles as finance, executive, estimator, and project manager. Of those participating, 28% were at the executive level and finance and construction technology/IT systems manager roles were tied at 26%.
Although nearly 90% of those who work in construction are male, this year’s ConTech Report showed again strong participation from women—26% were women—a 5% growth over five years. While there is clearly a growing number of women entering the construction workforce, the number of women in trade jobs still only accounts for about 3% of the workforce.
Interestingly, the participants in the 2020 survey showed little crossover in roles by gender until you look at the C-suite. However, the disparity between male and female executives participating was smaller than one would expect—9% of the male respondents and 5% of women reported CEO as their title.
Also, most of the construction pros who responded to the survey represented firms that had been in business between 21-50 years (39%)—a close second were those who worked for firms showing 50+ years (38%) in business. Also, the majority (20%) came from companies with 201 to 500 employees.
Of those taking the survey in 2020, the average annual sales volume was very evenly distributed with the largest percent (24%) reporting sales of $21 million to $50 million. Of those participating, 95% work in North America.
Software Adoption Increases
As usual, the ConTech Report drilled into which workflows are being used to judge whether technology adoption is gaining traction in the construction industry. As in past years, the same occupations—estimators, accountants, project and bid management participants—continue to hold onto their spreadsheets and manual entry.
Each of these categories reduced their dependence on spreadsheets between 1% to 4% from 2019. Even so, the number of estimators using spreadsheets as part of their workflow was 62%; bid management was 36%; accounting was 51%; takeoff was 27%; and project management was 45%.
The good news is that many key areas showed increase use of dedicated software. Project management, takeoff, and bid management all saw growth in 2020. Though small—the move from spreadsheets to software—reflects a growing appreciation of software ROI, according to the report.
Of those workflows using dedicated software, the report showed:
- Accounting/ERP: 83%
- Project Management: 60%
- Estimating: 56%
- Project Scheduling: 46%
- CAD/BIM: 42%
- Takeoff: 40%
- Bid Management: 36%
- Client Relationship: 30%
Tech Budgets Are Static
With budgeting virtually static from 2019 to 2020, the report found that nearly half of companies represented (49%) reported having a dedicated IT department. Despite the pandemic and its economic impact, 59% of those in the survey reported having maintained their IT staff and another 30% reported increasing their IT staff in 2020.
However, most of these IT departments are small—20% reported having 6-15 employees. Only 2% reported having 31-50 dedicated IT employees. For the third year, CFOs and CEOs continue to lead their IT departments.
Comments in the survey were interesting, including:
- “Our management’s policy toward IT budget is ‘spend less.’”
- “We hire the minimum number we can get by with.”
Data Transfer Still Manual
Everyone can agree that applications that don’t integrate end up requiring double work, lost information, and errors. While 2020 showed some decreases in manual entry, 49% of the companies surveyed say they are still manually transferring data between apps that don’t integrate.
For data transfers, spreadsheets are still leaned on heavily by 44% of the respondents. Another 37% reported using CSV and 29% rely on custom-built integrations. While most can agree that having apps that talk to each other is essential, manual entry and spreadsheets continue to have a hold on ConTech influencers.
Take the next step. Sign-up now for a demo to learn how ConstructConnect can help you experience faster, more accurate takeoffs and estimates.