Most construction software are designed to be used in “Enterprise” configurations, meaning they usually include executive dashboard modules aimed at giving executives a quick view of every area of operations. Typically, this can be done in real time.
These dashboards serve a very specific purpose – top level execs do not have the time to spend looking at reports full of numerous confusing details. Instead, they need a report or module that can be their “one stop shop” for all primary business indicators. If they notice any problems with the key indicators (which can be customized for each business or kept at software presets) they will then have the ability to “drill down” to the real data and identify the problem if they feel the need.
For example, C-Level executives may only need to see the basics of the P&L and other reports – things like sales figures, monthly comparisons, current market data, and maybe even competitor positions. In other words, the things most pertinent towards making the most effective high level decisions.
Moving down the chain of command, executives and managers at mid-levels may need to see the data in a bit more detail, such as which projects are impacting the particular indicators. They may also benefit from dashboards that break the data down to each business segment that reports to them so they can choose where their time and expertise is best spent.
Suffice it to say, different levels of management will want different sets of reports. In each case, the report should have the indicators that each manager is most concerned about without having so much information that the crucial data is difficult to discern.
Just because a construction company makes money by digging in the dirt, they should not be limited in their ability to have a clear overview of their entire business operations. This is the benefit of the customizable, real-time executive dashboards available in many construction management software.
If the software that you are currently using does not have a dashboard feature, there are numerous third party applications that will interface with most construction accounting software on the market. In fact, some can be so seamlessly integrated that they appear to be standard equipment.
Finally, it is worth noting that these dashboards and the decision making they facilitate are only as good as the data that is put in to the system by the end users. If garbage is put in to the system, garbage will come out. Therefore, as always, I stress the importance of thorough and frequent end-user training for all companies that use industry-specific construction software.