If you’re thinking about attending WOC 2020 – particularly exploring the construction software and technology area – here is a recap of my experience at WOC 2019 to help you make the most out of your trip.

Overall, think beyond your current business situation and business model.

Many people I talked with attended WOC 2019 because they are keeping an eye on the future and want to understand the latest tools and technology. Take a look at your mix of current employees and business tools. Will they be there forever, and are they sustainable? Most field tools and vehicles evolve, getting better over time. They also require maintenance to keep them operating efficiently for as long as possible. It’s the same with your field and office software technology. Consider keeping your existing tools well-oiled and maintained by regularly reviewing your existing software with your provider to identify any knowledge gaps or product updates. Research other software technology and compare it with what you have to see if what you’re using is sustainable for your business goals. Provide your employees with continuing education and training on your software tools to ensure that you’re efficient and profitable in the long-run.

Preparation is key.

If you’re considering what construction technology can do to increase efficiency and profitability in your business, think about what your current pain points and issues are, make a list, tag them to the areas of the company where the issues live, and bring questions to ask the technology providers you talk to. Some of the best conversations I had all week were with those who came with prepared questions or had clearly taken time to evaluate room for improvement in their company.

Go with an open mind.

There are many tech companies at the WOC. You may know of some, all, or none at all. Make sure to ask each provider you talk to about the full suite of tech solutions that they offer and/or integrate with. You may have heard of Company X as the leader in Product A, though may be surprised to find that most companies offer more than one solution for more than one area of your business.

For the project Estimators.

Not too surprisingly, Excel was the most common Estimating tool used by those that I talked with. A couple of contractors I spoke with already had very sophisticated Excel spreadsheets that they were proud of and had been using for years as their estimating solution. However, they recognized that Excel is not going to necessarily position their company for future growth, in more ways than one.  These people were thinking, “What’s going to happen when I’m gone?”. While I could tell it was difficult for them to think about giving up the spreadsheet they had worked so hard on for a majority of their careers, they spoke of the fact that no one else would be able to understand how to use their spreadsheet. For estimators that have built their own Excel spreadsheet/database: know that we can create a dedicated estimating database using your Excel files as a base. The difference is that your Excel database will now be safe behind-the-scenes, in a place where your variables and formulas can’t be changed or broken. Your dedicated database will also help to standardize your estimating process with a new estimator or an expansion of your team. I could go on, but watch this video on 5 Reasons Why You Need Sage Estimating →

For those on a budget.

Skip buying the over-priced food and drinks at the Convention Center and save your money for what really brings your company value – the technology and tools that will catapult your company to profit and growth.