For any construction project, big or small, it’s critical to keep the project moving forward. That means having the ability to effectively manage contracts and changes that occur during the lifecycle of a project. To ensure a successful project, an organization should commit to integrating field and backoffice activities to enhance their project administration.

A big challenge when managing contracts and changes is having visibility into the contract lifecycle from procurement through closeout. Often, the business side of a project does not have the visibility into the field programs, and vice versa.

Office programs are often managed by an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system, and field systems might be run on Excel or a similar type of program. This creates inefficiencies as the two sides are disconnected, which increases the risk for errors and provides limited visibility into the project.

By integrating field and backoffice activities, both sides have access to an unlimited database managed in one place, enabling true project visibility.

The right project administration software can ensure project success. It can simplify the buyout and creation of contracts, reconcile and review payment requests and invoices with work performed, as well as electronically route pay approvals to the backoffice. Field initiated changes can be directly converted into financial transactions. Conversely, contract updates can automatically be linked to field activities, creating a living contract history in realtime.

With project administration solutions, like InEight Contract, you can tie key backoffice data directly to the contract, and you’re provided true contract status on one screen, in one tool.

A Drawerful of Risk

Another critical aspect of a project administration software solution is capturing change. Maybe you’ve experienced a change order scenario where a subcontractor writes a change order memo in the field, and it is given to the foreman or field engineer. The memo then gets lost in a desk drawer or folder, and the office was never aware of the change in the field.

As the office side goes to process invoices or close out the contracts, they are informed by the subcontractor of the change order memos that were written in the field that they were not aware of.

With project administration software, there are several ways to get information like change orders into the system. The field can use a mobile app instead of writing up a paper ticket and having it gather dust in a drawer. Imagine being able to snap a photo of the incident, fill out a few question boxes on the mobile app, and then hit “send.” The change is now documented for the office side and linked to the vendor’s contract.

By using a digital solution, you’re able to more efficiently manage change. Unaccounted issues are greatly reduced, if not eliminated, and the risk of the unknown is minimized. The right solution ensures every stakeholder has a continuous view into project change and constant communication is the standard.

Instead of a drawerful of risk, project administration software puts critical information and documentation at the fingertips of every stakeholder. Without it, you’ll likely experience more difficulty in tracking issues and managing change across your entire portfolio.

Change on a project is inevitable, but with the right tools, it’s also manageable.

Ryan Kerschen is director of product management at InEight.