Frank J. Borkowski

I’ve recently had a flood of e-mail from readers asking for help selecting software/Webware. Pasted together, they might read something like this: “My boss likes the calendar in XYZ-Remodeler, but I’ve been looking at MS-Something-or-other instead. Or would FastBooks plus SoftArchitect be better if we ran them on a Raspberry? Hey, have you seen that new program from Germany?”

Whoa, that’s putting the cart way before the horse. Let’s back up and take another look at what you’ll need for a successful technology project:

Stay top-down. You can’t decide how to solve a problem, e.g., which software to purchase, until you know exactly what it is you’re trying to accomplish and why you’re doing it. Review our Top-Down method in the February 2007 issue of REMODELING.

Management not IT. Too many remodelers make the worst decisions because of advice from their well-meaning “computer guy.” Technology should support management initiatives, not the other way around.

Think tools, not platforms. Is a ball-peen hammer “better” than a claw hammer? Depends on what you’re pounding. Likewise, there’s no “best” operating system (Windows, Mac OS), no “best” form factor (laptop, tablet, handheld). “Best” is what supports the software tools and/or Web services you need.

Devil in the details. Do you need a quick proposal or a complete bill of materials? You must supply the details. Generic terms like “estimating,” “project management,” and “customer service” mean different things to each software vendor.

No surrogates. Major business initiatives cannot be delegated. Even the simplest software projects require focus and dedication, and success will depend on the boss’s ability to stay enthusiastic and engaged. —Joe Stoddard is an industry consultant helping remodelers be successful with their technology.