Jonas Construction Software prides itself on developing industry-leading software that construction companies can count on to succeed.
By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media
Jonas Construction Software was founded 27 years ago with a vision to be more than a typical construction software company. The operation set out to build a better, fully integrated construction software solution that offers exactly what its clients need to succeed.
“The most valuable aspect of our software is that our solution is truly integrated and our development is done fully in-house,” Sales Manager Yana Tcharnaia says. “Our company doesn’t buy third-party systems and try to piece meal solutions together; we develop every module that we have in-house so there are no syncing issues and our clients truly get the value of integration. For this reason, all screens look the same, making it user-friendly and easy to learn.”
Jonas Construction Software has clients across both Canada and the United States. In 2003, Jonas Construction Software became a division of Constellation Software Inc. (CSI), a global software company that acquires and grows high-marketshare, mission-critical, vertical market software companies. “With so much consolidation happening in the industry and a lot of private construction software companies getting bought out, it is important to mitigate risk and ensure that you are partnering with a company that will be around forever,” Tcharnaia says.
Today, about 1,200 clients in the North American construction industry use Jonas Construction Software. The company has 110 employees with about 40 in development and 30 in customer support. “Everyone within our company operates in-house, allowing us to offer the best customer service from sales to implementation to support, and you never have to worry about us going out of business,” Tcharnaia says. “Overall, when bringing in new talent, we look for individuals with great customer service skills and people who are compassionate and always willing to go the extra mile for our clients.”
Jonas Construction Software believes in supporting the success of its clients. The company prides itself on taking the time to understand its clients’ needs, continuously improving to meet new business and technology trends and making quality software construction companies can rely on.
The company’s software includes a variety of modules from accounting, job costing, project and service management, dispatch and job scheduling, reporting, document management, equipment and inventory management to payroll, service contracts, timecards, budgeting and invoicing. A mix of different contractors use Jonas Construction & Service Software including mechanical, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, general contractors, as well as excavator and heavy highway companies while design builders, homebuilders and land developers often use the company’s Premier Construction Software.
“Functionality is important to our clients,” Tcharnaia says. “We have over 40 modules and a lot of great reporting tools. We provide our clients with the ability to easily create reports by themselves as we believe our clients shouldn’t require a high-level of technical expertise or have to pay the software company just to build reports. Reports are essential and our software works together so that everything is integrated and every field is reportable, allowing information to easily flow from one module to another with no issues. Our customers want to collaborate and be able to work with people in the office, field, subcontractors, owners and clients, and they want everyone to have access under one platform.”
Three years ago, Jonas Construction Software hired data migration specialists to make it easier for clients to switch to its fully integrated software. “Our specialists gain access to the client’s current system database and are able to extract the data into our upload templates,” Tcharnaia explains. “We also do a business process review with our clients to ensure we understand their company inside and out, including their needs, goals and what they are trying to achieve with our software. We then build a test company that’s tailored to their business, which includes all the data that we extracted.”
Partners in Business
Jonas Construction Software offers clients greater transparency and input into what they need for greater functionality. “We have a wish list forum where clients can log on and tell us what they want to see or would like our team to develop in the next couple of updates,” Tcharnaia explains. “It’s similar to a Facebook page whereby other clients can ‘like’ the post or idea and the top 50 suggested updates are developed in the following year.”
The company launches new updates every two weeks, every quarter and one major update per year. Development is completely client-driven at Jonas Construction Software.
“Our developers go out and attend conferences and see what’s happening in the industry, watch what our competitors are doing and figure out what’s new in technology and incorporate that into the changes to make sure we are always a step ahead,” Tcharnaia says. “We have a user conference every year where we learn what our clients need and what we can do better and incorporate that into the overall development plan. We offer focus groups as well as beta-tester clients who get early access to recent updates in our software before we make it available to the rest of our clients. Our development is really strong.”
Jonas Construction Software has learned that its clients want an all-in-one solution. The Enterprise Business Intelligence module is one that the clients requested, providing them with complete visibility and control of their projects and work orders in real-time. Measuring key performance indicators also has been a popular request.
“Our real-time reporting is huge,” Tcharnaia says. “When owners are out in the field or out of the office, they still have the necessary information flowing their way that they can easily review. The dashboard also allows our clients to provide information and reports to their clients, employees and subcontractors to make sure everyone is on the same page. In addition, our client portal and document management make it easy for everyone that is involved to collaborate – which is another big trend within the industry.”
Clients also want a user-friendly experience. “More millennials are getting into the industry and don’t want to take a year to learn an entire software package,” Tcharnaia explains. “They want the software to follow a natural process. If they understand accounting or construction, they will be able to sue use the software.”
Jonas Construction Software will launch three new modules next year: project management from the cloud, optical character recognition (OCR) and drawing management. “We already have project management, but we’ve had a lot of requests to make it more easily accessible in the field,” Tcharnaia says. “By the middle of next year we will have full project management functionality – RFIs, submittals, transmittals and change orders all available from a mobile app.
“In regards to OCR, let’s say you receive an invoice and owe $300 to supplier ABC,” she continues. “With most systems, you have to scan that into the software and type ‘Pay Vendor ABC $300,’ and then enter that information into accounts payable.”
With OCR, the process is streamlined as once you scan it into the system it reads off that sheet ‘Vendor ABC and $300. “It will read that from the paper and automatically upload into accounts payable so you can pay them,” Tcharnaia says. “That’s a big time saver if you have 30 different invoices to scan and allocate at one time.”
The drawing management module will allow clients to take measurements, create requests for information or attach an image directly to a drawing. Both of the modules will be available next year.
Moving forward, Jonas Construction Software will continue to embrace new technologies and invest heavily in research and development to ensure it provides industry-leading software for its clients to succeed. The company’s goal is to always be the best, not the biggest.