InEight’s project management software covers the life cycle of a project.

By Staci Davidson, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Publishing

New technology comes out constantly. There is always something that is the latest and greatest – but construction firms need to be careful about what they implement. The best technology can enhance an operation and make it even more competitive; however, there are many solutions that don’t hold up under the weight of a construction operation that has to deal with daily project issues. It is critical for construction projects to remain on budget and on schedule, and InEight has the experience and expertise to fully understand this, which is how it created a solution that is among the best. 

InEight develops project management software that helps contractors, owners and engineers overcome the major challenges they face at every phase of a project from design to estimate, and field execution and turnover. The company provides real-time information and insights to help contractors and other capital project stakeholders minimize risks, while also increasing efficiency, controlling costs and improving collaboration. These are far from empty promises as InEight’s pedigree includes 30 years of building software for construction and capital projects. Further, all of InEight’s solutions are field-tested with some of the industry’s most renowned companies before they are ever deployed for use by its clients. As a result, clients benefit from greater project certainty. InEight info box

Purpose-Built for Construction

InEight’s roots in construction run deep. The company’s long-term vision and approach to technology were inspired by the real-world challenges experienced on the job site every day. When InEight CEO Jake Macholtz talks about the company, he’s reminded of his experiences working for more than 15 years as a construction professional managing projects for Kiewit, one of the largest contractors and engineering companies. 

“When I worked for Kiewit, we were doing a lot of infrastructure, power, water and vertical building projects, and the lack of technology in construction was a real challenge for us and the industry,” Macholtz explains. “In estimating, there were a lot of spreadsheets, not to mention all the paper for processing safety inspections and timecards. There was no great way to look at all that data to tell me how my project was performing right then. I kept thinking to myself that there had to be a better way.”

This mindset helped serve as the impetus for Kiewit to kick off an ambitious, comprehensive initiative to help take the company through a technology transformation. 

“Kiewit’s operational leaders really wanted to be able to make better, data-driven decisions on projects,” said Macholtz. “To do this, we had to bring some of the paper-based processes into the digital world. We put timecards on a digital platform, estimates on a digital platform, and the actual cost information was digital, so we could make real-time decisions.”

In doing so, Kiewit looked for existing solutions to bring into the company’s technology environment. They came across Hard Dollar, an industry-leading provider of project cost management and estimating solutions that had been proven on capital projects since 1989. Hard Dollar had an intriguing mix of knowledge and software solutions that would nicely complement Kiewit’s growing technology platform. Eventually, Kiewit acquired Hard Dollar, now known as InEight, expanding its technology capabilities.

With this technology transformation, Kiewit was able to leverage historical information to improve processes, gather more real-time information from the field, more efficiently adjust to changes in job site conditions, and further ensure it delivered projects on time and on budget. 

It quickly became clear that the industry could benefit from Kiewit’s technology solutions, leading to the founding of InEight, a standalone subsidiary. Today led by Macholtz, InEight focuses on developing, evolving and enhancing a commercialized version of various technology solutions utilized by Kiewit, including Hard Dollar and other project management tools. These solutions are now available to all companies focused on capital projects.

“We are so plugged into the industry that we have true expertise on the engineering side, construction side and owner side,” Macholtz says. “With our solutions, we have figured out how to solve the challenges for an industry-leading engineering and construction company, while leveraging that knowledge and taking it to market.”

InEight’s software-based solutions span key areas of capital projects where technology has the greatest potential to improve operations and processes. These include: estimating, budgeting and forecasting, project planning and scheduling, document management, inspections, work planning and progressing, contract and change management, and virtual design and construction (VDC). 

Additionally, InEight recognizes how important it is for everyone involved in a project to see real-time performance information, from the highest levels to the most granular details. These solutions feed into a sophisticated analytics and reporting engine that gives project stakeholders deep visibility into the health of their projects.

Since every company is at a different stage in their digital journey, InEight factored that into the design of its solutions. InEight software easily works together to provide rich insights into projects. It can also be used in a modular way, meaning companies can select which solutions work best for them and implement those that are best-suited for their operations. Also, InEight’s software integrates with existing finance, HR and other industry solutions to help its clients get the most out of their technology investments and leverage the data already in their systems. 

“We differentiate ourselves because there is not just one way to estimate, plan for and build a project. Construction spans a lot of specialized vertical markets,” Macholtz notes. “We offer a modern solution that you can consume in a bite-size way. We see a lot of boilerplate solutions, but with InEight, you have that true industry expertise, the modular structure and the lab that is Kiewit. That’s our value proposition.”

Checking All the Boxes

Today, as InEight continues to grow both domestically and internationally, its strategic vision is focused on bringing predictability to the world of capital projects by enabling digital transformations and facilitating more data-driven decision making. To accomplish this, InEight continues to introduce robust functionality and integrations at every phase of the project life cycle. It invests more than one million man-hours in research and development annually, and its extensive team of software developers works hand-in-hand with construction professionals to develop solutions for contractors, owners and engineers.

“We made InEight solutions easy to deploy and easy to learn. So many companies have implemented a lot of point solutions and spreadsheets, but when they want reporting, they have to stitch all of that together,” explains InEight Chief Product Officer Brad Barth, who alone has over 25 years of experience in construction technology. “It’s possible, but very difficult to achieve. As a result, they can’t get to the data they need to make decisions they can trust. We’re solving that problem and giving companies insights that can help them make the necessary adjustments to keep their projects on track.”

InEight’s strength is demonstrated by its growing acceptance in the industry. The solution has been built for the general construction, infrastructure, mining, oil and gas, and utility markets. In addition, InEight has more than 25,000 users at more than 750 companies in 40+ countries. A key selling point, Barth notes, is that InEight’s software portfolio supports all phases of construction, from pre-construction to operations. 

“There are a lot of design systems out there, but we wanted to pick up where they left off to do the planning, execution and turnover,” he explains. “From an owner’s perspective – by filling that gap between design to managing the asset once it’s been built – in between there is where the risk and uncertainty is.”

This is where InEight saw a big opportunity. Contractors know that as a project moves through its stages, many different people get involved. There is a lot of knowledge created throughout the project, but it is often not shared in an efficient or effective way that others can benefit from. InEight’s solutions, however, help users capitalize on that knowledge. All of the information is captured from each person and passed along appropriately, so nothing is lost and more people benefit from the shared knowledge.

“That data grows and evolves as a project goes through its paces, but the stakeholders have different viewpoints with that data,” Barth explains. “Owners are primarily interested in the front and back, the expectations and outcomes, and our solution provides owners a common data environment where they can mash up the as-designed data with as-planned data and as-built data.

“But if a user’s focus is more about managing construction, the InEight solution has that covered at a detail level,” he adds. A contractor can use the solution to plan and execute, all the way down to the crews and equipment performing the work each shift. 

The InEight name might be new, but the solution was built on proven expertise. “When you look at the depth and robust nature of the InEight functionality, you can see that the legacy of the company goes back 30 years in the construction software business,” Barth explains. “There is even more maturity in it with all of the feedback we’ve received from customers. These issues are baked into the solution already, so customers can make InEight work on their own and do what they need to with it.”

The Future is Data

Never wanting to rest on its laurels, InEight has already started to look ahead to the next data-driven trends that will shape the construction industry –  artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and predictive analytics. 

To that end, the company has recently invested in its planning and scheduling tool to add AI functionality and leverage knowledge-driven machine learning to create more realistic and achievable project plans and schedules.

The AI capabilities assist and guide planners through the process of building a project plan, while the software uses insights and learnings from prior projects to make informed suggestions. 

“Our customers had been asking us to help them transform the planning and scheduling process since it has such a direct impact on their ability to deliver capital projects on time and on budget,” Macholtz explains. He adds that InEight sees data “having a tremendous impact on the future of the industry, and we’ve been working tirelessly to bring new solutions to our customers that take advantage of these new possibilities.” 


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