The global construction industry is experiencing new opportunities in the last few decades and has no choice but to adopt to innovation and technologies for sustaining business profits. Most construction projects experience cost overruns resulting in significant impact on the national economy growth. Businesses are realising the need of the moment and looking for integrated solutions to handle the financial pressure.
Business is practical philosophy at work
Jonas Construction Software helps to protect the profits of construction and services businesses by providing an all-in-one, integrated software solution. This integrated solution increases operational efficiency between the field and back office. Because operational and financial data immediately flow through this integrated system, clients can use the most current and accurate financial and WIP reporting to make informed decisions to mitigate risks and improve their profitability. With a mission to empower clients to know the true state of their costs for any project or service contract at any given moment, the company provides unique construction accounting software for construction and service businesses that is fully integrated with service management software and project management solutions. Neil Ashizawa, Chief Product Officer of Jonas Construction Software was with the CEOViews team to share details on how they are helping their clients make informed business decisions to improve their profitability and operational efficiency.
CEOViews: Jonas Construction Software develops integrated software that changes the way construction businesses operate through cutting-edge technology and delivering true value to customers. How did it all begin? What was your mission at the outset?
Neil Ashizawa: It all began about 3 decades ago when Jonas Construction realized, with the proper software solution, a more effective way to perform accounting for construction businesses could be a reality and can provide tremendous power to the construction marketplace. That is when, we built a solution that improved upon “general accounting solutions” and “manual accounting practices” by automating the accounting of labor, materials, equipment and subcontracts. In doing so, we helped construction businesses gain much more efficiency and accuracy with their project accounting by automating their manual accounting practices and reducing the chances for human error.
CEOViews: Can you explicate in brief about the software solutions your firm provides?
Neil Ashizawa: Initially we launched an accounting software solution built specifically for construction businesses, but our journey led us to subsequently build solutions for service management, reporting and analytics. We also leveraged mobile and cloud technologies to enhance the power of our software for our clients, extending accounting automation to the field. In doing so, we now help field personnel using mobile devices with their onsite operational efficiency while increasing the entire company’s efficiency as well. We call this “siloed” and “enterprise” operational efficiency, respectively.
CEOViews: What are the different innovative aspects of your firm? Can you give us a little briefing about them?
Neil Ashizawa: To ensure we are helping our clients and prospects in the most effective manner, we have a unique and innovative way we analyse our standing in the marketplace, the marketplace’s ever-shifting dynamics and the competitive landscape. We under- stand that our solutions and strategies directly affect the market- place’s demographics, economics and politics. We also understand that the marketplace’s dynamics directly affect our solutions and strategies. So, there is a reciprocal relationship between us, our competitors and the marketplace which helps us to establish and prioritize what we bring to market, and when we bring them. And, of course, the solutions we do bring to market must have competitive marginal utilities, which is of utmost importance.
CEOViews: How does Jonas Construction Software deal with the need for software solutions for different types of industries so efficiently?
Neil Ashizawa: We efficiently provide software solutions for different types of construction industries, such as the vast sub-verticals of mechanical or specialty contractors by focusing on their business concerns. Our clients, who may reside in various sub-verticals of the subcontract construction business industry, all share concerns regarding operational efficiency, effective reporting and protecting profits for their job projects, maintenance agreements and single work orders. So, as long as we continue to focus on helping them with these fundamental business concerns, our solutions tend to help a majority construction subcontracting businesses.
CEOViews: How you maintain the standards of your software quality?
Neil Ashizawa: The standards we hold for our software’s quality is very high. What’s important to understand are the thoughts, actions and intentions of how we accomplish this. The first thing we under- stand is the nature of software makes zero-defects impossible to attain; but that doesn’t stop us from trying to achieve this standard. We are in constant “learning mode” every time we release a new software. We perform retrospectives to assess how we can be more effective. We also assign accountability within the team and try new actions to improve quality. Ultimately, the key is to have the right teammates all collaborating and helping each other to push our quality standards as high as possible. It’s a never-ending challenge that we gravitate towards.
CEOViews: What upcoming market trends do you predict in your industry? How do you manage to stay updated to meet the dynamic market demand?
Neil Ashizawa: We stay updated on our industry trends by researching the construction market, speaking with prospects and clients, and constantly and effectively communicating with all other teammates within Jonas, i.e., Sales, Marketing, Professional Services, Account Management and Support. Today’s marketplace is too rapidly moving, technologically advanced, operationally complex and globally competitive for one team to be able to effectively anticipate market trends. It requires the entire company communicating and coordinating action with each other to effectively anticipate market trends.
CEOViews: What methods does your firm implement to progress towards the business goals?
The standards we hold for our software’s quality is very high. What’s important to understand are the thoughts, actions and intentions of how we accomplish this.
Neil Ashizawa: We identify the business concerns of the market- place, build the solutions and services, that include competitive marginal utilities, to help the market take care of those concerns and then offer help in the form of sales and marketing. When we offer help, we explain our solutions and their marginal utilities. When the marketplace accepts our offers of help by becoming clients, we know we are progressing towards our business goals.
We don’t tell our staff to ‘think creatively’; rather it’s a by-product of collaborating as a team with the right teammates.
CEOViews: How do you foster creative and innovative thinking? Can you disclose to us some basic things that according to you, help in the process of innovation of a company?
Neil Ashizawa: Fostering a creative and innovative team is the result of everyone working together as one team, while individually growing careers. You see, every teammate has their own knowledge and artistry that all other teammates rely upon to achieve the team’s ultimate objectives. So, everyone is an essential and valuable part of the team and is expected to think creatively and innovatively. Put another way, we don’t tell everyone to “think creatively”; rather it’s a by-product of collaborating as a team with the right teammates.
CEOViews: What type of working culture do you maintain in your firm? What does it take to build a great team?
Neil Ashizawa: To build a great team requires everyone to have the knowledge about the strategic objectives of the business, the responsibilities and the tactics we all must fulfill to attain these objectives and the desire to help each other as a collective team. What it takes to build a great team is to select the right teammates. As mentioned earlier, the marketplace is very competitive. To compete successfully requires everyone collaborating and helping each other to fulfill our business objectives. That also means the right teammates are passionate about the future, ambitious about their careers and excited for all there is to learn.
CEOViews: What challenges did your company face to build software solutions for clients and their array of business concerns?
Neil Ashizawa: Building software is a never-ending series of cascading challenges. The fundamental source of most challenges is the desire to build solutions for so many of our clients and their array of business concerns, but not being able to build them all right away. So, we must be very strategic in the order in which we build our software/ services solutions and when we bring them to market. That is, for every solution we build to help our clients, the solution sets the launching point to build the next solution. This relationship makes it very important to build solutions in proper order at proper time-to-market.
CEOViews: What type of future vision do you have for your firm?
Neil Ashizawa: If we continue to build our software solutions to empower our clients to increase operational efficiency, make effective business decisions and protect profits, there is technological innovation we can bring to the market to help our clients even more. I won’t go into the specifics as they are part of our future vision that we cannot wait to launch.
CEOViews: What according to you are the most important habits that should be followed by peers in your industry to run their firms?
Neil Ashizawa: One of my mentors explained to me that, “business is practical philosophy at work.” I am constantly formulating new practical philosophies or augmenting existing practical philosophies to continually improve the effectiveness of my thoughts and actions. This is a habit everyone should follow.