I have a particular fondness for lists. They allow me to consider multiple aspects of a problem and help me make decisions. So I present to you my list of the top eight topics that should factor into your decision-making process when you’re evaluating a payment management solution.
Over the past couple of years I’ve interviewed many Oracle Textura customers. From their stories, I’ve found that these are the issues they care about and why they trust Oracle Textura to help address them.
In this first blog of a series, I’ll summarize each issue and why it’s important, then give you a link to a customer blog so Oracle Textura customers can speak directly to you, one builder to another, and I’ll get out of the way. In future blogs, I’ll explore in more detail each of the eight topics. Hope you enjoy this one, and the series to come.
Yes, the solution you choose should do payment management very well, but in this day and age, I can’t imagine any builder who would not put reliability, security, scalability, and performance at the top of the list right alongside workflows, invoicing, compliance, disbursement, and all the rest. A wrong decision means the solution won’t scale when you need it to support your business’ growth strategy. It means worrying about potential data or payment security. With Oracle Textura, part of the Oracle Smart Construction Platform, you get Oracle’s world-class technology stack, database, infrastructure, and security. Plus the peace of mind that comes from knowing Oracle Textura, backed by the power of Oracle, has been reliably delivering this service at scale for years as evidenced by our latest run rate of more than $11.5 billion in payments processed every month, and over 1.1 million individual ACH payments in the last 12 months alone.
As Doug Myers, executive vice president and chief information officer at Suffolk, says:
“Partnering with Oracle Textura Payment Management and integrating the technology into our ecosystem was one of the more important steps we have taken in recent years to bolster our security capabilities."
Recruiting and retaining talented employees is as much a challenge in your back office as it is in the field. Hiring ever more accounting staff to manage an increasing number of monthly payments and related lien waivers, statutory declarations, and compliance requirements is an expensive and time-consuming process. Worse, when your skillful accounting and project management staff are stuck with the drudgery of the paper chase job satisfaction and happiness drop and turnover shoots up. People want to work where they can dig into value-added activities that make them successful and strengthen the business. With the boost in efficiency customers get from using Oracle Textura, teams are far more productive and can support a rapidly growing volume of business without proportionally hiring.
As Sarah Murray, vice president at Wood Partners says:
“The only way we could manage this kind of volume of business is with the Oracle Textura automation in place. What tells me we made the right decision is that while our business has grown substantially in the past seven years, the size of our accounts payable department has stayed the same.”
With construction payments comes the need to manage lien waivers and ensure compliance requirements and prompt payment deadlines are met. With Oracle Textura, customers like you reduce risk with automated compliance workflows, secure document and lien waiver collection, and strong governance and controls around one of your core financial functions.
Dave Jolin, chief financial officer at Commodore Builders, says:
“With Oracle Textura, subcontractors can’t bill for changes that weren’t approved, and there won’t be any misplaced lien waivers. What our customers see is that we have excellent control of a very important process. That puts their mind at ease,” he says. “It’s their name on the building and they trust us to mitigate their exposure.”
In commercial construction cash is king. Yet subcontractors provide cash upfront to pay for labor and materials before they’re paid by the general contractor for work performed. In a pay-when-paid or even a pay-if-paid situation, that payment can take weeks to come through. Meanwhile, subcontractors need to meet payroll, buy materials, and invest in their business. Oracle Textura gets rid of the time-consuming and inefficient manual process by simplifying and automating processes for invoicing, approvals, compliance and lien waiver management, and disbursement. This already reduces payment times, as evidenced by the quote from GW Real Estate. Plus, general contractors who wish to offer early payments can use the optional Textura Payment Accelerator to run those programs using existing invoicing and payment workflows, so subcontractors receives payments even faster, and with timing certainty.
As Chris Danner, senior project manager at GW Real Estate says:
“What automatically makes subcontractors’ eyes pop open is telling them that with Oracle Textura they’re going to get paid up to a week ahead of what they’d typically expect. They’re really excited when they hear that.”
I can only offer anecdotal evidence, but customers tell me that a lot of the time, disputes come from miscommunication. Something as simple as an overlooked email, a forgotten insurance certificate, or a mistake on a lien waiver can grow into a problem if communication is lacking. If that miscommunication results in a problem with the payment, it can lead at the least to friction, mistrusts, disputes, and sometimes litigation. No one wants that. With everyone using a single collaboration platform, owners, general contractors, and subcontractors have full visibility into compliance and payment status and can identify and fix potential issues before they become problems. Everyone is always on the same page with no discrepancies between where the subs think they are versus where the GC thinks they are in terms of billing, approvals, compliance, and payments. That keeps the payments process smooth and fast, and your reputation as a trusted builder grows.
Adam Nickerson, chief financial officer at Alston Construction says:
“I’ve never had a subcontractor say it (using Oracle Textura) wasn’t well worth it. Once they see how much easier it is for them to complete the pay application, and how fast they get paid, they’re great with it. Plus, when they’re bidding on a project and they’ve got a GC that pays slow and a GC that pays fast, the one that pays fast gets a better number and a better service.”
As with any business process, payment management produces and stores a lot of data which you use regularly to run your business. You might be tracking lien waiver status, or looking at payments ready for disbursement, supplier tracking, or compliance status. Or you’re analyzing invoices pending approval, average days to approve and pay invoices. Or you’re looking at draw performance: are you hitting your target of less than 45 days to pay. Perhaps you want to improve your cost forecasting by using data around unapproved invoices. Whatever your use case, the solution you choose should give you the reports, dashboards, and data that will provide the insights you need to make better decisions and take action. Oracle Textura provides those reports (over 90 pre-defined), extensive project and portfolio dashboards and analytics, and access to the data itself via data services.
As Emily McFarlin, BI analyst at Evans General Contractors, says:
“I estimate that because of the easy access to the data that our BI tool has through Oracle Textura Data Services, I’m saving about five hours a week by no longer having to manually blend and scrub data in Excel.”
Mistakes happen in a manual process. Data is keyed in wrong; numbers are fat-fingered in a spreadsheet, so the total is off. The amount billed is more than what’s allowed because an approved change order didn’t get added. The client’s name is wrong. Sum up the time and hassle to fix each of those errors and they add up to something meaningful.
Because Oracle Textura streamlines and automates the entire process, math mistakes and errors due to manual data entry mistakes are gone. Eliminate redundant double data entry and automate the transfer of critical financial data between Oracle Textura and the most popular accounting solutions.
Sarah Dowd, operations manager at McShane Construction, says:
“Oracle Textura gives us an edge when bidding projects against other contractors who don’t use the system and do manual billings. It gives the owners peace of mind that the pay app is correct the first time and saves them from lengthy verification processes.”
To get value from any solution, it must be adopted and used, preferably quickly. A big part of software adoption is how smooth the implementation goes and how well supported you are throughout the process. Oracle Textura is committed to providing an exceptional customer experience and rapid return on your investment through tailored, relevant services for the entire duration of your customer journey. The client services team works with each customer every step of the way, from business process mapping to unlimited training, to phone support in English, French, and Spanish, to in-app support chat.
Jason Humphreys, CEO, Four Peaks Building Group says:
“Oracle Textura made it easy for us to start a company. It was in our business development plan and was one of the first products we wanted. It’s so well structured, it’s tried and true, it's cost effective, and it pays for itself instantly.”
The Oracle Smart Construction Platform combines our industry-trusted applications with a common data environment and an ecosystem of partners to help owners and delivery teams work together and continuously improve performance. The platform connects teams and data, synchronizes work, and empowers individuals to make informed, proactive decisions. Power performance with proven Oracle Construction and Engineering solutions for scheduling, portfolio management, construction project management, project controls, construction payment management, and more.
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Lucie is an experienced technology marketing professional with a current focus on payment and cost-related products in Oracle's construction and engineering global business unit. At Oracle, her work in product marketing is centered on customer engagement and creating the right content to support our customers.
She has over 20 years experience in engineering, product management, marketing, project management, and sales. She holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, from McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and can be found most nights at the dance studio, prepping for her next ballroom competition.