Published June 22, 2023 . 5 mins read

Why ProNovos makes more sense for contractors than Power BI

For construction contractors looking to evolve their tech stack, what’s the difference between ProNovos and Power BI?

Let’s start at a high level.

Over the past decade, ProNovos has teamed with construction CEOs, accounting managers, IT departments, construction-management academics, CFMA members and CPA firms to create, refine and deliver financial workflows, analytics dashboards and project-management tools that meet contractors’ specific needs.

Power BI is a general business-intelligence tool for companies in any industry.

There’s no doubt that Power BI, which is backed by Microsoft, is nifty software for creating data visualizations. However, some analysts point to general limitations of the tool, such as its excessive complexity, bulky UI, data-sharing constraints, and more.

In addition, construction contractors should keep in mind some specific limitations of Power BI. For example, it wasn’t designed to do things like help your teams share drawings, RFIs and submittals; automate WIP reporting, revenue projections and other workflows; or give you construction-specific dashboards populated with data from Foundation, Sage or Viewpoint.

Projected Final Cost in ProNovos

Our financial workflows, for example, allow you to hit the ground running with automated approaches to projected final costs, revenue forecasting, the work-in-process report, cash-flow forecasting, payment collection, and change-order requests. You can act on these insights and, in real time, see the effects filter through your reporting process.

Analytics Marketplace

ProNovos users have fast and easy access to our Analytics Marketplace, which is like an “app store” for the construction industry. You’ll find off-the-shelf tools for gauging project health, managing labor, analyzing billings, tracking job costs and much more.

On top of that, ProNovos lives in the cloud. That means you don’t have to install and update BI software across multiple users.

So why do contractors even want to compare the two programs?

“It’s difficult if not impossible to make timely decisions when looking in a rearview mirror,” Orr said. “Our new tool for revenue forecasting in construction gives you information that you can act on with confidence.”

Well-executed construction financial forecasting allows contractors to hit their targets by putting in place the right bonding capacity, field and office teams, and equipment and other resources. “It’s about making sure your organization is structured and set up to meet your financial objectives for the year,” said Kevin Bright, ProNovos Product Manager.

The webinar snippets below highlight different approaches to revenue forecasting in construction, and how to gain an edge with the new ProNovos tool.

Probably it’s because creating data visualizations is common to both. To get a sense of what data visualizations look like on the ProNovos side, check out some of our many videos, including recent webinars showing ProNovos in action.

Broadly speaking, our advantages over Power BI include:

  • quicker time-to-value or time-to-insight
  • user-specific dashboards (PMs, Execs, Controllers)
  • stronger data governance (controlling who sees what)
  • superior user interface/data visualization
  • advanced drill-down capabilities
  • easy ways to customize and/or build reports (vs. hiring a consultant)

The user interface for the mobile app is super simple. You don’t have to have training to figure it out. You download it and login. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

Bruce Orr
CEO at ProNovos

Phyllis Dyer, CFO of Glendale, Arizona-based Industrial Power Solutions, notes in a case study that our mobile app is geared specifically toward field personnel, giving them just the information they need to do their jobs more effectively. “The user interface for the mobile app is super simple,” Dyer noted. “You don’t have to have training to figure it out. You download it and login. It’s pretty self-explanatory.”

In addition, the data visualizations that ProNovos automatically generates make it easier for PMs to grasp what’s happening with otherwise-tricky concepts like over- and under-billings. “They have gained a better understanding of how over- and under-billing works,” Dyer said. “They don’t have to do anything but open the dashboard. As a result, they’re focusing on it more.”

The user interface for the mobile app is super simple. You don’t have to have training to figure it out. You download it and login. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

Phyllis Dyer
CFO at Industrial Power Solutions

Cost Benefits

In addition to the considerations above, contractors should also take into account the total cost of ownership of any software solutions they adopt. In this domain, too, there are some important differences between Power BI and ProNovos.

Total cost of ownership is more than just the sticker price. You have to factor in what it costs in money, time and effort to build your data models, train new users, consult with tech support, and modify the system as your contracting firm evolves.

Clearly, if a contractor has to mold a platform from scratch to the specific needs of the construction business, the odds are higher that it will be a more labor- and time-consuming project. Focused on construction, ProNovos has done this work upfront. If you want to, say, gauge the bandwidth of an individual project superintendent, run a backlog analysis, or bolster the efficiency of your estimating process, we’ve got you covered.

It’s why many construction contractors find that ProNovos offers a lower total cost of ownership. We’re also hearing from them that it’s the best option for their long-term strategy.

Desktop App vs. ProNovos

With Power BI, publishing data requires the installation of a desktop tool that can create some headaches. At ProNovos, we find that contractors prefer the ease and simplicity of 100-percent web-based applications. That way, they don’t have to deal with keeping software up to date as versions change. This is especially important for companies that have “locked down” their desktops. In such cases, installing and updating desktop applications requires time-consuming IT workarounds.

ProNovos: Construction Expertise and High-Touch Service

Tech giants are not in the business of serving you individually. It takes a considerable degree of technical knowledge to tie Power BI into your systems and publish data at a frequent cadence. Alternately, you would need to have dedicated personnel to extract that data from your accounting system and import it for reporting to your stakeholders.

ProNovos, by contrast, is all about high-touch service. We have extensive experience in the application of data analytics in construction. We work closely with contractors every day on their data needs related to estimating, payroll, budgets, job-closeouts, equipment-management, PM performance, over- and under-billing, and much more. We also understand the quirks, limitations and strengths of a wide array of construction accounting and other applications, including Procore, Foundation, Viewpoint Vista and B2W.

Cassie Farley, Financial Services Manager for Root Integrated Systems, praised our customer service in a recent case study. “Garrett and Kevin have helped me at every step,” she said. “They have always been receptive to my questions. Even if Garrett doesn’t know the answer immediately, he will get back to me quickly to say, ‘Hey, I’m looking into this,’ which has been very helpful.”

With ProNovos, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel—or wait for a response to the support ticket you filed with a chatbot three days ago.