What will your technology infrastructure look like in the next few years? As the construction industry looks towards a rebound on the horizon, more contractors will be in the position to make the necessary adjustments to their organizations that will help them move forward. Very much central to those plans is information technology.
Viewpoint Construction Software, www.viewpointcs.com, Portland, Ore., is one company that wants to be among the technology providers that set the tone for the market in the coming years. The enterprise technology vendor has made some subtle shifts lately that position its product to be at the center of more construction companies’ IT strategy. That progression continues today with the announcement that it will acquire enterprise content management technology provider Construction Imaging, www.construction-imaging.com, Rocky Mount, N.C.
Perhaps no other technology has been more in demand within construction as of late as content management (also known as document management). While Viewpoint offered its own document management technology, it is clear that the application-specific expertise displayed by the Construction Imaging team was hard to ignore.
This will add to an already robust set of solutions. Built on the .NET platform, Viewpoint V6 is on its latest version, 6.4, which includes new features for project management, preconstruction, and business intelligence. Viewpoint followed that up with this year’s announcement of the launch of Work Order Management, kicking off the company’s Service Management Suite.
In a conversation with Constructech, Jay Haladay, CEO, Viewpoint Construction Software, says enterprise content-management technology ranks very high in terms of what contractors want to adopt because they see the productivity gains. He says, “As our product gets broader and deeper, it’s harder and harder for us to necessarily carve a way for some of our talent that’s working on our existing product to do new strategic things. So, as a result, you find acquisitions like this that make a lot of sense.”
With the products from Viewpoint and Construction Imaging already tightly integrated, it’s a logical next step to bring the two companies under one roof. Currently the two companies have 20 shared customers, according to Haladay. Viewpoint has aligned the Construction Imaging team with the management at Viewpoint already. Additionally, Viewpoint plans to offer the solution as a standalone product that can be interfaced with other construction accounting and project-management solutions, as well as an integrated solution with Viewpoint’s V6 suite.
“Construction Imaging’s product is an equal branding to our V6 product. It has a nice development roadmap. … Our support and implementation and development resources are blending with the Construction Imaging resources,” explains Haladay.
Focusing on a bigger trend in the construction industry today, Haladay continues, “The reality is … the whole concept of document and data is merging … you have to think of them conceptually as the same thing. So that way as people are mobile and have access to that anywhere, it doesn’t matter if that is document or data, you want to make that information available to them in any form that they want to consume it in.”
The move to acquire Construction Imaging seemingly positions Viewpoint to further capitalize on its growing marketshare. According to the company, Q1 2012 growth is 78% higher than the same period last year; new customer counts through September 2011 equaled the total number of customers for all 2010; and nearly 25% of the ENR400 use Viewpoint V6 as its construction ERP solution.
But it’s not just the big companies that are turning to Viewpoint. Haladay touts it has grown rapidly across a diverse segment of contractors. “We have some contractors that do $7 million revenue and some that do $7 billion revenue … For people that aren’t using our software today, they have to look at the technology (and functionality) … and what I think really surprises people is it is not as hard as most people think to go from one product to another.
“The market will rebound, but even before it rebounds there are huge changes contractors can make by using contemporary construction-specific software,” says Haladay.
Such momentum, coupled with this acquisition, might very well put a few of the traditional enterprise vendors on notice in construction. When the market does indeed turn, might we see a changing of the guard, so to speak, when it comes to enterprise technology? Could vendors that provide older systems that are not on contemporary platforms, or those that are simply trying to put a facelift on existing systems, find themselves on the outside looking in?
What can the construction industry expect to see from Viewpoint going forward? Time will tell, but Haladay hints the organization has a five-year strategic road map and plans to continue to grow its offering both organically and inorganically.