There are a lot of vendors that talk a big game, but when you play their game they change the rules of the game and it never turns out well. In case after case, we see these vendors getting bigger and bigger, more controlling, less flexible, more threatening, and certainly, more costly. In the end, bigger isn’t always better. For former Viewpoint CEO Jay Haladay bigger proved to be better and certainly helped move his company right where he wanted it to be as he set the stage for his ultimate swan song. Yes, the very vocal—and somewhat in your face—CEO announced his retirement slightly sooner than perhaps even he had anticipated. In fact, once he came to the personal decision he was resolute in turning over the reins slightly over a week ago, shocking his board and the industry with his resignation.
Prior to his announcement, Haladay had maintained the same frenetic pace as the construction industry for the past five to six years. Now as the construction industry begins to reboot and rebuild he can take a little R&R (rest and relaxation) with his wife Renee on a beach in Hawaii.
During his tenure the gregarious former head honcho is the first to boast about the acquisitions that helped to make Viewpoint the strong tech company it is today. He says the company is now 800 employees strong, with a much broader swath of product capabilities, and a host of product solutions. He adds when Bain, Viewpoint’s investment firm, bores into each one of the individual products there might not be quite as much on an individual product basis as one might see in the future, but across the expanse of its products Viewpoint is in a very good position to do many things.
As we have already witnessed, Haladay proved to be very aggressive in gobbling up many lesser performing software companies, creating a construction-tech empire. In fact, during the past couple of years Viewpoint grew its customer base significantly through acquisitions.
Consultant Christian Burger says Haladay’s efforts helped to make Viewpoint the leading ERP (enterprise resource planning) company in its space. However, without Haladay, Bain will be challenged in assembling all the parts and pieces of the many companies the flamboyant CEO has acquired during the past couple of years. Thus, whoever takes the helm will have to be masterful at merging companies into the fold.
If you have been an observer of the construction industry you undoubtedly agree the past two years have been very good for dealmakers who followed a repeatable model and it looks like this trend will continue in the months ahead. This can prove very successful if a company gains access to new markets, fresh ideas, and increased innovation. However, being a masterful buyer of companies and translating that into shareholder profits doesn’t necessarily translate into tech partner.
Some might say Haladay’s decision to step down now leaves the construction technology marketplace wide open for yet another firm to seek dominance in the M&A (merger and acquisition) race. Some real contenders who have proven they have the commitment to lead the pack are Explorer Software, Textura, Trimble, and Bentley, just to name a few. All of these firms have already shown significant leadership in the construction marketplace. However, other industry observers say the existing management team within Viewpoint is very strong and will continue to champion what Haladay started and will be very successful at blending all the parts and pieces of the acquired companies.
Only time will tell, but Haladay plans to observe from his board seat as he continues to have a big investment in the financial health and future of Viewpoint. Although his voice might not be as loud, his commitment to seeing the company thrive has not wavered.
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