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Construction Imaging

Viewpoint booth at World of Concrete, 2014I was recently reading the 2014 Market Survey completed by FMI Corporation and while a lot of the survey confirmed most of what we already knew, aging population is driving healthcare cost and in 2014 we will see a rise in the economy with cautious optimism, it also emphasized the need for contractors to strategize more than ever on how they can build a competitive edge. That is more than just looking at how to win bids, but rather how the business is going to drive profitability with each project, often by looking at organic growth through joint ventures, P3s and acquisitions.

With many of the industry’s largest tradeshow events like World of Concrete and ConExpo, taking place during the first part of the year, these events become a mecca for new products and technologies built specifically to help contractors stay competitive and increase profits among other initiatives. In fact, many of the exhibiting organizations use these events to launch new products and services for contractors. We were no different, as we launched our BIM Manager App for the Viewpoint For Project Collaboration solution at World of Concrete this past week. It was exciting to discover that this exceptional collaboration product was of great interest to most of the contractors that visited our booth.

World of Concrete 2014I was fortunate to attend World of Concrete despite the speculation going into this year’s event , that it would be sparsely attended compared to years past due to the fact that ConExpo, an event that only occurs every three years, is approaching in March and contractors may choose to attend that event instead. To add to the possible attendance woes, the eastern part of the country was experiencing a snow storm impeding travel all over the country. Speculations were valid, but glad to see that this ended up not being the case! After all, who wouldn’t want to get away from the cold weather and head to sunny and somewhat warm Vegas for the week! One area of the world that really seems to get the concept of organic growth through P3 partnership is Canada and we were excited to see so many of our Canadian contractors at the show. The major trend that we saw is that contractors are really looking at best of breed technology that can solve their specific needs, while having the ability to integrate to other best of breed technology already in place. World of Concrete 2014This means looking at standalone applications like Enterprise Content Management, Mobile Field Applications and Project Collaboration. As contractors look at their business and determine their initiatives for the year, they begin to evaluate whether core technology, such as accounting, will get them where they ultimately want to go. A lot of the contractors that I had the opportunity to speak with were less concerned about today, but rather more concerned about tomorrow and how their systems are going to be able to handle serving their long term needs. I’m noticing that as more contractors heed the advice of organizations like FMI and strive to stay competitive through joint ventures and partnerships, technologies like project collaboration become even more important.

Overall, it was a great show and exemplifies that 2014 will be a year where contractors will be working smarter to gain profitability.
Learn more on how Viewpoint can help at www.viewpointcs.com/solutions.

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– Jay Haladay, CEO of Viewpoint Construction Software

Growth is a funny thing.  In the software industry, if you don’t have enough growth, it’s hard to make the investments in products and services to support your market’s requirements.  On the other hand, too much unplanned growth can lead to growing pains -some severe, some easily solved.  Most of you know, Viewpoint has grown over the past 5-7 years.  Let me share why I think we are growing at a proper pace, and for the right reasons.

In the middle part of the last decade, I saw some disconcerting trends with construction specific software.  Product features were not moving forward to meet industry needs; the products used poor base technology and customer support was declining.  Contractors were not getting their money’s worth from their technological investments, nor were they getting what they deserved.  We put a plan in place to make sure this didn’t happen to customers of Viewpoint.

We set about this journey in several ways.  First, the company took steps to make sure we preserved the best of Viewpoint’s customer and employee centric culture.  The management team was strengthened by providing leadership development for those already in the organization and by bringing in talented new team members.  Next, investments were made in our products, building on the robust Microsoft-based product we had designed from the ground up.  Investments were also made in our facilities and our infrastructure to support our employees and growing customer base.  Lastly, some strategic acquisitions brought both great software extensions to our products and construction knowledgeable employees into our organization (over 150 new team members in the last 16 months).

Recognizing that investments like these required capital, we went outside our traditional sources of investment capital and used the same tested methods used by almost every successful software business.  These investments have come from sources we vetted and trust, and are individuals who share our vision to become the most respected provider of software to the construction industry.  Not the largest, but the most respected.

Our growth has resulted from construction software users making a conscious choice.  The choice to move to Viewpoint includes robust construction specific software functionality and excellent after- the-sale service.  The metrics we use to measure our progress indicate that our investments in staffing are keeping ahead of customers’ service needs, and our 120+ developers continue to move our product forward, with over 100,000 man-hours of improvements to our software over the past 18 months.

We recently welcomed over 1,000 customers and partners to Portland for our annual user conference.  These customers were able to collaborate with Viewpoint team members and other customers with similar experiences.  We know we are not perfect, and our customers help us improve with their input and feedback on our products and services.  As a result of our commitment to collaboration, we hope we have grown to become the perfect construction technology partner.  It’s baked into our company culture.

What happens to companies that grow and keep their customers happy?  They have choices.  Those choices include how we fund Viewpoint’s future growth.  Could that be through an IPO?  Perhaps, many great companies have chosen that route.  There are other ways as well.  The result of these choices will provide the resources we need to help improve our products and services so that we can continue to serve our customers in a planned, responsible manner.

Any of us at Viewpoint would be happy to hear from you.

Sincerely,
Jay Haladay

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Ding! That’s sound of a new email in my inbox with a scanned image attached. That image was originally created in the ERP system, printed, then scanned and emailed to me. Catch my drift? We live in a world where content is everywhere and it comes in all shapes and sizes, everything from emails to video to instant messages.  So how do we manage all the content?

We are all faced with content chaos in one scenario or another. We have hundreds of photos out in shared folders with no structure or method to our madness or we have 10,000 emails piling up in our inboxes with no easy way to manage them. In construction, we have heard it over and over again, “we have no easy way to capture our content and bring it into one central location.” If I receive an email and that email is important enough to be considered “a business record”, how can we ensure that it’s being saved and stored in a location where it can be easily searched later? Have you ever tried to search for an email that you know you received, but can’t remember who it was from – yet you know a change order for job 1000 was mentioned? Or maybe it’s a photo being taken from a mobile device in the field regarding a safety incident on the jobsite. How do we ensure that a photo is properly stored as a business record and easily searchable from the job and/or the incident?

Enterprise Content Management or ECM is becoming a growing requirement for construction organizations.  We have shifted from the traditional document management systems to enterprise wide content management, where the information assets are no longer originating only in paper form. Enterprise wide content management requires that the ECM system be able to integrate with ALL of our important business applications in order to truly become that single silo for content storage and access. I challenge you to count your content silos. Most construction organizations are supporting and maintaining at least 3 content silos today and that’s being conservative. Outlook, Shared Drives, hard copy files, ERP, Project Management, SharePoint and the list goes on.

As construction organizations position themselves for growth in this new economy, they continue looking for more ways to be productive. This means taking on more jobs with less or the same amount of resources.  ECM is one of the leading and most reliable technologies that organizations are considering.  Process efficiency and the ability to access content easily with anywhere access is crucial as more and more contractors continue to diversify in their work and expand their geographic footprint. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Lost time is never found.”  Having content at your fingerprints in a matter of seconds with technology like full text search, outlook integration and shared drive integration prove to be essential tools for your efficiency toolbox, ensuring that the organization’s ever increasing content is turned from chaos to structure.

As I personally reflect on the content chaos with my own information silos (Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Dropbox) I think to myself, I could really use an ECM solution to centralize my content. I mean, would it not be great to have one place to go to save all of this content and have it integrate with all of my other accounts? Contractors luckily no longer have to sit on the ECM bench; they can get in the game today.

Amy Green is a Vertical Marketing Manager with Viewpoint Construction Software and is an Enterprise Content Management Practitioner through the Association of Imaging and Information Management, AIIM. Amy has over 8 years of experience working in the ECM space for Construction, helping contractors see the benefits within their organizations for ECM and Business Process Automation.

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