– 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.