Mar 03 2015

For Level 3 BIM, read Digital Built Britain

DBB-Level 3 coverLast week saw the “launch” of Digital Built Britain, the preferred branding for the UK’s Level 3 Building Information Modelling (BIM) programme. The work is apparently intended to “build on the standards and savings delivered by the BIM level 2 initiative which has been central to the £840M savings achieved on central public spend in 2013/14,” and core to this is a new strategic plan.

(Unless I missed something, it was an oddly low-key launch for a document that is intended to continue the BIM transformation process – did it get overrun by the push towards a UK General Election in May?).

Open Data

The report says the UK wants to make fully computerised construction the norm, ensure that the benefits of these technologies are felt across the UK, and support the export of these technologies and the services based on them. A new round of investment will “enable us to continue and extend the work that began in 2011″ with funding enabling:

  • the creation of a set of new, international ‘Open Data’ standards which would pave the way for easy sharing of data across the entire market
  • the establishment of a new contractual framework for projects which have been procured with BIM to ensure consistency, avoid confusion and encourage, open, collaborative working (‘collaboration’ is mentioned 20 times in the report, ‘collaborative’ is used 16 times; together, as they should, these outnumber the 33 mentions of ‘technology’).
  • the creation of a cultural environment which is co-operative, seeks to learn and share
  • training the public sector client in the use of BIM techniques such as, data requirements, operational methods and contractual processes
  • driving domestic and international growth and jobs in technology and construction

Social media

On a first read, I was also struck by an explicit endorsement (p.25) of the value of social media (mentioned six times, more than ‘software’) in the report, and the talk of toolkits:

Normal lay users are mostly conversant with applications such as email and social media, both of which perform complex processes, yet manage to present the user with clear simple interfaces. Our aim must be to present the day to day user with useful easy to consume and interact with information and knowledge.

With an industry so keen to enable collaboration of diverse people, the uptake of social media in the supply chain has been relatively slow. Where uptake has taken place it has been with tools such as LinkedIn which have a more business focus. Lessons should be learnt from this and the patterns of social media uptake to create an appropriate toolkit to encourage very wide adoption and usage.

I have bemoaned the lack of social-savvy approaches to collaboration for some years, and finally it seems others share my views.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2015/03/for-level-3-bim-read-digital-built-britain/

Mar 02 2015

Rapiere to launch at Ecobuild

Rapiere screen grabUK-based Rapiere’s cloud-hosted software “calculates embodied carbon, whole-life energy use, and creates live cost models and comparisons”

Rapiere, “a unique system designed by the industry for the industry and [representing] the next generation carbon, energy and cost modelling platform for the built environment which runs in the cloud” is being launched at this week’s Ecobuild exhibition in London, 3-5 March 2015.

The email I received mentions the involvement of Architype, Chapman BDSP, GreenSpace Live and the Sweett Group. The product will be demonstrated on stand N7011 and there are also two presentation sessions scheduled for Wednesday 4 March (potential attendees are urged to email sales@rapiere.net).

Information about the system on the website is currently sparse (Update [3 March 2015] – more information is now available on the website); Architype’s website gives a little more background. The current one-page Rapiere website says:

Rapiere Software came out of a research project. Designed by the AEC industry for the industry, it is the only next-generation, early design stage, BIM compatible solution that simultaneously performs cost, energy and carbon analysis in the cloud.

rapier logoSome readers may recall I mentioned Rapiere last year. Prior to the closure of SaaS construction collaboration Cadweb in July 2014, CEO Francis Newman was one of five founding directors of Rapiere Software, incorporated in October 2013, which was developing a web-based decision support tool for design of low impact buildings. Environmental issues have been a recurring theme for Francis; while at Cadweb, he devised the company’s ‘Football pitch’ reporting tools showing how much paper was being saved by using an online document collaboration system.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2015/03/rapiere-to-launch-at-ecobuild/

Mar 02 2015

KA’s Knowledge Management Survey

Chris Parsons, CEO and founder of US-based Knowledge Architecture, provider of AEC intranet solutions and organiser of the annual US conference, KA Connect (post) – 2015’s is in San Francisco in May – is running a knowledge management survey. He writes:

KA connectWe believe this survey is the first of its kind and is the logical next step in fulfilling KA Connect’s mission of “Advancing the Practice of Knowledge Management in the AEC Industry”.

The statistics from the survey will help AEC firms evaluate their use of knowledge management in comparison to peer firms and competitors, as well as implement new strategies for managing knowledge.

The survey will cover the following areas:

  1. Strategic Priorities for Knowledge Management
  2. Core Knowledge Management Processes
  3. Supporting Activities for Knowledge Management
  4. Knowledge Management Leadership
  5. Successes, Challenges, and the Year Ahead

You’ll be able to review your results in two ways:

  1. Personal Summary and Detail: See your responses with KM performance gaps highlighted.
  2. Benchmarking Summary: See side-by-side highlights of your responses and what others in the AEC industry said.

The deadline for participating is Friday, April 3, 2015.

Who should participate? Architecture, engineering, planning, or environmental consulting firms; construction contractors and construction managers; speciality AEC contractors and consultants.

The survey should be completed by the individual with the highest responsibility for knowledge management issues or any firm leader who can accurately answer questions about the firm’s KM priorities, processes, and people. And you do not need to be a Knowledge Architecture client or KA Connect attendee to participate.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2015/03/kas-knowledge-management-survey/

Feb 20 2015

A rosy Aconex financial update

Aconex logo 2014Aconex, which listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in December, has just reported results for the half-year to 30 December 2014. The Melbourne-based SaaS collaboration software business saw total revenues climb 19%, ahead of forecasts, to Au$38.1m (£19.4m or US$29.8m). The company was also ahead of break-even, reporting a Au$0.5m EBITDA, again ahead of its forecasts. Growth varied across regions: 14% in Australasia, 29% in the Americas, 37% in Asia, with EMEA the most sluggish at a, still encouraging, 13%.

CEO Leigh Jasper said:

Leigh Jasper“First half results showed how the Aconex unlimited collaboration model is driving the growth of our global user network. Owners and contractors delivering the world’s largest projects are increasingly trusting Aconex to provide project-wide information and process control for their project teams. Our key financial metrics of revenue and EBITDA for 1H FY15 exceeded our IPO prospectus forecast and confirmed our outlook for FY and CY 15. We saw continued strong growth and profitability in Australia, while further increasing our international revenues and rapidly improving our regional operating contribution. We’re successfully replicating our Australian operating model on a global scale, and we’ve launched new products to continue expanding market penetration worldwide. ”

Aconex shares closed at Au$1.92 on Friday, having spent all of February to date above Au$1.90, and the company’s cash position looks rosy after the IPO, with a balance of Au$25.8m. Updates (23, 24 February 2015) – Not surprisingly, its performance is pleasing analysts: in Aconex puts early runs on the boardFNArena‘s Eva Brocklehurst describes the positive response of Macquarie, for example, while the Herald Sun‘s John Beveridge rates Aconex a “buy”.

The numbers will make sobering reading for some of Aconex’s rivals, particularly those like McLaren Software whose revenues have hardly grown at all, while Aconex’s growth pushes it further ahead of others also claiming double-digit revenue growth. Still, it’s a big market, and even Aconex as the biggest specialist provider reckons overall market penetration for collaboration solutions is still only around 4%, so there’s still plenty of growth to come.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2015/02/a-rosy-aconex-financial-update/

Feb 18 2015

CodeBook getting a little SaaS-y

Surrey, UK-based software developer CodeBook International has started to offer cloud-based data hosting for its solutions, which complement most well-known BIM authoring applications.

A little CodeBook background

CodeBook logoCodeBook was founded in 1993 by architect Peter Mann who developed an application to help those involved in brief preparation, design, construction, fitting-out and operation of large, complex buildings to work with coordinated graphical and textual information. While CAD and BIM authoring tools are adept at managing graphical data, they are less efficient at managing non-graphical information and metadata, and CodeBook was devised to help project teams efficiently produce schedules, themed graphical views and room data sheets.

The company’s core database application has been widely used by UK, Australian and north American design firms engaged in healthcare and education projects, where the data management challenge requires client teams to coordinate vast quantities of information about the building and its fixtures, furnishings and equipment (CodeBook CEO Andy Hamer cites the example of a large hospital project comprising six buildings, 14,000 rooms, 500,000 items of equipment, 27,000 doors and 100,000 power outlets – over 50 million pieces of data!).

Room data collation and management

Codebook RDCAt Autodesk University 2014 in Las Vegas, CodeBook launched a new product, Room Data Collector, which is aimed at clients wanting to specify their needs at the level of individual rooms. CodeBook has long been used to manage room-level data (room data sheets), but RDC provides an initial tool to capture and collate that information (from existing documents, spreadsheets, photos, CAD images, sketches, etc) and store it in a centralised database rather than in, say, an Excel spreadsheet. (The RDC tool is currently a download but I am told a web-based edition is in development.)

The original core CodeBook Pro application, now named Project Room Data Manager, can then be used by teams to produce schedules, graphical views, room data sheets and BIM outputs. As an information repository and gateway, CodeBook RDM complements all the leading architectural and engineering design authoring tools. A change in one system can then be reflected across all systems relevant to a project, with information fully related, analysed for consistency, and synchronised, helping validate and maintain a ‘single version of the truth’.

And to complete the CodeBook toolset, Asset Data Collector allows users in the post-construction and pre handover phase to complete conformance and compliance programmes, do snagging, collect warranty, serial and asset numbers, and then synchronised this data with that already stored in the CodeBook Project Database for reuse in facilities management.

CodeBook ecosystem

CodeBook Cloud

CodeBook product linePreviously, CodeBook was a locally-hosted application sitting on a user’s computer, perhaps with a database behind the firewall of a designer’s IT system. With BIM placing increased emphasis on multi-company information sharing and collaboration, this was less than optimal, so the company now offers its own hosted instances of CodeBook Project Databases, freeing customers from having to procure, manage and maintain their own hardware and software

CodeBook offers a wide area network option for those still wishing to host the system in-house, and an option for customers wanting to use their own third-party hosting. But for those content to outsource the service to Codebook, the company offers Microsoft Azure hosted facilities. In each case, CodeBook Project Databases run on enterprise-strength SQL servers, helping customers achieve high levels of data security and multi-user access (particularly important when sharing federated models), and reducing database/BIM authoring integration issues. CodeBook also takes on responsibility for support and for maintaining adequate back-ups.

CEO Andy Hamer told me:

Andy Hamer“We believe our hybrid offering of Cloud-hosted data and desktop clients means users won’t sacrifice functionality. Hosting allows customers to take advantage of SQL’s superior performance (up to 75% faster than Access) but without the costs and hassles of buying servers, etc. The managed option is useful to clients working on federated workflows with multiple collaborators, and we have projects where teams are spread across different continents – all connected to the same CodeBook Project Databases.”

(Disclosure: CodeBook International was a pwcom.co.uk client between from mid-2011 to early 2013.)

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2015/02/codebook-getting-a-little-saas-y/

Feb 17 2015

No post-recession bounce for Idox EIM

McLaren SoftwareMcLaren-logo, the engineering information management (EIM) division of Berkshire, UK-based Idox plc, had a fairly flat financial performance in the year to 31 October 2014, according to Idox’s annual report and accounts published last month. McLaren’s EIM division is best-known in this blog as the provider of FusionLive (formerly CTSpace and, before that, BuildOnline – among several other brands), acquired from Sword by Idox in November 2011 (post).

Idox chairman Martin Brooks’s statement  notes EIM “only saw marginal growth in a challenging year in its global markets,” and “we have been challenged again by a fall in activity in the Oil & Gas sector”. CEO Richard Kellett-Clarke said the EIM division’s focus in 2014 had been on customer care and delivery of solutions, while the sales focus had shifted more towards the USA and an attempt to expand in infrastructure and utilities. EIM revenues grew 1% to £19.5m (2013: £19.2m), with 52% generated in the US (2013: 46%). The level of recurring revenues in the EIM business from maintenance and Software-as-a-Service (“SaaS”) were 49% (2013: 51%; no further information was given on the breakdown between maintenance and SaaS). Nonetheless, it remains profitable; EBITDA for the EIM division was flat at £4.4m (2013: £4.4m), with margins held at 23%.

The financial year also saw CEO Paul Muir exiting the business amid various personnel changes at McLaren (see my May 2014 blog post). It has sought to become more responsive to customers and focus on three key markets: on-premise engineering document management, Software-as-a-Service construction project collaboration, and facilities management (it acquired CAFM vendor, FMx, in October 2012).

But while other businesses in the SaaS construction sector have been enjoying post-recession double-digit growth – Conject UK reported 16% growth (September 2014); 4Projects reported 12% growth (October 2014) – it seems McLaren’s mixed portfolio of on-premise and SaaS solutions covering a more disparate range of markets has led to it falling even further behind. The energy also appears to have disappeared from McLaren’s BIM push: barely a mention of its BIM capabilities since October 2013.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2015/02/no-post-recession-bounce-for-idox-eim/

Feb 16 2015

think project! thinking BIM

Delivering BIM in the browser is now part of think project!‘s technology roadmap and it is on track to start its first BIM project in early 2015.

Thinkproject-logoLate last year, I had a long conversation with two executives from Munich, Germany’s think project! about its plans to augment its existing Software-as-a-Service collaboration capabilities with building information modelling (BIM) functions.

No German BIM mandate

For a business mainly supporting customers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Benelux countries, there isn’t the same push to deliver BIM functionality arising from a central government mandate like that in the UK (indeed, given the federal structure of government in Germany, imposing a central mandate across 16 separate administrations would be difficult, I was told).

Nonetheless, at the BAU exhibition in January 2015 (read BIM+ article), Germany’s federal minister of transport and digital infrastructure Alexander Dobrindt announced the creation of a “Digital Building Platform” [Platform Digitales Bauen], a group of industry-led organisations aiming to standardise process and device descriptions, develop guidelines for digital planning methods and provide sample contracts (similar to the UK’s BIM Task Group, it seems) – Update (23 February 2015) – “planen-bauen 4.0 GmbH” was launched last week, reports BuildingSmart, with Arup’s Ilka May (briefly a fellow member with me of the ICE’s Information Systems Panel, and knowledgeable about the UK BIM movement) appointed as CEO.

Thomas BachmaierMeanwhile, CEO Thomas Bachmaier (right) said the company planned to extend its collaborative capacity by adding a BIM solution to its “collaboration cloud”. The think project! strategy remains focused on a single core back-end system, but with multiple front-ends to suit different customer or end-user requirements, and BIM will be delivered through two new front-ends, he said.

Some customers are increasingly sharing 3D, 4D and 5D models on think project! for design coordination and construction control among disparate corporate divisions and project partners, Sven-Eric Schapke told me (he joined the company in early 2013 and had been leading its BIM development work since January 2014, having previously been involved with BIM research projects for 12 years).

Sven-Eric SchapkeThese customers were working on six out of eight pilot projects where BIM was being deployed to support new road or rail infrastructure work. Sven-Eric told me organisations (mainly contractors and trade associations) in these sectors had been voluntarily associating together to develop the industry’s understanding of BIM. It seems likely German businesses will adopt BIM once they have a detailed and thorough set of processes and a mature and reliable BIM “ecosystem” of technologies to support them and the people involved in delivering better whole-life built assets, he said, highlighting healthcare as a particularly progressive sector.

BIM in the collaboration cloud in 2015

BIM ImageThink project! will be incorporating BIM functionality into its technology stack in early 2015, and expects its first BIM project to start in Q2. We talked at some length about 4D (time) and 5D (cost) elements of project delivery, recognising the potential of BIM to enable time and cost-critical decisions to be made earlier in the design process and for these impacts to continue to be felt throughout the operational life-cycle of the built asset. The role of the “Collaboration Cloud” platform was therefore to support cross-enterprise collaboration, recognising that – particularly in the early days of a BIM project – there are likely to be multiple systems (including local file-based applications), partial models, and large numbers of unstructured text and graphic documents. Accordingly, the BIM tools in this “Cloud” will span and link all project data, and support all BIM-related processes from design coordination, through tendering and construction, to operation and maintenance.

In common with rival collaboration providers (eg: 4Projects, Asite, Business Collaborator, Aconex), the think project! ambition is to provide an environment in which discipline-specific models (and related drawings, specifications, and distribution and approval workflows) can be brought together and coordinated, where the coordinated model can be marked-up and commented as required, and where all resulting and related project document revisions and workflows are carefully captured and controlled.

How this common data environment might look in a browser will clearly differ accordingly to the design approach of the vendor. The 4Projects BIM viewer, for example, allows users to review elements of a federated model alongside its work breakdown structure and a view of the underlying model database. In think project! Sven-Eric showed me an interface presenting four different areas: the partial models, the coordinated model, related 3D viewpoints, and related process outputs (eg: RFIs, drawing management). But as with other systems, the think project! intention is to make BIM accessible in any web browser, without additional software downloads or plugins.

Analysis

With Conject, think project! is one of mainland Europe’s leading providers of online construction collaboration software services, generating revenues of €17.2m  [£14.4m] in 2013, though it may also face competition from the acquisitive RIB Software, based in Stuttgart, Germany, which has been building a portfolio of built asset life-cycle management applications – its iTWO Collaboration Exchange (iTWOcx) covers pre-contract and design through to construction cost control and progress reporting, plus some ERP-type functionality. The Nemetschek group has also been building its BIM and collaboration capabilities, adding US-based Bluebeam in October 2014 to a portfolio that included Allplan, Vectorworks and Graphisoft (home of BIMx Docs - February 2014 post), plus its own BIM+ offering.

Unlike Conject – with less than a year to go still yet to publicly showcase its BIM common data environment (4Projects, Asite, BC and Aconex have all shown off their BIM interfaces) – think project! is not being pressed to provide BIM capability by the 2016 Level 2 mandate of the UK government, but with BIM now on the German government’s horizon, it now has a clear strategy.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2015/02/think-project-thinking-bim/

Feb 12 2015

Think Project! gets webApp-y

Thinkproject-logothink pro­ject!, the Munich, Germany-based Software-as-a-Service construction collaboration technology provider has announced the release of a new ‘WebApp’ in­ter­face, optimised – using HTML5 – for smart­phones.

According to the company, the new in­ter­face sup­ports fin­ger­tip nav­i­ga­tion by users on their smart­phones. For exam­ple, plan­ning, doc­u­men­ta­tion and de­fect man­age­ment processes can be ini­ti­ated, edited and tracked via a smart­phone. Ad­di­tion­ally, all pro­ject sta­tus re­ports and ‘to-dos’ re­lat­ing to reviews and ap­provals can now be called up and edited via a smart­phone.

Jochen Mau­rer, head of prod­uct man­age­ment at think pro­ject! says:

Jochen Maurer

think project! has operated on mobile devices such as tablets and smart­phones as an integrated, web-based application. ​In the past, however, smart­phone operations were not optimal when using the older inter­ace intended for desktop usage together with a keyboard and mouse. It is for this reason that we developed a new mobile interface. This interface is optimised for usage with ‘small’ devices such as smart­phones. The interface enables remote and on-site users to conveniently access think project! for reading messages and documents, participating in workflows and issuing approvals. From now on, smart­phones access­ng think project! will be automatically directed to this new interface.

It is a “WebApp” based on HTML5, which will be loaded automatically when you use a smartphone accessing our sites. It is not just a mobile representation.

think project! has previously (August 2013) released Apple iOS and Android apps for site-based inspection and data gathering processes on smartphones.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2015/02/think-project-gets-webapp-y/

Feb 11 2015

GenieBelt announces €700k funding round

GenieBelt logo

GenieBelt, the Copenhagen, Denmark-based provider of a free SaaS construction collaboration platform (launched in November 2014), today announced a new angel round led by European angel investor and former CEO of Just Eat, Klaus Nyengaard. Ditlev Bredahl, CEO of OnApp, also contributed to the €700,000 funding round.

GenieBelt says it will use the angel funding round to enhance the functionality of its Software-as-a-Service platform and intensify its marketing activities. Co-founder and CEO of the 15-strong business, Gari Nickson says:

Gari Nickson, GenieBelt CEOThis funding round will help us make GenieBelt accessible to construction projects globally. With a strong team already in place, the additional resources will be used to improve existing modules, scale to all platforms, develop additional features and to take on more of the value chain.

 

Klaus Nyengaard (also a co-founder of GenieBelt and chairman) specialises in digital marketplaces and workflow solutions for verticals. He says:

Klaus NyengaardConstruction is one of the last remaining ‘old’ industries waiting to be disrupted. It’s one of those industries never touched by the desktop revolution and now with the increasing penetration of mobile and tablets we are seeing the construction site being connected like never before. I am really excited to be a part of this journey. We have a strong team at GenieBelt, with a unique mix of industry and startup experience. We also have a very international team and a will to build a great company.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2015/02/geniebelt-announces-e700k-funding-round/

Feb 03 2015

SaaS social support

Using social media for customer support is commonplace in many global corporations but old-school construction SaaS vendors lag behind new start-ups in its adoption.

Use of social media for customer service has been on my mind a bit recently. Last week, I provided some Twitter training to CIOB branch administrators and one of the questions related to people sharing their customer complaints on social media. I shared the 2005 pre-Twitter example of Jeff Jarvis and his ‘Dell Hell‘ with a malfunctioning laptop:

I decided to turn this into a test: Was Dell reading blogs? Would Dell respond to me in our public forum? Would it recognise the PR crisisette that was brewing? Simple answer: No. Dell was silent. Dell failed the test. I emailed its marketing department: Anybody home? Anybody blogging? Nothing.

DellcaresDell’s eventually reacted to this well-publicised customer service disaster (and others) by investing in strong customer service social media listening and reacting capabilities. It added customer support to its Facebook page, and as consumers began to vent on Twitter, it centralised its customer support functions at @DellCares in May 2010, and in the first two months directly supported 1,800 customers via Twitter. I benefited. In July 2011, my new Dell laptop failed, and I tweeted to a friend about my #Dellfail. Within an hour, @Dellcares had been in touch to start arranging a pick-up and repair.

Dell were not alone in this; Carphone Warehouse’s Guy Stephens was also testing the channel, and I had another positive experience with ‘Andy’ at @OrangeHelpers when my mobile phone SIM card failed in February 2011. More recently, @VirginMedia noticed a tweet I posted about local cable service interruptions, and I get helpful advice via Twitter about that. Of course, you would rather not have a problem in the first place, but, in my view, a prompt and proactive response can mitigate the impact and even make you feel better about the brand (at least, eventually, as I learned with East Midlands Trains), and 1000s of corporates now pay serious attention to customer service on social media – keen to avoid PR disasters such as United Breaks Guitars.

SaaS Social support

Why I am I sharing this on Extranet Evolution? Well, for a long time, I have watched how the leading collaboration technology vendors have managed customer issues, and it has taken years for some of them to wake up to end-users venting dissatisfaction online. I noticed Tweeted complaints about vendors’ systems go unanswered for days at a time, and competitors would sometimes quietly approach the end-user to learn more about the issue. As a social media advocate, when I was at BIW (now Conject) I suggested it might be useful for the helpdesk to set up a dedicated Twitter account so that they could respond direct to queries and also provide hints and tips and timely warnings of upgrades, etc, but it was never taken up – like most vendors in the sector, they mainly respond through the @Conject corporate account (1032 followers).

4Projects statusOne exception is 4Projects which, in addition to the main @4ProjectsNews Twitter handle (961 followers), created @4PSupport (currently 58 followers) in November 2014. This proved useful during a recent issue affecting users in the UK and Europe when the company could at least respond direct to end-user complaints about the service being slow or unavailable. Tweets about the issue, and links to the service status page, therefore didn’t have to be routed through the company’s corporate account.

Recently under new (but existing) management, Business Collaborator has also been looking at its support function. Previously only offering support by email and phone, it’s changing its support desk software (BC blog post)  and adopting Freshdesk. This will retain the email and phone support functions, but a customer portal can also be used to raise issues, while a ‘Knowledge Base’ will provide answers to some frequently asked BC questions. No mention of Twitter in the BC blog, though it has recently started to tweet from @SemanticBIM (204 followers). Update (18 February 2014) – The new BC support portal is now live and Twitter support is “coming soon“.

@Geniebelt (Den) 4246
@Plangrid (US) 4056
@FieldLens (US) 1419
@Newforma (US) 1264
@e-builder (US) 1164
@TrimbleBuilding (US) 1161
@GoBridgit (Can) 1122
@Aconex (Aus) 1080
@Conject (UK/Ger) 1032
@Asite (UK) 989
@4ProjectsNews (US/UK) 961
@woobius (UK - dead!) 684
@Procoretech (US) 612
@basestone (UK) 420
@Corecon (US) 395
@cloudsUK (UK) 390
@collabor8online (UK) 402
@AutodeskBuzzsaw (US) 341
@Cadweb_net (UK - dead!) 323
@MaclarenSoftware (US/UK) 259
@SemanticBIM (Business Collaborator, UK) 204
@RIB_Global (Ger) 160
@Projectwise (US) 120

Social media has been a slow burner in this market sector. Back in June 2009, Asite created its own community site and started to exploit social media, but it’s taken time to build up momentum; when it launched Adoddle17 last March, Asite CEO Tony Ryan was talking about being “cocial”, but – measured by Twitter followers (989) – its main @Asite corporate Twitter account still lags behind some competitors.

While number of followers is a fairly crude and unscientific measure of Twitter engagement, it’s instructive to see how many followers the corporate accounts of various vendors (discussed at different times on this blog) have. It’s not always a reflection of the size of the company, the user base, how long the vendor has been in existence (or even if it still is), or how long the vendor has been on Twitter, as the table – right – suggests.

As I was compiling the numbers, I was struck by how the ‘old school’ providers seemed to figure towards the bottom of the list, while the three table-toppers are all relatively recently-founded startups with youthful management which are targeting the tech-savvy mobile construction collaboration market.

Of course, Twitter is only one channel (and engagement means more than counting followers); several of these vendors also have pages or groups on Facebook, they may also have company followers on Linkedin, and blogs and YouTube video channels (among others) also feature among vendor communications. I will be taking a closer look at vendors social endeavours in a future post.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2015/02/saas-social-support/

Older posts «

Fetch more items