“$275m property e-manager project”

Wow! What an eye-catching Australian IT headline! Aconex must be making mega-bucks – to the uninitiated, this 21 March story looks like a $275 million deal!

The headline perhaps has more to do with a misunderstanding by the journalist (Kelly Mills) or sub-editor responsible. As Aconex’s 14 March news release makes clearer, the price tag relates to the total capital project value (ie: the actual cost of designing and constructing the project). The value of the IT element deal to Aconex is actually likely to be a small fraction of one per cent.

Sadly, an Australian politician (or, more likely, her civil servant speech writer) repeated the error. In a speech to a Sydney conference the following day (22 March), Senator the Hon Helen Coonan (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts), told delegates:

"I was also pleased to see that the construction boom is having an effect on the Australian software industry. … Aconex – one of Australia’s fastest growing ICT companies only last week won a major multi-million dollar contract in Vietnam to manage the flow of information and documents on the largest ever property development in Ho Chi Minh City."

Aconex quotes the minister’s remarks in its own 29 March release, without pointing out the over-estimation of the project’s value. Based on my own knowledge of the value of collaboration deals on major AEC projects, I seriously doubt a "million", let alone "multi-million", dollars will be heading Aconex’s way from this deal.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2006/04/275m_property_e/