Scott Boutwell echoed my view about who might develop a CADaaS solution, asking ‘where are the major CAD vendors in this area of product development and future committment?’ As I commented, I suspect CADaaS might need to be developed by an existing SaaS business or by a new start-up, simply because existing major CAD vendors will be unwilling or unable to make an efficient transition to a services model. However, given the global revenues generated by existing CAD vendors, this would appear to be an attractively sizeable market within which to launch a SaaS alternative – just as Salesforce.com launched a SaaS alternative to take market share away from the incumbent giants in the CRM space.
Scott also looks at the cultural challenges from an AEC perspective, but (I think) overlooks the footprint that SaaS collaboration has already established in some parts of the global AEC industry – in parallel with the adoption of SaaS CRM technologies in other industries. In the UK, I can name several contractors (Bovis Lend Lease, Mace), consultants (Gleeds) and client organisations (BAA, Sainsbury’s) who have eight or more years’ experience of using SAAS solutions to manage major construction projects, and this footprint is expanding beyond the UK, with providers active in the US, in Australia, mainland Europe and the Middle East. Given the scale of the industry, of course, the take-up is a long way from being universal yet and, even today, new adopters can be suspicious of the technologies, but construction-oriented SaaS has a) established a credible track record, b) become profitable – itself a good test of the the technologies’ viability, and c) even become obligatory for some firms’ projects – not least for the perceived competitive edge it gives them.