Melbourne, Australia-based SaaS construction collaboration provider Aconex has announced it has been appointed by the Mumbai-based contractor Leighton Welspun to support construction projects for oil and gas pipelines off the western coast of India. I wouldn’t normally write about a project win – SaaS vendors produce dozens of such news releases every year – but this one stood out for me for two reasons.
First, it is a significant EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) win and EPC contractors have not always been enthusiastic adopters of SaaS technologies, often preferring on-premise enterprise solutions. Rival vendor McLaren Software, for example, broadly divides its product offerings between an EPC-oriented solution delivered on-premise and an AEC platform (FusionLive) which is delivered as a SaaS application. The client cites widespread industry adoption, ease of deployment, mobile apps, BIM capabilities, and exceptional training and support as factors in the company’s decision.
Second, Leighton Welspun is part of the Australian Leighton Holdings group. At one time (c. 2009), Leighton invested heavily in its own SaaS business, Incite (whose technology I then regarded as ahead of its time), but in February 2011 it ousted most of the subsidiary’s key executives and the business began to decline, becoming little more than an internal supplier to Leighton group companies (see An Incite Update). Now, it seems, it can’t even rely on winning business from within the group.
McLaren appoints new VP marketing for its asset-intensive business
In an unrelated announcement, McLaren Software says it has appointed a former IBM and FileNet executive with strong enterprise content management (ECM) experience, David Brazier, to lead marketing in its newly formed “Asset Intensive Business Unit”. This unit is focused on enterprise solutions for owner/operators and EPCs in industries such as oil and gas, utilities, nuclear, life sciences and process manufacturing.
The announcement also suggests McLaren is introducing some separation between its enterprise solutions business and its former CTSpace, now FusionLive, SaaS products.
Update (29 January 2014) – In a parallel change, McLaren’s chief marketing officer Tim Taylor left the business in late 2013 to take up a role as VP Industry Marketing at Bentley Systems.