Last week, on 1 January 2014, Dr Ralf Händl, 53, took over as CEO of the Anglo-German SaaS construction collaboration technology provider Conject. This followed the decision by Colin Smith to stand down from the role (see my 4 November 2013 post).
Ralf Händl has a PhD in economics and extensive knowledge in the global construction and real estate industries, having served as a board member of Suttgart-based consultancy Drees & Sommer, and holding executive and management positions in German construction companies such as Bauer, Walter Bau and Bilfinger. He has also worked as a Conject consultant for some years assisting with its international expansion.
He takes over at an interesting time, and will have to juggle the competing demands from customers in different markets moving at different speeds. For example, UK watchers of the company will be looking forward to release of its BIM Design Review functionality, but BIM is only part of the company’s challenge. It is also planning a UK launch of its Software-as-a-Service FM platform this year, and in November 2013 it launched cloud-based earned value management functionality to add further weight to its commercial project control capabilities.
Update (17 January 2014) – Ralf Händl outlines his view of the Conject business in an interview blog post on the Conject blog. He says his priority will be to focus the company and its people “even more strongly toward the market and customers”. He believes the group’s biggest strength is its all-round expertise with respect to products covering just about every aspect of the plan, build and operate life cycle, but recognises it needs to work on marketing products better:
In discussions with our customers we often notice that there is insufficient awareness in the market of our new developments and extensions to the existing product portfolio.
In 2014 Händl says we can expect the international roll-out of a new cloud-based Conject FM applications, more functional enhancements in Project Control, increased functional support for Building Information Modelling (BIM) – where the company has lagged behind competitors in providing BIM capabilities – and he finishes with a mention of mobile devices – again something we’ve seen delivered by other SaaS vendors, but mobile apps are largely absent from Conject’s portfolio of products outside mainland Europe.