India-based NexTenders is targeting the UK architecture, engineering and construction market with its e-tendering and e-procurement applications.
I have written about e-tendering in the construction industry several times since the mid-2000s when several of the SaaS construction collaboration technology vendors (eg: 4Projects, Asite, Conject, Sarcophagus) all launched online tendering services which were integrated with their core document collaboration and workflow platforms, all looking to capitalise upon widely recognised inefficiencies in the then conventional paper-based process.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, RICS, also entered the market with a stand-alone pay-per-tender solution in 2007 (post), though – unsurprisingly to me – it struggled to gain traction, being used just 50 times in its first 15 months (January 2009 post), and excusing the low take-up by accusing the UK construction industry of “apathy, naivety and confusion” (February 2009 post). With e-tendering still a minority pursuit (June 2009), other vendors also began to test the UK market – in January 2011, I wrote about Asktobi (which I understand – post – is to be relaunched later this year under a new name, possibly 4Tenders) and in November 2011 I talked about Darley eTender. And Melbourne-based international SaaS collaboration provider Aconex launched Bidcontender in May 2011 into the Australasian market.
The next contender (sic) I’ve discovered is NexTenders. An India-based start-up with an office in London’s Covent Garden, it says it has been providing procurement solutions to governments, public sector bodies, public-private partnerships and private companies since 2003, and has processed more than 250,000 online tenders and auctions worth over £10 billion, mainly in India, but also in Africa; entry into the European market apparently started in August 2011 with the appointment of Gary Stevenson as European sales and partnerships director. The UK-specific venture is more recent, though, with the company’s on-demand cloud service e-tendering application, NexProcureLite, launched 10 months ago in June 2013, complementing an enterprise procurement solution.
This stand-alone etendering product, NexProcureLite provides “an intuitive one-stop-shop e-Tendering solution from tender release to award and ePayment”, helping standardise workflows so that buyers can carry out tenders regularly with minimal repetition, without losing quality:
The tender workflow can be set to any of the following; Standalone PQQ, Single stage (techno-commercial) and Two stage (Technical & Commercial) bidding, with integrated Forward and Reverse Auctions. This provides significant flexibility for buyers, allowing them to adhere to OJEU and UK procurement standards in all but the most demanding procurement scenarios – even for small lots! Building on our experience in delivering highly secure commercial software NexProcureLite uses server side data encryption to ensure that your data is protected, you can also choose client side encryption to guarantee complete traceability. The solution generates full audit trails and reports helping to promote accountability and auditability throughout the tender cycle.
While not exclusively targeting the construction sector, the company has been blogging about construction-related matters, including, for example, the UK government’s construction strategy, and continued low rates of e-Tendering and sub-tendering in the UK construction industry. It clearly sees the industry as a strong opportunity. However, I still believe the SaaS AEC collaboration vendors have strong positions as they can integrate e-tendering into their support for the whole project delivery process, and requirements for such ‘joined-up’ thinking will only grow as projects are encouraged to collaborate more through building information modelling-based approaches.