Some 21 months after acquiring Australia’s ProjectCentre (post), Stuttgart, Germany-based RIB Software AG has announced it has acquired another Software-as-a-Service business: Denmark-based SaaS construction collaboration technology provider Docia (aka Byggeweb) – a company I first profiled in May 2011. I understand the deal value (including earn-out) is almost €20m, and the acquisition will potentially expand RIB’s reach across Scandinavia and other markets, including the UK, India and South Africa, while adding facility management (so-called 6D) capabilities to the RIB iTWO product suite.
RIB is emerging as a strong player in the construction SaaS market. In February it reported its global 2013 turnover grew 45.4% from €39.2m to €57.0m, but it reported triple-digit growth in its international operations (up 193.8% from €8m to €23.5m) and in its SaaS/cloud operations (up 139.3% from €2.8m to €6.7m). The Docia acquisition will doubtless boost both these latter metrics.
Following the ProjectCentre acquisition, RIB created a solution that combined RIB’s iTWO 5D enterprise platform and ProjectCentre. Launched in June 2013, iTWO Collaboration Exchange (iTWOcx) offers tools covering pre-contract and design through to construction cost control and progress reporting, marking a shift from document collaboration to cloud-based management of all project-related data throughout the design, engineering and construction process. ProjectCentre had already differentiated itself by providing ERP-type functionality to its customers and iTWOcx incorporated capabilities from RIB’s application to heighten this differentiation further.
(The convergence of SaaS-based construction collaboration and construction ERP is happening across several companies. Over the past year, I have discussed similar developments relating to 4Projects/Viewpoint, Asite, Unit4 and Conject.)
RIB and Docia to target FM
Initially, it might appear that RIB has acquired another business similar to ProjectCentre, but Docia’s geographical sphere of operations is different, and its products extend beyond the current collaboration/ERP data capabilities of iTWOcx.
Docia, founded in 1997, grew into a consistently profitable Software-as-a-Service business turning over £3m per annum by 2011, with most of its revenues secured from projects in Scandinavia. It then began to expand internationally opening offices in South Africa (May 2011), India (October 2011), Poland and the UK, where it has also looked to exploit its Scandinavian BIM expertise (July 2013) and mobile applications. With over 100,000 users across 20 countries, it is also a strong player in the cloud-based facilities management or infrastructure lifecycle management (ILM) market, and this appears to be the prime justification for RIB’s move.
RIB describes Docia, among other things, as Scandinavia’s leading provider of cloud based facility management, and believes Docia will help it expand its iTWO Big Data platform to support model-based facility management processes (dubbed 6D) as well, providing a service managing “quality, time, and cost for investment and maintenance at a virtual level before starting with the actual building work and to support the usage of a building after its completion on an end-to-end basis in the cloud.” Dr. Hans-Peter Sanio, CTO of RIB Software AG says:
With our iTWO 6D Big Data cloud platform our customers are able to handle Project- and Facility Management processes online and make decisions in real time. The access to the data and their processing takes place via desktop applications in the browser or over mobile apps such as our iTWO 6D Control Tower app for project and maintenance controlling or Docia’s Quick capture app to record onsite defects for quality assurance and inspections on smartphones and tablets.
This move will particularly interest the UK-German SaaS provider Conject which already has a cloud-based FM solution serving mainland Europe customers and has been gearing up to launch it in the English-speaking market (see February 2014 post).