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Dec 01 2014

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New to me: Wrench and Expo-Net

Monitoring the web and social media for international construction collaboration providers, I was recently alerted to two different systems of which I was previously unaware, both of which appear to be offered in SaaS-based and locally-hosted versions.

Wrench

Wrench logoI saw Wrench Solutions mentioned twice in a fortnight. First, the company was named in the Aconex IPO prospectus, and then someone tweeted to me about the company during the recent Construction Computing Awards dinner. Aconex included Wrench in its competitor review, identifying it as its only Asia-based competitor.

According to its history, the Bangalore, India-based company was founded in 1994, but was primarily a provider of locally-hosted engineering information management software until December 2013, when it launched a cloud-based service (followed by mobile-based services this year). However:

  • Wrench remains largely a locally deployed system, not a pure SaaS platform – Wrench works on what it calls a Multiple Server Vault (MSV) model deployed across geographically separated enterprise.
  • Wrench has four main products each targetting a different market: aerospace and defence, industrial machinery and equipment, new product development and EPC (engineering, procurement and construction). Wrench EPC is not purely focused on construction; it also serves customers in the marine/offshore, oil & gas, power, water and process sectors. Its construction customers include Habtoor Leighton, Murray & Roberts and Megawide

Expo-Net

Expo-NetTel Aviv, Israel-based ICS (Internet Commercial Services), founded at the turn of the century, developed Expo-Net as a building solution for construction and infrastructure project management. It says Expo-Net has been: “involved in infrastructure and construction projects on a large scale for many years worldwide. Our satisfied clients can be found in the USA, Russia, South Africa, and several countries in Asia.”

Expo-Net is offered in two variants: Expo-Net Clouding and Expo-Net Localized. These support budget planning, project planning, bids and purchasing and contractor information requirements. Sectors include residential, hotels, infrastructure, hospitals and transportation; all the case studies on the website appear to relate to projects in Israel.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2014/12/new-to-me-wrench-and-expo-net/

2 comments

  1. Tim Fitch

    Well spotted Paul. I think that the whole collaboration/admin SaaS market does appear to be quite siloed on a sector and to some degree geographic basis. When I was studying at UCL in the 2000s I was taught that innovation was taking an established idea and redeploying it in a different sector or new configuration or even a new department. This is in contrast to invention which is best defined as something for which a patent can be applied for. My view is that taking these definitions there is still the opportunity for massive innovation (this equates to non-disruptive competition) in this market and therefore significant risk to shareholders.
    Invention by contrast is the disruptive technology developments which are the game changers I guess this is what CEOs of these providers lie awake at night worrying about.

    1. Paul Wilkinson

      Thanks, Tim.
      I have done some presentations this year on disruptive trends, and I include SaaS among the disruptions. It is certainly a disruption to conventional software vendors (and we see some evidence of it here with Wrench, only belatedly and tentatively embracing the cloud – though I doubt the company is about to switch to a SaaS subscription model).

      More disruptive to all AEC software vendors are trends including: BIM (already beginning to polarise the SaaS market), mobile (you can no longer ignore it; point solutions will rarely be as attractive as ones offering back-end management and reporting tools), social media (changing how some prefer to communicate and share information), the ‘Internet of things’ and ‘Big Data’ (our projects will not exist in a vacuum, but be part of a massive data eco-system, and we will need tools that interface with that ecosystem and allow us to extract insights to deliver efficiencies and/or new services or products).

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