Newforma’s transition from on-premise PIM software provider to being also a developer of SaaS and mobile applications looks set to continue.
Newforma has been busy reviewing its business, its customers’ and end-users’ needs and the markets in which it operates (I’ve had a couple of conversations with its marketing team along the way), and the New Hampshire, US-based project information management software provider has just launched a new website (with versions for each of its main regions), a new logo, and some new messages.
CEO Ian Howell has written a blog post (The new Newfoma: evolving by intention) in which he talks about “a new chapter in our evolving Newforma story”. He says project information management – and information in particular – remains a driver, but there is now more data, and it’s more distributed, making collaboration ever more important. He continues
But perhaps the most complicating factor influencing collaboration and project information management has been the now-widespread use of apps on smartphones and tablets. They create more places for information to hide or be lost, more ways to collaborate, and higher expectations of how software should work.
To keep up with evolving technologies, methods of collaboration, and project information needs, Newforma has offered new products for the cloud and on mobile devices. Our new look is one way of showing the world we’re rededicating ourselves meeting our customers ever-changing business needs.
Ian says the new Newforma is marked by three emphases:
- We’ll provide more apps to make individuals more productive as they quickly and easily capture and consume project information away from their desks.
- We’ll expand our use of the cloud to enable project teams to share and collaborate for more timely, informed decisions.
- We’ll enrich our enterprise software’s ability to connect disparate sources of information for the purpose of optimizing organizational performance, analyzing data, and managing information for greater compliance, transparency, and accountability.
For a business where some senior managers were once deeply dismissive of Software-as-a-Service (in 2006 Bob Batcheler described extranets as ‘digital landfills’, while Ian Howell said the ASP experience – ie: Software-as-a-Service – had “no positive traction in AEC”) the business has clearly come a long way. It has, indeed, had to adapt to the growing positive traction of cloud-based AEC applications and customer and end-user demand for mobile access to data, and I have written regularly about its progress from its launch as an on-premise software provider to one offering conventional, SaaS and mobile applications.
Newforma acquired a small US SaaS construction collaboration vendor and finally embraced the cloud in August 2012; at the same time it bought an app developer to help it expand into mobile tools, and began to look at building information modelling as the UK market in particular pushed forward with BIM adoption (BIM, SaaS and mobile driving Newforma developments, October 2012). By 2014, it was actively expanding its mobile and cloud functionality, later (October 2014) acquiring SmartUse.
The market is continuing to evolve and Newforma is clearly keen to continue to evolve too. BIM is likely to have a continued big impact, particularly as projects make the transition from design and construction and into operation and maintenance mode, and I expect there will be an emerging demand for technology providers to take on long-term data management roles for owner-operators. Technology businesses like Newforma which have largely to date marketed themselves to AEC consultancy and contracting firms to support relatively short-term project delivery may need to evolve into businesses geared up to support industry clients’ long-term built asset data needs.
(By the way, one ExtranetEvolution.com reader reminded me that sometimes a brand overhaul can be a precursor to a new investor push. Almost exactly a year ago, for example, Aconex rebranded and the following day the Australian newspapers began to talk about a possible IPO. Not sure that will happen here, but you never know….)
Update (14 August 2015) – I just noticed a 1 July COINS announcement that it had recruited Newforma’s EMEA operations director Tim Bates to oversee new business opportunities following COINS’ recent investment in Fulcro Engineering Services. Good luck in your new role, Tim.