California, US-based SaaS construction software vendor Corecon recently launched its ‘next generation’ construction software suite (read news release). Mainly targeting small and medium-sized businesses (numerically the largest sectors in most developed construction markets), the new version of Corecon features a new user interface that is said to increase speed and improve functionality, while speeding up implementation and shortening training time for new users.
A new Quality Control and Safety landing page in Corecon helps construction firms mitigate risk and costs associated with rework by incorporating modules for checklists, compliance notices, permits, punch list items, safety accidents and test/inspection (the mobile quality control market is one of the most competitive sectors in the architecture, engineering and construction sector).
Corecon’s appeal to SMEs includes provision of modules for business development (right), estimating, document control, contract administration, job cost control, scheduling and collaboration, plus continued support for popular small business accounting software tools such as Sage, Intuit and Xero (post), and mobile web functionality.
Corecon Technologies President Norman Wendl says:
“By listening closely to our customers and understanding their daily operational needs, we have built a modern user interface, incorporating all elements of a construction firm’s operations into one technologically-advanced, yet easily executed construction management tool. This is our most significant upgrade since the launch of Corecon v7 in 2010, and we are excited about the value our next generation of Corecon will bring to small and medium-sized construction firms and their clients.”
In my consulting work, I am frequently asked about implementation of SaaS applications. It has to be said that the leading platforms – mostly established vendors that have dominated the market since the turn of the century (Aconex, Viewpoint, etc) – have generally required some professional services support to cover hosting setup, software configuration and provision of initial user training. These have not generally been solutions that can be bought online and used immediately; corporate customer accounts also often need to be established. Where construction customers have enterprise accounts and experienced in-house users, new projects might be mobilised more quickly, but – particularly at the sophisticated end of the market servicing the larger capital projects – this is not a market where you can generally self-provision and start to use the tool “out of the box”.
Corecon has therefore sought to differentiate its offering from other US vendors providing more enterprise or large project solutions. In the UK and Europe, similar businesses include Collabor8 Online (2013 post), SherLayer (May 2015), construct.pm (December 2015), BuildCloud (May 2016), and GenieBelt (February 2015) for example; in the US, I’ve also covered Jobsite Unite (post) and Skysite (post), among others. On both sides of the Atlantic, the market appears largely polarised between vendors supporting major construction projects with larger budgets, and those targeting the SME level business with more modest IT spending capacity.
London-based Asite is, perhaps, an exception. Despite its focus on “corporate collaboration”, it offers a Key Lite product starting at £15/month per user (I recall CEO Tony Ryan telling a group of journalists in March 2014 that the Asite platform was being used by “five-man bands doing loft conversions”), though there doesn’t appear to be an easy start. There isn’t the common 30-day, no credit card required, free trial often found with other SaaS applications – like Xero, for example.