Eschewing the ‘one-size-fits-all, but configurable’ approach of some SaaS vendors, WiseWorking has opted to create cloud-based mobile solutions which are partially customised to meet the exact business process needs of its customers.
In August 2014, I met Justin Williams, visiting London from Australia, to talk about Wiseworking, a Melbourne-based customer-focused construction app developer avoiding a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. For various reasons the resulting post never got published, but when Williams returned to London in May 2018, we met up again so that I could catch up on developments.
Wiseworking was established by Williams (an experienced project manager with 15 years in construction and operations, including seven years at Probuild Construction) in Melbourne in 2011. Like other industry people who have become software developers (the UK’s Aphex founders are recent examples), he was frustrated with the adequacy of existing solutions, particularly on mobile devices (he talked of having a “sausage finger philosophy” that guides his thinking on the efficiency and ease-of-use of the user interface).
He adopted a mobile-first approach to the platform, and then started by quizzing potential customers about business challenges they needed to overcome, rather than asking what functionality they wanted. This led Wiseworking to research, build and test a series of cloud-based applications – initially deployed across six client organisations – to identify the key requirements for various construction and post-construction activities, including quality assurance, quality reporting, progress monitoring and operational health and safety.
Wiseworking used HTML5 approaches to be as device-agnostic as possible, then created a web back-end to support the customer’s reporting, document and data management needs. It is not a single ‘one-size-fits-all’ application; instead, it is more of a consultative approach, building on what generally works out as an 80% fit and then moulding the remaining 20% of the required capability so that the whole application exactly meets the needs of the customer organisation.
Often the requirements start small, but, as a trusted advisor, Wiseworking is often appointed to add further capabilities – sometimes adapting existing Wiseworking functionality, other times adding new bespoke tools (we talked about supporting particular activities such as a user’s ‘Safety Walk’ or a bespoke Site Diary). Williams sees this as a model to grow a consultancy services and technology business, deploying mobile applications to support role-based working in customer organisations. Some of Wiseworking’s accounts started out as modest projects (Au$40,000), but have since more than quadrupled in size as the customer has added further requirements, making it a rewarding sale for the consultant involved.
Still growing organically (but considering an investment round “in the next year or so”), WiseWorking is now turning over around Au$2m, growing revenues 100% year-on-year, Williams said. The business has moved to larger offices, appointed an experienced CIO, and now employs eight full-time staff plus a network of contractors across Australia and the Philippines. It has over 20 customers, including two of the top three contractors in Australia, with individual company user bases numbered in the 1000s, plus extensive use down contractors’ supply chains. Williams is now looking to expand WiseWorking’s customer network outside Australia, with south-east Asia, the Middle East and the UK among his first target regions.
As might be expected, Williams sees Oracle’s Aconex as the largest and most mature competitor in Australasia, followed by Procore (post)* and Zutec ( but “Viewpoint less so”), but says WiseWorking’s independence has helped, along with its willingness to really get to know the customer. He summed up the company’s philosophy as “a bespoke approach with a generic mindset” – initial projects may start with, say, defects management tools, but as customer relationships mature, he says WiseWorking expands its reach, applying other areas of its product portfolio such as site diaries or post-construction operation and maintenance solutions. Document management (mainly focused on correspondence and document control), commissioning management and procurement modules have also been developed – “it’s a highly modular approach – we can ‘burst up’ or ‘burst down’ very quickly as our customers’ needs change from month to month.”
Solutions are typically licensed on either a per-project basis (with unlimited users) or via an enterprise license (allowing unlimited users and projects) – approaches which encourage collaboration down the supply chain, Williams said.
While BIM is not (yet) nationally mandated in Australia, Williams is already looking at opportunities to improve the sharing of BIM-related data, getting involved with the “BIM-MEPAUS” standards-setting initiative focused on mechanical, electrical and plumbing services from design through to operation of a building.
* When I wrote about Procore’s Australian expansion, I mentioned the US business had appointed construction SaaS veteran Milton Walters to lead its APAC marketing. Walters is now CEO at Hammer Technologies (HammerTech)