A year ago, Idox group rebranded its McLaren business to Opidis. The firm’s FusionLive solution is being used to support BIM working on a French railway project.
Following a series of personnel changes and reorganisations in 2014, the Idox Group subsidiary McLaren Software largely disappeared from my radar – I was only briefly reminded of its existence when Idox launched its Onsite building control mobile application in August 2017. Around eight months later, though, in March 2018, Idox rebranded McLaren Software as Opidis.
The McLaren back story
McLaren Software provided a range of on-premise and cloud-based asset operations, project management and collaboration solutions for engineering document management and control.
Readers with a long memory may recall BuildOnline, one of the UK pioneers of web-based consturction collaboration. It merged with the US provider Citadon in December 2006 to become CTSpace, and a year later was acquired by France’s Sword Group (post). It was then merged with an existing Sword company, Cimage (a provider of on-premise information management) in 2009, and the former BuildOnline and Citadon platforms were superceded by a new SaaS application, FusionLive, in 2010.
In November 2011, Sword Group sold CTSpace to Idox group for £11.6m, and it was quickly merged with Idox’s McLaren Software (acquired by Idox a year earlier), a provider of engineering document management and control applications to customers in the oil and gas, mining, utilities, pharmaceuticals and transportation sectors. This meant the company effectively had a hybrid offering, providing both on-premise and SaaS EDMS solutions, depending upon customer requirements (December 2012 post).
There were further acquisitions. FMx Ltd, developer of the computer-aided facilities management application CAFM Explorer, was bought in October 2012, and France-based Artesys – developer of the on-premise oil and gas engineering document control solution Opidis – joined McLaren in April 2013. And McLaren continued to invest in its FusionLive product, adding some BIM capabilities in October 2013 and a business intelligence portal in April 2014. However, a series of marketing and other personnel changes meant I started to lose track of the company’s news from 2015.
Judging from the group’s annual reports, this was partly due to financial challenges at Idox’s engineering information management (EIM) division (essentially the McLaren business). In 2015, Idox reported post-recession “headwinds” affecting the oil and gas sector leading to a “considerable down shift in activity”; EIM revenues fell 21%, and Idox acted to “reduce the cost base”. There was modest growth in 2016 with EIM revenues up 3% to £14.1m, but engineering revenue declined again, by 8%, in 2017. However, the business had started a transition to a SaaS-based model, and Idox talked up the prospects of its FusionLive SaaS application in 2018. EIM accounted for 14% of Group revenues, with revenue of £10.0m, with recurring revenues from maintenance and SaaS comprising 73% of that figure.
2018 Opidis rebranding
According to Idox, the rebranding was undertaken to align the identity of its products and services more closely, with the Opidis name selected for its existing roots in engineering information and clearly aligns with our mission to deliver the best portfolio in the market to our customers. Construction is just one segment targeted by Opidis – ranking behind Energy and utilities, Oil and Gas, and Renewables on the division’s website.
Opidis BIM for SNCF
SNCF, France’s national railway (a long-time customer of Opidis), has chosen to extend its use of FusionLive to support a BIM strategy on the country’s largest construction project, EOLE (East-West Express), a project to extend the RER E west of Paris (news release). As the commitment to digitise the French construction industry gains momentum, SNCF is making BIM mandatory on its projects and chose to implement FusionLive BIM functionality, an integration between the cloud-based document management solution and the collaboration platform Bimsync by Catenda (see June 2017 post) on EOLE.
Xavier Gruz, EOLE-Nexteo Project Director at SNCF said:
“After evaluating the market, we extended the use of FusionLive to support our expanding BIM strategy. It was the only solution on the market that met our needs, allowing us to benefit from the combined experience of a strong cloud document management solution in FusionLive, and a specific BIM solution with Bimsync by Catenda. As a result, we’ll be able to receive BIM 3D models from all our vendors, saving significant time and money.”
Philip Woodrow, CEO of Opidis said:
“We’re delighted the SNCF team have extended their relationship with us, maximizing the new capabilities available through the FusionLive and Bimsync by Catenda integration. As BIM models uploaded to FusionLive are automatically available in the Bimsync portal, users can visualize, review, merge and resolve issues – simplifying access and collaboration, and removing the need to manually upload the model to multiple information silos.”
Håvard Brekke Bell, CEO of Catenda said:
“We are excited about SNCF’s position on open BIM and believe they will have a great impact and change the European construction industry for the better. At the same time, it is inspiring to be able to work together with SNCF and Opidis on such a large project, something that will benefit all users of Bimsync.”