Part of Hull, UK-based 55 Group, contract change management tech provider Sypro has expanded its offering and teamed up with Trimble Viewpoint.
Sypro expand contract range
At the recent UK Construction Week 2022 in Birmingham, I had a brief catch-up with Simon Hunt, CEO of Hull, UK-based Sypro. His company was established some 15 years ago, around the same time as several of the leading UK document collaboration providers (including Asite and Aconex, plus BIW and 4Projects as they were then known, and Sword-CTSpace) were also developing SaaS contract process management toolsets. Sypro Management developed a “state of the art project management system designed by NEC experts to assist a project team in managing key processes like Compensation Events, Early Warning processes and the projected final account” (December 2010 post).
The Sypro back story
BIW (long since absorbed into Conject, then Aconex and now Oracle) had been the first of the construction collaboration vendors to develop a NEC-based solution that could be delivered through its core platform. Its pre-configured contract packs were initially launched in 2005 but its NEC3 Contract Management support was continuously improved through application on projects for over 50 clients. In December 2010, BIW was appointed one of NEC’s two preferred licence content partners. The other was 4Projects (now known as Trimble Viewpoint), which launched its NEC Manager that same month.
However, official NEC endorsement was not a requirement for delivery of NEC3 supporting solutions. Firms such as Sypro and CMToolkit (later CEMAR, acquired by ThinkProject in May 2018) also thrived as NEC adoption grew in the UK and other markets influenced by UK contractual practices. Sypro made inroads into the health market by virtue of its focused support for NEC Procure21+ processes, and also won support from other public sector clients, particularly in the north of England (July 2011 post).
In March 2012 (post), Sypro launched a partnership with BIW and 4Projects document collaboration competitor Business Collaborator. The ‘fit’ was straightforward: BC had no contract administration module, while Sypro was a stand-alone NEC3 management tool. It opened an office in Hong Kong in October 2013 (post), and in 2016 (post) added a compliance and asset management tool to its product portfolio.
Alongside Hunt at Sypro are two long-standing colleagues, Sypro technical lead and NEC expert Stuart Kings and accountant and serial entrepreneur Gerard Toplass. The latter’s ventures have included an educational furniture manufacturer, the Pagabo construction frameworks provider, Loop (formerly Social Profit Calculator, a social value measurement business), and a digital training platform, Tequ. Pagabo, Sypro, Loop and Tequ are all part of The 55 Group, housed since January 2022 (BusinessLive) in a former bank headquarters in central Hull, with investment from private equity firm Maven Capital Partners.
Sypro’s latest product update (Sypro blog post) provides a universal tool that can standardise digital management processes, not just the NEC contracts managed by the platform’s 5,000 existing users. As a large section of industry uses alternative forms of contract, the latest update to Sypro’s Contract Manager takes a bespoke approach to each contract type and how it is managed. Kings said:
“Two of the biggest problems the construction industry faces are a reticence to digitise and the legacy of oppositional rather collaborative approaches to contracts. The industry has also been slow to share data more widely, but it’s this data sharing that has allowed this new functionality to ensure a bespoke approach across any type of contract a user may need.”
Sypro twist of history
And in a slight historical twist, Sypro has teamed up with a former competitor, collaboration technology provider Trimble Viewpoint. At the latter’s EMEA summit in London on 22 October 2022, it announced a software partnership with Sypro (reminiscent of the latter’s 2012 tie-up with Business Collaborator). Ross McLaren, client relationship manager at Trimble Viewpoint, said:
“Through working in tandem with Sypro, we will be able to take that next step and offer all the benefits of our two market-leading solutions working closer together, making the Contract Management process for our customers seamless and easy to use.”
MPS is now Digital Beehive
In monitoring companies previously covered in EE, I noticed some news about MPS (Management Process Systems), who predated Sypro as another of the UK pioneers in construction contract change management (see March 2008 post). In September 2021, the company was the subject of a management buy-out – its key figures are now MD Nick Ives, development director Michael Cowley and sales and marketing director Christian Hubbard – and it is now based in Leeds (one of its major customers is Yorkshire Water).