Construction Software Competitors are Set to Merge
Viewpoint Construction Software announced on July 12 that it will buy Dexter + Chaney, a competitor in the construction business process management ERP market. Terms of the deal, set to close in two to four weeks, were not disclosed.
Seattle-based Dexter + Chaney was founded in 1981 by Mark Dexter and John Chaney. It has more than 1,100 customers and primarily serves specialty subcontractors—particularly in mechanical, electrical and plumbing—as well as the heavy civil and general contractor markets.
The merger of its customers with those of Portland, Ore.-based Viewpoint will bring the customer base to more than 8,000, the firms say.
Annual transactions handled through the merged companies are expected to total more than $350 billion in value, according to Maury Plumlee, Viewpoint vice president of global marketing.
Viewpoint, founded in 1976, also offers a multi-featured, hosted Cloud or on-premises ERP system, Viewpoint Vista, which Plumlee describes as an extremely scalable and configurable ERP solution,” and ProContractor, a separate cloud platform for smaller contractors that includes estimating, project management, and accounting modules. Viewpoint offers mobile field and web-based design collaboration tools as well.
Plumlee says Viewpoint’s customers are primarily mid-range and large construction companies and include general contractors, specialty subcontractors, heavy civil contractors, project owners, engineers and architects. Its Vista platform has rich accounting functionality with integrated project and field management capabilities.
Over the last four years, Plumlee says, Viewpoint also has made a significant investment in integrated service management functionality to more fully address the needs of the specialty subcontractors. That is an area in which he says Spectrum has had well-developed capabilities “for a long time.”
“Both Vista, our marquee product at Viewpoint, and Spectrum, Dexter + Chaney’s marquee product, are very powerful products in the industry," says Matt Harris, Viewpoint’s senior vice president for products. “Both have strengths that can be applied to any type of customer and we are going to be investing in both products considerably and giving the market a great deal of choice to use whichever product serves their needs."
Harris adds that “we are going to be very intentional about building upon the strengths that each of the products have for all types of customers.” He notes that “there is redundancy and overlap, but redundancy is a fact of life, particularly with ERP software. There is overlap, and it’s ok to have overlap. That’s something all companies manage and deal with all the time.”
Viewpoint CEO Manolis Kotzabasakis says that “when you look at the needs of the industry and try to match it with the product suit that we have, there is clearly a need for this choice.”
He adds that “general contractors, subcontractors and smaller contractors all have different needs to monitor their field activities as well as their back offices. We quickly recognized that Dexter + Chaney and their flagship product, Spectrum, offer some significant strengths for specific needs that would have taken us at Viewpoint years and years to develop—and maybe we wouldn’t do it anyway.”
Kotzabasakis adds that “we are going to pick up some great things that Dexter + Chaney has done with their product, especially some web delivery they have done with Spectrum, and some business intelligence tools as well as field data tools. We see a great opportunity to bring together the technologies, and when you look at the people that make the technology at Dexter + Chaney, they have been the people who have been competing with us the most effective way.”
Norbert Orth, president and CEO of Dexter + Chaney will stay on as chief transformational officer, reporting to Kotzabasakis. He will be the executive sponsor of the integration of the products.
“It does bring about some change, but I very much view this as the next exciting chapter,” Orth says. “I am all-in and on board.”
Orth says he expects to continue on a path that both companies have been on independently, to improve the construction industry and its move to digitalization.
“We will continue with our cloud-based product but we are going to combine the best of each breed and try to unify the platform,” says Kotzabasakis. He describes Spectrum as “a very straight-forward and well-thought-out construction ERP system.”
Kotzabasakis says Viewpoint plans to retain the Spectrum name. Spectrum is a scalable, cloud-based integrated construction management platform with 33 integrated modules serving construction accounting, as well as project, materials, equipment, service and human resources management. Its business intelligence analytics and reporting features are available throughout the system.
Dexter + Chaney claims a track record of an annual research and development spending of 20% of revenue.
Kotzabasakis says Dexter + Chaney’s Seattle office and personnel will be retained, including its software development team. The combination of those developers with Viewpoint’s will give it a development team of more than 200 people, Plumlee says.
The merger developed out of conversations Kotzabasakis initiated with Orth late last year, Kotzabasakis says.
“We understand the needs of the industry the same way,” he says. “We are going to lead the way to transforming the construction industry and we are going to have the customers and the scale and the financial means to embark upon it—and that’s what we are going to do. We can get there together faster, satisfying the customer needs, than if we do it individually.”