ORLANDO, Fla. (April 9, 2014) — This spring, 354 attendees from 194 companies and approximately 70 Viewpoint employees gathered in sunny Florida for the Viewpoint Construction Software (formerly Maxwell Systems) 2014 Annual Conference in Orlando, April 7-9.
This year’s event focused on best practices for powering profitable growth and featured a variety of breakout sessions led by industry experts to help Viewpoint customers maximize their software’s potential and improve overall business productivity. The event also provided hands-on labs that allowed customers to receive one-on-one instruction and troubleshooting from product specialists.
One main focus of the event was the recent acquisition of Maxwell Systems by Viewpoint. In February, approximately 200 Maxwell employees joined forces with Viewpoint to provide products and services to more than 8,000 customers in 28 countries. The conference provided an opportunity for Viewpoint product specialists to meet with Maxwell users and answer any questions those individuals had about the acquisition and the future of their software investments.
“We were looking to extend our focus on customer care to a large portion of the market—more than 500,000 construction firms—who are looking for an integrated but very easy-to-use solution that's better focused on their business model," said Viewpoint CEO Jay Haladay in a press release. "Solving these contractor needs required a different approach, and Maxwell's ProContractor product fits quite well."
During the conference welcome session, Haladay noted that Viewpoint’s products have been evolving for more than 30 years and that this is just another step in the evolution of the company’s software offerings as they continue to capitalize on emerging technologies and strive to serve users.
“We have a longtime history of doing this, and we’re going to use what we’ve learned to work with you,” he assured customers in his opening remarks.
Maxwell Systems’ main products include American Contractor, Management Suite, StreetSmarts and ProContractor, an all-in-one solution that marries estimating, project management and construction accounting. In the next three to five years, Haladay said, Viewpoint will focus its development efforts on improving and expanding ProContractor and Viewpoint V6. During that time, customers of the other three Maxwell products will be encouraged to migrate to these two core platforms.
In 2014, Haladay predicts Viewpoint will add more than 300 customers, who will choose between ProContractor and V6 based on company size, business model and growth aspirations.
Dan Lehman, customer migration program manager of enterprise services, says the transition requires three main steps: analysis of application, working through the process of migrating data and streamlining implementation and training.
During this time, Lehman says Viewpoint will do everything they can to educate customers, answer any questions they may have and allow them to transition at their own pace. “We don’t want anyone to be forced to haste,” he said. “We’ve tried to be very up front with folks and honest. By being transparent, it allows us to work with them in the manner they’re more comfortable with.”
Alan Drum, customer migration program manager for mid-market solutions, says Viewpoint will continue to develop its “roadmaps” for ProContractor and V6, emphasizing that the company is now in a unique position to serve an even larger customer base. “We want (customers) to make the right choice for their businesses both today and in the future,” Drum said. “Our goal is to make sure the product offerings meet customer needs.”
Conference attendee and CFO of E.R. Lewis Construction Co. Inc. in Greenville, N.C., Charles E. Lewis, began using ProContractor in 2011 after seeing the Maxwell booth at CONEXPO. The software purchase was the beginning of a transformation for Lewis’s family-owned business, which was established in 1958. After years of using Excel, Word and other similar products for project management purposes, the company invested in servers, new computers and mobile devices in order to make the most of their investment in ProContractor.
“We chose from the very beginning to utilize the entire system,” Lewis said. In doing so, Lewis established a close relationship with Maxwell representatives, whom he knew he could trust for answers and assistance.
So when he received word of the acquisition, Lewis was concerned for his company and the investment he had placed in Maxwell.
“That was a gut reaction,” he said. “We decided to come to the conference so we could meet (the Viewpoint employees) and find out if we’d have a similar relationship or if we’d just become a number.
“From what I’ve seen at the conference at this point, I have no worries as to how I’m going to be treated in the future or how Viewpoint is going to help my company be successful. This Viewpoint software will continue to help us be effective and get the job done.”
While many Maxwell users still have questions about the transition and how it will affect their firms, the outlook at the conference seemed optimistic.
“The overall feedback I’ve heard has been positive,” said Michael Gillum, former Maxwell employee who is now product manager for Procontractor Estimating. Gillum emphasized that the acquisition has made Viewpoint’s offerings more comprehensive. “There is a path for every customer,” he said.
The conference also featured networking opportunities, seven exhibiting companies and keynote addresses from inspirational speaker, teacher and world-class skier Murray Banks; Chairman and CEO of Sage Policy Group Inc. Anirban Basu; and President and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors Mike Bellaman.
Fitting the theme and momentum of the conference, Banks offered attendees several tips to help their construction firms adapt to change. His words of wisdom: “A great organization never stops moving.”