Over the course of the week at Viewpoint Collaborate 2015, CBO had the chance to speak with several Viewpoint representatives, including newly appointed CEO Manolis Kotzabasakis, vice president of product management Rob Humphreys and product manager Cindy Whitner. Read on for their answers and insights on what is coming up for Viewpoint products and the company overall.
Interview with Manolis Kotzabasakis
With Kotzabasakis about to begin his third month with Viewpoint, he had several things to say about what he had learned over the past couple of weeks.
Kotzabasakis said Viewpoint users and potential customers can expect the following of him in the coming months:
- Improved customer value
- New innovations
- Smoother product execution
- Simplification of the existing product offerings
CBO: Judging from your time thus far at Viewpoint, what do you think will be the biggest area for growth in the coming months?
MK: When I look in the different verticals we serve (GCs, subs, road and highway), we expect growth across them all. What surprised me is that in meeting several of our customers, I have realized that our customers are looking for solutions to their specific challenge already. I thought we would have to convince the industry of the technologies they need to be using. I am surprised to see that it is the other way around: the industry is looking for technologies to make their day-to-day jobs easier and more efficient. We need to supply them with those tools.
CBO: What are some of the biggest challenges facing business owners currently?
MK: In short, the tight profits and the competition that exists in the industry currently. They are also facing challenges of risk management and compliance. Bringing resources in the office and in the field to work more closely together is also extremely important. All of these things are never easy. We are here to help them address these challenges.
CBO: What were the goals for this year’s conference?
MK: For me personally, it was a great opportunity to learn about Viewpoint’s customers and meet with many of them. To us as a company, it was important because it comes shortly after we have done a number of acquisitions and brought several different products together. We wanted to listen to our customers and get feedback of how we can improve.
Product roadmap with Rob Humphreys
In an early morning session at the conference, Humphreys discussed some of the key innovations in the industry currently and how they will fit into future Viewpoint products. Among the technologies Humphreys mentioned were: augmented and virtual reality, the Internet of things, the use of drones, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing and smarter safety apparel.
Humphreys also mentioned peer-to-peer sharing economies and how the development and use of apps is enabling this idea to become a reality for business owners want to eliminate idle time for their jobsite equipment. According to Humphreys, all of the above-mentioned technologies will tie into Viewpoint products either now or somehow in the future.
“Our content management system stores the information that comes back from drones, for example,” Humphreys said. “We are working to make sure you can adopt these technologies as they become integral parts of your work process.”
Several current projects involve mobility and browser-based applications. In June 2015, Viewpoint released a new mobile product for ProContractor. A key theme of all new innovations with Viewpoint is “collaborative construction.” Humphreys mentioned the following areas of focus for improvement with Viewpoint products:
- Between the field and the office
- Between operations and accounting
- Between employees and the employer
- Amongst the project team (subcontractors, suppliers, engineers and architects)
- Amongst the project owner, customer and vendor
The four key strategies for product improvement at Viewpoint are: usability, mobility, extensibility and flexibility. As of this year, the Viewpoint suite of products are flexible; they can be hosted via SaaS, DaaS (desktop as a service), hosted, hybrid or on premise.
“Frequently, I think people underestimate the costs of on-premise solutions,” Humphreys said. “What business owners fail to take into account is a lot of the hidden costs it takes to run on-premise software.”
Viewpoint’s goal is to give the user a number of options for integration, though. With newly launched ClearView portal, Viewpoint customers have a user-friendly interface for “greater customer experience.” New training content and modules launch weekly. According to Humphreys, users who accessed 15 or more Viewpoint Learning Center items per month generated 50 to 70 percent fewer support cases. This year, Viewpoint also created a customer engagement team to focus on greater customer satisfaction.
Drilling down into ProContractor
Towards the end of the week, CBO sat down with product manager Cindy Whitner to discuss ProContractor. As Viewpoint migrates some of their products over from Maxwell, Whitner said Vista will fill the gaps that ProContractor has currently.
“We still have a lot of companies that think the software world is made for the accountant,” Whitner said. “One of the keys, for us, is that the owner or decision maker understands the benefits of software implementation throughout the company.”
Whitner said she sees ProContractor continuing to merge and marry the data aspect. A focus on the accounting side of the software will be beneficial in the coming months, she said.
“We have really focused on the project side, but more of a focus on accounting functions and marrying the connection between a purchase order in the field and the back office, for instance, is needed,” Whitner said.
In the construction industry, software goes through cycles. According to Whitner, Viewpoint is transitioning back into a stage of being able to say, “We are not afraid to partner with people that are best of class in certain areas of technology in order to provide a robust offering for our customers.”
“Two areas we have really focused on for key updates this quarter are contract billing and work-in-process, or how we are managing reporting and data,” Whitner said.
Some additions with these updates include: an enhanced invoice process, the ability to create PDFs from documents and email them and improvements to sheet annotations within the system so customers can tell whether they have done takeoffs and revisions.
One recent update to the Viewpoint suite of products was MEP Estimating, a solution specifically designed to meet the needs of contractors working in the mechanical, electrical, HVAC and plumbing trades. Read Viewpoint's press release on this product here. This solution includes a web-based pricing tool called Viewpoint Pricer. More information is available here, and a video on the product is available here.
For more information, visit Viewpoint Construction Software.