The future looks bright – digital is coming of age

Posted by Wes Simmons on 21/01/2020

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The future looks bright – digital is coming of age

Wes Simmons, our CEO, writes that whilst 2019 has been turbulent, the future looks bright for digital.

As we come to the end of another interesting year, I find myself reminiscing about where we have come from and what the future holds. Whilst 2019 has been turbulent, the future looks bright, to say the least. I firmly believe that 2020 will be the year the construction industry fully embraces technology and I am delighted to be part of a company that has helped drive the industry to the tipping point that it now faces.

Five years ago, GroupBC was part of a management buyout (MBO). The buyout came as a result of the parent company wishing to focus in sectors other than construction and presented the management team of Sanjeev Shah and Stephen Crompton with an opportunity to move the company forward and become a major force in asset information management solutions for the built environment.

Along with Chairman Richard Beaton, who introduced me to GroupBC some two years ago, and equity partners, YFM, GroupBC has been responsible for breaking new ground in terms of bringing products to an industry that in many instances wasn’t ready for them. But now I believe the time has come and the industry is catching up with the innovative technologies that GroupBC has strived to create.

Going back five years, the company experienced rapid growth. This was followed by a period where perhaps GroupBC was too advanced for the industry in which it was working. The company broke new ground in terms of project and asset information management solutions and whilst there were a number of early adopters, for many it was too aspirational. However, with every technology there has to be a pioneer and I’m proud that GroupBC has been that company. Five years on from the MBO, the company has a client list that includes some of the biggest infrastructure clients and projects in the UK, a client base that spans main contractors, specialist contractors, consultants and design teams and a growing number of international customers.

Part of the success has been in working with the right partners. We have a number of organisations that we work with in the UK and internationally that through genuine collaboration, we have been able to grow and penetrate new markets.

However, with growth comes the challenge of resources but this is something that has always been at the forefront of what we do. Investing in the right team is crucial and I’m delighted to see a large number of new faces join the business as we continue to expand. In the past 12 months, on the commercial side of the business, this has included Matt Owen who has joined from Autodesk, Tom White who has joined from Excitech and Peter Lynch who has joined from NBS. In consulting, Greg Dixie has joined from GliderBIM and Mark Biscoe has joined from Viewpoint.

The early adopters we have been working with are now reaping the rewards of utilising a Common Data Environment (CDE) to help them manage their assets, estates and projects and I believe that the industry is now coming of age when it comes to digital. We are increasingly being asked ‘can you find a solution to this’ which is a long way from the conversations of three or four years ago. By the very nature that clients are asking about capability, it means the industry is ready and waiting to see how digital can transform their business.

As we get ready for a new year, I’m excited for what the future holds. I’m delighted to be part of such a dynamic and forward thinking company and one that continues to lead by example. The industry is showing that it is ready to embrace technology to help deliver projects and manage assets and estates more efficiently, and GroupBC is proud of its place in driving this agenda.