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Acquisitions Aim High

Roughly a decade ago, we saw many construction technology providers acquiring others with many attempting to achieve the same objective: an end-to-end platform. These days, we are seeing acquisitions happening with that and other intentions in mind—many of which are aimed at solving very specific challenges that exist in the construction industry today.

One of the more recent examples is Trimble’s acquisition of Ryvit, which was announced earlier this year. Ryvit builds connections between commonly used applications and data sources, enabling information sharing both within and across organizations so that project teams can use the right information to make the right decisions at the right time.

Data exchange is perhaps still one of the biggest in many industries, as information is still too often siloed. All current Ryvit integrations are components to an open, extensible ecosystem. These integrations will continue to be supported as part of Trimble Construction One, with the primary offerings from Ryvit undergoing a rebrand to Data Xchange and App Xchange. Data Xchange represents the contractor tools that allow end users to configure and manage their data flows between connected systems. App Xchange serves as the developer’s command center for connecting systems, building pre-configured dataflows, and onboarding new customers.

One of the more interesting acquisitions came at the end of last year, when Sage acquired Spherics with the specific intent to help SMBs (small and medium-businesses) to measure and cut their carbon emissions, helping customers on their journey to net zero—which is something Peggy Smedley has been talking about for several years.

Spherics is a carbon accounting solution to help businesses understand and reduce their environmental impact. Spherics automates the process of calculating emissions by ingesting data from a customer’s accounting software and matching transactions to emission factors to create an initial estimate of their carbon footprint. Headquartered in Bristol, U.K., Spherics will continue to be available as a market solution that integrates with Sage and other accounting software providers in the U.K. 

Extending Data Further

Extending data to asset and portfolio management is also a growing trend in the construction industry today—and many are building new solutions or acquiring others to provide these capabilities to customers.

As one example, last year, JDM Technology Group has acquired Greenville, South Carolina-based AerieHub, which provides facility management software that offers secure, fast access to critical information to improve maintenance efficiency and strengthen building safety. AerieHub joins providers, EPAC, MicroMain Corp., MPulse Software, and TeamWORKS as part of JDM’s facility management software group. AerieHub will continue to operate as a separate brand with its existing staff, based in Greenville, S.C.

As another case, Bentley Systems announced that its Cohesive Group digital integrator business has acquired Vetasi, which is an international consultancy specializing in EAM (enterprise asset management) solutions, with a strong focus on IBM Maximo. According to the companies, by virtue of the combination with Cohesive, Vetasi’s clients can benefit from the multidiscipline scope of a world-leading digital integrator, combining greater global scale with local agility to leverage more value from their asset portfolios. Prior to Vetasi, Cohesive has acquired multiple organizations in the EAM and digital twin advisory space to increase service delivery capacity, including prioritizing geographical reach for significantly growing opportunities in the EMEA and especially Asia Pacific regions.

Other acquisitions are aiming to extend data to the field, driving productivity at the jobsite by bringing data to equipment and tools. Such is the case with Hilti’s acquisition of Fieldwire, which will combine Fieldwire’s software to Hilti’s brand. Construction represents almost 10% of the GDP of the world with most of the spend being realized in the field during the construction phase. While the vast inefficiencies of field operations have been documented many times—as much as 70% of the workday being spent in non-direct wrench time activities—the industry is still in its digital infancy when it comes to supporting the craftsperson itself to solve the problem. Fieldwire coordinates crews in the field on large construction operations, improving trade productivity by more than 12% on average.

At the end of the day, acquisitions come in all shapes and sizes—and it seems many of the more recent ones are looking to fill a very specific need in the construction industry.

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