5 Minute Read
September 15, 2020
Put it in the books! Viewpoint Collaborate 2020 was a huge success as more than 7,300 attendees representing more than 2,500 different companies attended the live, two-day virtual conference Sept. 22-23.
Obviously, this year was a little different, as we took the conference online to ensure the safety of our clients and industry colleagues amid the pandemic. We also opted to make the conference free to attend in order to expand access to valuable learning experiences and industry resources. The virtual conference experience was met with rave reviews.
“Collaborate 2020 Virtual was a great experience although I did miss seeing everyone in person," said Cheryl Hunt, office manager with Hunter Contracting in Gilbert, Ariz. "I really enjoyed the chats with each session as it allowed me to “talk” to more people than normal and to hear all the questions, concerns, tricks and tips. The chats really enhanced the learning. The sessions were informative and well put together. Another fun plus was checking in on the puppies — thank you Viewpoint Network!”
Here’s a look at some of the biggest highlights from the conference:
Viewpoint CEO Manolis Kotzabasakis and Trimble CEO Rob Painter kicked off the conference with keynote speeches that focused on innovation, partnership and community. Each spoke to how Viewpoint will be playing a much larger role in bringing Trimble’s Connected Construction vision to life. Trimble is growing the Viewpoint portfolio to include estimating and procurement, detailing and fabricating, and resource management as part of Trimble Connected Construction. This new, combined Trimble division will be led by Viewpoint CEO Manolis Kotzabasakis, all with the intent of making it easier for contractors to better manage projects, processes and people – and ultimately, business.
Viewpoint and Trimble are forging the way when it comes to connecting the entire construction ecosystem – including owners, architects, engineers and contractors – through products that are closely integrated, connected and easy to use.
At the core of Viewpoint product innovation, of course, is ViewpointOne — an integrated suite of construction and business management software solutions that connects contractors’ people, projects and processes. The connected ViewpointOne suite delivers seamless, real-time workflows for end users,while providing a single source of data truth. Collaborate attendees were shown the benefits of ViewpointOne from all angles, be it their core ERP software, integrated team and field solutions, web and mobile applications, and powerful, yet simple to use data analytic tools.
Viewpoint Chief Product & Strategy Officer Matt Harris noted in the opening keynote session that more than 700 companies have already moved to ViewpointOne. Having a cloud-based, connected construction management suite in place is proving to be more and more vital for contractors to both keep pace with modern construction demands and ensure business continuity in challenging times.
That’s especially this year when contractors had to make hard pivots in their business and project plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those with modern software solutions at their disposal found making those pivots much more manageable than contractors still relying on manual processes and disconnected software systems.
Speaking of hard pivots, our Day Two keynote speaker Chris Gardner, knows all about them. He delivered a powerful, inspiring speech on having to make hard pivots in tough times and how to not just survive, but thrive.
“At the very beginning of this pandemic, I heard people saying, ‘we’re all in the same boat now.’ I will submit to you that no, we’re not in the same boat, we’re in the same storm,” he said, noting that some folks have luxury of being able to quickly adapt and work from home, while others, including first responders and healthcare workers didn’t, and still others lost jobs and livelihoods altogether. These “hard pivots” are things that none of us chose, but we have to work through.
Gardner authored the book, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” which was based on a single year of his life as she struggled to make ends meet and find work while caring for his son as a single parent. The book was turned into a critically-acclaimed movie by the same name starring Will Smith.
Gardner shared with Collaborate attendees how he grew up in foster care with his mother in prison and never knowing his father. He is a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, a veteran who lived on the streets as a single parent without a college education and faced discrimination because of the color of his skin. Yet, he found a way to pivot when life stacked the deck against him and found ways to make it work – even with his hardest pivot later in life when he lost his wife of 20 years to brain cancer.
Gardner had high hopes as he looked to the next generations of workers and leaders and how they’ve essentially grown up around adapting to significant changes— from world events to innovations and more — and striving to be the best version of yourselves, and doing the things in life that you’re passionate about. “I’ve never focused on the odds,” Gardner said. “I am all about evens, as in ‘even though,’ ‘even if,’ ‘even when,’ ‘even where,’ ‘even you, ‘even me.’ Because I believe if you change the narrative, you change the outcome.”
Throughout Collaborate, attendees heard from many different Viewpoint clients about their own stories of modernizations and technology transformations, as well as some of the things they’ve been able to accomplish even during a pandemic.
Viewpoint clients Adolfson & Peterson Construction and Great Basin Industrial shared the reasons why they modernized, the challenges they faced along the way, and tips for their peers and colleagues for their own smooth technology transitions.
Meanwhile, attendees learned how Minneapolis-based RJM Construction adapted its use of technology to deploy an innovative online form to help screen workers for COVID symptoms before admitting them to the jobsite. One of Viewpoint’s 2020 Construction Award winners (more on that below), Haugland Group, was also highlighted for how it used technology to quickly convert the Westchester County Center in New York into a 121-bed facility for urgent COVID-19 healthcare needs in just three weeks.
Additionally, in virtually every Collaborate session, attendees themselves shared their own stories, tips and tricks and more with their peers via chat on their own technology adoption and modernization strategies.
One of the biggest highlights of Viewpoint Collaborate 2020 was the integration of Viewpoint HR Management into our Spectrum solution. Already available in Vista, HR Management gives HR professionals and employees a broader web-based onboarding platform and self-service capabilities designed to boost talent acquisition and scale and automate many HR processes. The Spectrum integration brings digitized onboarding capabilities to users first, which clients who beta tested the solutions gave high praise to.
“Having Viewpoint HR Management available to us as Spectrum users is huge,” said Dhara Thakkar, HR generalist with K-Five Construction Company. “We had a largely paper-based onboarding process prior to this, and it was difficult to manage among all of the different hiring managers. Now, having a customizable digital system in place makes the onboarding process as easy as it gets. I can see us cutting the time we spend on our onboarding by 50 percent.”
Viewpoint Analytics was also front and center at Collaborate, with a number of sessions dedicated to driving better data and analytics among contractors. In sessions on democratizing contractors’ data, presenters spoke of how expanded access to real-time data improves the ability to make smart decisions by all project stakeholders. Improved data capabilities also allow contractors to make smarter business decisions by better understanding project data, setting better KPIs and comparing work to industry benchmarks.
Another key highlight was the integration of Viewpoint ePayments into all of our ERP products. Viewpoint ePayments lets you streamline your company’s accounts payable processes to a single, digital step; and realize potential additional revenue through credit card rebate programs.
The power of Viewpoint Analytics isn’t limited to the back office. Several Collaborate sessions showcased how project managers and field teams are already using analytics to make more data-driven decisions. Already, processes like daily logs and material commitments are being streamlined and improved through better data intelligence, with submittals, RFIs, issues and more being added.
Service contractors saw the benefits of Viewpoint’s Service Tech Mobile solution first hand at Collaborate. Built specifically for iOS and Android users, Service Tech Mobile is an easy-to-use mobile field tool to manage and review work orders, assign and update labor, collect electronic signatures, upload jobsite photos and forms, and much more. In one session, we explored how service contractors may be missing significant profit opportunities and how modern software can help contractors eliminate paperwork, complete more billable work, and bill and get paid faster.
Attendees also saw a host of new digital, integrated solutions within ERPs and ViewpointOne suite for daily logs, field ticketing, labor capture, custom forms safety forms, photo capture, drawings and document management and much more.
Some of the construction industry’s biggest issues were addressed during a number of industry track sessions and panel discussions. With equity, diversity and inclusion being a key theme of 2020 on the whole, two sessions examined the challenges the industry has faced, personal stories and strategies to improve equality across the board. “I don’t know of any partner in the HR world that feels like their work is done in this area and it’s a calling to do more work,” Sellen Construction’s Kate Harkess, senior vice president and director of HR, said during one session.
With powerful data capabilities in the modern age comes great data responsibilities, and this topic was examined closely not just in sessions looking at new construction data technologies and best practices, but also in a special session dedicated to cybersecurity strategies. This session looked at some of the biggest threats to data security for businesses today, real-world stories of data breaches and key strategies to fortify data security
And, of course, business continuity was top of mind in nearly every session, as contractors shift their operations amid COVID and adjust to new norms. One session, “Ensuring Business Continuity in Challenging Times,” looked directly at what leading contractors are doing to successfully adapt and how technology is helping open new doors of opportunity. Another session, “Lean Construction Strategies,” took aim at outdated processes and technologies that are holding contractors back from increased productivity and profitability.
Though holding an entire conference virtually doesn’t afford the opportunity for face-to-face networking, lively food and drink and other perks of in-person events, one thing we saw during Collaborate was that attendee engagement and interaction was sky high.
The ability to live chat as sessions were being presented meant that attendees could ask questions and have them answered in real time by Viewpoint professionals, or see their questions addressed by session presenters in Q&A segments. Thousands of questions were asked and answered during the two-day event.
And the engagement didn’t stop there. Attendees visited our virtual expo hall in droves and engaged in key networking and learning opportunities at ourViewpoint technology and support booths and our sponsor and partner booths.
We want to extend a special thank you to all of our sponsors and partners who helped make Collaborate 2020 a reality. Without them, this 2020 Collaborate experiences would not have been possible.
Missed the conference or couldn’t make it to a specific session? With the exception of our guest keynote session by Chris Gardner, we should have all sessions available on demand shortly. Be sure to check back at the Collaborate 2020 site to see what you missed. And be sure to check back here, or subscribe to this blog to stay connected and be among the first in the know about our 2021 Collaborate conference!
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