In what has become a popular trend for construction technology leaders, Procore recently held their yearly Groundbreak construction technology conference in Austin, TX from November 13-15. These yearly conference allow companies to reach a core of their user base and announce their past and future enhancements, in addition to performing hands-on training sessions with product experts. Construction Junkie was in attendance for this year’s Gorundbreak and we’ve got you covered with all the details.
Deepening the Connections with Collaborators
At the last Groundbreak 18 months ago, Procore CEO Tooey Courtemanche made some significant promises to attendees. During his opening keynote at this year’s conference, he reiterated Procore’s continued commitment to those promises and broadened them.
The overarching theme of the company’s 2017 promises were to “Reduce Friction.” In order to do that, Procore promised: Freedom from the status quo and information silos, Partnering with customers and collaborators, the Choice to work with companies outside of Procore (app marketplace and ERPs), and Truth in reporting.
In addition to continuing with last year’s promises, Procore plans to expand those promises to include Deepening the Connection with Collaborators. In Procore’s terms, a collaborator is a person that works for a company that doesn’t work for a company that pays to use Procore, but is invited by a company that does, like many of your subcontractors, architects, and engineers. Courtemanche mentioned that Procore users have invited over 1 million collaborators and over 60% of daily Procore users are collaborators. By focusing on collaborators, Procore hopes to increase the communication between all of the teams that help make a project successful.
Procore is Diving Head First into BIM
For the full details of Procore’s new endeavor into BIM and virtual design and construction, you can check our recent post titled, “Procore Announces Release of Design Coordination Product for Virtual Design and Construction Teams.”
To summarize, Procore announced the release of a new product, which will be known as Design Coordination. The product will allow users to integrate their existing BIM programs into Procore and easily elevate coordination issues to RFIs.
Integrations into Procore are Alive and Well
During last year’s Groundbreak, Procore announced the release of ConstructionOS, which integrated over 100 non-Procore applications that the construction industry regularly uses. Since that announcement, an additional 40+ integrations have been added and 50% of the original integrations have been enhanced, so Procore continues to place a high priority on reducing redundancies on projects.
Groundbreak also featured over 60 different exhibitors, most of which have an integration into the Procore platform. Some exhibitors took the opportunity to announce brand new or enhanced integrations during the conference, such as Indus.ai, Sensera Systems, Giatec’s Smart Rock, Sage 100, and OpenSpace.
A brand new company, called Buildr, announced their official launch during Groundbreak. The new product will simplify the close out process by automatically downloading pertinent documents from Procore. Interestingly enough, the company was founded by two former Procore employees.
It’s Time for the Next Level of Data Collection
It’s kind of amazing how many different ways there are to track labor and materials on-site and in real-time right now. For example, companies like Eyrus and Triva have small hard hat sensors that track employee location, a company called Triax Technologies has mountable sensors for materials and a pager-like belt clip for employees, and yet another company called indus.ai uses cameras and image recognition software to track materials, equipment, and employees.
Many may be wary of the “big brother” effect of being constantly watched, but it’s creating some very important data points that the construction industry has never had at its disposal before. Thousands of hours of data points are being created daily by these programs and each one we talked to at Groundbreak said the same thing: the next step is to figure out how to make all of that data impactful.
It’s no secret that the construction industry has a productivity problem, in such an ever-changing environment, it has been extremely hard to gather any real and reliable data to help focus the industry on the pain points. Other industries, like manufacturing, have static environments and are much easier to observe for productivity enhancements. I’m excited to see the powerful effects using this data can have on shaping the construction world.
The Non-Products are Still Important to Procore
Procore, of course, wouldn’t exist without their various construction management products, but they also spend a lot of time developing non-revenue product for the general enhancement of the industry and it’s very commendable. Other than a few non-profits, there are simply not very many free, online or offline resources for safety, technology, and leadership for the construction industry.
Procore is providing non-revenue creating resources in 4 areas: Women in Construction, Procore Construction Education, Procore Safety Qualified, and Procore.org.
Women in Construction is a Procore-backed initiative which aims to advance the role of women in construction. Through a series of blog posts on their website, an event calendar, and exterior resources, the group is giving a voice to the relatively small amount of women in the industry.
We’ve written about Procore’s Construction Education platform in the past and it has hundreds of free, online continuing education courses, which not only cover their own products, but also health & safety, jobsite technology, industry trends, business essentials, and construction 101.
In addition to the courses mentioned above, Procore also has a free Safety Qualified course, which includes the following topics: Lockout Tagout, Respiratory Protection, Scaffolding, Hazard Communication, and Fall Proctection. Pass all of the courses and you can earn a “Procore Safety Qualified” hard hat sticker.
Finally, Procore.og is an important initiative for prospective employers of college students, as well as non-profit organizations in the construction industry. The company provides free access to their software, including classroom ready curriculum and teaching materials. Procore CEO Tooey Courtemanche mentioned that Procore is currently taught in 220 universities in 9 different countries across the world, affecting over 20,000 students in those universities. There are also over 15,000 current Procore users that are a part of non-profit jobs, like Habitat for Humanity.
“Nobody knows anything” and “The little things matter”
Besides the exhibitor booths, hands-on Procore training, and company announcements, there are also plenty of breakout sessions and non-Procore related, but still relevant, keynote speeches. Two of the keynote speakers were former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and Co-founder of Netflix Marc Randolph.
A quarterback will certainly have plenty of insight into becoming a leader and Manning, unsurprisingly, is no different. While nobody else in the crowd could relate to being an NFL quarterback (probably), Manning was able to talk about leadership in a way that could relate to all. One of my favorite quotes during his speech was “the little things matter.” He talked about going to quarterback camp during the offseason even when he was a seasoned professional and he would practice properly taking snaps and calling plays. Why would a guy that’s been in the NFL for 15 years need that, you ask? Because if the little things matter, everything matters. It sets the tone for everything else.
Marc Randolph’s keynote took a different path by focusing on leading through change and innovation. This is an area where I personally believe the construction industry still has a huge opportunity. The phrase “that’s how we’ve always done it” is extremely prominent and could lead to disaster for companies that have been around for decades.
One of my favorite quotes from Randolph’s keynote was: “Unless you’re prepared to disrupt yourself, you’re leaving the door open to someone disrupting it for you.” In Netflix’s case, video giant Blockbuster left the door open to disruption and Netflix ended up killing their multi-billion business. If you don’t think that can happen to your construction business, you’re kidding yourself.
Randolph also cited one of his favorite quotes in the speech, citing Hollywood writer William Goldman in the process, “Nobody Knows Anything.” For example, nobody in Hollywood knows if a movie will be a huge success or a total flop. That’s also true with business. The key, he says, is to be able to quickly, easily, cheaply, and non-disruptively test new ideas.
Manning’s and Randolph’s keynotes are not available online, by Procore has made the 2 Procore keynotes available for download, as well as 4 of the breakout sessions from the event. If you’d like to view those, you can watch them here: https://www.procore.com/groundbreak/live