Construction Viz Then, Now, and Tomorrow
I was cleaning up my office over the weekend and found an article in ENR that I wrote back in 2017 announcing Construction Viz to the world. Little did I know what the future would hold. If you ever have a dream, think the challenge is too hard, and want to give up, I hope this article helps inspire you.
Rewind to 2017 and the launch of Construction Viz
“The only time you should look back in life, is to see how far you have come.”
— Kevin Hart
Until 2017, when I wrote this advertisement article for ENR, we had been strictly developing and hosting SharePoint-based solutions for the construction industry. With Construction Viz, our goal was to create a flexible app-driven platform that we could host or deploy into a client’s SharePoint. We wanted to use the latest and greatest technology and speed up the development and implementation times.
We knew SharePoint, but this was new ground.
Going out of the gate was a little rough since we were developing a completely new system while still managing our existing SharePoint clients. We didn’t know where this whole thing would go, but we knew we needed to move away from custom SharePoint development and hosting and into more of a product for Microsoft 365. In 2017, Microsoft 365 started picking up steam with Teams and the Power Platform. We knew Microsoft 365 would be the future, and we needed to change our approach.
Fast forward five years
“Don’t look back unless you can smile; don’t look ahead unless you can dream.”
— Irish Saying
While we had many ups and downs over the years, we stuck it out with Construction Viz for Microsoft 365, which has paid off! We have deployed Construction Viz for our clients on muti billion-dollar programs across many construction sectors.
So, how did we get here?
Bet on our people
Everyone on our team brings a unique skillset from technical architecture, UI/UX, front-end and back-end developers, and product managers. Everyone played a significant role in the direction of the product. The key was to listen to everyone and let the best idea win. The teams managed themselves; they took ownership of the product and were vested in its success.
There have been many challenges along the way that make you want to throw your hands up, like when Microsoft restricted deploying code into Microsoft 365. It literally stopped us in our tracks. We had to completely change our deployment model and fast. Construction Viz’s code now runs in the cloud in Lydon Solutions’ Azure data center while the lists and libraries are deployed into SharePoint. It seemed like a curse at the time, but now, the entire solution can be deployed into a client’s Microsoft 365 or SharePoint on-premises or hosted in our Azure environment.
Allowed for continuous improvement
We continually leverage the latest and greatest technology to compete with the larger companies still stuck on ten-year-old technology. We switched our client-side code to React JS, which has provided many needed benefits and made the entire solution a progressive web app (PWA) so a user on any device with a modern browser can access Construction Viz online or offline. We also created a portal to manage projects and programs across a portfolio.
Focused on time to market
Our clients want products quickly, so we needed to remove as many barriers as possible. We needed to scale the solution so deployments could happen the same day. We built a deployment model that could run with a single line of code and include diagnostics to ensure successful implementations.
Offered an attractive price model
Other vendors charge exorbitant prices for project management information systems (PMIS), which were still on old technology and resisted any product changes. We changed our pricing to a per-user/month model based on the applications selected so that clients weren’t paying for a bloated system where they might only use 5%.
The Future of Construction Viz
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards.”
— Steve Jobs
Having an IT company that provides services and products means that you have to be ready to adjust to market conditions. Today, clients want solutions now and don’t want to wait.
Our roadmap for Construction Viz includes a marketplace to purchase our applications online. The game plan is to offer an affordable suite of apps that can deliver 80-90% of the market need. Clients will be able to buy apps using a credit card and deploy them into their Microsoft 365 tenant themselves. A touchless Construction Viz deployment model will allow clients to take advantage of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem they have already purchased.