Five minutes with: Ian Hauptfleisch, CCS
Ian Hauptfleisch, general manager of Construction Computer Software (Gulf) and regional head for CCS (Pty) Ltd’s MENA, Europe, and Central, North, and South Asia operation, discusses the company’s growth prospects in the GCC and beyond
How did CCS perform in the GCC in 2016?
Last year was a challenging year in the GCC, not only for CCS, but for the economy and construction industry at large. The repercussions of the lower oil price, which effectively drives the economy of the GCC, had a marked impact across all business sectors, resulting in [fewer] private and public projects coming online, and many being retracted and/or down-scaled post-award due to the economic climate. Construction and engineering projects are what power our client and potential client base and, ultimately, our performance.
How would you assess regional demand for CCS’s products and services so far this year?
CCS solutions are developed, enhanced, and extended on a continual basis in line with industry and technology trends and requirements, and have been in existence and growing for the better part of 40 years into over 50 countries. So for lack of a better term, we’ve been there and done that, and are very familiar with the cyclical nature of the construction industry.
Our solutions have remained relevant despite the economic conditions prevalent at the time, because they’re built around and focussed on a unique value proposition to our clients – contracting organisations – [which is] to optimally deliver the built environment from estimate to final account. Our solutions – especially Candy, for estimation and project control – are also scalable and adaptable to meet prevailing circumstances, organisational restructuring, and alignments to the market conditions.
That said, demand for CCS solutions remains strong, and in the last 18 months, we penetrated the market even further, bringing in more than 50 new corporate clients across the GCC. Although some clients scaled down, others scaled up and increased their licence counts.
Has CCS launched any new products or services in the GCC over the past year?
CCS never stands still, and continually extends and enhances its Candy and BuildSmart solution and service offerings in line with – and, often, ahead of – industry, technology, user, and country- or territory-specific requirements.
Current developments for Candy, our estimation and project control system, include enhancing and extending its multi-user capabilities, sub-contract adjudication facilities, bespoke tender finalisation and cost reporting, and improvements to our on-screen quantity take-off (QTO) for 3D modelling-compatibility and building information modelling (BIM) functionality.
For BuildSmart, our web-based construction accounting and enterprise resource planning system, we’re already ready for the GCC’s value-added tax (VAT) and India’s goods and services tax (GST).
Developments include more and improved mobile features, on-site virtual store, and inventory control linked to Candy allowables, in addition to the integration of locational cost control in purchasing, delivery, and reporting.
Which GCC firms are CCS’s major clients?
CCS is proud to enjoy a market share of more than 250 contracting companies across the GCC and Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Some of our clients include ALEC, Al Habtoor Leighton, Al Mabani, Al Naboodah, Arabtec, Al Futtaim Carillion, Dutco Balfour Beatty, El Seif, Khansaheb, Nass Contracting, and Orascom.
What are CCS’s main priorities in the GCC for the coming year?
The GCC and MENA still hold immense potential for us to expand our existing and new user base. Many existing users and organisations under-utilise our solutions, and one of our priorities is to enable them to realise the potential and maximise on the capability of their investments – which is imperative in the current economic climate. [We are also] supplementing our human capital and capacity to deliver new and exciting developments.