Tekla: Not Just Software Vendor
Tekla is the market leader for steel detailing and fabrication and is now focusing on providing a solution also for concrete production and construction management. We offer a solution that allows customers to improve and increase their business by becoming value-adding, central players in the construction process. We act as technology partner for our customers rather than just a software vendor, says Mr. Nirmalya Chatterjee, Head- Business Process & Operation, Tekla India Pvt. Ltd. in his interview with NBM&CW.

Could you please give us a bird's eye view of construction related software packages offered by your company?

Tekla Structures BIM (Building Information Modeling) software provides an accurate, detailed, and data-rich 3D environment that can be configured and shared by contractors, structural engineers, steel detailers and fabricators, concrete detailers and manufacturers. Our technology is used from conceptual design stage to detail engineering to construction management. The whole life cycle of any engineering project is managed through Tekla Structure.

How has the construction fraternity benefited by the software packages provided by your company?

The highly detailed as-built structural models created, combined and distributed with Tekla Structures software enable the highest level of constructability and production control. Centralizing building information into the model allows for more collaborative and integrated project management and delivery. This translates into increased productivity and elimination of waste and thus makes construction and buildings more sustainable. Needless to mention, Tekla Structure enhances the profitability of every player in the whole project.

What is your market share and what strategies are you adopting to firm up your market share?

Tekla is the market leader for steel detailing and fabrication and is now focusing on providing a solution also for concrete production and construction management to become the strongest software provider for hybrid steel and concrete structures and to increase the share of engineering offices and contractors in its clientele. We are one of the global leaders who offer one stop solution for any engineering projects under multi materials built-in single 3D model data base system.

What would you consider as your USP?

We offer a solution that allows customers to improve and increase their business by becoming value-adding, central players in the construction process.

We act as technology partner for our customer rather than just a software vendor.

Market research plays an important role in the design of an optimum software package. What techniques are adopted by your company for useful market input?

Customer satisfaction, purchase criteria, and user feedback surveys and programs; partnering with industry leaders and cooperation with industry development organizations, such as Building-SMART. Tekla spends more than 30% of revenue every year in R&D.

In software industry human resource is the key to success. What strategies are adopted by your company to maintain skilled man force?

Tekla coaches competent and dedicated personnel with strong commitment to the company and product development and shares the best experiences by utilizing virtual teams, networks and employee empowerment. Our customers look at us as 'bunch of young skilled professionals, who care for them and their projects'.

You might have dreamed about your company, "Five Years from Now"— would you please share your dream with us?

Tekla's ambition is to multiply customers' potential to think and achieve big. This is our brand promise.

Tekla: Not Just Software Vendor

Could you please refer to some of the most recent modifications or new packages introduced by your company?

Tekla launched its annual main version of Tekla Structures software in February 2010. In addition to Windows 7 compatibility and altogether close to 500 feature improvements, Tekla Structures 16 introduces several workflow benefits, such as an improved solution for cast-in-place concrete and again better and more standardized IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) data exchange. We have enhanced our product line by introducing new offering under ' Project Delivery'.

On a scale of 10 where would you place your products as far as user friendliness is concerned?

At 9; software usability is something that needs to be constantly developed according to the workflow of the users, which may change according to industry practices developing. Unlike many other software providers, Tekla has an in-house usability team that continuously works to make Tekla software products easier to learn and use.

What is the level of awareness about relevant software packages in construction industry?

The industry is still learning about BIM and how to utilize software in the best possible way. Steel industry leads the way for the rest of the construction disciplines. The leading and biggest construction and engineering companies are aware of and use the most advanced solutions, but getting owners and small and medium-sized subcontracting companies involved is still a challenge and depends much on the awareness and requirements of project owners as well as short-term financial benefits.

Does your company organize 'user-meet or any interactive forum where users can discuss issues of interest related to their business fields?

Yes, Tekla India organizes yearly meet of all users together. We generally do that with our yearly version release so that our users get opportunity to see our future road map of development. Apart from users day, we also conduct road shows and seminars. In the Month of September 2010, Tekla India is organizing a seminar series with our technology partners. This will be done in all metro cities in India.

What are experts support, after sales services and training being imparted by your company to the customers/users?

Self-learning material is openly available for everyone on the Internet. Annual software maintenance includes software updates, technical support services, and use of Extranet. Specialized training is widely available at all Tekla offices across the globe. Especially in India, we have launched the unique concept "Tekla Centre of Excellence" this is to offer training on our software at every local cities by our associate partner. More details can be seen in our website www.tekla.com under India segment.

During recessionary phase, software industry was badly affected. What were the measures adopted to overcome this pessimism within the organization and outside?

Tekla's turnover declined somewhat in 2009. Even so, we consider the year as a good one, given the challenging circumstances. Tekla's profitability is at least satisfactory and our financial position excellent. This is a very good basis to continue our long-term approach of customer service. Unlike many competitors, we increased our headcount somewhat in 2009. The investment in product development was as much as almost 30%. We do not consider product development an expense but creating added value to our customers.

Despite the building industry's challenging situation, Tekla's position as a supplier of structural BIM software is strong, and the numbers of users are on the increase. Our long-term outlook continues to be promising. The benefits of information modelling are seen more clearly in site management in particular. Many of the software purchases are strategic, as customers are preparing for an information-model-based way of working. One of the most promising among the potential markets for Tekla is India.

Could you give us an overview of qualitative and quantitative shift in construction related software industry?

The industry is back to using and sharing 'physical' models, like in the early days, but virtually. During the next decades modeling and simulation by using software will increase following a steeply rising curve. The key issues are software interoperability and compatibility and how to share and distribute the building information models of different disciplines using model servers.

NBMCW August 2010

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