As in many other areas, the Covid-19 has accelerated the transformation of the construction sector. A welcome boost for the construction industry which is struggling to take the digital turn. As pointed out by the Observatoire de la Construction Tech, created by the Batimat trade fair and Gimelec (group of companies in the French electronic digital sector), the sector faces a productivity challenge that digital solutions can help to resolve.
As a sign of this acceleration, the announcement today of the merger of two major French market players: Sogelink, which supports players in the infrastructure, construction and heritage ecosystem with software, cloud and mobile solutions, and Geodesial Group, which through its subsidiaries Geomedia, Geomensura and Bloc in Bloc, develops and markets software in the fields of geomatics, studies of urban development and transport infrastructure. The new group has 300 employees in nine offices (in France, Hungary and Canada).
Find the full interview with Fatima Berral, president of the new group and CEO of Sogelink, and David Le Roux, CEO of the new group and CEO of Geodesial Group
Listen to “Construction Tech: Sogelink and Geodesial merge to target 80 million euros in turnover” on Spreaker.
Data, at the heart of the transformation challenges of the construction industry
To illustrate the productivity challenges facing the construction sector, in a study carried out in partnership with Xerfi, the Observatory of Construction Tech, for example, draws a parallel with the industrial sector.
He noted that France is the country in Europe where the productivity differential is greatest between the industrial sector and that of construction. Thus, the cumulative productivity differential between 1995 and 2018 amounted, for example, to 127.3% in France against 39.6% in the United Kingdom.
At the heart of this issue, we find in particular a better use of data. How much could this change the industry? “Data is the key. We also see it through BIM [Building Information Modeling, ndlr]», Begins Fatima Berral, CEO of Sogelink, who takes the title of president of the new group. “The data is used to characterize all the elements of a project, of a site. And the quality of this data means that we can work in safety with reliable data. We exchange maps, geographic data, images that become clouds of points through platforms. The ability of systems to process this data, and quickly, is key. This is what we are already providing and which we will still try to grow by adapting to new technologies, using artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc., to have this data exhaustively. and integrity».
«One of the biggest challenges we have is also based on the fact that data is a sensitive area. And this is where our groups also have a lot of assets to insure our customers. This data is also competitive data, it is also data that is linked to performance and sometimes to the ability of some of our customers to win cases.», Adds David Le Roux, CEO of the new group and CEO of Geodesial Group.
Sogelink cites Grand Lyon Métropole, Orange, Spie and even the SNCF among its customers. On the Geodesial Group side, there are companies such as Colas, Bouygues Telecom and Vinci Construction.
34,000 customers in total
The new entity has 34,000 customers. Complementary in terms of their activities, the two companies also share a common shareholder, Keensight Capital, which was key in this merger. The fund specializing in Growth Buyout had also become the majority shareholder of Geodesial Group in October 2019.
“It is the creation of a holding company in which the shareholders, whether financial or from management, contribute their shares in this new entity. So this is really the typical fusion model. With after a common governance and organization for the whole group as well as a single roadmap and strategy ”, develops Fatima Berral.
The new entity will bear the names of the two companies: Sogelink and Geodesial and is targeting 80 million euros in turnover for 2021. The group also aims to continue its international expansion.