QA Software is a success story for our city. Based in St Kilda Rd, the company received a City of Melbourne export grant in 2006 and recently opened an office in Denver, USA.
Last year QA beat a field of 10 international rivals to become the preferred in-house provider to America’s fourth-largest engineering and construction company, Kiewit.
Kiewit has a presence in 22 US states and has 300 concurrent projects underway.
“The fact that we won this bid as a relative unknown shows that we have a very good system,” Russell Mortimer, CEO at QA Software, said.
“We are their corporate system for document management and that is giving us huge inroads into other construction companies and joint ventures that they are dealing with.”
With so much construction in Melbourne these days, proper management of the millions of documents underpinning these projects is in all our interests.
Engineer-turned-software entrepreneur Russell Mortimer estimates that a “modest” $250 million project would generate about 350,000 documents.
“Stacked together, they would stand 10 storeys high, so you can imagine how many documents the $11 billion Melbourne Metro Tunnel project will generate!” he said.
Without robust systems, the cost of even modest mistakes can be significant.
Since 1996, Mr Mortimer and his partner Steve Joustra have dedicated themselves to refining construction and engineering project online document management software via their company’s TeamBinder product.
“One of the reasons we stand out from our competitors is because we understand engineering and construction,” he said. “Steve and I are both ex-engineers. In 1995 we left engineering to make software because it was so badly needed.”
Mr Mortimer said document discoverability was one of the secrets of the product’s success.
“When designing a document management system for engineers, it pays to think like an engineer,” he laughed.
QA Software has grown rapidly from humble beginnings to now employ 60 people. Those who know the strength of the local IT scene will not be surprised that Melbourne exports first-class software.
The next international target market is China.
Above all, Mr Mortimer is passionate about the benefits that good document management brings to a project. He talks about a “single source of truth”.
“Document control is the lifeblood of any project because it delivers who, what, when, where and how,” he said.
“You can’t do anything without the lifeblood. And the heart that pumps the lifeblood is a document management system – a single system, not multiple hearts pumping in different directions.”
TeamBinder has a local presence too. Its client list includes the City of Melbourne, the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority and the Level Crossing Removal Authority. It was also used on Federation Square, Crown Casino, Melbourne Museum and many other local projects.
Although competing companies may spend huge sums on marketing, Mr Mortimer is confident that his product and after-sales services is the best.
“We can talk the language,” he said. “And we keep in touch. If something goes wrong with a project, we also feel the pain.”
However, he said, it was important that all users were properly trained.
“Sometimes you can have the best tool, but you can also suddenly find someone doing something on a spreadsheet. Our focus is on helping bring out the best for the user.”
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