Procore’s Windy City Gathering: Highlights from the 2023 Groundbreak Conference
By: Jackie Green | Senior Consultant – Information Governance
Procore could not have chosen a better place to host their 2023 Groundbreak Conference than Burger Consulting Group’s hometown of Chicago at McCormick Place. Approximately 4,000 conference attendees visited our city for 2-3 days to take in the sights and learn more about Procore’s direction. The energy was kept strong and optimistic with lively keynotes from Michael Steep, Laila Ali, Michael Phelps, and, of course, Tooey Courtemanche.
It was satisfying to see past Burger Consulting Group clients win awards (Rogers-O’Brien), participate in speaking panels (McHugh), and simply catch up on all things tech-related, discuss possibilities and market trends with our current clients. Breakout sessions were easily accessible and allowed both vendors and contractors to work together to present the benefits of utilizing third-party software to enhance Procore’s user experience. This leads us into our first takeaway Burger Consulting Group would like to share with you.
Procore Vendor Partnerships
Integrations and partnerships with third-party solutions were highly encouraged, as was evident when walking on the vendor floor. The vendors were excited to talk with us about how their solution worked with Procore and to offer their expertise in construction software integrations.
“The partnership programs we have are fundamental to our success,” Procore Founder and CEO Tooey Courtemanche said. “We don’t look at it as ‘us’ and ‘them’—we see it as ‘us.’ Ultimately, what we are trying to drive is value. Our goal is for our customers not to even know they are using a piece of our partner’s technology; it is so embedded in the application. We don’t disallow better tools in our product. If they can build a better bidding tool, we want our customers to have access to that.”
Having vendor partners in high attendance also provided the opportunity to think outside of obvious solutions. For example, both DocuSign and Dropbox Sign (previously HelloSign) secured booths. And while DocuSign is certainly a leader in the e-signature marketplace for good reason, Dropbox Sign, presented by TeamIM, can offer an effective lower-cost alternative.
Artificial Intelligence & Copilot for Procore Data
There was much talk of artificial intelligence (AI) throughout the entire conference. Procore announced in the opening keynote that they, in partnership with Microsoft Azure, are preparing to offer Procore Copilot, a new artificial intelligence-powered platform. Procore Copilot will operate in the background, flagging important information based on data inside Procore. It will offer intelligent search capabilities and has summary functionality currently in development. While technology is clearly still early in its development, we can look at similar products in the technology sector and see that this functionality could grow to be a significant tool in the future. While it was presented with much excitement, the level of capability demonstrated was simple, and when paired with the clear appetite for technology it left some of the conference-goers desiring far more development in this area.
Outside of the Co-Pilot presentation, there were a handful of AI break-out sessions and presentations. While the attendees were clearly interested in the technology, the state of AI utilization in the environment was low, and the level of capabilities demonstrated showed that there are significant areas of growth needed to reach the modern standard established in other industries.
Procore’s Acquisition of Unearth
Procore also announced in the opening keynote its acquisition of Unearth, a geography information system (GIS) mapping solution, apparently providing light competition for ArcGIS. Burger Consulting Group is eager to see how it will compare to the much-beloved ArcGIS and how it will work with the embedded information within Procore.
Procore Contract Intelligence
Procore revealed in the keynote that the Document Crunch solution was now an embedded contract intelligence experience. If you are storing contracts in Procore, Document Crunch will make it easier to locate answers that operations are searching for. “It’s been raining for three hours; are we allowed to call it for the day?” It assists in understanding what’s in their contract and why it’s important. With the use of AI, it will identify risks and provisions easily.
Procore also announced the United States release of Procore Pay, a full-lifecycle payments management solution. This creates a payments management solution for the extended project team of subcontractors and suppliers, including automated lien waivers, giving Project Managers and Operations full autonomy in releasing payments. Many contractors I sat with did raise concern that the ERP should be the financial record of truth, and that point was either forgotten or it was not addressed.
Throughout the course of the three-day conference, Procore made it clear that they intended on expanding their footprint on the overall construction technology ecosystem. Expansions of their financial capabilities, a focus on building the community bidding environment, and integrating Procore Pay shows a clear intent of creating a full construction environment centered around Procore as the core software. For dedicated users, this could create unique opportunities, and we will monitor these developments. As for the new tools that are yet to be brought to the marketplace, Burger Consulting Group will continue to keep our ears, eyes, and minds open to these new features as they begin to materialize.
What was some of the chatter among the conference-goers? Most had positive feedback about their current use of Procore and couldn’t imagine themselves using anything else. I heard more than a few times that they had hopes Procore would expand on their Safety module, although it wasn’t a focus by Procore at the conference. I did sense some feeling of being overwhelmed with the number of new tools that were being presented and what it would require of them. There is an understanding that the construction industry is moving towards new and better technology, but some would like to learn how to be more efficient with the tools they currently have available. The vendor floor did have their Innovative area where Procore users took full advantage of having many of their questions answered.
If you would like a deeper dive into our Procore conference experience, please feel free to reach out. We’d love to share more of what we heard.