Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Exclusive: Talking With Bob Palioca, President of Ideate Inc., About Their Increased Focus on Their Products

News broke last week that Ideate and IMAGINiT had combined operations. I happened to be communicating with an IMAGINiT staffer around that time and she mentioned in passing an acquisition they'd just made. After realizing she was referring to IMAGINiT's acquisition of Ideate, I wondered what their strategy would be around incorporating Ideate Software's offerings with IMAGINiT's own stable of Revit add-ins/add-ons.

Today I reached out to one of my contacts at IMAGINiT and learned that their acquisition doesn't include Ideate Software. The Ideate operations that combined with IMAGINiT are their VAR business. In this case, VAR stands for [Autodesk] value-added reseller. That is, Autodesk product sales and services, such as training.

I next reached out to Ideate Software president Bob Palioca to get his perspective on the matter.

Palioca confirmed that he'd divested himself of the VAR assets of his business, and that Ideate Software was continuing as a separate entity. IMAGINiT owns no interest in Ideate Software.

Palioca revealed that he simply felt it was time to walk away from one side of the business or the other, and his past experience greatly influenced his decision.

Palioca's been a pioneer for design technology education and implementation solutions for 35 years, since his founding of Ketiv Technologies, Inc. in 1983.

Ketiv was one of Autodesk’s first VARs, and it was there that Palioca oversaw development of ArchT, an award-winning architectural design application for AutoCAD.

Pressured by Autodesk to divest his company of products that competed with theirs, Palioca sold ArchT to Visio in 1998.

Palioca said that he's always regretted not staying with the software side of his business, where he had a real passion, and opting instead for the VAR side. This time he made a conscious decision to take the other path.

Autodesk had been encouraging Palioca to expand his reach to national versus regional, and he felt it made more business sense to do that on the software side than on the VAR side, and Ideate Software has been profitable and operating on its own for a couple years now.

Palioca finds the software business to be exciting and fun. While previously about 95% of his focus had to be on the VAR side of his business, he's excited now to focus 100% of his time and energy on the software side and to chew through a backlog of wish list items.

The sale of his VAR business will allow Palioca to invest in growing Ideate Software. The entirety of the staff remains, and, though he's already added six additional employees, Palioca plans to grow the team even further.

For the immediate future, Ideate Software will be releasing the 2019 versions of their applications. 

Ideate Software's products

Palioca also hinted at a major new release of Ideate Explorer that's in the pipeline. After these, Palioca plans to spend a few months on R&D, engaging with customers to help identify needs. Palioca has a sincere desire to add value for customers and the AEC commuity. He wants Ideate Software to fill gaps that aren't being adequately addressed. Some things he's considering involve Autodesk ForgeTableau and back office analytics.

Now that Ideate Software doesn't have a conflict of interest with other VARs, Palioca plans to have resellers for Ideate Software products.

70% of Ideate Software's business comes from overseas, and 80% from outside their (previous) VAR customer base. About 33% of their business comes from Europe, and about the same again from Asia.

We at Revit Add-ons wish Bob Palioca and all of Ideate Software all the best.

Read the Ideate Software press release here.

Read about the combining of Ideate and IMAGINiT's VAR businesses here.

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