Sitetracker, maker of software for managing high-volume infrastructure projects, has landed $24 million in Series B funding. The new investment round, led by existing investor New Enterprise Associates (NEA), brings six-year-old Sitetracker’s total funding to $35 million. Other investors include Wells Fargo Strategic Capital, Salesforce Ventures. The financing will be used to develop Sitetracker’s product and global expansion.
In the wireless infrastructure industry, Sitetracker provides a software platform for designing, deploying and maintaining macrotowers, small cells and fiber plant. Sitetracker’s platform, known as software as a service (SaaS), is used by Verizon, SAC Wireless, Tower Engineering Professionals and Advantage Engineers among others.
“Instead of providing an Excel spreadsheet with things to do on a project, we enhanced their workflow, so they can deliver projects on time and under budget,” said Brett Chester, Sitetracker’s VP marketing. “To do that, we automated the process. A project manager can set up alerts and triggers. Why can’t we empower our managers with the latest technology? In some instances, we have seen speed to turnkey increase 300 percent.”
Project management is becoming more and more of a challenge as the wireless industry shifts into high gear building out the hundreds of thousands of small cells that are estimated in the 5G future.
“We think about everything from the project or asset manager’s viewpoint in this ever-growing world of growing project volume, where we are moving from a three hundred thousand macrotowers to a projected nine hundred thousand small cells,” said Chester. “It’s roughly the same number of steps to complete a small cell. If we are going to get to that volume of small cells for 5G, then we need to find some efficiencies to allow for those high-volume projects to be completed.”
SaaS, which negates the need for on-premise software, has been growing rapidly for the last five years into a $181 billion industry, according to Sebastian Lambert, CEO of FinancesOnline. Chiefly because of global trends in cloud computer hosting, Cisco’s Global Cloud Index projects that 73 percent of all workflows will be delivered as SaaS by 2020.
“There are all manner of benefits that come with SaaS for different professionals,” Chester said. “Compared with on-premise software, SaaS allows more to be accessed anywhere at any time. It is updated more frequently so users are on the cutting edge of the latest technology.”
For mobile workers, such as the tower technicians, SaaS can be accessed easily and seamlessly by virtue of the fact that the software platform is hosted in an online datacenter, allowing workers to make live updates that can be seen in the home office almost instantaneously.
“The efficiencies are unparalleled. No one can keep up to date if there is a lag of three or four days, which is the way most on-premise software works,” Chester said. “One of the only issues that gets in the way of SaaS adoption is complacency. Workers are used to doing things the same way over and over for many years. SaaS has disrupted that paradigm.”
SaaS is evolving, as well. According to Lambert, 2017 was the year when software developers stopped producing systems that serve a single operation or single industry in favor of horizontal platforms that apply to multiple ecosystems.
“What does this mean? SaaS applications are targeted but not industry specific; and they are built to integrate with a large number of third-party solutions,” Lambert wrote.
SaaS products adopt Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning solutions in 2018, according to Lambert, becoming a “disrupting influence not only on the SaaS market but on the way we do business in general.”
J. Sharpe Smith
J. Sharpe Smith joined AGL in 2007 as contributing editor to the magazine and as editor of eDigest email newsletter. He has 29 years of experience writing about industrial communications, paging, cellular, small cells, DAS and towers. Previously, he worked for the Enterprise Wireless Alliance as editor of the Enterprise Wireless Magazine. Before that, he edited the Wireless Journal for CTIA and he began his wireless journalism career with Phillips Publishing, now Access Intelligence.