Things The Software Companies Don’t Want You To Know

BY Jason Matthews | 2 mins read

The marketing team at the software companies are out to do one thing and one thing only; to sell their products to you the buyer. I admit I was sucked into the glamor and pizzazz of BIM, more specifically Revit. Back in 2008 and 2009, the economy had begun its downward spiral and in the design and construction industry it was more like a nosedive. Everyone was fearful of losing their job and the prospects for the next twelve to eighteen months did not look good. At this point in my career, I was working at an architectural firm and trying my best to find ways not only get projects in the office, but keep my job at the company that I had worked so hard for in the previous years.

A small group of us had heard about this wonderful software called Revit. To be honest, we thought BIM was Revit and Revit was BIM. I will get into that a little later. We approached the partners at the firm and pitched the idea of trying out a few pieces of software over the next few weeks and even have the product representatives give us a demonstration beforehand. We looked at both Revit and ArchiCAD and ultimately decided on Revit – for reasons that I will not cover in this post. We absolutely fell in love with the amazing things that it could do.

You know what I am talking about – A change here equals a change everywhere; fully coordinated documents without lifting a finger; building section cuts just because we could; 3D views on the fly; scheduling of anything and everything. It promises better coordination, faster production time, less personnel on the project and my personal favorite content from the manufacturers. Needless to say, everyone at the table was in awe. Well, almost everyone. There were a few seasoned individuals who could not stand the fact that this software appeared to do everything desired. They tried to find the loopholes in the project being shown…but couldn’t.

They came up with every scenario – can you do this, can you do that, etc. You see, many of the salespeople at these software companies are well polished. They can answer every question you have, they can manipulate the models and documents to make it seem like everything is seamless. What you have to realize is that they spend hundreds of hours creating the model(s) of the project that they show.

Everything is preset and looks amazing. They even speak the lingo of the AEC community and have the antidotal stories to go along with the examples. Alas, they left us with trial software and their business cards. We of course hit the ground running. We went through every online tutorial and every manual we could get our hands on, after-hours of course. What we quickly found was that there are ways to do things and ways not to do things. We found that when you throw a bunch of people into a project that don’t know what they are doing then you are all but assured disaster. We also figured out that all the training in the world will not be a substitute for actual use.

We could not retain what we learned unless we applied it to an actual project. A significant issue we ran into was the hardware requirements for running the software. The product reps ensured us that the software would run on our CAD stations. Wrong! Oh it did at first, well until the project reached a significant size. On the positive side, we came away with valuable insight: How to roll out BIM in the most effective manner; What project type, budget and size is best for a pilot BIM project; How to pick the people for the pilot project; What kind of person is best suited for being the BIM Manager, in order to be able to have any kind of chance at success with BIM.

All of these things that took us many months and projects to figure out are about to be shared with you in the upcoming posts.

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