Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
Newforma software integration announced
November 5th, 2013 by Susan Smith
Bob Batcheler, executive vice president of strategy, Newforma, talked with AECCafe Voice about the new Newforma software for project information management.
Newforma software for project information management arose in response to the need for ways to bridge the disparate systems that architects, engineers, and builders use to manage projects and project information. As a result, integration has always been an important part of the software’s design.
AECCafé Voice: Why is this integration important to users?
Bob Batcheler: Design, engineering and construction companies work best when all parts work together, whether those parts are project team members or software. In the case of software, when users do not need to enter the same information twice into separate systems, the organization saves time, eliminates opportunities for mistakes, and makes data consistent between applications.
AECCafé Voice: Do users have the option of disconnected use as well as connected use?
Bob Batcheler: Yes – disconnected use is an option for a number of common mobile use cases. For example, contact information is pulled from the firm’s financial software and placed in the Newforma Project Teams mobile app. The app does not need to have internet access to display project contacts that originated in the financial software.
AECCafé Voice: Do you have examples of where integration has been advantageous to users?
Bob Batcheler: Users always benefit by having a single source of truth. That way, they are not misled by out-of-date or incorrect information, and they do not have to enter information twice. A side benefit is that team members become motivated to update source information, because they know that information will be useful to their daily work.
I’ll give you an example. One customer told us how they integrated Newforma Project Center with their financial system. The financial system’s contact information for individuals and companies shows up in the Newforma Project Team activity center, which team members use whenever they send file transfers, assign action items, email markups, or consult their Project Teams mobile apps on their smartphones and tablets.
Now that they know this contact information is vital to their daily work, team members are more conscientious about updating that information in the financial software. In short, integration is making the financial system information more up-to-date and valuable.
Financial system contact information is also used by the firm’s phone system, so the payoff to having up-to-date data cascades through the firm.
AECCafé Voice: How is information from competing software integrated into the system?
Bob Batcheler: Newforma markup functions are interoperable with PDF annotations from Adobe® Acrobat® and other PDF markup software. And recipients of Newforma Info Exchange file transfers may set deliveries to go to cloud services such as Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive.
AECCafé Voice: What percentage of your users are using Newforma Project Cloud, as opposed to those who are remaining with the desktop-and-web-access product, Newforma Project Center?
Bob Batcheler: You raise a good point: Some customers prefer to organize their project information in the cloud, and others prefer to organize it across their enterprise. Some organize it both ways – across the enterprise and in the cloud. Our attitude is, wherever you want your project information to reside, we’ll provide access, wherever you are – whether in the office, at the job site, or on the road. And with Newforma-to-Newforma connectivity, we’ll link those sources so information can flow seamlessly.
Newforma-to-Newforma, or N2N, allows different companies using Newforma products to share information automatically. Using N2N, files from network locations you specify automatically show up in designated folders on a partner’s network. Also, action items, submittals and RFIs automatically show up in assigned team members’ Newforma software, ready for review and action. It’s another example of Newforma integration.