December 19, 2005
Adoption of Model-Based Design and Product Lifecycle Management Solutions
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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About this Issue…

Welcome to AECWeekly! Avatech has a fresh perspective on the implementation of Autodesk products. As Autodesk still derives nearly half of its revenue from AutoCAD, it's interesting to see how implementations are progressing with its 3D software offerings. In an interview with Joe Hedrick, civil solutions group manager and Lonnie Cumpton, manager, building solutions group for Avatech, some of the ways in which Autodesk products are used and perceived by the marketplace were outlined for those two industries.

This marks the last issue of 2005 as AECWeekly will be taking a vacation. It will return to your desktop on January 9, 2006. AECCafe and AECWeekly wish you all a happy holiday season and prosperous New Year.

AECWeekly is a news magazine featuring important industry news profiles, a summary of recently published AEC product and company news, customer wins, and coming events. Brought to you by AECCafe.

AECWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances, Announcements, Awards, Implementations, Financials, New Products, Around the Web, and Upcoming Events.

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Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Adoption of Model-Based Design and Product Lifecycle Management Solutions

by Susan Smith

According to their literature, Avatech is a "leading provider of design automation and product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions for the manufacturing, building design, civil engineering and GIS markets." The company got its start in 1997 when four leading Autodesk value-added resellers, CADPRO Systems, CADworks, NECAD and Premier Design Systems joined forces and have since acquired 12 companies. They are considered specialists in Autodesk and Cyco software and provide integrated software and hardware solutions.

Avatech has a fresh perspective on the implementation of Autodesk products. As Autodesk still derives nearly half of its revenue from AutoCAD, it's interesting to see how implementations are progressing with its 3D software offerings. In an interview with Joe Hedrick, civil solutions group manager and Lonnie Cumpton, manager, building solutions group for Avatech, some of the ways in which Autodesk products are used and perceived by the marketplace were outlined for those two industries.


As Avatech provides PLM solutions, they believe firms need to embrace leveraging data throughout the design lifecycle in order to flourish in the coming years.

Joe Hedrick, who manages all civil specialists training and implementation, said that Autodesk's Civil 3D has gained great acceptance in the marketplace. This is noteworthy as the civil industry has been strictly 2D up until recently. "There are many pilot projects in the works with hard ROI numbers," he said. The product can be used right out of the box, however, he suggested that most companies want to customize their software to look like their own creation.

Avatech develops an implementation package for Civil 3D and offers process-based training, meaning that they train on features that get the work done.

Building Solutions

Lonnie Cumpton said that a great deal of their work currently is involved with moving customers to model based design. Yet even model based design is not as difficult for them to integrate into their workflows as product lifecycle management, both of which are a part of Revit. Taking into account the nature of each business, Avatech must help companies adapt to making changes in their design process, workflow and in staffing in order to move to products such as Architectural Desktop and Revit. "It is tough to select a pilot project," noted Cumpton. "Owners want to select a high profile project to begin on."

This presents a problem as it makes learning the new process more difficult, as there is more stress involved.

For both ADT and Revit, the implementation process is as follows:
  • Discovery and planning
  • realization
  • education
  • support
  • Part of the "discovery and planning" piece of the process entails interviewing 10%-15% of the people in the company who might use the product, understanding the criteria and design requirements, and understanding the business.

    "ADT is like a drafting tool, but is object based," explained Cumpton. "When objects don't behave as the user wants them to, the person goes back to AutoCAD, so there are many starts and stops in that adoption process."

    With Revit, he said, there is no "eject" button. "Revit requires more of a mind shift. You must first adopt the philosophy of building information modeling (BIM). Once accepted, it's simple, and companies have a much quicker adoption rate, and can be almost religious about it once adopted."

    Interestingly, Cumpton said that 50% of all ADT seats are "shelfware," meaning that their users are not using much functionality. On the other hand, "Those who use it well are very successful," stressed Cumpton. Some frustrated ADT users go to Revit. ADT users who pilot Revit find it easy to do, once they accept the BIM mindset.

    In tracking the move to Revit, Cumpton said, 20% are non-Autodesk, 40% AutoCAD users, and the remaining 40% are users of ADT or another architectural product.

    For those who want to make the transition from ADT or AutoCAD to Revit Series, or have both or all in-house, there is a "Rev it Up" promotional program that allows those customers to buy Autodesk Revit Structure and AutoCAD 2006 at a reduced price. This offer runs out in March 2006.

    Both large and small firms are moving to Revit, noted Cumpton. Big firms are doing pilot projects, whereas small firms are undertaking massive adoptions. "We're seeing 8-person firms competing against 40-person firms," said Cumpton.


    Autodesk, Inc. and Microsoft Corp. announced an expansion of their existing strategic alliance to enable customers to more easily "create, manage, and share" critical design data at every stage of the project and product life-cycle processes. The companies announced the completion of the first phase of the expanded alliance, which includes the availability of new Autodesk DWF (Design Web Format) functionality to allow customers to easily integrate design information from Autodesk applications with Microsoft(R) Office applications and Microsoft Business Solutions-Great Plains and Microsoft Business Solutions-Axapta, now part of Microsoft Dynamics.

    Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced that it has acquired RAM International, LLC, a leading provider of structural engineering software for building structures made from all major materials, including steel and concrete.

    Deltek, enterprise software vendor for project-based businesses, and FedSources, the nation's preeminent supplier of actionable government market intelligence, announced a partnership that integrates FedSources' extensive database of government program opportunities with Deltek GovWin, a business development and capture solution for government contractors.


    DWF team is looking for customer DWF files to showcase on the Autodesk web site. To kick start the program, Autodesk is giving away a Nano a week, through January 27th.

    Intergraph Corporation announced
    Intergraph 2006, the company's new flagship international users conference, to be held June 12-15, 2006 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. In its inaugural year the conference will bring together Intergraph's Apex, Geospatial World and Public Safety Users Conferences into a single international conference showcasing Intergraph's full range of spatial information management technologies.

    Oce ODT, the Document Technologies division of Oce, is proud to announce the use of their Intelligent Document Recognition software, DOKuStar, in the recently completed Marion County, FL, Identity Theft Protection Project. Computing System Innovations (CSI) IntelliDact was selected by the Marion County Clerk of Courts to redact private information from seven million pages of archived official records, and to provide day-forward redaction for all court documents. CSI uses DOKuStar to locate and classify private information such as Social Security Numbers, drivers license numbers, credit/debit card and bank account numbers, wherever they occur in any type of
    court-filed document - structured, semi-structured, or unstructured.

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    -- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.


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