April 17, 2006
Blending Old and New with e-Builder
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Welcome to AECWeekly! Founded in 1995, e-Builder is a nationally recognized company that has focused on web based software for the simplification of collaboration and communication in construction. Blending old with the new, e-Builder offers within their e-Builder Enterprise a new e-Builder Wireless Edition, a service that enables BlackBerry connectivity to provide e-Builder to AEC professionals who are out in the field. Read about it in this week's Industry News.
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Blending Old and New with e-Builder
by Susan Smith
Many software companies have at their heart the good intention of providing a solution for the AEC industry that all segments of that industry can use, yet fall short of providing something for the contractor and construction professional.
One of the reasons for this, according to e-Builder CEO, Jon Antevy, is that most contractors are using fax machines and email, not high-tech project management type solutions. It's the old way of doing business.
When asked who e-Builder's competitors were, Antevy said: "It's not Buzzsaw, Primavera or Meridian; it's Microsoft Excel, and email that are our competitors. Those same people who aren't connected are certainly not getting press releases over email. e-Builder clients, CIOs of large construction or architectural firms, for example, don't know about various goings on in the software business as they are focused on their day-to-day work. We know who to target, and we're also going to fill in the gaps as well."
Founded in 1995, e-Builder is a nationally recognized company that has focused on web based software for the simplification of collaboration and communication in construction.
On the surface, a product such as e-Builder Enterprise, sounds like any other online project management solution: "e-Builder enterprise is a completely integrated system that helps you effectively manage cost, schedule and all communication related to capital development and facility operations. Your team will be brought together in real-time, streamlining and documenting all communications, enabling you to shorten the development cycle, reduce construction and maintenance costs, and improve accountability of everyone involved."
e-Builder Enterprise is also an online facilities management system that helps improve facility operations by providing easy access to historical information, and operation and maintenance manuals. It will send out a notification to the construction manager, for example, with a reminder to replace certain parts on a regular basis, where needed.
Significantly, all of the
enhancements made to the basic e-Builder product in February of this year were designed to enhance email notifications.
Highlights of the new enhancements include:
- More options to reduce the number of notifications
- A new format to make notifications easier to read
- An option to receive notifications on closed workflow
- Blackberry integration with workflow (just released)
Blending old with the new, is the way Antevy looks at the direction e-Builder is headed. One enhancement in the e-Builder Enterprise that bears mentioning here is the release last month of the new e-Builder Wireless Edition, a service that enables BlackBerry connectivity to provide e-Builder to AEC professionals who are out in the field.
Registered users can receive electronic forms and information via the Blackberry device, and add to, and reply to comments directly from the BlackBerry. This should save users quite a bit of time, as they will be able to process and receive information such as RFIs, action items, correspondence, submittals, and transmittals from any location.
What they will need are the following: a Java-based BlackBerry device and an active email address associated with the BlackBerry (support for the Treo is expected in August). Individual users can purchase the service in quarterly or annual installments, and groups can get volume discounts for 10 users or more.
Another way in which e-Builder demonstrates that it is in tune with its customers' needs is by offering at their
Annual User Conference (this year to be held November 1-3) [a new
link will be launched on Thursday to access the conference] to implement 50 % of the top 15 features requested by users. "Within one month of leaving the conference, users will see about 7 or 8 features show up in the enhancements," explained Antevy. "The top features were the ones that everybody agreed on. Obviously we had all our resources on this, it wasn't easy to do, but it showed them that year after year, when they come to our conference that's what they get back.
"Another major release of e-Builder comes out this June or July. We started with document management and project management as the foundation, and now we've added schedule management and cost management," Antevy said. Those terms mean a lot of different things to different people. We're selling cost management to a hospital and that's different than selling it to a condominium developer. Each of those modules have a lot of depth with each of those verticals. We spend a lot of time making sure we address each of their issues."
When the dust settled after the dot.com boom some years ago, e-Builder was one of those companies that survived to prove how valuable online project management could be. Antevy believes that the recent acquisition of Constructware by Autodesk demonstrated that there is an increasing need for online project management solutions in the AEC industry, and that's a good thing for all the other players in that space.
Dimension 5 Solutions, a software and services provider focusing on the AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) industry, and Mi-Co, mobile information and data capture company, announced the signing of a strategic integration alliance and development agreement. Under the structure of this alliance, Dimension 5 will use the Mi-Forms Software Development System to expand the Encompass product line by providing digital ink and Tablet PC data capture applications to their customers.
Hagerman & Company, Inc., one of America's largest value-added resellers of Autodesk(R) software, announced its acquisition of the Autodesk-related business of InterVision Systems Technologies of Santa Clara, Calif.
Avatech Solutions, Inc. and Sterling Systems and Consulting announced that they have signed a letter of intent whereby Avatech will acquire Sterling Systems.
GiveMePower Corporation announced that QuantumGear of Fishers, Indiana, a Leica DISTO laser dealer and a specialist in the supply of mobile measuring solutions for building construction, estimating and information management, has been authorized as a GiveMePower Premier Solutions Provider.
Intergraph Corporation announced Chematur Engineering AB (CEAB), a group of chemical engineering companies in Sweden, USA, Germany, Finland, and India, supplying more than 1000 plants to customers throughout the world, is implementing Intergraph's SmartPlant Enterprise across its world-wide operations. Following the successful implementation of SmartPlant 3D and the resulting significant improvements in productivity and design, CEAB decided to move forward with an integrated SmartPlant Enterprise implementation.
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