November 06, 2006
FM Goes to the Desktop
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Welcome to AECWeekly! Recently Autodesk launched their Autodesk FMDesktop Product Suite which consists of a number of applications – Facility Manager, Facility Link, Facility Web and Facility Request. The application FMDesktop was part of Autodesk’s acquisition of Applied Spatial Technologies in January 2006, and this is the first full version of FMDesktop launched by Autodesk. Read about it in this week’s Industry News.
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
FM Goes to the Desktop
by Susan Smith
Recently Autodesk launched their Autodesk FMDesktop Product Suite which consists of a number of applications – Facility Manager, Facility Link, Facility Web and Facility Request.
The application FMDesktop was part of Autodesk’s acquisition of Applied Spatial Technologies in January 2006, and this is the first full version of FMDesktop launched by Autodesk. The founders of Applied Spatial were from a facilities management background and were building the application on DWF before Autodesk purchased it.
“There’s a tremendous amount of information that’s created during design and construction. That information is often lost and there’s been no easy way to turn it over to get the information into the hands of the building owners and operators.”
In most organizations, Haines said that facility managers are still using manual processes. In one case, a facility manager at a large Chicago firm is using Power Point as his CAD application. He draws blocks of his rooms in Power Point, puts people’s names in those blocks and prints it out in a representation of a floor plan. His rationale: it’s easy to use and everybody has it.
That process takes a lot of time, leads to safety issues, inefficiency and credibility issues with the facility managers.
capability is focused toward the bundling together of work orders and task assignments for facilities related jobs.
Haines said that most major vendors focus on building portfolios of over 1 million square feet for CAFM systems. Without CAFM, facilities operations can be difficult to manage and up until now most CAFM solutions have been difficult to use.
The idea behind FMDesktop was to push it to the desktop to make it easy to use, and to not build it on top of AutoCAD as they had done in the past. “We really pushed the envelope down to about 100,000 square feet. At this size, most organizations get a dedicated facility manager or one that fills numerous roles and need CAFM but operate on manual mode. Most of their performance is difficult to predict and most of it is assessed in hindsight. This makes them very slow to react.”
Because much of the world uses AutoCAD for drawing and design, a lot of drawings are authored in DWG , which makes it easy for IT to leverage existing skills and data.
Besides Facility Manager, other components of the suite include:
Facility Link –a plug-in to AutoCAD which allows facility managers to do more of a traditional approach, i.e., connect drawings to the underlying database in a bi-directional fashion
Facility Web – a web wizard which allows you to go through a series of questions, then it publishes out all your facility information to a website
Facility Request – takes the facility capability and opens it up to the entire enterprise. This application allows employees to submit requests and questions to the facility team for getting work done on space occupied. This reduces the islands of information, and gives a clear picture of what’s going on.
allows us to create long term relationships with facility managers.”
During a demo, Haines showed how you can take a Revit building and insert it into FMDesktop -- completing the BIM story.
Facilities management encompasses different divisions at Autodesk, and is not just limited to BSD, said Haines. ISD has huge enterprise implementations of FM, and the Autodesk Collaboration Solutions (ACS) has Buzzsaw for managing facility drawings. Carl Bass’ vision of “convergence” takes into account thinking beyond vertical divisions within the company to thinking of vertical industries. FM extends from infrastructure to information services inside the building to outside the building with the management of land and infrastructure.
Another product, FMEnterprise, takes the MapGuide based capabilities and with DWF, connects that data to FMDesktop. FMDesktop is good for a building of up to 12,000 square feet. A 100-1 million square foot customer may have a lot of data and need to connect information, so they might consider a move to FMEnterprise.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
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-- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.
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