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ProjectDox for Construction Project Collaboration
by Susan Smith
Recently Informative Graphics announced ProjectDox, a web based project communication and collaboration software built on .Net that competes head to head with Autodesk’s Buzzsaw and Constructware.
Customers can purchase ProjectDox and put it on their own server in-house and thereby control their own intellectual property, according to Duane Green, ProjectDox product manager. It is not offered as an ASP. Not only does ProjectDox offer unlimited projects for unlimited users, users have their own access to their hard drives, and therefore have unlimited data.
Informative Graphics offers a pilot version of ProjectDox that allows you to get the software up and running on your servers for 25 concurrent projects, unlimited users and unlimited data starting out at $10,000. “We go all the way up about $62,500 for the full unlimited version,” said marketing manager, Bill Gould. “Twenty-five is the maximum number of projects for the pilot version, and you can archive one project in order to bring another online. For the unlimited version, the price is $40,000, then we have a workflow e-forms module that can be applied on top of that for $18,000 that allows you to create business processes or workflows for planned check in or approval, routing or review processes, RFIs, change orders, change requests, bidding submittals, etc. We have an electronic keyform module that allows you to take virtually any paper document you have today and convert it to electronic form that your users can fill out online. The information they fill out will then be stored in a database.”
Users can share information and do searches. According to Gould, all the customers today that purchase ProjectDox also purchase the Workflow e-forms module as an add-on.
Green said that Informative Graphics has positioned ProjectDox in the construction industry and in the state, city and county government industry. “They’re all in the construction related industry but have two distinct focuses.” said Green. “Right now, city and county agencies have a very big hole in plan check and approval, so if you’re building a new building, there are electronic programs in place to manage or approve that request for city and county. But today they’re still reviewing your drawings on paper. You usually submit 3 – 5 sets of prints. We’ve talked to some city and county agencies that have to submit 12 sets of prints. For one office building, you could do 150 different prints that you have to provide to city or county to review.”
Once these industries can be convinced of the efficiency of getting this paper into electronic form, with ProjectDox they can do plan, check, review and approval electronically. When a permit is created, the user can upload their files into ProjectDox. The city and county agencies can review those documents and mark them up electronically. Notifications go back to the user. The user could then make the changes and upload a new version.
This would change the existing, time-consuming process the city and county have of marking up on paper, calling the developer, who has to come into the agency, pick up the paper, take it back into AutoCAD, make changes and print out new sets, deliver both sets back to city and county to make sure of the changes.
The ProjectDox software has a side by side comparison tool that allows people to check out changes very quickly.
For those who think that ProjectDox sounds vaguely familiar, it is. It used to be called ProjectWeb, but Gould said that they had a problem trade marking that name so the product got a name change about a year and a half ago. Green said that Informative Graphics will install and configure the software for customers.
What differentiates ProjectDox from other project collaboration solutions on the market?
According to Gould, an 85% majority of construction customers use Buzzsaw or a Buzzsaw-like product today. Those who have bought ProjectDox cite four reasons:
- It is easy to use, designed for subcontractors in the construction world.
- Ownership model – can have as many projects or users as you wish. intellectual property.
- Workflow and e-forms
An interesting aside is that Buzzsaw and Constructware are very similar products, according to Green. “Constructware actually has our Brava! viewer built into it. We find it easy when customers go from one ASP service like Constructware to ProjectDox and already know our viewer.” Green noted that right now Buzzsaw uses Design Review 2007 (formerly DWF Composer) to view files and he is not sure that Buzzsaw will put the Brava! Viewer into Buzzsaw.
Originally, Green said they built ProjectDox to meet the needs of smaller architectural and construction firms, but now the medium and larger sized firms want it, as it is easy to put it on an in-house server. “ProjectDox has value through multiple phases of construction,” noted Green. “We will be exploring how our product can work in facilities management.”
What about transitioning to ProjectDox from other project collaboration software solutions? “In a hosted type solution such as Constructware, the original files are still maintained by the developer or architect,” explained Green. “What is being hosted in Buzzsaw are copies. You can easily replicate the same project and same folder structure that are in those environments with ProjectDox and just upload their data into ProjectDox.”
Autoweb, a global provider of data exchange and data management solutions for the manufacturing industry, announced they have entered into a strategic partnership agreement with Broadband Media Corporation (BBMC) of Seoul Korea.
BBMC will provide local sales and marketing support for Autoweb in the Asian market. BBMC will function as local Autoweb representation to sell and service Autoweb solutions to key industries in Korea, such as Automotive, Electronics, Maritime, and others. This will allow Autoweb prospects and customers to realize all of the benefits of partnering with Autoweb, including a relationship with a local representative with whom they can interact on a regular basis.
Meridian Systems, provider of enterprise project management software for optimizing capital projects, programs and facilities, announced successful market adoption for Prolog software within the Chinese construction and engineering industry.
Meridian authorized reseller ProjectAIMS has jointly developed with Meridian a Chinese localized version of Prolog Manager and Prolog WebSite. ProjectAIMS has successfully implemented Prolog at several major Chinese firms, allowing them to embrace these market leading project management and collaboration solutions in their native language.