Bob Batcheler, co-founder and executive vice president of Strategy for Newforma, talked with AECCafe Voice about the new spring 2013 release of the Newforma product line. The company is well known for its Newforma Project Center, a project information management software (PIM). The product line also includes Newforma Building Information Management, Newforma Contract Management, Newforma Project Analyzer and Newforma Project Cloud. Its new enterprise project resource management software, Newforma Project Analyzer, is a product built expressly for project managers and principals in architecture and engineering firms.
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Huw Roberts, Bentley Systems vice president, core marketing, shared some predictions on important market trends for 2013:
There is a focus in construction on integrated projects, so my top-level prediction for the year is that the characteristic of projects and project teams will continue to become increasingly integrated. Infrastructure owners have been looking to integrate project delivery types for a number of years. There are many models, including IPD in the U.S., design-build-operate, joint ventures, and project alliancing. It’s really not important which model becomes the frontrunner; what matters is that the trend toward finding ways to integrate project teams and processes, and of eliminating silos of activity that only act sequentially, will continue to become the dominant way of delivering projects.
This is already creating some needs in the market and shaping what happens this year. To begin with, there is growing demand for information modeling for all aspects of infrastructure projects – for building design, site design, utilities, fabrication, construction, and so on – and this is fast becoming the norm. Information modeling deliverables are what owners want to receive and what designers and contractors want to produce. Design firms and construction firms see value in this approach and that perception is going to grow and accelerate demand for it.
This change in attitude is being driven by the realization that the best solution is not a “one size fits all.” What information modeling means to a building design team is different from what it means to the folks working on the roads and developing the land around that building, and also very different from what it means to the construction crews and the teams that will eventually be charged with operating and maintaining that building. So there’s a growing awareness in the market of the need for those different information modeling approaches to work together, and support for an iterative process is taking hold. Many project organizations and enterprises recognize that they have different tools, processes, and skillsets that have to work together in order to achieve an information modeling approach that serves their own purposes.
Here’s a case in point. A few years ago everyone was excited about the fact that architects and engineers were moving to smarter 3D models, and then that constructors were moving to 3D. Today, owners are soliciting projects that require the delivery team to not only design but also build and operate the building. These delivery teams quickly recognize the need to integrate multiple information modeling approaches to serve their various needs across the infrastructure lifecycle. And all of this awareness is driving growth at project and enterprise scales.
Some firms are working to apply various technologies in new areas, and many struggle by trying to “mash” information or processes into a tool or technology that’s not suited for their workflows or purpose. Increasingly, they are beginning to realize that multiple technologies need to be involved on every project. Why? Because some information is best suited to be in a CAD system, while other information can be better processed and managed in a BIM system, database system, operational control system, discipline-specific analysis system, machine control system, and so on. Anyone familiar with real-world projects knows that it makes no sense to put everything into a single system.