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Friday, April 14, 2006

Texas In My Rearview Mirror….

As I fly back from a week long trip in Dallas, Texas for Autodesk Bootcamp, I am asking myself if the main question I had going into this training event was answered. I think I need to wipe the fog off of my mirror to determine if I got a clear answer.

Autodesk has strategically positioned themselves so that their main competitor in the Building Solutions Division is themselves. With the advancement of both Architectural Desktop and Revit, it leaves an architect with questions as to which solution is right for them. Now with the introduction of Revit Systems competing with Autodesk Building Solutions the MEP field is questioning which way they need to advance as well.

Coming into this week I was hoping to leave with a clear definition as to which product I should recommend for my customers. I do have a better understanding, but it is not as clear as I was hoping. I do feel confident that Autodesk is not going to abandon either product anytime soon. So either product will lead a company to long term advancements.

The marketing for Architectural Desktop (ADT) is selling the product as the AutoCAD for Architects. This program is meant to give Architects the tools they need to complete their projects better and faster using the AutoCAD platform that they have been using for years. As an ADT guru I tried to go into this week with an open mind to both products. ADT has made several key improvements in the AEC Dimensions and Walls and Scheduling areas that were long awaited. With these improvements I believe that architects can finally begin to use them the way they were intended.

Revit is now on version 9 and FINALLY has a real way to create 2D details other than importing in their AutoCAD details. (YEA!!!) The Revit platform is marketing themselves as the Building Information Model for architects. This program is meant to operate the way architects think. I tend to agree that this platform has some great tools to assist the architect in completing their projects. The fact that you are working on one model and any changes made are instantly made through out the project is a huge benefit for Revit.

Over the last several years, the Architectural industry has begun a transformation from Architects directing drafters to complete the drawings to Architects completing the drawings themselves. The position of a “drafter” in an architectural firm is vanishing. Architects need to have a good understanding of what they are drawing when they are drawing. No more drawing bogus lines and simply calling them out in schedules and notes. Now you are drawing with object based technology. As you create these drawings, you cannot simply draw an interior partition wall. You need to know if it is fire rated, structural, 8'-6" high, or does it extend to the structure above?

After talking with other resellers this week, I found that this country is split on both ends as to which product is applicable. Both the East coast and the West cost have jumped on the Revit band wagon, while the central part of the U.S. are die hard ADT users.

I believe it is a case by case determination as to which product is right for each firm. The one marketing strategy that has changed from previous years is that Autodesk is not pushing either product more than the other. This along with the amount of dollars being pumped into the development of ADT informs me that ADT is here to stay.

So if you are as confused as I am as to which product is right for you don’t feel bad. Let me leave you with a quote that hit home with me this week. “What is truly innovative today will be ordinary tomorrow.” AutoCAD was once an innovative software, but is considered ordinary today. Both ADT and Revit are innovative today. Don’t let your firm be considered ordinary tomorrow. If you are not taking advantage of one of these vertical products you will be left behind in technology. Take your firm to the next level by implementing one of these products.

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